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.
[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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 second piece in our series. Susana Martinez came to power in 2010, at the height of the Great Recession and with a host of ideas about how she’d turn the state around by addressing jobs and crime using the reputation she’d garnered as a tough District Attorney to rouse New Mexicans on both sides of the aisle.
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.
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.
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.
As the new year starts to pick up speed, as our 30-day legislative session creeps ever closer, we thought it’s the perfect time to highlight some of the failures of our state’s commander-in-chief, Governor Susana Martinez. Between now and the first day of session, when Governor Martinez is set to give her last State of the State Address, Progress Now NM is pleased to present the top five times Governor Martinez has failed the people of New Mexico.