Environment & Climate Change

Bill banning nuclear waste storage dies in Legislature. Activist says fight goes on

BY: - February 24, 2022

A bill that would have made it illegal to store spent nuclear fuel in New Mexico died in the Legislature this year, but a prominent activist says he’s still confident a proposed facility will never operate here The company Holtec International submitted an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March 2017 to open a […]

Little earthquakes point state regulators to oil company’s violations

BY: - February 23, 2022

A major oil company pulling crude from quaking earth in southeastern New Mexico was hit with fines and violation notices Monday. XTO Permian Operating LLC faces more than $2 million in civil penalties for what the state says are operational and reporting violations at four Class II injection wells.  A dramatic increase in seismic activity […]

A problem of ‘infinite scope and cost’

BY: - February 22, 2022

A bill invigorating New Mexico government to coordinate the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines passed both chambers of the Legislature this session, but the state will confront a decades-old problem that experts say has a potentially “infinite” scope and cost.  Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces) sponsored the “Uranium Mine Cleanup” bill, one that will mobilize […]

New Mexico legislators punt on money for oil and gas inspectors

BY: - February 18, 2022

New Mexico has fewer than 20, on a good day. They are field inspectors — the people who check each state’s oil and gas wells in person for leaks and compliance issues. And New Mexico, the No. 2 oil producing state in the U.S. and No. 7 in natural gas, has fewer than other states, particularly when considering the size of the job before them. Oklahoma parallels New Mexico in natural gas production. All trail New Mexico in oil production.

Lobbyist money hidden in New Mexico politics

BY: - February 15, 2022

A pair of bills proposed by Democratic state Sen. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces would require greater disclosures from lobbyists about their money — and by extension their influence on the bills that become law and those that languish in New Mexico. But, he says, “I think their chance of getting passed this session is close […]

Churchrock mine uranium

Uranium mine cleanup approved unanimously by NM House, now faces Senate in session’s last days

BY: - February 13, 2022

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill on a 64-0 vote that would mobilize the state government to coordinate the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines. The bill was one of several passed unanimously without debate on the House floor in a flurry Saturday night. An identical version is awaiting action in the Senate.  […]

National parks try to make progress on long-deferred maintenance

BY: - February 11, 2022

WASHINGTON — During a Wednesday U.S. Senate hearing centered on national parks, administration officials outlined to senators how funding from the Great American Outdoors Act is starting to reduce the backlog of maintenance projects — even as visitation to parks has exploded. An Interior Department official said that the most-loved parks are the ones that […]

Electricity CEOs tout Biden clean energy tax credits, despite stalled plan

BY: - February 10, 2022

Clean energy tax credits President Joe Biden proposed in his massive domestic spending and climate measure last year would help electric utilities build resilience and transmission lines, utility CEOs told Biden at a White House event Wednesday. But the $1.9 trillion budget measure, which Biden and allies call Build Back Better, is in limbo because […]

Hundreds of abandoned uranium mines in NM could be cleaned up if lawmakers approve legislation

BY: - February 9, 2022

A bill in the Legislature would mobilize state government to finally clean up a reported 1,100 uranium mining, milling and drilling sites that are contaminating state and tribal lands and waters. The legislation would direct the New Mexico Environment Department to coordinate efforts to clean and reclaim the sites. It’s a matter complicated by overlapping […]

COMMENTARY

The Clean Futures Act must not leave behind the voices of Indigenous communities

BY: - February 8, 2022

During this legislative session, I testified to the New Mexico House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee in opposition to HB-6, the “Clean Futures Act.” Although I know Rep. Nathan Small, Speaker Brian Egolf and the other sponsors of this legislation have sincerely good intentions, the draft was significantly flawed in ways that would cause […]

USDA pledges $1B for ‘climate smart’ ag products

BY: - February 8, 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to spend up to $1 billion to foster the creation of climate-friendly agricultural and forestry products by offering grants to facilitate their production and the markets to sell them. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon in those industries. “Agriculture is such an exciting but […]

New Mexico Republicans line up against environmental bills

BY: - February 4, 2022

Saturday was a big day for environmental issues at the New Mexico Legislature. The House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee had two game-changing bills on their debate plate: HJR2, the Environmental Rights Act, which would amend the state constitution to make a clean and healthy environment a constitutional right, with the state serving as trustee […]