El Paso Electric Co. (EPE)–a private equity company owned by JP Morgan Chase Bank–is profiting off the Permian Basin’s unprecedented degree of fracking. By including a new gas plant, they’re now locking in El Paso’s climate devastation for another 20 decades –but maybe not when we stop it initially.
Lately, with JP Morgan as their owners, El Paso Electric Co.(EPE) lobbied the Texas Public Utilities Commission and the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to approve a completely new 228-megawatt Natural Gas generator, known as “Newman 6” in Northeast El Paso. EPE and JP Morgan have so far successfully lobbied for Texas PUC to approve of the project despite resistance from the City of El Paso (who intervened on small ratepayer problems, not on climate justice disagreements ). However, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commision is yet to decide on the acceptance of the new fracking infrastructure.
Many ecological allies, such as EarthJustice, have forced interventions to oppose this natural gas plant. Currently, Earthworks, Sunrise El Paso, along with other regional community organizers intend to start a campaign to make certain that our municipal authorities needs independence over its town and opposes the gas plant–no matter PUC or even NMPRC.
Making a power utility unaccountable to the General Public
On the disappointment of local environmentalist and neighborhood associations and even despite warnings of a nationally consumer advocacy group, the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave their final stamp of approval to some heavily-contested, $4.3-billion merger of El Paso’s electrical utility–a determination that may ascertain the city’s clean energy prospects for years ahead. Baring a long-shot choice in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an investment company controlled by J.P. Morgan Chase has purchased out El Paso Electric and altered it by a publicly traded firm to a private equity company –producing the utility less liable for the public and not as open to the community’s clean energy requirements.
The local chapter of the Sunrise Movement vehemently contended against the buyout on the grounds of climate justice, economic justice, and improved public control over power. Even though J.P. Morgan Chase Bank was fined $410 million to controlling electricity prices in 2010, EPE nonetheless promptly defended the merger. El Paso City Council went together with EPE and JP Morgan, voting 4-5 in favor of this deal.
Since the greatest financier of the climate catastrophe, a bank that’s been fined over $35 billion to fiscal crimes, along with a company that’s been punished for illegally inflating electrical rates on customers through market exploitation, JP Morgan is among the worst associations possible to shepherd El Paso’s transition to clean energy, which can be necessary if the planet is to prevent climate catastrophe.
In El Paso, the world’s tenth sunniest town, EPE just uses 3% solar power. Tragically, filthy fracking is El Paso’s top source of power.
“Cleaner burning” is far from blank
Amid waves of science warning of the ever-decreasing window to prevent climate crisis, industry’s most frequent talking point to warrant more natural gas generation is that the myth which fracking is “bridge fuel” that could help us transition into clean energy. Nonetheless, it isn’t.
Replacing natural gas with coal isn’t an improvement. Sometimes, it may be worse. The greatest component of natural gas is methane, a greenhouse gas 86x stronger than carbon dioxide. Methane is discharged at each step along the gas and oil process leading to climate pollution.
Earthworks certified thermographers have made this imperceptible climate and wellness contamination visible using innovative optical gas imaging technologies. Other studies have found that methane contamination is 3x more than businesses acknowledge and draining at a speed that erases any gains gas has more coal in the near term.
Organizations such as Earthworks are concentrated on fixing oil and gas methane pollution since decreasing methane can now slow global warming.
A fracked-gas energy plant in Pearsall, Texas was assumed to become a shining example of industry’s latest and cleanest technology available. Earthworks’ analysis there recorded movie demonstrating the newest and most bizarre wasn’t sufficient to stop extensive methane and wellness poisonous air pollution.
The Permian Link
Situated from West Texas/Southeast New Mexico, the Permian Basin is the largest producing oil shale in the USA. Due to this Consolidated Appropriations Act signed in 2015, (HR 2029) permitting for US exports of crude petroleum, the Permian Basin fracking sector has made the US an international rival in the gas and oil economy –second only to Russia and Saudi Arabia. This unprecedented manufacturing has produced a climate methane bomb.
Peer-reviewed findings in satellite data demonstrate that the Permian has shown that the greatest emissions measured from a significant U.S. petroleum and gas tank. And hauntingly, regardless of the COVID-caused petroleum price fall, this historical amount of pollution and production remains predicted to grow. A pre-COVID report called its manufacturing to double by 2030.
J.P. Morgan stands to profit both from extracting natural gas through Permian fracking and selling these fossil fuels to consumers through gas plant electric generators.
As an example, take the Permian fracking company Diamondback Energy–a company whose extensive well sites emissions have been documented Earthworks. J.P. Morgan owns upwards of 15,594,568 shares in Diamondback Energy’s stock. They now also own El Paso Electric Co. If built, the Newman 6 would join El Paso’s other 5 natural gasoline plants directly linked to the Permian Basin Via the El Paso Pipeline.
This is all by design. In fact, in 2019, while J.P Morgan was still in the process of lobbying City of El Paso to approve the merger, the mega-bank scheduled a “Permian Bus Tour” with oil companies including Diamondback Energy, in effect scouting their climate crisis projects.
Newman 6 would increase the legitimacy of the Permian Basin as the largest producing oil shale in the US. It would make El Paso’s chances for a clean energy transition nearly impossible since it would lock in the City’s natural gas consumption for the next 20 years.
But not if we stop it first.When you are interested at participating in this effort, please contact Earthworks [email protected]