We want to reaffirm to you our commitment to calling out racism, systemic oppression of our communities, and right wing extremists. Period. Our families’ lives depend on it. We will not be intimidated into doing otherwise by anyone from the extreme right or from folx we still consider friends. That’s not who we are.
The Republican acts of desperation have begun and Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce is acting as Trump’s clean-up crew for the November election. After Trump’s latest embarrassment in being outed for hiding the severity of COVID from the public, perhaps Pearce decided his party has nothing to stand on- so naturally, he tried to find a distraction to save his sinking ship. Either Pearce has been living under a rock or he’s trying to repackage old news. Just yesterday, Steve, and Candidate for House District 47 Raye Byford, decided to distract the public, with information we already knew, and had the gall to make a request of resignation of Speaker Egolf. Yes, Speaker Egolf was subject to a tax lien… that was resolved… and reported on months ago… way to go, Steve.
TW: racism, murder, police brutality, family separation, sexual assault and abuse. Amid this week’s wave of protests across the country for Black Lives Matter, we’re left remembering the anniversaries of Emmett Till’s and Elijah McClain’s deaths, both falling in the same week. These weekly traumas from systemic failures that are carried out by law enforcement groups blatantly show us — they don’t care about Black and Brown youth. The question isn’t only “how do we handle this?” but it’s also “how do our kids cope, let alone understand, this?”
As it is, POC folx are predisposed to many health issues, including intergenerational trauma. But to even begin to heal, we must become aware of our history to understand our current systems of oppression.
A weeks-long battle continues to spill over into public spheres as Steve Pearce uses his seat as the Chair of the state Republican Party to hammer away at the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, specifically their Executive Director Ryan Flynn. The gist of the argument is that Flynn is doing exactly what he said he was going to do in 2017 by making his organization a relevant political force in the state politically and Pearce doesn’t like having competition.
ProgressNow New Mexico has written extensively about Flynn’s statements and actions over the last few years and how scary it is for anyone who cares about actual democracy to see NMOGA and the companies they represent weighing in so heavily when it comes to state politics. It’s nothing new, but it’s just so blatant and out in the open now, as well as being paired with dangerous far-right ideology via the Trump-campaign machine via Power the Future and Harris Media running their social media.
So on the surface, Pearce is right (gag) about NMOGA being so overtly political, but of course, we know Pearce is deeply tied to oil and gas both personally and professionally as well and that under his leadership the NM GOP has also become an utter cesspool of racist and jingoistic characters like Couy Griffin and Rep. Greg Nibert.
The funniest thing about this argument at its core, however, is how utterly futile and useless it is. Oil and gas is on its way out in New Mexico and everyone seems to know it but them. That includes many of the industry giants that are members of NMOGA and use their wealth to dominate politics in New Mexico.
Companies like BP and Chevron, amongst others, are increasingly making investments in the renewable energy sector both for their own operations and for their investors.
This past weekend, unemployed former Congressman Steve Pearce, chair of the deeply racist New Mexico Republican Party, threw stones at the glass house of his sugar daddy, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA). In all fairness, he wasn’t wrong about a lot of what he accused them of, but it certainly was amusing to see someone who’s whole career has been saturated in oil money yelling about the people who spend oil money with wild abandon. We lol’d.
Pearce, along with Rep. Jim Townsend of Artesia and Sen. Stuart Ingle of Portales, penned their missive to accuse specifically NMOGA’s President Ryan Flynn of making “false statements about the status of the industry and distorting the policy positions and actual votes on key legislation by our elected officials that impacts the industry’s future in New Mexico.” Um, damn Steve, that’s what we’ve been saying.
All this stems from former “Democrat” Harry Teague’s endorsement of Republican Yvette Herrell for New Mexico’s second Congressional district (yes, the same one that Pearce vacated to try and fail spectacularly at running for governor). In the AP article about the endorsement, Flynn was quoted as saying “Throughout her first term in Congress, she (Rep. Xochitl Torres Small) has been a strong advocate for our state’s energy interests and responsible production and has stood up to those in her party who want to completely ban fracking.”
Obvs we’re not stoked about that being true, but it is interesting to see Pearce get so ticked off that his oil buddies are happy working with his replacement. Pearce also claims that NMOGA has given too rosy of a picture of the future of the oil and gas industry’s recovery in New Mexico, trying to push his party’s line that the only cure for the state is full austerity like that instituted in Greece.
If you find yourself in El Paso, driving down I-10 from either direction, you can’t miss it—a 30-foot tall golden obelisk called the “Grand Candela” standing in the Walmart parking lot memorializing last years’ tragedy on the border. 23 lives lost. Children as young as 2 months old, to older folx, some of whom walked over from Ciudad Juarez for their weekly grocery shopping. No one ever saw it coming. Even with an entire year’s passing, it weighs on our hearts.
Three states, two countries, El Paso, Las Cruces and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico have always existed as one.
This series on Black Life, and racial justice is barely scratching the surface. A few resources for you to begin your own inner work are linked throughout this piece, and the hope is you continue to educate yourself. As this is a foundational way to eradicate Anti-Blackness, and racism. Let’s get into it:
From Columbus statues being torn down, along with other monuments that crystalize and celebrate the dehumanizing beginnings of our nation, it’s taken some time to collectively confront the deeply problematic history. Many BIPOC have had to celebrate their heroes beyond the one page granted to their culture and history as taught in school and the history books.
Arch Republican and avowed racist Couy Griffin has been invited to meet with Trump tomorrow while the President is in Texas to discuss the oil and gas industry as it tries to recover from being an outdated and overly-bloated relic of the industrial past. What do all these things have in common?
Well over the weekend Griffin, an elected official from Otero County and leader of the so-called “Cowboys for Trump” militia, recorded himself calling for all people of color to be dispelled from the United States and to “to go back to where (they) came from.” Meanwhile, Trump today is attempting to bypass the Supreme Court’s recent decision on DACA by directing his administration to not accept new applications for those eligible for the program. And like, you know, all the other racist stuff he’s done over the past few years… (well, his life really).
The story that other media outlets have refused to cover for well over a year now is the well-documented connection between oil and gas lobby groups here in New Mexico and racist, specifically White Nationalists, groups at the national level.
So while some racists like Griffin and Trump shout their hatred of BIPOC from whatever mountain top they can, the more insidious problem is where they’re getting their money from, groups like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association and Power The Future, who together have spent millions of dollars to elect people like Griffin locally to support their industry with no accountability for their racist platform. We KNOW that NMOGA and PTF have also hired actual White Nationalists to manage their social media as well, through the guise of Harris Media in Texas, a PR firm that has been well documented in helping manage White Nationalist campaigns in Germany, Israel, and right here in the US.
We also know that at the national level, Power the Future has members of its board with close ties to Trump’s official campaign with access to literally MILLIONS of dollars to fund astroturf campaigns like PTF in states like New Mexico.
This isn’t the first time we’ve reported this but maybe while people are paying attention to the loud parts like Griffin yelling “go back to Africa” they can take the time to think about how all this is funded and works behind the scenes too. NMOGA and PTF aren’t operating in a vacuum, their membership includes groups like the City of Albuquerque and other municipalities in the state, so there are some direct ties to your tax dollars and how these racist groups are able to continue controlling government in the state of New Mexico.
2020 has exposed two pandemics, viral and racial. Both are disproportionately taking the lives of Black Americans. For four hundred years now, there have been two starkly different Americas. It is very literally Black, and White.
You may have seen the news last night or this morning that a judge has reinstated Obama-era methane rules nationwide effective immediately. While this is a great win, it’s temporary given the decision will likely be appealed and the oil and gas industry’s challenge to the original 2016 rule in the District Court of Wyoming will be revived.
At some point, we would love to see a strong, comprehensive federal methane regulation because air and climate pollution doesn’t stop at the state line, but for New Mexicans, there’s no time to waste.
Under guidance from Governor Lujan Grisham’s 2019 Executive Order, state agencies have been hard at work to craft a rule that would apply to oil and gas companies in New Mexico that vent, flare, or otherwise leak methane. Methane emissions aren’t just about the greater impact of climate change (methane is 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in the near-term at trapping heat), but also affect the air we breathe. Oil and gas producing counties are dangerously close to exceeding federal clean air protections for smog, and those living closest to development are more at risk of exposure to hazardous air pollutants.
One study found that this pollution was literally a matter of life and death to marginalized communities that live near active well zones. In a recent report from Energywire, there is a documented negative effect of rates of preterm birth among women in areas with concentrations of methane like the Permian or San Juan basins.
“The authors said their findings ‘suggest the effects of flaring on the length of gestation are independent’ of other potential health risks tied to living near oil and gas wells.