Congress Threatens to Roll Back Methane Emissions on Public Land: Cough

If Congress has its way, BLM restrictions on methane emissions will be obliterated and that 4-Corners circled methane plume will blossom. Details on: the mosque solidarity event; citizen activism at the Roundhouse 10 today to lobby for legalized marijuana and backgrounds checks on gun sales & Monday 8:30 to lobby for the Health Security Act & attend Immigration Moral Monday at 10am.  Details. 

methane-plumeThat methane plume circled at left is destined to grow much bigger, if Congress rolls back Colorado-based BLM restrictions on emissions on public lands. Glenn Schiffbauer from the Green Chamber of Commerce sent along this article on Congress’ plan to roll back restrictions on methane emissions from natural gas and oil operations on public land.

“The US House today (yesterday) considered a resolution that would wipe from the books the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, which aims to prevent methane venting, flaring and leakage during oil and gas production. Click here for the full article. It describes the scope of methane emissions resulting from Four Corners operations, the impact of the law and the rationale for maintaining.

The House did more than consider the resolution, they passed it 221-191 gutting a regulation that had actually been crafted by environmentalists and gas/oil industry representatives. Capping methane results in both reduced emissions and captured methane that can be sold. Royalties generated from captured methane would fund education and emergency services. Clean-air and public lands proponents now turn their attention to swaying Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. So if you have friends in CO, now is the time to reach out to them. Click here for the full report on the CO regulation that had just been passed, the vote yesterday and facts on how methane immersions threaten the environment. One fact from the Dept. of Interior:  “Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, accounts for nine percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and almost one-third of that is estimated to come from oil and gas operations.”

“Now, all eyes will be on Sen. Gardner, who has an opportunity to show whether he stands with Washington, D.C. politicians, or with the Colorado way where the oil and gas industry came together with environmental groups to pass similar rules merely three years ago,” Goad added.

We may not be able to stop Congress from passing this bill.  But this issue has the potential to be one of those that can unify blue and red, Democrat and GOP as ranchers are farmers live near these methane plumes. Nothing like a little threat to the health of your own children to motivate you.  This is precisely the point of Rev. Barber’s fusion politics and seeking to find common ground on moral grounds. We all love our kids and we don’t want them getting cancer or asthma because of Congressional mindlessness  This is an excellent article with tons of citations, photos and data supporting the need for restrictions on methane emissions.   New Mexico rancher Don Schreiber said he is incensed by the possibility”The thought of people without a vulnerable exposure, without exposing their own lives, the lives of their families, their wives, daughters, children, to this threat is infuriating to me and so outside anything that’s reasonable or just,” he said.

Roxanne & I Must Reduce Our Level of Effort.  Can you help keep the ball rolling? So, you have gotten used to detailed daily blogs and lots of action alerts and meetings and trainings, and town halls and now a radio show (today at 11am on KSFR, Retake the Roundhouse’s first show), taped on Friday. Well, Roxanne and I are going to have to cut back a bit. After essentially 18 months of turning down work, we can’t do it anymore and I now have two federal grants I am working on while Roxanne has two editing jobs she is doing. Sooner or later this had to happen and we are gratified that some leaders are showing up to lesson our load….but more need to do so. In tomorrow’s post I will have a list of things that we need to get done….by someone not named Roxanne or Paul. Don’t worry, we won’t disappear, but…..  Most urgently, we need someone to help plan our Moral Monday on Monday, Feb 20 at noon at the Roundhouse…media announcements, outreach to ally organizations, and help schedule a series of speakers and entertainers.  Write to me at paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org.

Solidarity with our Muslim Friends.  Almost 100 Retake Our Democracy supporters joined members of Masjid Al Rahma Mosque in services yesterday. It was a powerful experience for us and for the Muslims attending the service. During the service, we heard much about the Muslim faith and heard entreaties not to believe all that is the press about people of Muslim faith, nor to base your opinion of Muslims on the behavior of any Muslim who might have done something bad. The Muezzin (who led the service) was inspiring and at one point when referencing the large turnout appeared to choke up a bit as he told us that he had expected only a few to come and how important our show of solidarity was to the Muslim community . He also invited us to return for Friday 1pm prayers at any time.

Roundhouse Activities

Roundhouse Advocacy This Saturday 10am-Noon. Main House Chamber. Originally four bills were being discussed on Saturday, but now the committee will hear only 2 bills beginning at 10 am in the order below. How about a bunch of us plan to be at the Roundhouse at 10am and track these bills? Many of us have never been to a Roundhouse Committee meeting, including me. This will be a great start. Bring a few friends, go out for breakfast or coffee and then have a Roundhouse experience. Likely you can take in both committee hearings and be back in the sun by noon. Click here to RSVP just so we know how many may be coming.

  • HB 37 Born Alive Infant Protection (Dropped from this Committee Hearing, so only 2 on Sat.)
  • HB 50 Background Checks on Gun Transfers. HB 50 would create a new section of Chapter 30, Article 7 NMSA requiring an unlicensed person to use a firearm dealer when transferring a firearm to another unlicensed person. A person who violates the provisions of the bill would be guilty of a misdemeanor for a first offense and guilty of a fourth degree felony for a second or subsequent offense. Currently, no background check is required if a private gun owner sells or gives his gun(s) to someone else.
  • HB 72 Reinstate Death Penalty [Dropped from this Committee Hearing, so only 2 on Sat.]
  • HB 89 Cannabis Revenue & Freedom Act.  Would legalize marijuana for recreational use and the production of industrial hemp. Passage would not only legalize marijuana and hemp in the Land of Enchantment, but would also take a big step toward nullifying federal cannabis prohibition in practice in the state.

Health Security Act Hearing.The next hearing on this bill will be:  House Health & Human Services Committee, Monday, February 6, 2017 – 8:30 a.m. – Room 315. This is essentially New Mexico’s version of a single-payer, healthcare for all model of coverage.  Click here for more information on the bill and how you can sign up for alerts updating you on committee votes and future hearings.

Moral Monday: Focus on Immigration Monday Feb. 6 10am. Rotunda. Join Sen Tom Udall and Somos Un Pueblo Unido at the Roundhouse for Moral Monday.  At 10am, speeches will begin focused on immigration, sanctuary, and how you can support our immigrant neighbors and then at noon outside a celebration of music, poetry, food.

Other Roundhouse Committee Meetings:  Click here to find out scheduled hearings on all bills for the next week. Be warned, times change quickly and often. We will try to report on specific bills of high interest, but we don’t have the resources to do this. Is there someone out there who can monitor maybe a dozen bills and maintain a summary of hearings coming?

Opportunities and Actions

ksfrRetake Our Democracy Radio Show Launches Sat., Feb 4, 11am.  Listen in as I interview Allegra Love and Marcela Diaz about how the Santa Fe Dreamers Project and Somos Un Pueblo Unido are working to protect our immigrant neighbors, what the new expanded Sanctuary resolution is and how it can improve our City’s capacity to protect our immigrant neighbors. The show will be weekly and available via podcast. I will post podcast links regularly. The following week I will be interviewing two Dreamers to get a more personal perspective on the importance of expanding our Sanctuary program and to hear how the current national climate is impacting Dreamers. 

 

latino-infantEarly Childhood Education Expansion. I was the chief consultant and evaluator for Oakland Unified School District’s Early Childhood Education programs for four years. I am passionate about the need for expanding early childhood education and would like to see this occur in Santa Fe. But I am conflicted by the current verbiage to the proposed Soda Tax. I spent some time yesterday reviewing the report that frames the City’s approach and was impressed with many aspects of their review of the research. The report documents clearly the benefits from early childhood programs both from a fiscal and from a human perspective. Click the following link santafeprekunmetneedreport to read the report on unmet need. The report also describes fiscal projections that support how projected increases in our population will supplant most of the losses in revenue due to reduced consumption of soda due to the increased costs. Click here economicanalysis-december2016 for a report on the soda tax revenue plan.  But while these reports are quite comprehensive there are still gaps in this proposal and its analysis. And as we learned above with Pappen’s SB 182 Early Childhood Land Grant bill, you need to dig a bit deeper than a bill title. Specific concerns include:

A soda tax will hit low-income families hardest because they consume more soda than to upper income populations,   But what guarantees are there that low-income communities and families will access these new slots?  And in what proportion?  What kinds of provisions will help struggling early childhood centers serving low-income communities build higher quality programs and expand their capacity?  My guess is that South Side families will pay a disproportionate share of the Soda Tax, so South Side should derive a disproportionate share of the benefits. But what specific provisions are there in the proposal that addresses this? . I would like someone to step forward as a researcher who could work with me to fully vet this initiative so that we can either strongly endorse it or work with the City to find ways to amend it. This is an urgent need, so if you have a few hours, write to me at paul@retakeourdemocracy.org.

Upcoming Town Halls and City Council Meetings related to Early Childhood Education Expansion: 

  • Sat., Feb 4, 10am |  Early Childhood Education Town Hall, Genoveva Chavez Community Center |
  • Weds., Feb 8, 7pm | City Council Meeting, City Hall | (get there early!)
  • Weds., Mar 8, 7pm | City Council Meeting, City Hall – PUBLIC HEARING & VOTE  (get there early!)
Other Upcoming Opportunities and Events:

Getting Money Out of Politics (NM MOP) is this coming Monday, 2/6 at 6 pm at the Main Downtown Library on Washington St.The next general meeting of New Mexicans for Getting Money Out of Politics (NM MOP) is this coming Monday, 2/6 at 6 pm at the Main Downtown Library on Washington St. (See attached agenda). This is a very important meeting as we will discuss what our response might be to the recent events in Washington.

Tues. Feb 7, 5:30-7pm, Outreach Action Team Planning Mtg., 1420 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe. Join us to plan the launch of our Community Conversations Canvassing campaign and to discuss organizing panels and trainings, expanding alliances with other organizations, developing an outreach and organizing strategy in other NM communities, finalizing a plan for our Moral Monday event on Feb 20, and organizing a range of other events and outreach activities.

Thurs., Feb 9, 6pm-7:30pm. Showing Up Racial Justice (SURJ) Call-in Training in Creating Powerful Advocacy Research. This call will dig into concrete tools to research targets for actions and organizing campaigns. Join the Public Accountability Initiative to learn how you can deepen your chapters research capacity to develop powerful campaigns, and learn more about the launch of SURJ’s research working group. This call will build on the research call in January, but it’s not required that you participated in the first call to join this one. This is a tremendous national organization. Retake Our Democracy is forming an alliance with the Northern NM Chapter. I recommend this call-in to all members of our Research Action Team and to others who want to better understand how to use information to move people. Click here to RSVP and for more details. To request closed captioning, email meredith@showup4rj.org.

Sat. Feb 11, 3:30-5:30pm, Retake Our Democracy Town Hall Meeting,1420 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe. Join us for presentations, breakout discussions, and action planning. Santa Fe City Council MemberRenee Villarreal.

1 Billion Rising. Valentine’s Day, Tue.  February 14, 2017.11am. 1 Billion Rising. New Mexico State Capitol “The Roundhouse”, 490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe. 1 Billion Rising is organizing marches in over 70 countries and hundreds, if not thousands of US cities, including Santa Fe. The protest is in solidarity with all peoples threatened by the xenophobia, racism, and sexism that has erupted in our country.  Click here for more information about the scope and purpose of this event. Click here to RSVP. Given the international scope of this event, there are very few RSVPs on this site. But I found a second FB site with another event page with over 100 RSVPs.  Click here for that site.

In solidarity,

Roxanne & Paul

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