[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.

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.

Millions March For Our Lives nationwide – New Mexico turns out for gun safety

Rallies associated with the March For Our Lives movement organized by students affected by gun violence may have surpassed already record-setting rallies that have been happening ever since the inauguration of Donald Trump. Perhaps even more important and impressive is that it is likely one of the largest collective movements of young people since the iconic anti-war protests of the Vietnam era. 

New Mexicans joined by the thousands across the state, with especially large turnouts in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. In Las Cruces where students were out of school for spring break, an impromptu rally was still organized after the beginning of the week saw armed pro-gun advocates take over a city council meeting specifically to derail a proposed resolution on school safety as it relates to firearms. Even Silver City students held a rally that was well attended. 

Some students from Aztec High School were able to travel to Washington DC and participate in the national rally as well as speak with Senator Martin Heinrich about gun safety. Heinrich has publically denounced the National Rifle Association and called for better and smarter gun regulations and even written an Op-Ed piece about his former relationship with the NRA. While the NRA hasn’t rated me for this election yet, if my work in the Senate to pass gun violence reform hasn’t earned me an F rating, I suspect this post will. And that’s fine by me. -Sen. Martin Heinrich
New Mexico remains a state with relatively few gun laws on the books overall.

2018 Elections: What you need to know about New Mexico politics right now

Today is March 14, 2018. It is the day after “filing day” in New Mexico when candidates file for their races around the state, from county commissions to the governor. With little exception, if candidates haven’t submitted the required amount of signatures or have for some other reason been disqualified by the Secretary of State’s office, we now have a pretty good idea of who’s running in 2018 across the board. 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.

[BREAKING] Pearce wrong on methane (again), endorses Trump plan to allow more taxpayer waste

Today, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke proposed gutting the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Methane Waste Prevention rule, which was designed to limit the wasteful venting and flaring of methane from oil and gas operations on public lands. And Congressman Steve Pearce was right there to applaud this giant step backward. 
In supporting efforts to rollback needed methane waste standards, Pearce is completely ignoring the fact that methane venting and flaring costs New Mexicans MILLIONS in lost revenue every year. New Mexico wastes more natural gas (primarily made up of methane) from it’s federal and tribal lands than any other state – $100 million worth of natural gas annually that should be generating millions more in royalty revenue for New Mexico schools. Pearce has a long history of supporting the extraction industry over the actual wishes of his own constituents. Whether it’s voting against the methane rule or opposing preserving public lands, Pearce has sided with extraction related industries at every turn. 
Secretary Zinke’s proposal would severely weaken efforts to curb waste on public lands, leading to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer-owned energy every year.

Coming soon thanks to NMOGA, oil derricks and gas plants next door to NM schools?

This is the fourth 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.  
NMOGA’s Executive Director has made a lot of big claims about how his industry aims to help New Mexicans, especially pointing out the fiscal returns to schools from lease permits from oil and gas companies. But what kind of quality of life can families expect in New Mexico if methane, benzene, and other pollution is being vented right next door to a school or a day-care center? 
Today the New Mexico State The New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Air Quality Bureau is meeting to decide the fate of proposed new rules governing how oil and gas companies are allowed to build new facilities within the state.

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.

#4 – Top 5 Martinez blunders as we approach another legislative session

This one hits particularly close to home, as our state’s young people are the root of the positive changes we should expect and hope for in the state we love. In September of last year, while legislators again tried to incorporate Next Generation Science Standards to improve educational outcomes for students across the state, the Governor released her own version of the standards, ignoring common sense, national education best practices, and the will of educators and parents in every corner of New Mexico.