Rep. Steve Pearce is STILL pushing to make drilling EASIER for Big Oil, and Gov. Martinez has his back

With the humanitarian crises on the border dominating headlines the past few weeks and this week’s massive Supreme Court news, it’s easy to forget there are still other matters being decided in the halls of Congress that affect Americans everyday lives. Congressman Steve Pearce is pushing through two bills RIGHT NOW that would do away with important management and oversight of the Bureau of Land Management when it comes to issuing permits for drilling oil wells on public lands. 

Pearce, himself a millionaire oilman, of course, claims this is about “cutting red tape” but considering he’s running for governor this year it sure seems like he’s trying to do his buddies in the Permian Basin a huge favor while he’s still on Capitol Hill. But even as governor Pearce could still make it easier for oil and gas companies at the expense of our public lands, our environment, and even if practical policies that would actually net oil and gas companies more revenue like fixing the Methane Rule. 

Just look at Governor Susana Martinez’ role with oil and gas over the last eight years. And in the midst of everything that is happening, Martinez not only wrote a letter earlier in the year that encouraged the feds to support the undoing of the permitting process but actually traveled to Washington DC earlier this month and testified IN SUPPORT of Pearce’s bills. 

Well, we’re not going to let Pearce’s or Martinez’ attempts to undermine our public lands and our natural resources without saying something. That’s why we’ve launched these digital ads to help spread awareness of what’s happening.

[UPDATE] Hilcorp pulls request to shut out public input after public outcry, AG get involved!

This is an updated version of a story originally published last week

Late today, (Wednesday, May 30), ProgressNow New Mexico received information that the proposed case had been removed from the Oil Conservation Division docket altogether after pressure from the public (including this original story from PNNM), further inquiries from other press sources, and an apparent inquiry from Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office. While a spokesperson for the AG’s office wouldn’t confirm that the item was no longer being considered, they did comment that the office was looking into the issue. “The Office of the Attorney General is monitoring this issue and will always take appropriate action to ensure that government agencies and processes are transparent and open to the public,” said James Hallinan, Communications Director for the AG’s office. 
ProgressNow New Mexico was provided with an email exchange between the attorney for the OCD and Hilcorp’s attorney’s showing that after the case was slated to be moved until Friday (likely due to the expected turnout), Hilcorp informs OCD’s lawyer that “Hilcorp is withdrawing its application in Case No. 16193. Accordingly, there is no need to hear argument on a continuance or interventions on Friday morning.”

[BREAKING] Gov. Martinez leading charge to make it EASIER for oil & gas to drill in NM, around the country

News is breaking today that Governor Susana Martinez is leading the charge to make it EASIER for oil and gas companies to extract resources from federal lands inside New Mexico (as well as other western states with large federal inholdings). This is in direct opposition to the will of most New Mexicans who OVERWHELMINGLY support safer and greater regulations on oil and gas extraction in the state. An article in the industry report Energywire reports that Martinez sent a letter to the feds encouraging them to do away with several regulations and safeguards for extraction of oil and gas on federal public lands. Six governors, led by Susana Martinez of New Mexico (R), sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke earlier this year asking for four policy changes aimed at speeding up energy production on the vast federal estate. The governors’ letter, sent in January but made public yesterday, also included detailed proposals for how Interior could implement the streamlining plans.

More pollution, less revenue for NM: Gov’s Environment dept. approves new “regulations”

Once again Governor Martinez and her administration are prioritizing their big oil and gas donors’ interests while putting New Mexicans at risk from increased methane pollution. Last week, the New Mexico Environment Department approved permits that do NOT require oil and gas wells to check for leaks of methane or other pollutants. This once again places New Mexico on the bottom of a an important list as these new rules, or really lack of any rules, are among the weakest environmental protections in the nation. Oh, and remember how leaked methane wastes taxpayers’ money to the tune of $244 MILLION every year? 

So what do the new permits and “regulations” do? Well, not much in terms of regulating anything. Of course, that’s just what groups like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association spend so much money on every year lobbying in Santa Fe for.

Increased oil and gas production just means more wasted resources and lost revenue for New Mexico

Yesterday, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association were beside themselves with news about increased production of oil in the state. Their press release was nearly copied verbatim by the Albuquerque Journal and other news outlets around the state. ProgressNow New Mexico’s Political Director Lucas Herndon issued a response to their claims.

“Claiming this is a financial boon for New Mexico without addressing the $180-$240 million dollars lost each year from wasted natural gas is disingenuous at best,” said Lucas Herndon, Political Director at ProgressNow New Mexico. “We know that the industry focuses on what it is extracting and not on what it’s losing because to them the losses are minimal. But to the citizens of New Mexico it’s literally tens of millions in unpaid taxes and royalties that should be going to schools and other programs,” Herndon said.

The 5 most important things you need to know about the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association’s political power play  

 

This is the fifth and final piece in a series of articles highlighting the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. NMOGA lobbies on behalf of oil and gas interests, seeking less regulation and oversight for their industry and greater access to political power in the state. Last year, the Executive Director of NMOGA, Ryan Flynn, spoke at their annual meeting about the future of oil and gas in New Mexico as they moved into the election cycle of 2018, their goals to seize power, and the strength of their “opposition,” the citizens of New Mexico who have pushed back against the fossil fuel industry and their stranglehold on the state at all levels.  

Let’s recap what we have learned so far in looking more in-depth into NMOGA in the past month:

NMOGA’s Executive Director, Ryan Flynn, gave a speech last October to members of his association, the full transcript of which was leaked and full of some pretty concerning rhetoric. Besides proclaiming that his intention was to make NMOGA the “most powerful organization” in the state, Flynn also unabashedly pointed out his close personal ties with Governor Susana Martinez and touted that relationship as something positive for oil and gas companies.

[BREAKING] Pearce wrong on methane (again), endorses Trump plan to allow more taxpayer waste

Today, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke proposed gutting the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane Waste Prevention rule, which was designed to limit the wasteful venting and flaring of methane from oil and gas operations on public lands. And Congressman Steve Pearce was right there to applaud this giant step backward. 
In supporting efforts to rollback needed methane waste standards, Pearce is completely ignoring the fact that methane venting and flaring costs New Mexicans MILLIONS in lost revenue every year. New Mexico wastes more natural gas (primarily made up of methane) from it’s federal and tribal lands than any other state – $100 million worth of natural gas annually that should be generating millions more in royalty revenue for New Mexico schools. Pearce has a long history of supporting the extraction industry over the actual wishes of his own constituents. Whether it’s voting against the methane rule or opposing preserving public lands, Pearce has sided with extraction related industries at every turn. 
Secretary Zinke’s proposal would severely weaken efforts to curb waste on public lands, leading to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer-owned energy every year.

Coming soon thanks to NMOGA, oil derricks and gas plants next door to NM schools?

This is the fourth in a series of articles highlighting the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. NMOGA lobbies on behalf of oil and gas interests, seeking less regulation and oversight for their industry and greater access to political power in the state. Last year, the Executive Director of NMOGA, Ryan Flynn, spoke at their annual meeting about the future of oil and gas in New Mexico as they moved into the election cycle of 2018, their goals to seize power, and the strength of their “opposition,” the citizens of New Mexico who have pushed back against the fossil fuel industry and their stranglehold on the state at all levels.  
NMOGA’s Executive Director has made a lot of big claims about how his industry aims to help New Mexicans, especially pointing out the fiscal returns to schools from lease permits from oil and gas companies. But what kind of quality of life can families expect in New Mexico if methane, benzene, and other pollution is being vented right next door to a school or a day-care center? 
Today the New Mexico State The New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Air Quality Bureau is meeting to decide the fate of proposed new rules governing how oil and gas companies are allowed to build new facilities within the state.

The dirty (not so) little secret about how much oil and gas “helps” our state

This is the third in a series of articles highlighting the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. NMOGA lobbies on behalf of oil and gas interests, seeking less regulation and oversight for their industry and greater access to political power in the state. Last year, the Executive Director of NMOGA, Ryan Flynn, spoke at their annual meeting about the future of oil and gas in New Mexico as they moved into the election cycle of 2018, their goals to seize power, and the strength of their “opposition,” the citizens of New Mexico who have pushed back against the fossil fuel industry and their stranglehold on the state at all levels.  

In a report out last week, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association made some pretty bold claims about how much their industry does for the state; funding schools and bolstering the state’s economy in general. But there’s a pretty serious cloud over those numbers, and quite literally, over the state in the form of the wasted methane, and lost revenue, from New Mexico’s oil and gas producers.