Environment & Climate Change

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 […]

Lawmakers hope to derail radioactive waste permit

BY: - February 3, 2022

Across the United States, there is about 100,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons development, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reaching the end of their safety and environmental reviews for a proposal to build a storage facility for that […]

White House methane plan funds orphan well cleanup, rewards reduced farm emissions

BY: - February 2, 2022

The federal government will provide $1.15 billion this year to help states cap defunct oil and gas wells, the White House said Monday, as part of a broad plan to reduce methane emissions. The government-wide methane reduction plan comes about two months after President Joe Biden joined a pledge at the United Nations Climate Conference […]

Federal judge cites climate effect in canceling Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale

BY: - January 31, 2022

A federal judge invalidated leases to drill for oil and gas in a broad swath of the Gulf of Mexico, telling the Biden administration to weigh climate impacts before allowing development. The ruling late Thursday handed a victory to environmental groups that had challenged the Interior Department’s move to comply with a separate court order […]