SB182, bill to sell off public lands dies in committee! Send a quick thank you to Sen. Papen for pulling her bill

Earlier this week we asked you to reach out to Sen. Mary Kay Papen and ask her to pull her bill SB 182 which would have laid the groundwork for public lands in New Mexico to be sold off. You listened and you responded. Over 370 people sent emails and countless more signed, shared, and posted our call to action.
And today, Senator Papen gave a brief statement to the Senate Education committee (where she referenced all the input she’d received) and asked that the bill be tabled. SB 182 has now died in committee!

Why the Doña Ana County Commission’s vote tomorrow is a REALLY BIG deal.

Earlier this year, President Obama asked cities and counties to think about how they could use local zoning and development ordinances to address inequality in everything from housing to income. UPDATE [Dec. 14]: DAC Commission passed progressive new vision for development

The idea: local governments across the country affect national growth through “Not in My Backyard” type initiatives, known as NIMBY legislation. City and county governments are often at the whim of small, special interest groups who can and do lobby to keep certain types of growth from occurring for their own benefit. This disproportionately affects affordable housing, access to good paying jobs, and medical access.

Could violent protests over North Dakota pipeline happen in New Mexico?

 

All is not well in North Dakota. For months, members of local tribal groups and other private landowners have been battling an oil pipeline designed to move tar sand oil from Canada down to US manufacturing interests in the gulf. This particular pipeline is slated to go UNDER the Missouri River, a key source of drinking water for tribal groups in the area as well as millions of others down river. Did you know that there have been at least 18 pipeline spills in the US this year already? Two already IN THE LAST 3 DAYS, one in California and another in Louisiana.

You wont’ believe what NM oil and gas companies want do to with $104 million in NM taxpayer subsidies

On Friday afternoon, the federal government will stop taking comments on the President’s proposed rule to require oil and gas drillers working on public lands to plug leaks, limit the release of noxious global warming gases and increase royalty payments to local schools across the West – but not before oil and gas companies turn in thousands of comments opposing it. New Mexico’s biggest oil and gas producers have turned out employees and distributed petitions claiming that proposed methane rules will kill thousands of jobs in local communities. You can watch KOB-TV’s very one-sided story featuring these “stop the destruction of 9,000 jobs” petitions online:
They are new rules intended to help the energy industry and the environment, but opponents say they will end up costing thousands of jobs. That’s why one group is working to collect signatures to send to Washington showing opposition to Bureau of Land Management rule changes for venting and flaring by residents. Source: Four Corners residents petition Washington on BLM flaring rules
The don’t have any actual data to back that up nor do they mention that “New Mexico taxpayers contribute $104 million per year in subsidies to the oil and gas industry — or $285,000 per day.”

President Obama has a solution for Gov. Martinez’s budget mess

Cheap oil prices are good news for most Americans because they translate into lower costs at the pump. But low gas prices are bad news for New Mexicans because instead of diversifying our economy through investments in renewable energy or tax credits for Main Street businesses, Governor Martinez cut all of those things, drastically expanded oil and gas production and gambled on the the royalties those new wells provide the state’s coffers – 1 in every 5 dollars in state revenues. ABQ Journal: (2014) “New Mexico relies heavily on the oil and natural gas industries to fund state operations – about 19 percent of state general fund revenue comes directly from oil and gas taxes and royalties – but the energy industries are historically volatile.” NM Political Report: (2016) “[NM State University economist Dr. Jim Peach] said that New Mexico has a failed strategy of economic development and he separated the concept of growth from development.” Western Values Project:  (2016) “Because of low oil and gas prices, New Mexico is in desperate need of additional revenue.

BLM wants more comments on Methane Waste Rule

(News Release) The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has extended the public comment period for the recently proposed Methane and Waste Prevention Rule until April 22, 2016. This rule would update 30-year-old regulations to reduce the wasteful release of natural gas into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations on public and American Indian lands. The comment period was extended because of public request. After receiving multiple communications from the public requesting an extension of the comment period or opposing such an extension, the BLM is extending the comment period from the original April 8 deadline. The public will now have an additional 14 days, until to April 22, 2016, to review and comment on the draft rule.

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.