Dear Fellow El Pasoans,

No, I am not exaggerating. If passed, the Climate Charter Amendment would cause a financial calamity.

Yesterday I stated that “Proposition K would effectively shut down two of the four petroleum-fired plants owned by El Paso Electric as well as the Magellan Midstream tank farm, severely and immediately curtailing our power-generating capacity and causing chaos and economic hardship for homeowners and businesses.” (see attached map)

It turns out there is a caveat that is omitted from the ballot language but present within the full text of the Climate Charter Amendment.

Section 9.12-2 of Proposition K would cut off City water to any “fossil fuel industry” that is outside the City limits, such as the Rio Grande and Montana power plants and the Magellan Midstream LC tank farm, but it makes clear that the City could not cut off water “immediately,” as I suggested previously. El Paso Electric and Magellan presumably have contracts for City water (although I cannot verify this), so the City Manager would first have to review “all available methods for canceling such contracts” within three months and then put the matter to a City Council vote. (see attached text)  I have revised my point 2 below for accuracy.

Some might argue that Section 9.12-2 protects El Paso Electric because our City Council would never vote to deprive El Paso Electric of water, but I do not believe this will reassure El Pasoans, local businesses, or outside businesses considering establishing themselves in El Paso.

Moreover, Section 9.12-2 includes the proviso: “This section shall not be read to permit the City to extend or renew any existing contracts subject to this provision.”

Let us be clear. Section 9.12 aims to deny water to all “fossil fuel industry” located outside the City limits in order to eliminate that industry as expeditiously as possible.


But here is the clincher. Section 9.2(E) of Proposition K defines the “fossil fuel industry” not only as companies that extract coal, oil and natural gas from the earth or convert these into energy, but also companies that “transport fossil fuel products” (trains and trucks) or that “turn fossil fuel products into sellable products” (such as asphalt, plastics, lubricants, textiles, sporting goods, medical devices, health and beauty products, building materials, and household products).

The “fossil fuel industry” is also defined as “companies that finance fossil fuel activities such as those described above” (banks, hedge funds, investment brokerages, and venture capital firms).

In addition, the “fossil fuel industry” includes “companies that provide services to assist companies that conduct any of the activities” above! That would include plumbers and electricians that maintain company facilities, building contractors and subcontractors, landscapers and gardeners, and the list goes on and on.

How much of our “fossil fuel industry,” defined in Section 9.2(E) of Proposition K, is located outside El Paso and depends upon City water?

How many businesses in El Paso County and beyond would be shuttered because of the requirement to deny them water—a requirement that would be enforceable in the courts under the provisions of our Charter?

If Proposition K passes, we are toast!