As Farmington goes, so goes New Mexico: A look at the changing landscape of our state

This is the first 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. Farmington has always been a crossroads of sorts, situated uniquely at the confluence of three rivers and in modern times, highways and railroads. But as we move into the third decade of the twenty-first century, Farmington and other cities in the tri-county area of northwest New Mexico will be facing major changes as coal is phased out. No matter what the Trump administration says, or any campaign stumps from politicians like Steve Pearce promise, coal has seen its heyday and it’s never going to be a reliable commodity to build an industry on again.

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.

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.

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.

For Dems, Lt. Governor race is still a toss-up, but GOP and Libs are locked in

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 third piece in our series. The position of Lt. Governor can seem pretty inglorious compared to other statewide positions with specific duties as Secretary of State or Attorney General.

[TAKE ACTION] We thought we had won. But the stream access issue is back and the people of New Mexico need to speak up

The New Mexico Game and Fish Commission has just called a last-minute emergency meeting to try to push through a new rule limiting New Mexicans access to our public streams and rivers. The proposed rule would infringe upon the constitutional rights of New Mexico citizens and tourists to utilize publicly accessible streams and their streambeds, including those flowing through or adjacent to private property, for fishing, boating, or other recreational purposes. The rule also holds out a false promise to landowners, who would be required to undergo an arduous process to have a stream certified as non-navigable and subject to the new rule and trespass statute. We wrote about this about a month ago so if you’d like to learn more, go check out that article here. And all of this is happening while the New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Supreme Court have already made this abundantly clear: the state’s waters are for all New Mexico citizens, not just the wealthy few.

[Take Action] Stream access rights have deeper implications for all New Mexicans

As an engaged citizenry, we are accustomed to fighting for the rights we deserve. Part of that, unfortunately, is fighting for rights that were taken away, often hastily and discretely, often related to protecting the interests of campaign donors. So is the case with stream access in New Mexico – a right that was guaranteed by water law when New Mexico was still a territory, reiterated in our state constitution in 1911, backed by a 1945 Supreme Court opinion, and upheld again in 2014 by another opinion by then-Attorney General Gary King. Last year ProgressNow NM’s Education Fund helped bring attention to this issue through a series of commercials and with YOUR help. More than 100 years of state history was quickly unwound in 2015, when Senate Bill 226 passed the Senate by a wide margin in the early afternoon of the next-to-last day of the 60-day session, then passed the House on a party-line vote that evening, and signed into law by the governor a few days later.

Here’s why Steve Pearce is really mad about Zinke’s plan to change New Mexico’s monuments

Secretary Ryan Zinke is proposing big changes to New Mexico’s national monuments, but he didn’t recommend eliminating or shrinking and Rep. Steve Pearce is not happy about it. In a press release this morning, the congressman blasted Zinke’s recommendations, saying:
“Secretary Zinke’s recommendation fails to provide the solutions New Mexico needs. Since 2008, I have been working with the local community to establish a compromise that protects the Organ Mountains Desert Peak National Monument (OMDP) while preserving the multiple uses that public lands provide.” Here’s the full press release from Pearce:

[embeddoc url=”https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.progressnownm.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/10122802/Steve-Pearce-PR-on-monuments.pdf” download=”all”]

While the recommendation to not shrink Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks AND Rio Grande del Norte national monuments is a small victory, the proposed “management changes” in Zinke’s memos are still extremely worrisome. Read More: BREAKING: Zinke proposed to open NM monuments to corporate mining and other “traditional uses”

So, why is Pearce so mad? Pearce’s base in Dona Ana County is largely based on the rural ranching community who’ve fought against wilderness and the national monument initiatives for decades.