Let’s start off with some numbers: Since 2008, the equivalent of 33.5 barrels of oil PER DAY has been spilled in New Mexico. A barrel is measured at 42 US gallons, so that means every day 1,407 gallons of crude are leaked, spilled, and otherwise not properly contained in our state.
This week Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham took New Mexico in a bold new direction with her Executive Order aimed at, broadly, the very real threat of climate change and, narrowly, curbing methane emissions in New Mexico. ProgressNow New Mexico has been one of many organizations talking about the need for such measures for a years and was happy to join dozens of such groups in publicly thanking the Governor for her bold leadership and living up to her campaign promises so quickly into her first term in office. If you’ve been paying attention you know that methane is a huge issue in New Mexico. Currently the oil and gas industry in our state leaks more methane than anywhere else in the country. They leak so much they could heat every single home in the state every year.
With less than a week to go until the 2019 Legislative session there’s already been a lot of exciting movement from New Mexico’s new (mostly) progressive majority at the state level. Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard made a big splash today with an Executive Order banning wildlife killing contests on state lands. That’s pretty great news! But Garcia Richard made
another announcement this week that we’re excited about as well: A
planned bill to increase the cap on royalties paid from oil and gas companies
from wells on state lands from 20 percent to 25 percent. What does that mean?
In a grossly insensitive and inflammatory letter on Wednesday, the National Rifle Association warned its New Mexico members to “Expect Unprecedented Attacks On Your Second Amendment Rights During The 2019 Legislative Session.”
This letter came two days before today’s one-year anniversary of the fatal, shooting at Aztec High School; an actual attack that left two young people dead.
So, who’s really under “attack?” New Mexico gun owners? No, they’re not. Common sense gun regulations are supported by the majority of voters. We know that by the results of this year’s elections.
Today ProgressNow New Mexico joined with almost 30 (29!) New Mexico organizations in congratulating Governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham in a full-page ad in the Santa Fe New Mexican and in thanking her for her commitment to fighting methane waste in the state through comprehensive statewide rules. As noted in the ad, New Mexico oil and gas producers waste as much as $240 MILLION EVERY YEAR in natural gas (mostly made up of methane) that is either leaked or purposely flared or vented during production. That’s enough natural gas to heat EVERY home in New Mexico for a year. But, besides the actual loss of our valuable resources, that waste is also hurting our families in the state in more ways than one:
Wasted methane means wasted money- All that natural gas that producers aren’t capturing or are purposefully burning is costing the tax-payers of New Mexico over $27 MILLION every year in lost royalties. The oil and gas lobby loves to talk about how much they contribute back to the state, so why are they sending literal millions of dollar up in smoke every year?
The results of the 2018 General Election mean many things to many people, but for New Mexicans, abortion care is high on the list.
In 2017, Representative Joanne Ferrary (D-37) sponsored House Bill (HB) 473, the Decriminalizing Abortion Bill that would have removed a pre-Roe vs. Wade law that criminalizes abortion providers. Under the Trump Administration, the likelihood of abortion being a central issue before the 2020 election is both high and the results could be dire. With the appointment of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, abortion access is in danger for everyone but especially low-income folks and people of color. We expect the state legislature to take up an abortion decriminalization bill again with Governor-elect Lujan-Grisham’s support and eventual signature.
There were record numbers of New Mexicans voting in this midterm election compared to 2014 and many of the races turned out in the ways that families needed them to- there were 163,347 more voters this midterm than in 2014, with 54% of eligible voters casting their ballots. What’s more, people who are truly representative of New Mexico’s diversity won last night. Women from all different backgrounds ran in record numbers and won: state House races, judge seats, and the governor’s mansion. The state has its first female Land Commissioner, Stephanie Garcia Richard, and is sending one of two of the first Native American women to Congress, Deb Haaland, elected the first openly gay sheriff, Kim Stewart, in state history, and after a grueling recount, Xochitl Torress Small managed to flip the NM’s 2nd District and become the first woman to represent that area in Congress!
The Blue (and pink) Wave in New Mexico
Common sense was on the ballot yesterday. There were House races all over the state we watched closely and last night Progressive candidates were swept into office.
There’s plenty of reasons people use to excuse themselves from not voting. But in case you need a reminder of why every vote, and especially your vote is important, we simply need to look at our state’s national rankings on everything from education to healthcare. That’s right, we are last in everything! In fact, New Mexico was recently ranked 51st in the nation in terms of our level of political engagement.
A highly engaged electorate that participates in the democratic process and holds our elected officials accountable is critical to having a well-functioning democracy.
Last week, the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Native American Voting Taskforce (NAVTF) met at the Pueblo of Laguna in Casa Blanca. The Secretary of State worked in collaboration with the League of Women Voters to give election information that is specific for Native communities. These voter guides have information about the candidates on the ballots, the questions that will be on the ballot, and voting location dates. Native language translation will be available to Native people as well. After the Taskforce met, there was a training for interpreters who will be responsible for what will be aired on the radio stations where tribal communities are located.