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Ex-Martinez staffers really dislike clean energy

(On July 29), Larry Behrens authored an op-ed with the lede “New Mexico’s energy workers and ratepayers deserve to know the truth.” He’s right. And Behrens should start with the truth about himself and the anti-clean energy group he represents, Power the Future.

For starters, Behrens isn’t truthful in his own writing. He claims the Energy Transition Act was all done behind closed doors. The facts are clear – for over a year, a diverse set of stakeholders were invited to participate in discussion after discussion about the bill. Environmental advocates, utilities, Farmington legislators, consumer advocates and many more were invited to participate, and most did.

Behrens goes on to claim that renewable energy is more expensive than fossil fuels. That is laughably incorrect. That’s why support for clean energy is at an all-time high in New Mexico. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state lawmakers just passed the bipartisan Energy Transition Act to make New Mexico a national leader in wind and solar energy, creating a pathway to better jobs and economic diversification, as well as providing $40 million in economic transition funds for coal miners and their families in San Juan County. So why is Behrens so strongly opposed to the will of New Mexico’s voters and lawmakers?

Behrens is a former political operative for Gov. Susana Martinez, who was a strident opponent of clean energy. At various points, Behrens was her hand-picked selection for communications director, and spokesperson for her Public Education Department and the Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources. Behrens, you may recall, was caught sending lists of teachers from the Public Education Department to Martinez’s campaign manager, Jay McCleskey, for use in her reelection campaign – a blatant misuse of state resources. In fact, there are several ex-Martinez staffers now working for the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association (NMOGA) and related industries. Disappointing, but not surprising.

It’s also no surprise, then, that Behrens’ current political gig is as Western States Director for Power the Future. Power the Future is an energy advocacy organization founded by Daniel Turner, formerly of the Charles Koch Institute, one of the infamous Koch Brothers.

It is clear that the interests of our beautiful state and all of our communities are not on Power the Future’s list of priorities, not even close. Rather, their priorities are aligned with out-of-state corporate interests, like the Koch Brothers, who have numerous fossil-fuel interests.

Behrens ought to disclose what industries are funding Power the Future if he is really interested in having New Mexicans “know the truth.”

Larry, it’s time to come clean, and tell the public and lawmakers the truth behind Power the Future.