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Rep. Steve Pearce is STILL pushing to make drilling EASIER for Big Oil, and Gov. Martinez has his back

With the humanitarian crises on the border dominating headlines the past few weeks and this week’s massive Supreme Court news, it’s easy to forget there are still other matters being decided in the halls of Congress that affect Americans everyday lives. Congressman Steve Pearce is pushing through two bills RIGHT NOW that would do away with important management and oversight of the Bureau of Land Management when it comes to issuing permits for drilling oil wells on public lands. 

Pearce, himself a millionaire oilman, of course, claims this is about “cutting red tape” but considering he’s running for governor this year it sure seems like he’s trying to do his buddies in the Permian Basin a huge favor while he’s still on Capitol Hill. But even as governor Pearce could still make it easier for oil and gas companies at the expense of our public lands, our environment, and even if practical policies that would actually net oil and gas companies more revenue like fixing the Methane Rule. 

Just look at Governor Susana Martinez’ role with oil and gas over the last eight years. And in the midst of everything that is happening, Martinez not only wrote a letter earlier in the year that encouraged the feds to support the undoing of the permitting process but actually traveled to Washington DC earlier this month and testified IN SUPPORT of Pearce’s bills. 

Well, we’re not going to let Pearce’s or Martinez’ attempts to undermine our public lands and our natural resources without saying something. That’s why we’ve launched these digital ads to help spread awareness of what’s happening.

On the border: Protests, civil disobedience, and unending hope for separated families

It’s been 10 days since the first big action took place in Tornillo Texas, where a small land port of entry has become of the burning hot focal points of the massive uprising against the inhumane separation of families detained by ICE, CBP, and Border Patrol. ProgressNow New Mexico has been down in Tornillo four times to bear witness to various actions from general protests, to visits from our state’s two Senators, to today’s acts of civil disobedience that shut down the port for over two hours. We’ve tried to cover as much live from Facebook as we could, taken pictures, and talked with folks who’ve worked to organize these events. While the Trump administration has continued to push its narrative of “zero tolerance” when it comes to immigration from south of the border, people from all walks of life have shown up and with increasing escalation, attempted to keep people’s focus on what matters: That children of all ages, and genders, are being housed in tents in 100+ degree weather with no actual plan of reuniting them with their families. We’ve learned that Trump only signed the Executive Order that supposedly ended family separation AFTER being turned down by at least two private corporations to build more additions onto the facility at Tornillo AND made it so that indefinite family detention is still a concept they’re willing to pursue.

Progressive candidates win big in NM across the ballot, defeat GOP PAC $ at every level!

Yesterday’s primary voting has wrapped up and we now have a clear vision of which candidates will be on the November ballots. Progressives gained at least two seats against less ideal incumbents and statewide turned out to support candidates in high numbers. While there were quite a few races available to voters from the three major parties to vote in statewide, we’ll only be featuring those races with contested primaries. For a complete look at every race from yesterday, click here:

Let’s get right down to it! Governor

For the Democrats, Michelle Lujan Grisham won with 66% of the vote statewide.

[UPDATE] Hilcorp pulls request to shut out public input after public outcry, AG get involved!

This is an updated version of a story originally published last week

Late today, (Wednesday, May 30), ProgressNow New Mexico received information that the proposed case had been removed from the Oil Conservation Division docket altogether after pressure from the public (including this original story from PNNM), further inquiries from other press sources, and an apparent inquiry from Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office. While a spokesperson for the AG’s office wouldn’t confirm that the item was no longer being considered, they did comment that the office was looking into the issue. “The Office of the Attorney General is monitoring this issue and will always take appropriate action to ensure that government agencies and processes are transparent and open to the public,” said James Hallinan, Communications Director for the AG’s office. 
ProgressNow New Mexico was provided with an email exchange between the attorney for the OCD and Hilcorp’s attorney’s showing that after the case was slated to be moved until Friday (likely due to the expected turnout), Hilcorp informs OCD’s lawyer that “Hilcorp is withdrawing its application in Case No. 16193. Accordingly, there is no need to hear argument on a continuance or interventions on Friday morning.”

It’s time for a change in New Mexico’s House District 41

Debbie Rodella has been the representative for House District 41 since 1993. After all that time, she’s barely faced any opposition from members of her own party, last facing a primary challenge in 2006. But after a series of votes over the last few years, it has become clear to many that it’s time for a change in the district. Rodella has taken nearly $20,000 from the payday lending industry in the last decade and made sure that at least three times bills designed to protect New Mexicans died in the committee she chairs. As a whole, that industry has spent almost A MILLION DOLLARS in the last few years to oppose common-sense consumer protections. Such protections would ensure that predatory practices from these high-interest lenders would at least have some checks and balances, as well as legal protections for consumers.

[BREAKING] Gov. Martinez leading charge to make it EASIER for oil & gas to drill in NM, around the country

News is breaking today that Governor Susana Martinez is leading the charge to make it EASIER for oil and gas companies to extract resources from federal lands inside New Mexico (as well as other western states with large federal inholdings). This is in direct opposition to the will of most New Mexicans who OVERWHELMINGLY support safer and greater regulations on oil and gas extraction in the state. An article in the industry report Energywire reports that Martinez sent a letter to the feds encouraging them to do away with several regulations and safeguards for extraction of oil and gas on federal public lands. Six governors, led by Susana Martinez of New Mexico (R), sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke earlier this year asking for four policy changes aimed at speeding up energy production on the vast federal estate. The governors’ letter, sent in January but made public yesterday, also included detailed proposals for how Interior could implement the streamlining plans.

[TAKE ACTION] Rep. Carl Trujillo needs to resign

We believe Laura Bonar. It is deeply courageous for a woman to speak publicly about being sexually harassed or assaulted. 
ProgressNow New Mexico is standing with Laura as we have stood with other women in the last year speaking out against their harassers. We are joining her and others in calling for Rep. Carl Trujillo’s resignation. 
Laura wants what all women want – for women to be safe in their workplace and for elected leaders to be ethical and to be held accountable. Instead, Trujillo responded the same way others have responded – as if he is the victim. We’ve seen this response before–the cowardice in Representative  Trujillo’s response.

More pollution, less revenue for NM: Gov’s Environment dept. approves new “regulations”

Once again Governor Martinez and her administration are prioritizing their big oil and gas donors’ interests while putting New Mexicans at risk from increased methane pollution. Last week, the New Mexico Environment Department approved permits that do NOT require oil and gas wells to check for leaks of methane or other pollutants. This once again places New Mexico on the bottom of a an important list as these new rules, or really lack of any rules, are among the weakest environmental protections in the nation. Oh, and remember how leaked methane wastes taxpayers’ money to the tune of $244 MILLION every year? 

So what do the new permits and “regulations” do? Well, not much in terms of regulating anything. Of course, that’s just what groups like the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association spend so much money on every year lobbying in Santa Fe for.

Commissioner of Public Lands race presents some broad differences in future of the SLO

ProgressNow New Mexico will be looking at some top-level races more in-depth over the next few weeks to bring our perspective to the key races we’re expecting to see in New Mexico this year. New Mexico is in the national spotlight as one of the “most likely to flip” states in terms of our governor’s race. Our series will focus on the offices that New Mexicans can vote for statewide. This is the fourth piece in our series. The New Mexico State Land Office (SLO) is first and foremost charged with managing the vast amounts of land within our state’s borders, managing leases and sales to entities who use the land, and collecting monies from those sales and leases to fund education in the state.

As Albuquerque prepares for vote on being Immigrant Friendly City, some reminders from activists who protested AG Sessions last week

Tonight (Monday, April 16), Albuquerque city councilors are expected to vote on whether or not to reaffirm that the state’s largest city will remain an “Immigrant Friendly City.” Despite the verbose and hateful rhetoric from the Trump administration threatening cities and states with the moral aptitude to

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions brought his anti-immigrant, white supremacist views to Las Cruces where he spoke to a conference of sheriffs from counties in the borderland regions of the Southwest. He was met with more protestors outside than there were attendees of the event inside which made national and international headlines. Oh, and then there were the disruptors. Five folks from the community made their way into the hotel where Sessions was speaking and after being told they could not listen to what Sessions had to say, huddled up closely, locked arms, and began chanting: NO JUSTICE!