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?
In August, Republican Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced his plan to ask the federal government to turn over “upwards of 6.5 millions acres” of “unleased federal subsurface mineral acreage” (ie, federal public lands) and federal mining leases to him. “Any and all unleased land… would then be leased out by the State Land Office” for new oil and gas permits, Dunn said. At the time, he had a big problem: a Democratic president who favors more public lands. But with Donald Trump in the White House, Tea Party leaders in Congress see a new opportunity to transfer our public lands to private hands – and apparently so does Aubrey Dunn.
Last week immigrant community members throughout New Mexico came together and submitted over 2,400 petitions to Gov. Martinez demanding she take action to protect the health and well being of their communities and increase renewable energy output in the state. The petition gathering was organized by Juntos: Our Air Our Water — a project of Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund — which organizes Latino communities to protect air and water and advocate for clean energy. From the Los Alamos Daily Post (emphasis added):
The petition gathering started early September after Juntos had conducted a survey, October 2015 through February 2016, which demonstrated that 89 percent of the surveyed families – mostly from the Latin immigrant community – expressed that their number one concern was the air quality and air pollution levels found in their communities. […]
The petitions recently turned in demand that the Martínez administration implement a strong plan to help our state transition to clean, renewable energy – specifically wind and solar energy – and creates more “green jobs”. Investments in renewable energy are investments in healthy families, and yet the Martinez administration continues to invest in dirty energy, despite its impact on New Mexicans’ air, land, water and health.
On Friday afternoon, the federal government will stop taking comments on the President’s proposed rule to require oil and gas drillers working on public lands to plug leaks, limit the release of noxious global warming gases and increase royalty payments to local schools across the West – but not before oil and gas companies turn in thousands of comments opposing it. New Mexico’s biggest oil and gas producers have turned out employees and distributed petitions claiming that proposed methane rules will kill thousands of jobs in local communities. You can watch KOB-TV’s very one-sided story featuring these “stop the destruction of 9,000 jobs” petitions online:
They are new rules intended to help the energy industry and the environment, but opponents say they will end up costing thousands of jobs. That’s why one group is working to collect signatures to send to Washington showing opposition to Bureau of Land Management rule changes for venting and flaring by residents. Source: Four Corners residents petition Washington on BLM flaring rules
The don’t have any actual data to back that up nor do they mention that “New Mexico taxpayers contribute $104 million per year in subsidies to the oil and gas industry — or $285,000 per day.”
New Mexico is home to green chile, Route 66 and the world’s largest methane cloud. Two of those three are pretty cool. But what if we could get rid of the other and add $50 million to New Mexico schools without raising taxes a penny? That’s a pretty good deal, right? You betcha!
(News Release) The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has extended the public comment period for the recently proposed Methane and Waste Prevention Rule until April 22, 2016. This rule would update 30-year-old regulations to reduce the wasteful release of natural gas into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations on public and American Indian lands. The comment period was extended because of public request. After receiving multiple communications from the public requesting an extension of the comment period or opposing such an extension, the BLM is extending the comment period from the original April 8 deadline. The public will now have an additional 14 days, until to April 22, 2016, to review and comment on the draft rule.
1. the purchase of goods or shares by one person or party before the opportunity is offered to others. 2. the action of preempting or forestalling, especially of making a preemptive attack.
You may have heard the word “preemption” floating around the world of New Mexico politics lately like an annoying gnat you can’t quite see but won’t seem to leave you alone.
Gas flaring is the nasty little process where natural gas processing plants (or other oil and gas production sites) burn off flammable gas into the atmosphere. It’s a common practice but it’s extremely wasteful and also harmful to the environment.
New Radio Ad: While New Mexicans suffer at the pump, oil and gas industry gets huge tax breaks
This week, Progress Now New Mexico Education Fund Launched a radio ad calling attention to the $4 billion in tax breaks the oil and gas industry enjoys despite making $137 billion in profits last year alone.
The ad, which can be heard by clicking the play button to the left, contrasts the pain New Mexicans are feeling at the pump with the outrageous tax benefits and profits oil companies are enjoying.
“So many New Mexicans are feeling the pain at the pump,” said Progress Now New Mexico Executive Director Pat Davis. “It’s outrageous to learn that big oil companies are not only making $137 billion in profits they are also getting $4 billion in tax breaks.”
The ad, “Pain at the Pump,” also calls attention to Representative Steve Pearce, who has voted eight times since February of 2011 to preserve these oil company tax breaks.