Morning Word

NM Clean Car Tax Credits Take Effect

NRA sues state over seven-day gun-purchase waiting period

NM EV car tax credits take effect

The state’s new credits for “clean cars” took effect yesterday, part of an omnibus tax bill Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law in March. Under the tax credits, eligible residents can receive up to $3,000 in tax credits toward the purchase or lease of new or used electric vehicles; plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; or fuel cell vehicles. The law also allows for tax credits for those who install electric vehicle or fuel cell vehicle charging equipment. The Energy Conservation and Management Division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department administers the program; the credits are available as of yesterday, but the online portal to apply for them won’t be operational until this summer, according to a state news release issued yesterday. “Incentivizing the adoption of electric vehicles and supporting the infrastructure for their use are significant steps towards achieving Gov. Lujan Grisham’s ambitious climate goals,” EMNRD Secretary Designate Melanie A Kenderdine says in a statement. “This initiative reduces emissions and fosters economic growth in New Mexico, aligning two key objectives of the governor.” While the portal is not yet functional, EMNRD says residents who purchase an EV between yesterday and whenever it opens will be eligible for the rebate. “This tax credit brings clean cars into reach for many New Mexicans,” Rebecca “Puck” Stair, director for the Energy Conservation and Management Division, says in a statement. “Clean cars are easy to maintain and are cheap to ‘fuel’ and own.” For a deep dive on EVs, be sure to read SFR’s recent cover story, “Shock Value.”

State loophole could allow record methane release

While New Mexico’s landmark 2021 Methane Rule banned routine venting and flaring of natural gas, approximately 15 exceptions for pipeline operators may hinder the state’s greenhouse gas emission goals. The news comes in a new report from Capital & Main journalist Jerry Redfern (also the author of SFR’s cover story this week) that SFR published yesterday. According to the story, the pipeline company Targa Northern Delaware vented more climate-damaging natural gas from its operations in New Mexico in the first two months of this year than all other oil and gas producers in the state combined—250% more, an amount equivalent to the carbon footprint of nearly 26,000 gasoline-powered cars driven for a year. It claimed in 10 venting incidents one of the state’s exemptions for venting, which is when gas is so far out of pipeline specifications that it constitutes an “emergency.” Subsequently, “those releases were enough to push the state’s January and February venting totals to their highest levels since the state began closely tracking venting and flaring in 2021,” Redfern writes. Michael Coleman, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s communications director, says the Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s Oil Conservation Division “has tools to ensure” the company’s claims about its venting “are correct,” and “if they prove not to be, we are confident EMNRD will take appropriate action.”

NRA sues NM over new gun-purchase waiting period

The National Rifle Association, in coordination with the Mountain States Legal Foundation, filed a lawsuit yesterday in federal court against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Raúl Torrez, challenging the state’s new gun-purchasing waiting period, which went into effect yesterday. House Bill 129, the Firearm Sale Waiting Period Crimes Act, passed by the Legislature in the 2024 session and signed into law by the governor in March, requires a seven-day statewide waiting period for the purchase of firearms. The law includes several exemptions, such as for concealed carry permit holders and law enforcement agencies. The law, Randy Kozuch, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, says in a statement, “is a clear violation of its citizens’ Second Amendment rights—needlessly delaying their ability to acquire a firearm for self-defense or sporting purposes. With this legal challenge, NRA is committed to seeing that this unconstitutional law be wiped from the state statutes.” The NRA also moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to pause the law while the case is being litigated. The suit references New Mexico residents negatively impacted by the law, including Paul Samuel Ortega, who was unable to take immediate possession of a Glock 21 Gen4 .45 handgun he purchased, despite passing a federal background check; and Rebecca Scott, who encountered comparable delays when trying to purchase Smith & Wesson M&P EZ Shield 380 handgun.

Railyard Park art vandalized

Vandals early yesterday morning attacked Adam Horowitz’ latest public art project, “Plastolithic,” featured last month in SFR. The first of Horowitz’s two-part land-art sculpture series, “Plastolithic” debuted April 14 at the park in advance of Earth Day and is slated to remain there until late June. Horowitz constructed the four 1,000-pound blocks of compressed, recycled materials made to raise awareness about excessive waste. Vandals cut and removed one block from the structure, leaving a small amount of leftover trash behind. Three cameras survey the area from a nearby building. Josh Bohlman, a project administrator for the Public Works Department’s Facilities Division, tells SFR after reviewing the surveillance footage, he spotted what appears to be “an early 2000s Toyota truck” approaching the installation around 5:30 am Wednesday morning. Then, he said, as the truck left the scene, it “got stuck on a little concrete post and then it took off.” Horowitz tells SFR after waiting four hours for Santa Fe Police to arrive, he filed a police report and said he wanted to press charges. The responding officer took the items found on the scene into evidence, he added. As of press time, SFPD has not responded to SFR’s request for comment on the vandalism.

Listen up

Since premiering at last year’s Santa Fe International Film Festival, director Lois Lipman’s riveting documentary First We Bombed New Mexico has been traveling around the country screening at film festivals and educating viewers about the plight of New Mexico’s downwinders. The film features Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, and her battle to secure compensation for the state’s nuclear victims before the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act expires on June 7 (members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation and other backers are expected to hold a news conference at the US Capitol today calling upon US House Speaker Mike Johnson to call for a vote on RECA). The film will be available for a free online screening May 17-19, accompanied by a panel discussion with Cordova, Lipman and members of Congress. Register here.

Santa Fe Opera unveils 2025 season

The last time the Santa Fe Opera mounted Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, audience members donned masks and some watched via simulcast. It was the summer of 2021 and COVID-19 restrictions and visa regulations required French director Laurent Pelly to oversee the production remotely (we quite enjoyed it). The opera will revive the production for its 68th festival season in the summer of 2025, announced yesterday. In total, next summer will include 38 performances that will also feature a new production of Puccini’s La bohème, directed by James Robinson, that will share the opening weekend June 27 with The Marriage of Figaro. Starting July 12, SFO will present a new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto in an international co-production with Irish National Opera and Opera Zuid. Britten’s The Turn of the Screw opens July 19, staged by Louisa Muller in a Canadian Opera Company production that originated at Garsington Opera; and Wagner’s Die Walküre, presented by the SFO for the first time in a new production by director Melly Still, opens July 26. The season runs through Aug. 23 and will also include Apprentice Scenes Aug. 10 and Aug. 17, along with preview dinners and tours, and the company’s free prelude talks. “Now more than ever people are seeking new and immersive experiences,” General Director Robert K Meya says in a statement announcing the 2025 season. “A night at the Santa Fe Opera offers first-time visitors and longtime patrons just that.” This year’s season commences June 28 with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.

Survey says...

A questionable survey of 3,000 singles by lists Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Corrales as the “quintessential NM cities for ‘white picket fence’ lifestyles.” What does that mean, one might ask? According to the news release conveying the information (which we received this week, but appears to be based on an infographic published last month), “many hearts still yearn for the sentimental allure of classic romance and the iconic white-picket-fence lifestyle—a nod to a more genteel, bygone era that’s very much alive in our collective aspirations.” While Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Corrales are the state’s top three cities for this alleged aspiration, nationwide, they rank at #47, #108 and #135, respectively. In other questionable surveys that reached our inbox this week, Santa Fe’s Plaza, Albuquerque’s Nob Hill and Taos Plaza emerged as the state’s “favorite spots for night owls,” according to Mixbook, which describes itself as “a #1 rated photobook company,” via a survey of “3,000 seasoned travelers to establish the 150 top areas in the US for nocturnal life.” The Santa Fe Plaza ranked #13 on the list overall and is described in a news release as “the cultural heart of the city, offering an enchanting nightlife with its historic adobe buildings lit up against the night sky, hosting live music, local eateries, and cultural festivities that reflect its Native American and Hispanic heritage.” Nob Hill came in at #70 and the Taos Plaza ranked at #81.

You say that you love rain...

The National Weather Service forecasts a 70% chance for precipitation today, with showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 9 am. Otherwise, it should be cloudy with a high temperature near 57 degrees and northwest wind around 5 mph; look for a 30% chance for more rain this evening before midnight.

Thanks for reading! The Word nearly missed Lauryn Hill and YG Marley’s performance on The Tonight Show earlier this week. Hurrah for the internet.

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