3 ways NMOGA cherry-picks data for on methane science

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It’s funny when there are big distracting things happening like elections, it’s easy to take your eye off some of the “usual” stuff that you keep track of. If we weren’t, you know, scrambling to save the very soul of our country right now, what would we be looking at? We thought we’d take a look and see what our friends over at the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association were up to on their site and social media.

Turns out, they’re still doing their thing, trying to fleece the public and elected officials about bogus benefits of their industry with none of the drawbacks. So comforting to know some things never change…

While we’ve all been on lockdown (you’re still isolating yourself right? You should be), it appears the oil and gas industry has been letting their equipment continue to churn out pollutants non-stop, maybe even worse than before. According to a brand new study, the first eight months of 2020 saw large methane leaks absolutely JUMP by 30% in places like the Permian. So what do we do about that!?

Well fortunately Governor Lujan Grisham has set a strong goal here in New Mexico to establish nationally leading regulations for the oil and gas industry when it comes to methane. But there is still work to be done to improve the state’s draft proposals in order to meet that bar; things like removing huge exemptions from the Environment Department’s rules that would leave the vast majority of the wells in the state unchecked.

Meanwhile, even those huge loopholes aren’t enough for NMOGA, they are advocating to water these already too weak proposed rules down even further.

One way that NMOGA loves to do this is to cherry-pick data to meet their chosen narrative. NMOGA selects their favorite pieces of pseudo-science or just random bits of the regulations to go after or in some cases not even explaining themselves, just being obstinate in order to try to maintain the status quo: a political environment where industry calls the shots.

Here are three  unconvincing “cherries” NMOGA tries to pick in the latest round of public comments on the state’s draft methane rules, in a lame attempt to say the state can’t afford better, more protective requirements that cut pollution:

  1. NMOGA tries to say that the rules will cost too much to implement. Fine, but if you are going to make an economic argument, shouldn’t you look at the full picture? Unfortunately, NMOGA did not. They did not factor in additional health care costs or costs to other businesses if these counties continue to suffer from oil and gas pollution and go into nonattainment. They looked deeply at costs to companies, but not at all into the real costs to the people of New Mexico who would be exposed to unhealthy air. (note: this is something that Synapse Energy Economics did do in the analysis they did)
  2. They don’t factor in the additional revenue producers could realize from captured gas. This is a huge missing piece since EDF estimates NM producers waste $275M worth of natural gas per year. It is just wrong to not factor in how capturing more wasted energy benefits both the taxpayers of NM and the producers themselves in the form of more product to sell.
  3. There is a lack of transparency and clarity in the analysis. For instance, how much of their results can be attributed to the regulations versus what would have happened anyhow to an industry that is clearly facing a big transition? We don’t know because they don’t show their math. And the math that they do show appears to be faulty! Case in point, in Table 3 their natural gas revenue estimates appear to be off by several orders of magnitude. There is a big difference between $4.98 Million and $4.98 Billion and we are surprised that no one in NMOGA balked at natural gas being downgraded from a billion to a million-dollar industry!

Overall, the cherry-picking of data to fit their chosen narrative, the incomplete, and opaque analysis all point to serious credibility problems with the economic analysis that underpins NMOGA’s comments. It’s nice to know some things will never change, right?

All the more reason the state must finalize strong methane rules without loopholes this year.


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Executive Director 

Marianna Anaya

Deputy Director 

Lucas Herndon

Energy and Policy Director 

Josette Arvizu

Communications Director 

Jackie Aguirre

Communications Specialist 

Edgar Cruz

Communications Specialist 

Alissa Barnes :: Executive Director
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you should know

Alissa Barnes is Executive Director at ProgessNow New Mexico where she leads a team that works on message development, issue and voter education, and amplification of progressive messages and values. She leads the organization in strategy development, fundraising, and organizational growth and sustainability.

Alissa’s background includes nearly 12 years at Roadrunner Food Bank where Alissa led the development and creation of multiple programs that are now national models, invested in community building and collaborations, and worked closely with elected officials, educating about hunger and why policies would either benefit or hurt clients in food lines. She has a BA from the University of New Mexico and various non-profit certifications.
  • If she followed her childhood dream, she would be a Broadway tap dancing star
  • Has seen Frozen 1 and 2 over 100 times
  • Loves heavy metal concerts
Marianna Anaya :: Deputy Director
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you should know

Marianna oversees strategic messaging and creative implementation tactics for issue-based and political campaigns. She leads the team’s digital and earned media programs, bringing a New Mexico values-based approach to her work. 

Marianna’s background includes race and ethnic studies in education as a focus at UT Austin and UCLA, political campaign work, staffing former Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as leading organizing and communications work for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

  • She currently serves as the Board President of Emerge NM. 
  • Her hobbies include getting more women, queer folks and BIPOC elected to office.
  • She has three cuddle-worthy dogs at home
Lucas Herndon :: Energy and Policy Director
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you should know

Lucas’ focus is on all things energy and environment, election integrity projects and general messaging strategy. He is often the front facing voice for PNNM when it comes to issues surrounding methane, renewable energy, oil industry accountability, and public lands issues. 

Lucas has an extensive background in public lands and solar energy. He was instrumental in the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014 and has participated in every local election since 2012 through phone banking, online organizing, and poll watching. Lucas is a lifelong resident of Las Cruces where he has served in various capacities of leadership including as President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, District Director for the Dona Ana County Democratic Party, and attending and completing the inaugural classes of the Las Cruces Neighborhood Leadership Academy and the Las Cruces Tree Stewards. 

  • Owned a tattoo shop called Omega Tattoo & Supply 
  • Once got a chin bump “what’s up” from James Harden on an airplane when Harden saw Lucas’ beard 
  • Has a minor in Medieval and Early Modern History
Josette Arvizu :: Communications Director
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you should know

Josette Arvizu is the Communications Director at ProgressNow New Mexico where she oversees the development and implementation of systems that further the external and internal communications of the organization.

Josette’s background in marketing includes copywriting, paid media, SEO and content strategy for businesses and nonprofits, including convention and visitor bureaus from Bermuda to Anaheim. She began her career teaching writing to college students while in New Mexico State University’s MFA in creative writing program. Her previous work promoting diversity and inclusion includes coordination of writing and traditional arts workshops for Native American youth at the Tucson Indian Center.
  • Is a cat mom to an obstinate orange tabby named Quasimodo and a restless grey cat named Squirrel
  • Hasn’t heard a pun she didn’t like
  • Minored in dance in college and is an avid follower of ballet on Instagram
Jackie Aguirre :: Communications Specialist
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you should know

Jackie’s focus is on graphics and social media marketing that promote progressive issues across our state. 

Jackie’s background includes work in the Reproductive Justice space focusing on Latinx, Chicanx and Mexican-American communities.

  • She is a co-owner of a community art gallery celebrating BIPOC artists
  • She is a long-time volunteer for Planned Parenthood and works with college students to provide condoms/dental dams, menstrual products & other resources
  • She is a part of a group of women who love craft beer and hosts monthly beer shares with beer from all over the country
Edgar Cruz :: Communications Specialist
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you should know

Edgar Cruz is a Communications Specialist at ProgressNow New Mexico where he focuses on video creation and research that promotes progressive issues across our state.

Edgar has a background producing multimedia initiatives. With over five years of radio production experience, he is a movement agent who believes in exploring all avenues of media to inform and engage community.

  • Is a host of Espejos de Aztlan on KUNM
  • Is a member of Generation Justice
  • First discovered his passion for organizing as a high school student after joining the Youth Alliance in 2009