More of Martinez’s crony capitalism exposed

A report last week announced that, “New Mexico’s economy is stagnant, largely because of the state’s reputation for corruption and crony capitalism and an environment that fosters pay to play behavior.” Now, there’s yet another story about Susana Martinez’s shady dealings, this time about her using her political power to bail out a big campaign donor. Crony capitalism at its finest worst. New Mexico’s reputation has taken a hit in many ways under Martinez’s administration, but perceptions of deep-seated corruption have been present from her very first day in office. Perceptions turned into proven reality starting last year as Martinez’s Tax and Revenue secretary began to be investigated, her friend Dianna Duran became a convicted felon, and her top-advisor came under FBI scrutiny.

Report: 500,000+ New Mexicans at risk from breathing dirty air; Coal-fired plants and dirty diesel contribute

A new report from the American Lung Association says more than 500,000 (about 1-in-4) New Mexicans are at risk for air-pollution related illnesses and the state’s two most populous counties, which account for almost half of the state’s population, get failing grades for air quality. Many state and local leaders are sure to see the report as a call to action, so conservative pro-business groups took to social media and email in a rapid-response effort to deflect from the report’s major conclusions. The New Mexico Business Coalition was the first to weigh in to redefine the report. From their email Thursday morning:

What? No Air Pollution Crises in NM?  Radical environmental groups have been shouting, protesting and spending thousands of dollars on advertising to say there is a toxic air pollution crisis in New Mexico.

Democrats go after Pearce for votes against airports and jobs across CD2

Southern New Mexico’s congressman, Steve Pearce, keeps bending over backwards to vote against important programs, jobs and funding for his own constituents.  This time Democrats called him out for his votes against critical airports and the jobs that go with them across CD2:
APR 15, 2014

New details have surfaced about Congressman Pearce’s misguided budget – and it’s bad news for southern New Mexicans. Congressman Pearce’s budget would end the federal program that ensures the Cavern City Air Terminal and Grant County Airport will continue to offer access to commercial flights.

WIPP Radiation Leak Closes Facility for Weeks

While most of New Mexico was focused on the 2014 legislative session, the nuclear wast repository Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad reported a nuclear leak that required the evacuation of employees and increased testing of the air and ground around the facility. The LA Times provided a good summary of the facility and debate on nuclear waste disposal here. Locally, the Carlsbad Argus-Current has provided great coverage from day one, especially Zack Ponce and Jessica Onsurez:
#WIPP: Radiation is not harmful; NM Environment Dept. frustrated w/DOE’s lack of communication & handling of incident

— Zack Ponce (@zackponce12) February 21, 2014
Feb 15 2014:  CARLSBAD — Technicians at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant were taking surface samples Saturday afternoon after a radiation leak was reported at the nuclear waste repository. The airborne radiation was detected around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, according to officials with the Department of Energy.