Morning Word

NM Gov Says “Stakes Could Not Be Higher for Women”

PRC forecasts state on track with green energy goals

Mornning Word

Gov: “Stakes could not be higher for women”

The US Supreme Court yesterday unanimously rejected efforts by anti-abortion groups to limit or curtail access to mifepristone, one of the drugs used in medical abortions. As noted by various news outlets, the decision, written by Justice Brett M Kavanaugh, says the groups lack standing for challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone. “The plaintiffs do not prescribe or use mifepristone,” Kavanaugh writes. “And the FDA is not requiring them to do or refrain from doing anything…a plaintiff ‘s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue.” As previously noted by the SCOTUS blog, the mifepristone case marks the first time the justices have weighed in on abortion since overturning Roe v. Wade in June of 2022. That decision upended abortion access in the country, and led to a a series of actions by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to safeguard reproductive health care in New Mexico. Following yesterday’s ruling, the governor, a member of the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, issued a statement about the ongoing threats to reproductive choice, noting: “We must not forget that Republicans in Congress and dozens of states across the country continue working to ban abortion and end patients’ access to critical reproductive health care services. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade two years ago stripped women of a fundamental freedom. Since then, extreme abortion bans have been imposed in 21 states, many with zero exceptions for rape or incest. Women are being denied essential care, forced to travel hundreds of miles, or even go to court to plead for life-saving treatments. The stakes could not be higher for women. We must protect reproductive freedom on all fronts, including family planning, contraception, abortion, and IVF. Women deserve the fundamental right to make their own reproductive health decisions.” According to new reporting from The New York Times, more than 14,000 Texas patients came to New Mexico last year for an abortion.

NM on track with green energy goals

Public Regulation Commission Director of Policy Administration Arthur O’Donnell in the PRC’s meeting yesterday (starting at about the 2:42 mark in the linked video) previewed a report the agency must provide to the Legislature by July 1 about the state’s Energy Transition Act and Renewable Portfolio Standards. The RPS requires by Jan. 1, 2025, an increase from 20% to 40% of electricity delivered to customers of New Mexico’s investor-owned utilities, which increases to 50% by 2025, 80% by 2040 and 100% “clean” by 2045. Co-ops have comparable goals, but a slightly extended timeline. Based on their reports, all of the IOUs and most of the co-ops are in compliance for 2024 and on track for 2025, O’Donnell says. The costs and delays “experienced by renewable generation projects seeking interconnection to utility transmission and distribution systems are the most significant barriers to meeting future RPS requirements,” according to O’Donnell’s presentation. The PRC is expected to meet again and finalize the report before its July 1 due date, which it expects to meet. In addition to utility and co-op compliance, that report is required to include utility forecasts, existing transmission, environmental protection, public safety, affordability, systems reliability and barriers to achieving the RPS.

Rep. Leger Fernandez introduces bill for first-time home buyers

Earlier this week, US Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, D-NM, introduced the Home of Your Own Act, which would create national one-time, $30,000 homeownership grants to help first-time homeowners. The program, Leger Fernández says, is modeled on a 2023 Homewise program for which she helped secure funding. “We need a new homeownership assistance program so our teachers, nurses and artists can afford to live and stay in their hometowns,” she says. “This program is going to help people when they need it most. Tax credits help on April 15 but people need money for when they’re closing on their home—that’s what my bill will accomplish.” Among other components, the proposed legislation would: create a new national homeownership assistance grant program at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development; provide one-time, $30,000 homeownership assistance grants to eligible first-time homebuyers; and require participants to complete a homeownership financial counseling program prior to receiving financial assistance. The bill, which numerous groups—including Homewise—have endorsed, also sets aside 3% of the authorized funding for Tribal entities, and authorizes $33.5 billion over five years.

Staying alert

Some East Side Santa Fe residents say they wish they had been informed about a recent brush fire in their area. Susan Shields tells SFR she first saw smoke as she stood in her kitchen in the 1500 block of Cerro Gordo, bird-watching the afternoon of June 6. “I thought, ‘Oh, that doesn’t look good,’” Shields tells SFR. “Nobody knew how the fire had started, and why didn’t we get an alert?” Shields asked, referencing the city’s Alert Santa Fe system, which sends emergency notifications to those who enroll, such as Shields. “We got no word about it. Nothing,” she says. Santa Fe Fire Department Assistant Chief of Operations Freddie Martinez confirms to SFR that no alerts were sent, and says the department decided not to notify residents because the team was “able to contain the fire and be on the offensive” quickly, noting fire officials responded and arrived on scene within minutes. He says by the time he would have been making notifications, the fire was out and he didn’t want to “potentially incite panic.” Canyon Neighborhood Association Communications Director Cynthia Garrett says, however, “the lack of information caused panic, because people didn’t know if they should evacuate.” The incident comes amid heightened concerns regarding potential wildfire. City Emergency Manager Brian Williams tells SFR the lack of alert does constitute “a bit of a failure” and going forward will “take steps to make the notification regardless of the magnitude” of the situation.

Listen up

Former Outside Senior Editor Kevin Fedarko will read from and discuss his latest book, A Walk in the Park: The True Story of a Spectacular Misadventure in the Grand Canyon at 6 pm, Saturday, June 15 with Santa Fe-based renowned author Hampton Sides (The Wide Wide Sealive at Collected Works (202 Galisteo St.) and via Zoom (register here for the link). Listen to Fedarko record a brief excerpt in advance if you’d like, or watch a trailer for Into the Canyon, a film that documents Fedarko and photographer Pete McBride’s journey through the entirety of the Grand Canyon.

Bead by bead

The New York Times, reporting from Santa Fe, profiles beadworker Teri Greeves (Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma) who tells the paper: “I was brought home in a fully beaded cradleboard. I had a fully beaded diaper bag. I had beaded moccasins before I could walk.” Her grandmother also was an award-winning beadworker, and identified as such, rather than as an artist. Greeves maintains that tradition, although her work can be found in museums such as the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Brooklyn Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian. Greeves, whose first beaded work was a baby moccasin when she was 8, entered one of her pictorial designs in the 1999 Santa Fe Indian Market, shortly after graduating from UC Santa Cruz, and won Best of Show. The multi-media story documents Greeves’ processes and inspiration, in many cases from Kiowa stories. “Beadwork, to me, is a very honorable medium to work in,” she says. “And I feel like every stitch I take is an act of resistance.” SFR also interviewed Greeves back in 2012, and produced a short video about her work.

Odds & ends

Smithsonian Magazine includes Silver City in its compendium of the 15 best small towns to visit this year. “Brimming with Old West charm, Silver City is a mining town turned artistic and outdoor hub. Painters, potters, weavers and glassblowers all find home in this walkable downtown filled with colorful murals and several historic Nuevo Deco-style structures,” the story notes. In addition, Silver City provides proximity to the Oct. 12 Gila 100 race, a 100-mile race in honor of the Gila Wilderness’ anniversary.

If running 100 miles doesn’t sound like quite the thing, you can still enjoy New Mexico’s environs courtesy 25 scenic byways across 2,900 miles. New Mexico Magazine does the math and presents four options, alongside photographs of the visually stunning landscape, and recommendations for how to enjoy the road trip.

Lastly, Outside magazine includes Ten Thousand Waves in its roundup of nine places to get naked for National Nude Day. “Once you arrive on site, you can put on a traditional Japanese yukata—a casual kimono—and wear it around the entire property throughout your visit, including to dinner. Bathing suits are required in some soaking pools, but all private soaking areas are clothing-optional,” Outside writes. When is National Nude Day? According to Outside, it’s today. According to the internet, it’s July 14. Either way, Ten Thousand Waves does provide a very nice environment for nudity.

Rain break

The National Weather Service forecasts cooler temperatures today, with a high of 81 degrees and a 50% chance for rain and thunderstorms. Saturday and Sunday should be sunny, with highs in the high 80s and low 90s.

Thanks for reading! The Word has fallen into a black of hole of the sound of colliding black holes, glow-in-the-dark houseplants and emoji biodiversity (she just discovered Scientific American’s TikTok).

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