2° Out West Podcast

Woman charging EV in front of her home.

Uplifting Marginalized Communities through Clean Energy with Ona Porter

Have you ever considered the intersection of poverty, culture, and environmental justice? Our intriguing conversation with the formidable Ona Porter, founder of Prosperity Works and Clean Energy Leader, explores this in-depth. Ona’s lifelong mission to uplift limited-income households in New Mexico and her intricate understanding of poverty, gained from her background as an educator, paint a vivid picture of the unique challenges facing this region.

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Woman sitting in the driver seat of an electric 16 wheeler tractor trailer.
Ona sitting in an electric 16 wheeler tractor trailer.

Have you considered the intersection of poverty, clean energy, and environmental justice? Our intriguing conversation with the formidable Ona Porter, founder of Prosperity Works and Clean Energy Leader, explores this in-depth. Ona’s lifelong mission to uplift limited-income households in New Mexico and her intricate understanding of poverty, gained from her background as an educator, paint a vivid picture of the unique challenges facing this region. With Prosperity Works, she has dedicated herself to creating pathways to opportunity for limited-income families.

As we pivot into the environmental challenges of New Mexico, we see how climate change disproportionately impacts limited-income households. Ona shares the innovative initiatives Prosperity Works is campaigning for like energy efficiency retrofits and Advanced Clean Cars II.

We discuss the objectives of the New Mexico Clean Air Coalition, which strives to ensure marginalized communities aren’t excluded from the clean air and transportation electrification movement. A key part of this is making electric vehicle charging accessible in multi-family dwellings and illustrating how clean cars can be a positive force for limited-income families.

Woman with two electric vehicles.
Ona's granddaughter with her Nissan Leaf.
We want to make sure that limited-income people are not once again marginalized for the opportunities in electric transportation in every arena, from public transportation to actually the adoption of electric vehicles themselves and also the potential of clean air in their environments.
Ona Porter
Woman with EV car and electric truck.
Ona at an EV show with an electric truck and electric vehicle.

We then navigate the waters of the New Mexico Clean Cars initiative, tackling EV myths head-on and exploring the potential impact of the proposed rules. Ona expertly details the benefits of clean cars, highlighting not only their role in reducing energy burdens but also their potential to open up opportunities for limited-income individuals and decrease pollution within neighborhoods. Finally, we identify ways that you can get involved to help support clean car policies. Join us as we delve into the important intersections of poverty, clean air, and clean cars in New Mexico with Ona Porter.


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what i like about the west

We would love for you to contribute to the new “What I Like About the West” Segment. 

Create a 40-second voice memo telling us what you like about the West and email it to us at Jessi.Janusee@westernresources.org. We would love to feature you on our next podcast episode! Also, please take a minute to watch this 1950’s video of Tex Williams performing the song, “That’s What I Like About the West.” His song was the inspiration for this segment. 

That's What I Like About The West

Episode Guest:

Ona Porter- Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader


Full Transcript


Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 00:00

How do we create more opportunities for limited-income households and protect those households from increased exposure to the effects of climate change? One organization is answering that question with their advocacy around energy, including the adoption of clean cars and advanced clean trucks, in New Mexico. On this episode, we’ll be talking to Ona Porter from Prosperity Works.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 00:28

And we have a belief that the opposite of poverty is not wealth, it’s opportunity and social justice.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 00:35

Welcome to Two Degrees Out West, a podcast where we talk about all the things that we love about the Western United States and we share the stories of the people who are working to ensure that the West stays thriving and beautiful for generations to come. I’m your host, Jessi Janusee, the multimedia storyteller here at Western Resource Advocates. Now let’s get started talking to Ona. So today on the show we have Ona Porter, who’s the founder emerita and Clean Energy Leader of Prosperity Works.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest

Hey, glad to be here.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host

Glad to have you here. So, I wanted to start by just talking about you and your background, and you’ve dedicated your life to helping people in New Mexico and I wanted to know why you decided to do this work and what it is about New Mexico that is really special to you.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 01:21

Well, thanks for that question.


I’ve been in New Mexico for a very long time, but I actually am over-socialized as an educator, and when I came to New Mexico I came from Puerto Rico, where I had been a teacher, a principal and also a superintendent of schools.


And when I arrived here, interestingly, after all of that and a master’s degree, I was not able to be credentialed for any of those roles in New Mexico, and so I interestingly went to work at the University of Albuquerque which is no longer in existence as the head of the education department.


I wasn’t qualified to teach, but I could teach teachers, go figure. I was then actually recruited to become one of the leaders at the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, where we worked on the primary prevention of alcoholism, and did that for about six years. And then I was recruited from that job to actually start the Coalition for Children, which is now New Mexico’s Voices for Children, and had the great privilege of spending a year doing research on the status of kids and families in New Mexico, which was published in a book that was called Kids in Crisis: New Mexico’s Other Bomb, and in that process, and also in my teaching, I really had a unique window into the lives of families, particularly families who struggle. And so, as a result of that, I have you know, for all my time in New Mexico I’ve been an advocate for kids and families and for justice overall.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 02:59

Wow, that’s a great background. So, in 2000, you founded Prosperity Works, which is a nonprofit that focuses on supporting limited-income individuals in New Mexico, so they have the resources and opportunities to rise out of poverty. Can you tell us a little bit about the origin story of Prosperity Works?

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 03:16

Well, probably that origin really goes back to the work on Kids in Crisis New Mexico’s Other Bomb and you know complex understanding and root causes of the challenges that particularly limited income people face, and while they strive every day for a life of dignity and one that they can enjoy, there are so many barriers to that, and so our work really is focused on limiting the barriers and creating pathways to opportunity, and we have a belief that the opposite of poverty is not wealth, it’s opportunity and social justice, and so that’s the work that we do there, and you know, the overarching work is to close the wealth gap, because that is the variable that limits people.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 04:07

As a parent, I feel this all the time. So, what are some of the unique challenges that New Mexico is facing in terms of the environment of New Mexico and also the people of New Mexico?

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 04:18

Well, there’s no question that the major issue is limited income for many of our families and individuals. So, we rank either first or second, or we might say last or second to the last in terms of poverty in the nation, and that is a consistent challenge that we have, and how to move people from that place to one where they can live a life of dignity. They don’t want Disneyland, they want dignity, and so that’s a consistent challenge that we have. Related to that is really exclusion from the opportunities, full opportunities of participating in our economic life, in our educational life, in our health care and so on and so on.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 05:05

Yeah, I mean, if you asked me to pick the state that I thought would be at the top of the poverty list, I would not pick New Mexico just as an outsider. That’s really… I just wonder how that has happened in your state. What things have pushed you into that?

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 05:27

Well, historically, I think that New Mexico has been marginalized in many ways, starting from the annexation of Mexico and what that really meant in terms of dividing cultures and ethnic groups, and one of the things that has persisted is really kind of what we call a poverty mentality. It precludes advancement in many kinds of areas, but one of the things that is interesting about this is the dynamic of richness that there is in New Mexico, and that’s probably why you don’t think of New Mexico as a poor state, and many New Mexicans who are cash poor do not consider themselves poor. They consider themselves to be living a very rich life, and that rich life comes from their culture, from their religion, from their community, and they celebrate that and we do too, and we look at those as strengths and use those strengths to try to overcome the obstacles that they face for participating in all of those things that could elevate their well-being.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 06:37

Yeah, that makes sense because the times I’ve been to New Mexico, it feels like it has such richness to it. You can see the art and the culture and the community everywhere you go. Prosperity Works is one of the nonprofits that is part of the New Mexico Clean Air Coalition. Shifting this conversation about supporting low-income families and now talking more about this clean air and just wondering why Prosperity Works joined the coalition and what it is about New Mexico Clean Air that just made you guys want to be a part of it and be advocates for it.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 07:14

So one of the things that is not present in most conversations about poverty is what we call energy burden, and energy burden is the percentage of your household income that you pay annually for home energy and across the nation for limited income people, that’s about 17%. In New Mexico, in the areas where we have provided energy efficiency retrofits, we’re finding many people in excess of 30% of their annual income for just their home energy, and in our surveys of those people with whom we have worked, we have found that they have sacrificed food, medicine and medical care in order to pay those bills, because home energy is an essential commodity. So, we’ve had a big stake in the ground before the Public Regulation Commission for limited-income people for a whole bunch of years and we, for instance, worked on the Efficient Use of Energy Act. We have worked on winter shutoff moratoriums, we have worked on revising consumer rules a whole variety of things that really have major impact on energy availability, affordability and sustainability in New Mexico. So, knowing those kinds of things and in lots of regards we actually are a unicorn of an organization, because on the one hand, we are providing direct service more like products than service, but sometimes service to New Mexicans and we do that through partnerships all over the state and it’s in the provision of that that we all understand deeply the needs and the interests of community and that informs our policy work.


One of the areas about the Clean Air Coalition that’s just a logical extension of all the things that we do. We know that the environmental crisis that is upon us impacts limited-income people first, deepest and they are also the hardest to recover from those impacts. And so, for instance, we had a whole area of New Mexico that had terrible fires a couple of years ago and destroyed homes and jobs and cattle and ways of life and so on that it will be years before they recover from that, in spite of the funding that is coming our way. So Clean Air is part of the environmental question that we have and looking at that causes us to intervene, for instance, in the transformation of fossil fuels in New Mexico and to be interveners and also policy people before the legislature on a whole variety of issues that impact consumers.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 10:03

Yeah, you guys are the voice of the people.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 10:06

Well, we try to be and we think community-centric approaches are absolutely essential to meeting community need.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 10:14

Yeah.. So now I want to go a little bit into ACC2 and ACT, which is kind of the heart of why we’re doing this podcast today, and if you could just give me a brief overview of that in New Mexico, just to give us some context.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 10:31

And before I do that, let me say that the nature and location of energy financing and infrastructure investments can cause low-income households to benefit or to lose, and we are in a place where, at the nexus of the future of transportation, we want to make sure that limited-income people are not once again marginalized for the opportunities in electric transportation in every arena, from public transportation to actually the adoption of electric vehicles themselves and also the potential of clean air in their environments, the opposite of which is causing many health problems. So, with ACC2, we now have a governor who has stepped out big time on this issue. She has proposed that we adopt these and we are moving forward with the idea that our two air boards are the folks that need to adopt this. So we have two air boards, one is New Mexico statewide and the other one is the city of Albuquerque, and so there is a process that is going on right now where people are engaged in trying to inform the rule. There will actually be hearings that will be coming up a little bit later in the year. You know, the typical household could save $2,400 a year minimum just on fuel, and so making these vehicles affordable, which ACC2 and clean trucks will do make them more affordable and also more present in our state is really an important issue for us.


Associated with that, of course, is also make ready for EV charging, and one of the things that we are trying to do as we advance ACC2 is overcome the myths that there are about electric vehicles, and of course, the highest, biggest one of those is that those are for rich people. And, interestingly, in a conversation that I was having with a legislator recently who wanted to join efforts to make electric vehicles available to limited-income people, I produced a whole document for her because she was new to the issue, and one of the things that I did some research on are what are the vehicles that are available under $40,000. And I stopped at 10. So that really overcomes the idea that these are for rich people. Now, when you think also about the federal rebates which are now are being made available at the time of purchase. So we’re working also with our investor-owned utilities, and one of those has proposed a $4,000 point-of-sale discount for limited-income people and in the next state legislature, we will also be proposing a similar bill that will again be another $4,000. So now we really have parity, or better than parity with gas-powered cars.


But the importance of ACC2 is making those available in New Mexico. So another myth is they’re not available. Well, if we talked about a year and a half ago in New Mexico, they were not very, very much available. But in our purchases of electric cars in our family we have not waited longer than a month to get an electric vehicle. So that is another myth that we need to account for and really push back on. But a third one is that there’s no charging. Oh, you know, you can’t drive those things very far and so they’re not good for rural areas in New Mexico and so on. And we already have 550 public chargers in New Mexico and more are being deployed every day. When we think about ACC2, we think about really broadcasting that kind of information so that people really understand the value of ACC2 and won’t push back but will support it instead.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 14:39

Yeah, I have to say, before coming to work for WRA I 100% also felt like, oh, evs are for wealthy people and I’ll never be able to afford one. So I am like I am the example of that human. But now you know, we’re going to hopefully get a new SUV for our family in the next year or two and I’m like, okay, let’s make sure at the least it’s a hybrid, you know, and it’s possible.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 15:04

The truth is that we have new models, new sizes of vehicles that are coming on the market faster than you can count them, and that’s really an important part of this work also. But one of the things that we think will happen with ACC2 also more new vehicles available, which then will be more used vehicles available, and most of the rebates and or sales that are discounted are now available for used vehicles too, and so that will again increase the adoption among, I think, all Americans. The other myth is that electric vehicles don’t go very far. I have a Kia EV6.


In town, my mileage I can go 450 miles. If I’m going 75 miles an hour on the highway uphill and downhill, then it drops to about 325 to 350 miles. But with the Department of Transportation deployment of the required charging at every 50 miles on major interstates and major roads in a state, this is not an issue. It is no longer an issue, and the truth is that most people charge at home, and so one of the things that we need to work on with this is making sure that people in apartment buildings, at work in what we call multi-family developments, all have access to charging, and so we work on that as well.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 16:39

Yeah, it’s really. It’s super easy if you just pull out an extension cord and plug in at your house, but I could see the challenges. If yeah, if you’re doing multifamily living or big apartment complexes, then you know, especially if you’re maybe on the second or third or whatever floor how do you get charging? I was reading that, New Mexico that you know, at the state level, you guys are really working on that and focusing on it, so its solutions are happening.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 17:04

In lots of ways, it requires building code upgrades. Right that we aren’t built. You know that we would not think about building a home that didn’t have electricity. We wouldn’t think about building a home that didn’t have plumbing. We can no longer think about homes, apartment complexes, commercial buildings that don’t have EV charging, at least as a make-ready right. Retrofits cost a lot of money, but when you put that in upfront, the cost is compared to the total construction cost is really very small. And so, we need those new building codes and we need to have you know builders understand that immediate profit hurts long-term availability, particularly to limited-income people.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 17:51

Yeah, and even just thinking about the mileage you were saying and how incredible that would be. You know you’re just plugging it in at home or at your apartment or wherever, and then you just get to drive for that many miles. I mean it’s radical in my mind because I spend so much money on gas at this point and all I’m doing is just bringing my kids to and from school and go into the grocery store. You know like it really adds up. And then I start to think about okay, if it’s way more affordable to drive, then you could also say that people will have so much more access to the outdoors, right? Because then it’s no longer a huge barrier to get 30 minutes, 40 minutes outside of a city to enjoy some nature if the cost to do that is really low. So I love that.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 18:34

That it is, and an important point that you’re making because you talked about extension cords, and this is again one of the kind of myths around electric vehicles is you need some kind of special equipment and I don’t have it, or I can’t get it, or it’ll cost too much or whatever. So in fact, you can plug it into 110. You can plug your car into 110. Now that’s like a trickle charge on your battery, right? So it takes some time with that approach, but for instance, in Albuquerque, the average driving distance of an entire family in a day is 29 miles. That’s all. So that’s multiple cars, and so we have no difficulty at all simply plugging it in and recharging the car.


Now, level two chargers do cost some additional money and sometimes they require a panel upgrade and one of the things we’re working with our investor-owned utilities in their electric transportation cases is to provide those chargers and to provide the upgrades to panels to some degree if that’s needed. So money for the upgrade and money for the chargers, and we’ve been quite successful with making that happen. In the current electric transportation case that we’re working on, PNM is the biggest utility in New Mexico. They have both of those opportunities and they also have a point-of-sale discount on their cars and used cars of $4,000. And we are looking at the opportunity to actually package the car and the charger at the point of sale so that the homeowner can easily get everything that they need to operate an electric vehicle, and we think that that’s really important. We think that electric vehicles should be as easy to operate, with interconnectability, as filling your car up with gas, and at a much lower cost, as you have mentioned.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 20:33

Yeah, and that level-two charging. That is the same kind of plug that you’re using for your dryer. So if you have on-site laundry at your home, you do already have the plug that you need. So that’s cool. I feel like some people definitely have that as a resource already in their home, which is great. But when you charge on the 110 personally and you’re just trickle charging all night, I mean that’s giving you enough power for tons of miles, right, even though it’s slower. But you can just plug it in and set it and forget it right.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 21:07

Yeah, actually, most EVs allow you to program your charging and so it will start and stop at a particular time and again. That’s one of the advantages there are because, for instance, in the company that serves us, p&m, we have an EV whole house discount rate. So between 10 o’clock at night and 5 o’clock in the morning, I can charge. Everything else that operates that is electric in the house is at half the rate of the daytime rate Encourages people to charge when there’s least power on the system. But it also allows us to really reduce our costs again. So, you can run your dryer at night, you can run your dishwasher at night, whatever other kinds of things that you’ve run.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 21:54

Well, that’s for P&M. So the largest utility in New Mexico has that nighttime rate. Yes, I’m so jealous. So what are some other ways that this clean cars and clean trucks are going to help limited-income families and individuals? Aside from you know, it’s going to make the air cleaner, it’s going to give them more affordability when they’re driving around, and then they’ll have more access to EVs. Is there anything else that I’m forgetting?

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 22:25

No, I think those are the important things, but I think also, for instance, we’re working on clean school buses, and the air inside the cabin of diesel-powered school buses is really toxic, and so we’re damaging our little kids. I mean, this is another thing, and the majority of kids who are riding school buses are low-income kids, and so it just is adding one more indicator that their health is being impacted. So that’s another important thing. But you know, the entire communities are really rising up and demanding an end to the asthma-inducing smoke, muggy skylines and constant noise and record-shattering heat caused by combustion engines. People say to us you know about the survey data that we have from limited income homes where we’re doing energy efficiency retrofits do they really care about electric vehicles? They care and they want to be a part of the solution. They want to be a part of the jobs that are being created, whether it is charging systems or solar, community solar or any other kind of thing. Yes, they care, and they know that they’re being hurt without those changes.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 23:42

Yeah, especially for ACT, for the advanced clean trucks. So many limited-income families do live by these traffic corridors, right? So even more so than the school buses, it’s like, and then you know, maybe you’re walking home from school or you’re walking to work, or you’re biking to work, or you’re walking to the bus station and then you’re just again breathing in all of that. So, yeah, I mean, on multiple levels, cleaning up the air is going to like really help and positively impact limited-income families.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 24:14

So one of the things that we’re doing also and this has been done in other areas of the country is car share programs with electric vehicles, and so there are two new and one online multifamily developments in New Mexico that are all in Albuquerque, that are all electric and they are specifically targeting limited income people. There are some mixed-income units in them also, but they really are built for limited income people and each of those has and the new one is proposed to have at least two level, two chargers, and also we’ll have an electric vehicle that the people who live in those multifamily developments can go online and rent for $4 an hour or $20 a day, and so exposing people to electric vehicles in that kind of way is really an important initiative to expose people to what the opportunities really are and to overcome all of the myths about electrification of our transportation system.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 25:20

That’s so cool. I love that. That’s a resource for people and they could car share, because, yeah, I also, I’m all about. Even though I’m a multi-car family, I do feel like if we can reduce our car usage, that’s good.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 25:33

Yeah, well, and that really is an important question. You know what? So when I was a kid, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and the public transportation system there was fabulous. For 25 cents I had power, right, I could go anywhere. And you know, go to my music lessons, go to my school, go anywhere.


And very often the fact that we are using cars and have multiple cars in our families is due to the lack of infrastructure for alternatives, and so really thinking about the future of transportation is an important thing. So one of the other things that is included in the PNM’s electric transportation plan that we’re working on right now are a major discount for e-bikes. So for a limited-income person, $1,000 off of an e-bike. And in one of our surveys and of our recent communities where we did energy efficiency retrofits, we asked the question if you could have an e-bike that was subsidized, would you be interested? And there were 67% of the people said yes. Every one of those people who said yes also owned a car, and so if we can get cars off the road and go to something that has a much lower impact and also a much lower cost to operate, then the quality of life improves everywhere.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 26:55

Yeah, my dad lives in Mesa, Arizona, outside of Phoenix, and he rides an e-bike to his job every day and he really loves it and you know Phoenix is a great place to do it. The weather is always beautiful. So, yeah, so many pluses you get to be outside, you get to be like more immersed in your community. He’s always telling me he’s like waving to people on his bike and he has like people on his roof that he interacts with. You know, and it’s yeah, I think it’s great.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 27:20

Yeah, I actually am a bike rider. I don’t have an e-bike, but I am a bike rider and the world is a different place when you’re on a bike. You see things differently, you interact with your community differently. It’s a really wonderful opportunity to be able to be on a bike.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 27:33

Yes, I agree. My daughter and I love bike riding together. It’s one of our favorite mom-and-daughter things. Yeah, we live kind of rural, so it’s nice. We live in a place with no sidewalks, you know, so biking is like is better than taking a walk in some ways. Let’s just talk about the status of the Advanced Clean Cars rule and then we can kind of go into. I want to talk a little bit about how the hearings are happening in November and people can come out to it.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 28:04

So you know, it’s good that we have the governor’s leadership on board and we are excited about the fact that we were able to get these hearings scheduled. And now we have both the automobile dealers and also a specific dealer who is pushing back decided to intervene in those cases and they are asking for a delay in the hearing. And we know if we delay beyond the end of this year, that means we’re going to push the opportunity for more cars in New Mexico and more clean trucks in New Mexico back at least another year, and we don’t think we can afford to do that. But they’re saying you know, the rate of sales is very low. Well, if you don’t have cars to sell, the sales going to be low, right.


It’s saying that we don’t have rebates or incentives so that people will buy the cars. That is untrue. They are also saying that there’s extensive infrastructure that is not in place in New Mexico. That is not true and also, because of the real nature of New Mexico, that many people cannot adopt the use of clean vehicles. That also is not true, given the infrastructure that has been deployed and the infrastructure that is coming.


I actually was driving from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and I had to borrow a car that has gas in it and I had to stop for gas so I got off at a native gas station. They have electric charging there and it’s, you know, a tenth of a mile off the freeway. It’s everywhere and I don’t know that they will prevail and I hope that we will not delay the implementation of the clean cars to and clean trucks that we are seeking. The proposed rules hearing is coming up and that actually is going to be at the State Bar Association and that’s November 13. We are urging all of the supporters to come out for that and we’ve organized expert testimony to be heard in that, where we will be certainly pushing back on the automobile or subjections to this work.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 30:12

Do you happen to know what time on the 13th? I know it’s from noon to one and then five to six. I don’t know. Oh yeah, I guess that’s one of the two different public sessions are. Cool, because then you can come after work or you can come during lunch, I’m guessing.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 30:25


Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 30:27

Perfect, and then you can also submit public written comments if you can’t be there in person. And there’s also New Mexico Clean Air that’s doing a petition too. I think that you can sign, so there are lots of ways that you can show your support.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 30:46

And we want everybody to do that. Think about what is, what is our future, and the existential threat of our environment right now, I think, is top of mind for anybody who’s paying attention. You don’t have to look far to see the disasters of floods and heat and fire that are really costing our nation millions, billions of dollars and impacting the well-being of our citizens everywhere.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host3 1:18

Yeah, yeah, financially, infrastructure-wise, for sure, but then also like the amount of money that we’re spending through the healthcare system. You know, because of these impacts, and especially the air quality, precisely.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 31:34

So EVs are coming. They offer immense cost and environmental benefits and we need to get on board.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 31:41

Yeah, I was going to also share. You know Nevada is also a super rural state right and I drive through it all the time. I love to go hiking and camping. And just to your part about talking about charging stations, I often go down to Death Valley which is right on the border of that in California, and you know there’s just like a little town named Beattie and they have tons of EV charging. You know it’s just the middle of nowhere town full of like donkeys and old West stuff and there’s the EV chargers.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 32:11

It’s awesome, that’s great. That is an example that needs to be highlighted.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 32:16

Yes, the thing about the EVs too is I was like oh well, the credits are for new vehicles. Like personally, me personally, you know. So just hearing that, you know, because my family pretty much only buys used vehicles, right, and that’s like where, where we’re at, and so knowing that that’s more available is huge. You know, I think so many families are in that market where they have to get a used car and being able to have more EVs available in that is going to be a big deal.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 32:45

Well, it’s a smart choice. It is a smart choice to buy a used vehicle.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 32:51

Yeah, for real, because as soon as you drive it off the lot, right, they always say that goes down the value. Yeah, exactly, and I would love to not pay $140 a week in gas. That would be amazing. It’s, it’s so bad.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 33:07

There you go. Exactly what we think is the. The estimated cost to charge an EV in your home is about $30 a month

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 33:18

Wow. I can afford that.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 33:19

There you go.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 33:20

Yes, you can. Yeah, that’s a great comparison point. How much are you spending monthly on gas? Because it would be $30 to just have an EV. Thanks, awesome. Well, thank you so much. This has been great. You have so much knowledge and you’re you know. You just hit every point. Well, thank you.

Ona Porter – Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader Guest 33:42

Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 33:46

Thank you so much, Ona, for being on the show, for teaching us so much about Clean Cars and New Mexico. I really appreciate your input and your knowledge. Also, we have had some developments in the New Mexico Clean Cars ruling. So, there is a new proposed resolution with the Albuquerque Air Quality Control Board. Basically, what’s happening is the resolution is trying to fire all of the existing board members on the Air Quality Control Board and force the city and the county to find and appoint new members, which would give the city council veto power over any of the new board’s decision and put a moratorium on anything that the board does until February of 2024. So, we are actually going to be sending out an action alert for people who live in Albuquerque to reach out to the city council and ask them to vote no on this resolution so that the board could continue to exist and be able to vote on New Mexico Clean Cars. So, if you’re listening to this podcast and you live in Albuquerque, now is kind of your time to shine. Check in the show notes of this podcast to find that action alert and send an email to your city council with all that said about Albuquerque and their board. Everything is still scheduled for the public hearing in New Mexico for early November. So, we’ll just kind of see how it goes. And if you’re invested in this, you want to know more. You want to see what happens. The best way is to just follow WRA or the New Mexico Clean Air Coalition.


Okay, it’s time for my favorite little segment “What I Like about the West.” This is a little part of the show where we get to share what you enjoy about the Western USA and all the things that you love about it and why you want to see it remain thriving and beautiful for years to come. If you would like to be part of this segment, that would be amazing. We want to hear from you. And if it’s a little scary to send us an audio recording or it’s just too much work, you can absolutely comment on our social. You can DM us, you can write us an email and I will read here what I like about the West here on the show. So if you feel so inclined, please send us what you like about the West and keep it around 40 seconds to a minute.


In this episode, we have Fatima Avalos, who is our new earned media intern here at WRA. We love our interns. They are so caring and smart and they bring such an awesome energy to the team. Yeah, they’re amazing. So, here’s what Fatima likes about the West.

Fatima Avalos – Earned Media Intern Host 36:47

One thing that I love about the West is the fact that you can drive an hour and a half for even an hour and get a different change of scenery. I’m originally from Oahu, Hawaii, so I didn’t really road trip growing up, but once I came to Arizona I really took advantage of that. I am in Phoenix, and so if I ever just want a change of scenery, I can drive an hour and a half away to Flagstaff, where it’s 20 degrees cooler and leaves are just falling and so beautiful. So that’s definitely one thing that I cherish about living in the West and just am amazed by every single day, the beautiful scenery that we have all around us.

Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 37:34

Thanks so much, Fatima, for sharing that with us, and Flagstaff is definitely some fall goals for the Western US. If you haven’t been there before, you should definitely go check it out. Alright, it’s time for our sponsor shoutouts. We’d like to take a minute to thank our stellar 2023 sponsors, including our impact sponsor, First Bank, the largest locally-owned banking organization in Colorado. We’d also like to thank our premier sponsors, Solup and Vision Ridge Partners, our signature sponsors, Denver Water, Kind Design, SCARPA North America, the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project and TorchClean Energy, and our supporting sponsors BSW Wealth Partners, Javilena, Meridian Public Affairs and Utah Clean Energy. Thank you so much, sponsors. We really appreciate you. Your support of WRA and the show is amazing, and if your organization would like to become a sponsor, you can find out more about that in our show notes. We would love to have you.


Alright, that is a wrap for this episode. I’m Jessi Janusee, the multimedia storyteller here at WRA. Two Degrees Out West is a production from WRA or Western Resource Advocates, and if you want to know more about us, basically, we are just out here fighting climate change to sustain the future of the environment and the people and the economy of the West. The link is always in the show notes to learn more about the work that we’re doing. Our next episode that’s coming up, I am really pumped for it’s a sustainable brewing episode where we interviewed someone from a cider company and someone from a brewery and you got to tune in for it. It was very fun and also I learned a ton. I had no idea about all the different cool things you could do to brew more sustainably and what people are doing in different countries. Fascinating.


Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you tuning in and please, if you have some time, leave a review for this podcast. It really does help us reach more people and get in front of more eyes, which we are always trying to do. I hope you are having a gorgeous late fall and are finding some cozy ways to get ready for the winter months. Or maybe you’re in a different place entirely and you’re listening to this and you’re like, we’re just getting warm. Alright, have a great one. Thank you. See you next time.


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