ProgressNow New Mexico has published a number of articles about the deep ties the oil and gas industry has with former Governor Susana Martinez’ administration. But when you stop and look at the makeup of top lobbying groups like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), so-called Power the Future, and top lobbyists for other extraction industry titans, the numbers are truly stunning. At least nine top lobbyists currently working in the extraction industry (or lobbyist adjacent) came directly out of the Martinez administration. The big problem? New Mexico doesn’t have a law that requires a “cooling off” period for officials once they leave the public sector and return to private life.
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.
Remember last month when we laid out how Washington DC based “Power the Future” was really just another (probably) Koch brothers scheme to undermine the debate around methane waste in New Mexico? Well in the last month we’ve seen them keep up the drumbeat put forward by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) with almost Pavlovian-like responses. Most recently, NMOGA has been saying that methane emissions are actually down in New Mexico. News flash: they aren’t. Even the Trump administration admits that climate emissions are basically flat (see chart below), and other analysises has shown that methane emissions in the oil and gas industry are on the rise.
This year’s legislative session was a really intense roller coaster, to say the least, and we all took some time to rest and reflect together on why we do this important political work. ProgressNow New Mexico’s coverage hardly scratched the surface and I want to take a moment to fill you in. I will also give you some tips on how you can help fight back against dangerous rhetoric! Reproductive Health
Anti-abortion extremists were in full force, spreading misinformation and only harassing an Indigenous and queer person (me) over House Bill 51, not including legislators and their families. They regularly use tactics like harassing and stalking to intimidate activists, medical providers, and patients so this is just one of their many tactics.
A month ago ProgressNow New Mexico published a blog about SB 186, a bill that would equip the Oil Conservation Division (OCD) with actual enforcement and punitive powers to enforce state regulations on oil and gas operators in the state. In that piece we highlighted how over the last decade the oil and gas industry has caused literally THOUSANDS of infractions but because of a legal loophole, OCD has not been able to fine those companies, leaving those companies with little motivation to adhere to the law. This isn’t just an academic issue. This is a real problem with real consequences for New Mexicans. Today we want to look at some specific examples of where major failings have happened around the state that affected New Mexicans’ lives and where, if OCD were able to hold these companies accountable, disasters like this could be avoided.
Today ProgressNow New Mexico sent out an email to our members with some hard truths. The Economic Transition Act is an incredible tool for our state and for the communities most affected by the inevitable end of fossil fuel production in our state. We, along with dozens of other partners, are fully encouraging everyone to get behind this effort keep moving New Mexico’s energy future forward. You can CLICK HERE to send an email to your legislator in support of SB 489, the Economic Transition Act. Subject: We need to talk…TextWith a new Governor, enthusiastic new State House representatives, and progressive advocates with eight years of pent-up demand, what could possibly go wrong?Well, a lot, actually, and that’s why we need to talk.We’ll be blunt.
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?
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?
So much winning! New Mexico is sending an ALL Democrat delegation to Congress, elected women up and down the ballot
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.