Morning Word

Boards Approve Clean Car Rules for New Mexico

EPA awards Earth Care environmental justice grant for Santa Fe’s Southside

NM boards: Yes to zero-emission vehicles

After several days of public hearings this week, the state Environmental Improvement Board and the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board yesterday adopted advanced clean vehicles rules that require national auto manufacturers, starting in 2026 (with the 2027 manufacturing year) to ship increasing numbers of such vehicles to the state—43% the first year, heading up to 82% by 2031. The rules include similarly staged increases for all new commercial heavy-duty trucks, starting with 15% the first year. “The adoption of these rules is a victory for customer choice, our ambitious climate goals and cleaner air for every New Mexican,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. The governor has committed to introducing state tax credits to complement existing federal ones in the forthcoming January legislative session. Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke provided a preview of the those possible credits earlier this month during a legislative Water and Natural Resources Committee hearing and said, among other features, the administration is looking at tax credits for both new and used vehicles, she said, as well as the possibility of scaled credits for hybrids.With the adoption of the new advanced clean car/clean truck rules, the state maintains residents will save $300 million in fuel and lower vehicle maintenance costs by 2050; save up to $62 million in health care costs—70% of which will occur in Bernalillo County due to reduced air pollution; and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 62%, nitrogen oxides by 43% and particulate matter by 24% from the transportation sector. According to the environment department, several counties in the state have been exceeding state and federal ozone levels. “This is an important step forward for our climate and air quality goals, especially in environmental justice and frontline communities,” Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said in a statement. “To accelerate the benefits of the rules, we need more clean cars and clean trucks on the road and the Environment Department will work with New Mexico’s urban and rural auto dealerships to make that happen.”

EPA awards Earth Care environmental justice grant

The federal Environmental Protection Agency yesterday announced more than $2 million for environmental justice projects in New Mexico, including $500,000 for Santa Fe nonprofit Earth Care International to “conduct a community-led health assessment for the southside of Santa Fe using collaborative problem-solving to develop concrete urban planning, local policy, and community-driven development solutions to the environmental justice and public health challenges facing the area.” Earth Care Co-Director Miguel Acosta tells SFR the organization is still working with EPA on the finer details of the work but says “the general idea is to bring community, government, industry, residents, young people, everyone together around an identified challenge in the community and work collaboratively rather than in a contested manner to try to resolve the issues.” To that end, he says, “we’ll be looking at the impacts of industry and pollution and environmental factors, human made as well as natural challenges to the health of the southside community.” EPA also awarded close to $540,000 to Santo Domingo Pueblo to address issues related to open dumps and $1 million to the state environment department to conduct health assessments and address repercussions from harmful emissions in San Juan County. “New Mexico’s culture is tied to the land we live on, the air we breathe, and the water we drink,” state Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, D-NM, said in a statement regarding the grants. “The Environmental Protection Agency chose to fund projects that will make us better ancestors. These grants will serve our communities and Pueblos through public education, clean up initiatives, research and health assessments.”

New movement in Rust case

Prosecutors continue to prepare to present evidence against actor and producer Alec Baldwin for his role in the Oct. 21, 2021 fatal shooting on the Rust set to a grant jury, the Associated Press reports. Special Prosecutors Kari T. Morrissey and Jason J. Lewis last month announced their intention to do so, saying in a statement they believed Baldwin had criminal culpability in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the shooting of Assistant Director Joel Souza. While grand jury proceedings are kept secret, NBC News this week aired previously unreleased videos that show Baldwin firing a prop gun on set, and acknowledging concerns about doing so. “You want to go on the other side of the camera? I don’t want to shoot toward you,” he says at one point. Meanwhile, a grand jury yesterday delivered a new felony charge against Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed—who currently faces involuntary manslaughter charges for her role in Hutchins’ death. The new grand jury indictment for unlawfully carrying a firearm into a liquor establishment alleges Gutierrez-Reed brought a gun into downtown bar The Matador on Oct. 1, 2021—just a few weeks before the Rust shooting.

Proposal would level soccer field access

Santa Fe District 4 Councilor Jamie Cassutt, who recently won a second term, is pushing for a change to city policies that prioritize adult use at the west-side Municipal Recreation Complex. Under the proposal, youth teams would have equal opportunity to reserve field time, a change MRC Manager Jonathan Weiss says would create necessary flexibility at the facility. “Some years, the adult leagues grow and really are asking for lots of fields and in other years we see youth leagues really bursting at the seams,” he says. Northern Soccer Club of Santa Fe Executive Director Scott Hussion tells SFR a big part of his job is finding fields for kids, an “extremely difficult” task, he says. “All the kids and all the sports are fighting over the same fields, and it’s horrible. Our numbers for soccer are exploding. It’s the biggest sport in the world for a reason…There are kids gone soccer crazy in this town, and there is no place for them to go play.” The city announced earlier this week plans to use $1.5 million from gross receipts tax revenue for soccer facilities, and also intends to request additional funding from the state Legislature to expand Soccer Valley at the MRC.

Listen up

The state Department of Cultural Affairs’ podcast Encounter Culture returns with a new season and a new host. New El Palacio Editor Emily Withnall kicks off season 5 in conversation with the show’s producer and lead editor Andrea Klunder about her love of audio storytelling. Then, in “Listen to the Land,” Withnall talks with artists Dakota Mace (Diné), Kéyah Keenan Henry (Diné) and Daisy Trudell-Mills (Santee Dakota, Mexican and Jewish) about their work in the Naaldeeh exhibition at the Bosque Redondo Memorial (through Dec. 31). “One of the most important things with building this exhibition was seeing the way that they both translated the history of the site, but also the stories that they heard growing up about the site itself,” Mace says. “So, I think for all three of us, we had a big interest in natural materials and going back to understanding how much the land and its materials itself are so giving.”

Celebrating Indigenous creators

Halfway through Native American Heritage Month, Architectural Digest shouts out “11 Indigenous designers and artisans that should be on your radar,” including three New Mexico creators. Milo Creations owner Michelle Lowden (Acoma Pueblo) “is simultaneously paying homage to her heritage and reclaiming her identity through her craft, which takes the form of graphic notebooks, scarves, jewelry, and even playful pet collars.” Designer Amy Denet Deal (Diné) “focuses on sustainable upcycled artwear but has branched into home goods, like textiles, rugs, and pottery” through her 4Kinship clothing line and Canyon Road shop, and also Amy “helped develop the Navajo Nation’s Diné Skate Garden alongside Tony Hawk.” Finally, Maida Branch (Pueblo/Ute/Genízara) founded Maida Goods collective to showcase Indigenous and Indo-Hispanic artists, and also raises criollo cattle and churro sheep with her partner Johnny Ortiz-Concha on their New Mexico farm. Thrillist, meanwhile, highlights five Indigenous public art projects, including Gallup native muralist Nani Chacon (Diné, Chicana), whose Santa Fe-based mural, “You Can’t Take it With You... So Give It All Away depicts “two Native women, each cradling a basket, which symbolizes the generational significance of making and sharing these art forms across time and space.” Here’s an interactive map of more murals by Chacon in the Southwest.

After the strike…

The Hollywood actors’ strike may be over, but the repercussions continue to reverberate. Reuters reports “film crews became collateral damage,” in a story that includes as an example 32-year-old Joe Bufalino, described as “New Mexico’s youngest ever first assistant director,” (Silk Road, Thai Cave Rescue), who took his life on Aug. 17. “He really truly needed to work,” Bufalino’s mother Pam Rosen tells Reuters. “At the point that he died he saw no future.” Shondaland also looks how striking actors and writers planned to support one another over the holidays (the story would appear to have published before the end of the actors’ strike) and talks to two New Mexico actors: writer, producer and actor Lisa Lucas (The Bachelor and Work of Art, to name a few) who runs the New Mexico-based production shop called LikeMinds, and actor, writer and producer/New Mexico resident Debrianna Mansini (Better Call Saul and Crazy Heart, to name a few). During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lucas and Mansini co-created a YouTube channel, Corona Kitchen, “which evolved out of their decision to cook live on Facebook. Lucas says that their work together has been instrumental in supporting the ongoing strike and that she and Mansini have built a community of like-minded people.” They also published a new cookbook called That Time We Ate Our Feelings, which grew out of their work during both the pandemic and strike. Both talk to Shondaland passionately about their commitment to the issues at the heart of the strike. “Being on the picket line isn’t a choice,” Mansini says. “It’s an obligation. We need to stand up for each other, for the people coming up, and for the people who’ve been in this industry for years and are being denied what we used to get.”

Waiting on rain

The National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day, with a high temperature near 62 degrees and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. The weekend, however, will bring slightly cooler temperatures into the 50s on Saturday and the high 40s on Sunday, with a 60% chance of rain tomorrow and a 30% likelihood on Sunday.

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