[BREAKING] NM’s Attorney General challenges Trump methane rollbacks in court

New Mexico’s Attorney General Hector Balderas joined California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra in taking the Trump administration to court to challenge rollbacks in methane emissions standards. The legal action charges that the move from Trump’s Department of the Interior violates a host of existing regulations and protocols designed to update industry standards that otherwise have operated under decade-old rules. Oil and gas companies vent or flare a significant amount of methane gas during their operations that, besides having negative effects on the environment and New Mexican’s health, wastes a significant amount of a product that otherwise could be utilized to fuel New Mexico homes and other services. The move comes as new polling data in New Mexico shows overwhelming support from a broad swath of the general public for common sense measures designed to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. A new poll conducted by The Majority Institute released this week shows that New Mexicans across the state support strengthening the state’s rules on limiting methane pollution that is leaked, vented or flared from oil and gas facilities.

[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.

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.

Evolution? Climate Change? Science? New NMPED curriculum replaces science with ideology

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the New Mexico Education Department rolled out new proposed teaching standards, last week. Among said standards was a set for Science proposed nationally in 2013, by 26 other states. These standards are known as the “Next Generation of Science” standards.

Fast forward to last week, and Governor Martinez and her administration are choosing to edit, and then implement these proposed standards in New Mexico public schools. The edits suggested from the Martinez administration are poised to remove references to climate change and evolution along with forgetting about the age of this round ball we live on called Earth.

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.

BREAKING: Zinke proposed to open NM monuments to corporate mining and other “traditional uses”

This weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a leaked version of Interior Secretary Zinke’s memo to Donald Trump with recommendations to significantly change at least six western public national monuments – including two here in New Mexico. Zinke has two plans for Trump: create new powers to let the president give away thousands of acres of public monument land, or turn monument land over to “other uses” to include mining and logging. Four western monuments in other states could be shrunk under the first proposal and here at home both the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument are on the list to be opened to up to corporate use, forever destroying our public lands. RELATED: Click here to see how Rep. Steve Pearce is REALLY mad that he lost the battle to shrink our national monuments. 
Zinke’s memo suggests that a “broader set of activities” be allowed within both OMDP and RGDN monuments. “It emphasizes the need to adjust the proclamations to address concerns of local officials or affected industries, saying the administration should permit ‘traditional uses’ now restricted within the monuments’ boundaries, such as grazing, logging, coal mining and commercial fishing.”

Once again, Rep. Steve Pearce holds town hall and doesn’t really say anything

Congressman Steve Pearce attended a small community meeting in Anthony today to answer questions about immigration, public lands, and healthcare but mostly used political platitudes and doublespeak to avoid answering anything. ProgressNow New Mexico was there and broadcast the whole thing live. Check it out:

Despite being over 15 minutes late the congressman still made constituents wait longer as he took questions from Univision reporters outside. By the time he actually started answering questions, it was nearly 10:30 and he only stuck around until 11:30, despite the event being billed from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. The majority of questions from community members centered on immigration and then mostly about his stance on DACA and President Trump’s planned rescinding of that program.

Sec. Zinke, Trump willfully ignore millions of Americans’ public comments on National Monuments, side with known opponents like Pearce, Martinez on public lands

When President Trump issued a directive for his Secretary of the Interior to “review” some 27 national monuments across the American West, a significant part of that process was the public comment reviews. Literally millions of people wrote in their comments to support their love of national monuments, none more fervently than New Mexicans. No, really, more New Mexicans wrote comments per capita than any other single state. The Land of Enchantment really stepped up to the plate to defend our protected public lands. Today, Sec.

JOIN US! We need all hands on deck to protect our National Monuments

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will be touring areas around the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument later this week. It’s all part of his Trump-based agenda to “review” national monuments across the west that were created with the Antiquities Act. These important landmarks contain countless historical, scientific, and recreational resources for all Americans to enjoy and study while preserving our important past.