What regulations? Oil and Gas Giants refuse to tell New Mexicans if they’re following federal health standards

An article from the past weekend from the Santa Fe New Mexican titled “Environmental groups worry EPA memo will lead to uptick in pollution” is worth taking a second look at for anyone paying attention to the oil and gas industry. 

For some context, the Trump Administration has offered the industry a get out of jail free card from  Environmental Protection Act enforcement during the COVID-19 crisis, essentially making decades of important health and safety rules moot. t’s not hard to assume that as soon as the overseeing agency says they’re not going to be checking up that the oil and gas industry will stop complying with our health-based clean air and water laws. 

According to the article from this weekend, that’s pretty much what’s happening. 

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Chevron, Veronica Flores-Paniagua, forwarded a blog post from the American Petroleum Institute, which had originally asked the EPA for the monitoring flexibility, that claimed the “temporary relief for non-essential compliance requirements” does not constitute a rollback of environmental enforcement. Julie King, a spokeswoman for ExxonMobil, also said the energy company complies “with all laws, rules and regulations applicable to our business.” Neither said, however, whether the two companies would voluntarily continue to submit emissions reports or other previous environmental requirements that can be temporarily waived by the EPA. Right… So the spokespeople say they’re going to keep complying with EPA standards, but also won’t say if they’re going to submit the actual reports to prove that they are. What’s that old saying about trust but verify? 

And meanwhile the state’s three deep pocketed oil and gas front groups, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico (IPANM) and Power the Future are all lobbying for relaxed and delayed environmental protections as well. 

So what about the state’s ability to monitor these companies?

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.

#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.

Wildlife corridors: What are they, why do they matter, and how do you help?

If you follow environmental news in New Mexico, chances are you’ve seen some of the great media coverage of what’s happening around wildlife corridors in the state. But what exactly is all the fuss? We’re going to give you a quick overview of the issue so that you can help get involved no matter what part of the state you live in: Wildlife matters to us all! 

Simply speaking, animals don’t recognize things like state boundaries, county lines, or different land designations from federal, state, and local jurisdictions; they just go where they need to for survival. Some people might be familiar with pictures of natural-looking overpasses for wildlife to cross over highways but wildlife corridors really represent large landscapes used for a variety of issues; migration, mating, foraging, etc. And it’s not just large mammals like deer or elk but almost every animal in some way utilizes the landscape, especially as more and more development encroaches on natural habitats.

ProgressNow NM calls for investigation into PRC Commissioner

Progress Now New Mexico today called for the investigation, by appropriate State officials including the Attorney General, Secretary of State and the State Ethics Commission, of various activities of Public Regulation Commissioner Valerie Espinoza. Those activities came to light after an examination by ProgressNow NM and others of responses to public records requests and other information provided to Progress Now. The activities, if verified, range from inappropriate to criminal, and would include violations of both statutes and regulations. 

PRC Commissioner Valerie Espinoza

“The information resulting from our IPRA request is deeply disappointing,” said Stephanie Maez, Executive Director for ProgressNow New Mexico. “It is our hope that by shedding light on this we can ensure that the Commissioner’s behavior is thoroughly investigated and future questionable activities by the Commissioner cease all together.”  

You can see the whole press release here:

PNNM Press-Release- Valerie Espinoza .pdf

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And you can find all the supporting documents here:

Exhibits1-4.pdf

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ProgressNow New Mexico is committed to keeping public officials of any party and at any level in New Mexico government accountable to the people. Stay tuned for any updates as this story develops.

GOP candidate condones “blowing them (aslyum seekers) away with my .44 Magnum” at New Mexico meeting

This week’s headlines have been absolutely dominated by the downright chilling effect of President Trump using overt, racist language about four sitting members of congress. His attempt on Thursday to walk back his endorsement of chants at his North Carolina rally of “send her back” is clearly disingenuous. The hate-filled rhetoric is out there and Trump supporters are clearly feeling free to express their own vitriol with wild abandon. Unfortunately, this appears to be manifesting itself right here in New Mexico and being encouraged by Republican candidates eyeing next year’s elections. 

Chris Mathys

Chris Mathys, a self-declared “conservative Christian and supporter of President Donald Trump,” held a listening session in the small community (less than 1000 people) of Mimbres in Grant County this past weekend. According to an article in the Las Cruces Sun-News, racists sentiment were loudly expressed by many in attendance and not at all rebuked by Mathys at any point.

Methane: What New Mexicans need to know

THE PROBLEM

New Mexico has a methane waste and pollution problem – it’s costing our schools millions in revenue, ruining our air and harming our climate for future generations. Methane is a powerful climate change pollutant responsible for 25 percent of the warming we experience today. It is also the primary component of natural gas and a valuable energy resource. Each year in New Mexico, oil and gas companies waste $275 million-worth of natural gas through venting, flaring, and leaks which costs the state over $40 million in royalty and tax revenue that could fund public education. Oil and gas operations also release ozone-forming pollutants that worsen respiratory diseases such as emphysema and trigger asthma attacks.

Almost 500 New Mexicans have already signed letters supporting our clean energy future: Now it’s your turn!

A few weeks back ProgressNow New Mexico published a blog exposing so-called “Power the Future” for the (likely) Koch Brothers-funded mouthpieces they really are. The response from across the state has been incredible! Click Here to send a letter NOW! Our friends at Conservation Voters of New Mexico even sent our blog out to their members with a call to action to tell Larry Behrens, PTF’s local spokes-lackey and long-time NM conservative mouthpiece, that New Mexicans are not reversing course. We’re invested in clean, renewable energy future AND in ensuring that workers from across the state, including those in the oil and gas fields, are represented with longterm and sustainable options not tied to the volatile global energy syndicates.

Nationally funded group hires local GOP spokesperson to try and greenwash the energy debate in NM

It’s late spring in New Mexico and everything is sprouting, even new dark money funded pro energy groups. One called “Power the Future” just cropped up and hired a recycled Susana Martinez political operative as their New Mexico lead in an attempt to hide their east coast home base. But don’t worry, we have pulled the weeds on this one to show you where their roots and branches really lead. It’s not pretty. The oil and gas industry and the heavily funded political arms they control are springing forward with aggression and are using this time in New Mexico to try and stir the pot and sow seeds of discord when it comes to the huge progress we’ve made by passing the Energy Transition Act, moving toward stronger statewide oil and gas regulations and other efforts to promote a cleaner energy future under Governor Lujan Grisham.