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.

When oil and gas companies go unregulated, people die and families are dislocated

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.

Raising the royalty cap for our oil and gas is REALLY important for New Mexico

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?

ProgressNow NM joins dozens of statewide orgs with ads supporting new Gov in ending methane waste

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?

An updated Renewable Portfolio Standard is key to moving Farmington, and New Mexico, forward

This is the third in a series focusing on the long-term economic and social issues facing Farmington, New Mexico, and surrounding areas. As a region that has rich and diverse opportunities but generally relies on extractive industries economically, the whole area is facing uncertainty as the coal-burning San Juan Coal Generating Station closes its doors and oil jobs are moving to the southeast part of the state to capitalize on the Permian boom happening right now. In today’s piece, we’ll be looking at complementary legislation that needs to be implemented in the state to ensure areas like Farmington can continue to thrive well into the future. Last week we looked specifically at how securitization could help PNM recoup its costs as it transitions from coal-generated power to renewable sources, while also helping the Four Corners area transition to a new and more diverse economy. The second part of that prospect though is ensuring that utilities like PNM actually DO get their power from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by legislating what is known as a “Renewable Portfolio Standard,” which spells out exactly how much energy must be derived from renewable sources and by when. A quick aside here on language for this piece: Renewable energy in the broad sense is energy created from clean sources like solar or wind as opposed to energy from fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, or oil.