It’s Always Susana in New Mexico (at least when it comes to oil and gas)

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.

Justice for NM students! Gov. Martinez loses education funding lawsuit, forced to sufficiently fund schools [UPDATED]

 

[UPDATE: Gov. Martinez’s Public Education Department has said they will appeal the judge’s decision that the state is required to provide more funding to students in NM. Gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham has said she will halt any appeal of the decision Gov. Martinez makes if she’s elected Governor. Steve Pearce has yet to make a similar determination. Read about it at NM In Depth.]

In a devastating rebuke to the failed education and funding policies of Gov. Susana Martinez (along with her conservative allies like the Rio Grande Foundation and conservative Democrats like Sen. John Arthur Smith), First Judicial District Court Judge Sarah Singleton handed down a huge win for New Mexico’s students Friday. You can’t put it more succinctly than the first line of the ABQ Journal’s article: “New Mexico is violating the constitutional rights of at-risk students by failing to provide them with a sufficient education.”

New polling shows 90% of New Mexicans support for smart methane requirements

As New Mexicans gather this morning to show their strong support for clean air and methane standards, Congressman Steve Pearce revealed his true colors again last night in Washington. His vote to strip funding for the implementation of federal methane requirements on the oil and gas industry wouldn’t just dirty New Mexico’s air, new polling shows it is also dramatically out of step with the will of 9 out of 10 New Mexicans. New polling data released just yesterday shows that the way you yourself probably feel about public lands is actually the way most folks feel about it. Overall the poll shows strong support for public lands in the west, that voters reject candidates who favor extraction over conservation, and common sense issues like the Methane Rule have broad support from either side of the aisle. It appears that Pearce didn’t get a chance to see the poll yesterday though before taking a vote to cut funding for enforcement of the Methane Rule. 89 percent of ALL New Mexicans support the rule, so it’s baffling that Pearce would vote against something with such clear interest to his constituents.

[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.

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.

The 5 most important things you need to know about the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association’s political power play  

 

This is the fifth and final piece in a series of articles highlighting the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. NMOGA lobbies on behalf of oil and gas interests, seeking less regulation and oversight for their industry and greater access to political power in the state. Last year, the Executive Director of NMOGA, Ryan Flynn, spoke at their annual meeting about the future of oil and gas in New Mexico as they moved into the election cycle of 2018, their goals to seize power, and the strength of their “opposition,” the citizens of New Mexico who have pushed back against the fossil fuel industry and their stranglehold on the state at all levels.  

Let’s recap what we have learned so far in looking more in-depth into NMOGA in the past month:

NMOGA’s Executive Director, Ryan Flynn, gave a speech last October to members of his association, the full transcript of which was leaked and full of some pretty concerning rhetoric. Besides proclaiming that his intention was to make NMOGA the “most powerful organization” in the state, Flynn also unabashedly pointed out his close personal ties with Governor Susana Martinez and touted that relationship as something positive for oil and gas companies.

The dirty (not so) little secret about how much oil and gas “helps” our state

This is the third in a series of articles highlighting the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. NMOGA lobbies on behalf of oil and gas interests, seeking less regulation and oversight for their industry and greater access to political power in the state. Last year, the Executive Director of NMOGA, Ryan Flynn, spoke at their annual meeting about the future of oil and gas in New Mexico as they moved into the election cycle of 2018, their goals to seize power, and the strength of their “opposition,” the citizens of New Mexico who have pushed back against the fossil fuel industry and their stranglehold on the state at all levels.  

In a report out last week, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association made some pretty bold claims about how much their industry does for the state; funding schools and bolstering the state’s economy in general. But there’s a pretty serious cloud over those numbers, and quite literally, over the state in the form of the wasted methane, and lost revenue, from New Mexico’s oil and gas producers.

#1 – Top 5 Martinez blunders as we begin another legislative session

This is it, the final, #1 example of how the Governor has been derelict in her duties and failed all New Mexicans as a leader and human being. The Governor’s attack on stream access is atrocious because it is one of the most direct examples of pay for play in recent memory, and she took away a right of all New Mexicans, and most didn’t even realize it.

A gift Donald Trump will hate

Before we end 2017, please consider one last thing for your 2018 to-do list: making a year-end gift to help us start 2018 off right! Six years ago, Susana Martinez had just finished her first year in office promising that big corporate tax cuts would create New Mexico jobs.  That wasn’t true and we knew it, but Democrats and Republicans alike bought in. ALEC was adding new members in New Mexico and the Koch brothers were testing out new state-based strategies to attack unions and lower wages. We started ProgressNow’s network in New Mexico because we were tired of waiting for someone else to take on the fight. Today, that network is one of the state’s biggest and most vocal unapologetically progressive organizations, and the undisputed go-to source of progressive news for the state. With Trump in the White House and the possibility of Steve Pearce ending up in Roundhouse, New Mexico has never needed progressive leaders and actions more.

Methane “facts” nothing but hot air from Guv & her Big Oil/Gas cronies

Get ready for some more hot air from the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) and the Martinez administration in today’s Water and Natural Resources Committee hearing. New Mexico is living under the most concentrated cloud of methane pollution in the country and, since methane is the primary component of the natural gas we use to heat our homes, this waste is costing New Mexicans tens of millions in tax revenue and royalties every year. But the NMOGA is trying to argue “it’s the price we have to pay” to have a functioning oil and gas industry. The facts tell a far different story. Last week, NMOGA made a Chicken Little “sky is falling” attack against Sen. Tom Udall, who has been a longtime leader on ending natural gas waste on behalf of New Mexico’s taxpayers and schools.