Oil and Gas industry trying to cut the line while putting us all at risk

Considering the unprecedented nature of our current public health and economic crisis, you might be surprised (or not) to know who’s trying to take advantage of the situation for their benefit. Yup, you guessed it, it’s the Oil and Gas Industry (of course). 

The reaches the oil and gas industry are going for are actually astounding given the circumstances — who else would even consider trying to relax and delay rules that protect public health during a public health crisis? Or give themselves a bailout at the expense of New Mexico’s schools, teachers and first responders at the exact moment the state is dealing with a budget crisis? 

This has been true at the national level as well as here in New Mexico with groups like the American Petroleum Institute, Power the Future and the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association trying to use this crisis to advocate for weaker regulatory requirements and shirk their financial obligations to New Mexico taxpayers. And what’s even worse- the Trump Administration is giving this industry even more than it’s asking for, including a broad suspension of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to enforce its own rules. We’d understand if you missed headlines such as “Trump’s Move to Suspend Enforcement of Environmental Laws is a Lifeline to the Oil Industry” while worried about everything else, but truly this is a devastating turn of events for all of us, the air we breathe and the water we drink. 

The American Petroleum Institute (API) asked for a “lifeline” but Trump’s administration sent them a yacht.

NEW NUMBERS SHOW THE TRUE SCALE OF NEW MEXICO’S GROWING FLARING PROBLEM

The oil and gas industry has a dirty, and not so little, secret. There’s a movement to convince the public that natural gas is “clean” but methane leaks from these drilling sites are a huge and growing contributor to climate change in New Mexico. 

Here’s a video of a wellhead “venting” methane, as well as benzene and frankly other unknown material, on land utilized by a rancher in Rio Arriba County.  It’s telling how much gas is being released by the sound, louder than the running diesel engine and wind combined. 

Courtesy of Don Schreiber

And that’s not all, the oil and gas industry is also burning off literally tons of methane every day, wasting YOUR money, that should be going toward YOUR schools.  One metric the amount of wasted natural gas from New Mexico is MORE THAN the total amount of natural gas needed to heat every single home in the state EVERY YEAR. This was recently reconfirmed in an industry article from  S&P. 

“New Mexico’s top 15 oil and gas producers accounted for 78% of the 100.3 MMcf/d of natural gas the state’s operators flared in 2018, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of data collected by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division. That year, the industry vented or flared enough gas to exceed the 94.4 MMcf/d consumed by the state’s 592,775 residential customers.”

In that article,  S&P created a chart showing the worst polluters (let’s not mince words here, that’s what they are). This data comes directly from the Oil Conservation Division. 

 Flared (January – June)Company20182019Devon2,207,7752,250,606XTO494,9481,541,514Marathon1,302,5791,470,907WPX685,5541,418,580Oxy516,4271,289,238Amerdev300,1281,064,029COG1,915,7701,042,110BOPCO297,487912,654

Let’s look at a few of these.

Congressional campaign manager “shoots” at rainbow-colored piñata “for (NM Leg) passing SB5”

It’s astounding the kind of hatred that has become commonplace in the wake of the current administration’s rise to power. From full-on white supremacists marching in the streets to policy-oriented mandates that have caged children and deported veterans. Here in New Mexico, unfortunately, the theme seems to have continued right down the line, with multiple instances of the State Republican party either directly contributing to something hate-filled, or ignoring it when one of their surrogates does something. That being said, we don’t have high hopes that anything will come of this report, but it remains important as ever to call out hatred and bigotry when we see it. The following images were actually POSTED to the Republican Party of Otero County, New Mexico Facebook page by Amy Smith Barela, the Chair of that group.

ProgressNow State Leaders Call For Vote Limiting Trump’s Power & Condemns Trump’s Hostile Rhetoric Which Puts All Americans In Danger

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 9, 2020

Over the past few days, we have become a country that is once again on the brink of war. This crisis was created because President Donald Trump was unable or unwilling to fully think through the very real consequences of his words and actions. 

ProgressNow affiliated states from across the country, released the following statement today: 

“Today we are calling on the U.S. House to vote to limit recently impeached President Trump’s ability to instigate global conflict, and calling on the President himself to act with diplomacy rather than the hostile and dangerous rhetoric we have seen come out of this administration over the past few days. 

Time and time again, we see both on a national level and an international level that Donald Trump’s extreme policies are dangerously out of touch with what Americans want and need. We do not mourn the death of General Soleimani, but we do want peace in the region. We need to build on—not reject—the Iranian nuclear deal and use the tools of diplomacy to pursue a coherent strategy and refrain from making illogical decisions that alienate our allies.   

The best way to support our brave men and women in uniform is to keep them from harm in a reckless and unnecessary conflict. The President created this crisis.

Happy Birthday New Mexico, you beautiful Capricorn you

New Mexico was admitted into the United States on January 6, 1912, to become the 47th state in the Union. We sure do love A LOT about living here, but we also see some places we can keep improving to make New Mexico that much better in the years to come! THINGS WE LOVE: I love our food, the deep culture, and above all the way we protect and lead in reproductive justice. New Mexico has been ahead of the curve in changing the paradigm around this, and other states actually defer to our methods/policies! ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Creating better access and equity of care in our mental health and recovery infrastructures. Developing and implementing sustainable programs and training for whole health, cultural competency, and epigenetic traumas for caregivers/providers.

ProgressNow New Mexico adds new voice for Reproductive Justice

ProgressNow New Mexico is excited to announce the latest addition to our team, Erica Davis-Crump. She is our Reproductive Justice Organizer and Content Associate. Her focus will be to provide communities and partners all applicable updates, information, and awareness around reproductive justice issues in New Mexico! 

Erica is a lifelong resident of Albuquerque and utilizes lived experiences with reproductive health and other past experiences to work diligently and emphatically. She has specialty certifications in family wellness, mental health awareness, and suicide awareness and prevention. For the past seven years, she has provided training on Healthy Relationships, Mental Health Awareness, and Suicide Prevention in every county in New Mexico, to over 40,000 students and guardians.

#GOPSoRacist right before local elections around NM

With just a few days before local elections take place around the state, arch-conservative “news” outlet the New Mexico Political Journal posted this incredibly racist post about the time change. (If the link is broken good, there’s a screencap below to check out too)

Here’s the link

And also here’s a screenshot, because honestly we’ve been reporting the post to Facebook and hope it gets taken down because it clearly depicts anti-Islamic views and racist views toward people from the Middle East in general. But it’s important we document these cases of racism and call them out as we see them. Just so we’re all clear here, NMPJ is operated by former NM Republican Senator Rod Adair. According to his own About page, his publication doesn’t “tolerate racism or ethnic bigotry” but clearly they don’t understand what those terms really mean.

Why you should care that New Mexico Oil & Gas is working with NAZIs

ProgressNow New Mexico has been working for the last few months to unravel the complicated ties that the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) has with numerous outside entities working to control the narrative around extraction in the state. We’ve found heaps of evidence to support our claims that NMOGA has evolved from just another industry advocate to fully trying to change the culture of New Mexico. We think it’s important you understand why this matters so here’s our quick rundown on everything you need to know. In 2017, NMOGA Executive Director Ryan Flynn gave a speech to members where he announced his intention to make NMOGA “the most powerful organization in the state of New Mexico.” Throughout the 2018 Legislative Session, we saw record amounts of spending from NMOGA to influence policy in that, the last year of Governor Susana Martinez’s last year in office.

Unmasking NMOGA’s ties to (EVEN MORE) national astroturf organizers

Happy Monday New Mexico. Do you have your Halloween costume picked out yet? Seems like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association does. They are dressing up as right wing attack dogs Power the Future this year.  

As you know, NMOGA is working directly with Power the Future, a Koch-funded lobby group that seems to spend the majority of its (vast) resources attacking clean energy policy around the country. New Mexico has become ground zero for PTF, going so far as to hire former Martinez-era talking head Larry Beherns to be their point person on the ground here.