[BREAKING] NM’s Attorney General challenges Trump methane rollbacks in court

New Mexico’s Attorney General Hector Balderas joined California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra in taking the Trump administration to court to challenge rollbacks in methane emissions standards. The legal action charges that the move from Trump’s Department of the Interior violates a host of existing regulations and protocols designed to update industry standards that otherwise have operated under decade-old rules. Oil and gas companies vent or flare a significant amount of methane gas during their operations that, besides having negative effects on the environment and New Mexican’s health, wastes a significant amount of a product that otherwise could be utilized to fuel New Mexico homes and other services. The move comes as new polling data in New Mexico shows overwhelming support from a broad swath of the general public for common sense measures designed to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. A new poll conducted by The Majority Institute released this week shows that New Mexicans across the state support strengthening the state’s rules on limiting methane pollution that is leaked, vented or flared from oil and gas facilities.

Federal judge: Hold Martinez anti-poverty chief in contempt for failing to help poor, hungry

Staff “pled the 5th” almost 100 times to protect themselves from criminal prosecution
Federal judge recommends Gov’s top anti-poverty chief be held in contempt of court
Hundreds of neediest go without food stamps because staff doctored applications to deny them
Gov’s Human Services Dept. missed deadline to investigate and solve problem on their own
“Gov. [Susana] Martinez and her administration are completely out of touch with what is going on at the kitchen tables in New Mexico”

More than a month after a parade staffers from the state’s agency responsible for helping the poor and hungry “pled the 5th” almost 100 times in Federal court, a federal magistrate judge recommends that the governor’s top anti-poverty appointee be held in contempt of court for failing to follow court orders to stop improperly denying aid to poor and hungry residents of the state. A Federal magistrate judge hearing claims that the state’s Human Services Department staff doctored emergency food stamp applications to illegally deny the state’s poorest residents aid had enough on Monday and recommended that a Federal District Judge hold the Secretary Brent Earnest in contempt of court and appoint a federal monitor to oversee the department. “It is apparent that HSD and its officials have not exhibited the leadership, oversight, or coordination necessary to implement the Court Orders,” Magistrate Carmen Garza wrote in her opinion Monday. The state’s problems administering aid to the poor in one of the country’s most impoverished states is well documented, but a sharp escalation in tactics to turn away the needy in recent years apparently prompted the NM Center for Law & Poverty to seek court intervention earlier this year.