Environment & Climate Change

‘It’ll never be the same.’ Northern NM residents fly over burn scar to map damage themselves

BY: - December 5, 2022

Hundreds of miles of blackened, lifeless trees — vast stains on the land when viewed from above. Rivers and streams cutting their way through valleys and deadened forests. Even narrower waterways, acequias that New Mexicans rely on for their livelihood, scattered across the land, the water itself almost not even visible through the airplane’s window.  […]

Oil and gas operator pays millions for Clean Air Act violations

BY: - December 5, 2022

A recent agreement between an environmental group and an oil and gas company that dramatically cuts excess oilfield pollution at a facility in southern New Mexico could be a model both for quicker resolutions to pollution violations and a legal roadmap for private groups looking to hold fossil fuel companies to account under the Clean […]

Nine names heading to the governor, who will select a brand new Public Regulation Commission

BY: - December 2, 2022

The committee responsible for sorting through the applicants who are seeking an appointment to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission  unanimously voted on Friday to refer nine names to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.  One notable name was not on the list: Commissioner Cynthia Hall, who served on the PRC since 2017 representing the Albuquerque area. […]

Electrical transmission power line, beautiful sunset sky on background

What’s the deal with New Mexico’s PRC?

BY: , , and - December 1, 2022

If you’ve never heard of the state’s Public Regulation Commission, you’ve likely still observed the consequences of its decisions in your daily life. On your electricity bill, for example. Or your gas bill. Your water bill.  Commissioners also have a hand in broadband and telecommunications around the state, and field consumer complaints.  Transportation, too. Staff […]

The wreckage of a car teeters on a buckled roadway in the wake of Hurricane Ian on Sept. 30, 2022 in Matlacha, Florida.

More than $37 billion in disaster aid under scrutiny in congressional lame duck

BY: - November 30, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration wants Congress to approve more than $37 billion to help communities throughout the country recover from various natural disasters, including Hurricanes Ian, which battered Florida and the Southeast U.S. in late September, and Fiona, which hit Puerto Rico.  The supplemental funding request comes on top of a $9 billion COVID-19 […]

President Joe Biden greets Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell at the steps of Air Force One at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque in June for a visit related to the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire.

President Biden asks for almost $3 billion more for northern New Mexico wildfire victims

BY: - November 30, 2022

President Joe Biden has asked Congress for another $2.9 billion for New Mexico to recover from a wildfire ignited by the United States Forest Service, the largest in the state’s recorded history. If passed, victims would be in line to receive more than $5 billion total in federal compensation.  Biden in late September signed a […]

Powerlines at sunrise in Albuquerque in 2021

NM High Court denies Indigenous groups’ attempt to block changes to PRC

BY: - November 29, 2022

The New Mexico Supreme Court on Monday denied a challenge made on behalf of Indigenous groups that sought to block a constitutional amendment set to take effect next year. New Mexico voters approved a constitutional amendment during the November 2020 election that changed membership on the state’s utility regulatory body from being an elected position […]

A methane plume 2 miles long detected by NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation mission, southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico. (Image from NASA / JPL-Caltech)

New NASA camera spots methane ‘super emitter’ in New Mexico

BY: - November 29, 2022

A news release from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory about its new mineral mapping instrument on the International Space Station sent Oil Conservation Division (OCD) employees scrambling the last week in October. The notification, posted to science aficionados around the world, featured the agency’s new ground-scanning camera and led with an image of a massive methane […]

Little appetite for Manchin permitting bill in congressional lame-duck session

BY: - November 28, 2022

Among the items on Congress’ lengthy to-do list by the end of the year is U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s proposal to speed up the federal government’s permitting process that certifies energy projects do not harm the environment. But the bill, which was a condition of the centrist West Virginia Democrat’s support for his party’s larger […]

As utilities spend billions on transmission, support builds for independent monitoring  

BY: - November 25, 2022

An aging electric grid, fossil fuel power plant retirements and a massive renewable electricity buildout are all contributing to a boom in transmission and distribution wire projects by electric utilities across the country.  In 2020, investor-owned electric utilities spent $25 billion on transmission, up from $23.7 billion in 2019, figures that the Edison Electric Institute, […]

New map shows damage status of 50+ acequias in the northern NM burn scar

BY: - November 23, 2022

Many historic irrigation canals are still damaged in the 530-square-mile swath of charred land the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire. After the acequias were scorched by the largest fire in state history, ensuing floods forced debris and silt into the waterways.  Members of the New Mexico Acequia Association are marking headgates and walking each mile of […]

The Lesser Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) dancing or "drumming" as part of a mating display in northern Oklahoma. (Nattapong Assalee / Getty Images)

Federal wildlife officials list lesser prairie chicken as threatened in Kansas

BY: - November 23, 2022

Federal wildlife officials have listed the iconic lesser prairie chicken as threatened across its Kansas habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday. The bird is in even more dire straits in the southwest, where it will be listed as endangered. The listing comes after years of fighting by wildlife advocates to protect the […]