Environment & Climate Change

Fracking pumpjacks on the horizon.

New Mexico county to ease oil and gas drilling rules despite new evidence of health dangers

BY: - May 26, 2022

A mapping project released today by nonprofit environmental groups EarthWorks and FracTracker shows that more than 12.3 million people live within a half-mile of an oil and gas facility in the United States — 144,377 of them in New Mexico. And earlier this month, a mostly rural county just south of Albuquerque passed an ordinance that could […]

What’s next for prescribed burns?

BY: - May 26, 2022

A few embers, carried on high winds, sailed past the containment lines for a prescribed burn north of Las Vegas on the afternoon of April 6. They landed and ignited a swath of dense and bone-dry forest. Six weeks later, more than 310,000 acres had burned — an area about one-quarter the size of the […]

Mutual aid efforts ahead of the state on COVID and wildfires

BY: - May 25, 2022

As coronavirus surges and wildfires grow, local community mutual aid organizers in New Mexico have responded much differently than state officials. Rather than placing responsibility on individuals, Indigenous-led mutual aid groups approach the pandemic, and now the 2022 wildfire season, with the understanding that public health is a matter of community responsibility. To understand how […]

MLG asks feds to consider ‘extreme’ scenarios ahead of every prescribed burn

BY: - May 24, 2022

As the United States Forest Service conducts a review of its prescribed burn protocol over the next several months, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office is calling for several big changes to the way federal agencies determine whether a burn is a good idea.  The changes the governor seeks are generally aimed at ensuring federal agencies […]

Students fleeing from wildfires hold on to what little normal is left

BY: - May 24, 2022

In the dining area of the disaster recovery center in Glorieta on Friday, Amory Ling and other students from United World College were carrying on an old unofficial student-run tradition: At the end of the school year, everyone buys their country’s flag, and then writes messages on each other’s flags. It’s personally important to Ling […]

COVID spreading in NM disaster centers

BY: - May 23, 2022

As coronavirus cases surge in New Mexico, people fleeing the biggest wildfire in the state’s history have been staying at disaster recovery centers. Few wear masks, and efforts to ventilate and filtrate the indoor air are spotty, leaving evacuees more prone to catch the virus — and breathe in dangerous particles from the smoke. Some […]

The Southwest’s drought and fires are a window to our climate change future

BY: - May 20, 2022

The concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has reached its highest level in recorded human history. Again. In April, the level of CO2 was 27% higher than it was 50 years ago, according to the latest data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. (Methane, a gas with […]

Cerro Grande fire victims were ‘fully compensated’ decades ago. NM gov seeks the same in 2022.

BY: - May 19, 2022

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and others are calling for additional funding to compensate those who lost their homes or livelihoods due to the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon wildfire, preferably an aid package that resembles the one the federal government provided in the aftermath of the Cerro Grande fire 22 years ago.  “It’s not like we haven’t […]

State to provide rent money to tenants affected by wildfires

BY: - May 19, 2022

A state agency announced Wednesday that it would provide up to three months of rent and hotel stays for those who lose their rented homes or apartments in ongoing wildfires in New Mexico. The Department of Finance and Administration said tenants who lost their housing due to the fires should apply for assistance on the […]

Echoes of the Cerro Grande wildfire 22 years later

BY: - May 18, 2022

Amid an extended drought and a busy wildfire season, a National Park Service crew lined up to light a prescribed burn in dense forest in early May, 2000. The windy season. A big mistake. The blaze grew out of control quickly and thanks to a delay in suppression, limited resources and merciless weather, became the […]

Federal relief ‘not meant to make individuals whole,’ FEMA official says

BY: - May 18, 2022

As many as 1,500 buildings have been destroyed, and more than 10,000 people have fled from the wildfire burning in northern New Mexico, according to the governor, but it’s unlikely that those people will get their homes or livelihoods back without some kind of successful joint effort by Congress and state officials. As of Tuesday, […]

FEMA and city government offer supplies and support to an estimated 1,500 evacuees in Albuquerque

BY: - May 18, 2022

Once a hub for COVID relief and a drive-through for small business owners collecting assistance checks, the John Marshall Health and Social Center has been converted into an Albuquerque hub providing resources for fire evacuees from Northern New Mexico.  Mayor Tim Keller said there are approximately 1,500 evacuees in New Mexico’s most populous city. They […]