Urgent Action Today Unless You Want Salad Watered by Fracked Toxic Waste

Today, we offer two visionary News In Brief pieces. Also we have an update on the PRC hearing TODAY and the Oil Conservation Commission hearing on Produced Water on Thursday with a tremendous short video on the OCC hearing. Read on.

This post is a replication of the one yesterday. Yesterday you say? I didn’t get a post from Retake yesterday. True, hardly anyone did, but we sent one out. Unfortunately, I had decided to include about 10 humorous Trump meme’s sent to me by a colleague. Undoubtedly, this resulted in our post going to SPAM for almost everyone, as a SPAM detector identified a graphic laden post. Only 24 people opened our post out of 2500 who receive it. That just doesn’t happen. I should have known better, especially since the post offered very important information. Fortunately, you can still act. Read on. Also, no more Trump meme’s. We’ll find our humor elsewhere as this man is anything but funny.

In addition to information on two very important actions today through Friday, we offer a very informative video from YUCCA, WildEarth Guardians & New Energy Economy that pulls back the curtain on what is really going on in the Oil Conservation Commission hearing on toxic waste use….and we need to start calling it what it is: toxic waste, not some kind of magically created “produced water.” Both of these actions are among the most critical NM-focused actions you can take this summer. We are being steamrolled by gas and oil at the PRC and will wind up with a (un)natural gas plant rather than 100% renewables, if we don’t act. And the OCC situation is a clear case of someone pulling strings.

Read on, but once you’ve reviewed the post, be sure to go to our Actions & Events page, as it has important information on how to take action in relation to the PRC hearing today and the OCC hearings tomorrow and Friday.

Updated Actions & Events Page

With most of our events being our Zoominars and conversations of late, we’ve gotten lax in keeping an up to date Actions & Events page. But yesterday, we revised it completely, updating the variety of current actions, events, and opportunities including:

  • Hearings at the PRC (100% renewable replacement power for San Juan or (un)natural gas, they decide TODAY, so calls needed now); and
  • Action described on the the Oil Conservation Commission hearings on produced water, or more accurately, produced toxic waste. These are important actions!
  • Working Families Party’s Statewide Convening;
  • International Veteran’s For Peace Online Conference;
  • Boycott and cancel Amazon account; and
  • Other local, regional and increasingly online actions.

Click here to get to our Actions & Events page.

One reason we stopped updating the Actions & Events page is that so few people go there. But listing 3-4 events at the beginning of each blog means you need to wade through a ton of things to get to the blog content. We’ve tried using the side column for events, but that layout is very hard to work with and hence very time consuming.

After viewing the Produced Water Hearing video below, you will be most motivated to offer your comment on this ultra-managed reality. Make no mistake, this is managed by the Governor’s 4th floor Roundhouse office, Speaker Egolf and the oil and gas industry and it is not good.

News In Brief: We offer two pieces that provide visions of what could be if we do our jobs and elect visionary legislators in NM and the US.

  • From Resilience: Growing the Commonverse.” This piece imagines how state power and law might begin to support growing “the commons” in both operational and structural ways. However, unlike many proposals that focus on enacting new laws, regulations, or state programs to change existing market or state structures — a setup for disappointing results — Resilience proposes a Grand Strategy that proposes a new vision for how we retake resources and power stolen by the corporate sector over the past 50 years and offers a compelling model for restoring local management of resources for the public good rather than for private profit. Fascinating.
  • From Democracy Collaborative: Growing Community Wealth.” The Democracy Collaborative has assembled an array of studies, briefs and articles outlining how a community can transform and democratize our economy, our politics and our way of organizing local communities along democratic principles. The link takes you to the home page and the six-minute video below gives you an orientation to one of their key initiatives: local community wealth building. Check it out as it fits nicely with the vision projected by the Resilience piece.

An excellent short video on why community wealth building is important and how it can be achieved.

The State of the Race

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In one chart updated daily, Real Clear Politics (RCP) offers a summary of where the polls stand, providing “rolling averages” of the latest national polling on the Presidential race, rolling averages of most recent swing state races, and a snapshot of where the Congressional races stand.

We’ll continue to update you on this regularly. It is about the only good news out there these days, so hopefully it brings a smile to your face. Clearly, we are doing quite well, but there are just under 100 days to go so there is plenty of time for things to shift. That is why we STRONGLY encourage you to check out our election page with a guide for working in swing states and key Senate races, as well as in our six MUST WIN NM state legislative races. We provide all the tools you need to be active in the 2021 election. Click here to get started.

If you need motivation for getting involved in the national election, make sure to see tomorrow’s post.

Produced Water, More Accurately “Fracked Toxic Waste”
Bad Legislation, Bad Policy, Bad Government, Bad Idea

We’ve written about this for over a year, ever since Speaker Egolf introduced the Produced Water Act in the last days of the 2019 legislative session and later crowed that “it was the greatest piece of environmental legislation in NM history.” That says a good deal both about Speaker Egolf and his allegiances, and the lack of good environmental legislation in NM over the past decade.

In an interview with Speaker Egolf, he reassured listeners that it would be years before produced water would be used outside fracking operations. But within a very few weeks of the Produced Water Act passing through the legislature, a permit was sought to use produced toxic waste in agriculture in NM. Now, before the science has determined how or if produced toxic waste should ever be used for anything other than repurposed in fracking operations, we find the state ready to usher in the possibility of produced toxic waste being dumped in our rivers and used on our roads and in our fields.

Unfortunately, there currently exists no standards or safeguards to actually protect public health, the environment, and freshwater from “produced water.”  In fact, this waste is considered too toxic to treat. There is no way for the Commission to ensure that the use and transport of the oil and gas industry’s toxic waste will protect workers, groundwater, surface waters, and otherwise ensure the environment is not contaminated.

The rules would allow the oil and gas industry to discharge or otherwise dump its toxic waste outside of oil and gas producing areas. 

OCD did not go through a pre-hearing stakeholder process and the proposed rules lack necessary safety and permitting protocols, and do not contain any environmental or public health standards that would safeguard communities and clean water against contamination from leaks, spills, and discharges of this toxic waste. They have set up two days of hearings without publishing any rules governing the hearing or laying out how the meeting will transpire. We have two days of hearings and really very little idea as to how this will all play out. And that may not be a coincidence. We will update our Actions & Events page as we get more information.

The state is hellbent on giving the G&O industry exactly what it wants: to magically transform toxic waste into “treated water” that can then be commodified and used to de-ice our roads, use in road construction, or use in agriculture. This would eliminate billions of dollars of gas and oil industry costs storing and transporting toxic waste produced in fracking and make that toxic waste something G&O can actually sell or freely dump in our rivers. In either case, G&O escapes responsibility for safely storing this highly toxic waste while we suffer the consequences.

The Hearing is the first of New Mexico’s regulatory efforts to pass off toxic and radioactive oil and gas toxic waste as “produced water”. The OCD proposal according to WildEarth Guardians would make it easier for companies to use their toxic waste to drill and frack wells. The new rules would even open the door for the industry’s waste to be dumped on roads, agricultural lands, and discharged into streams.

If the rules go forward as is, they would set a dangerous precedent for New Mexico and the nation, allowing oil and gas operations to avoid meaningful regulation of how they manage their toxic waste.

Although the rules would allow this only where approved by the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission, they explicitly imply that the Commission will at some point adopt rules that will actually allow dumping of “produced water” onto lands and into streams. The Oil Conservation Division’s rules appear to set the stage for a more insidious plan to allow companies to discharge toxic waste into our environment.

This is all moving way too fast and without any respectful effort to thoughtfully engage the public. We must put the brakes on this train. To sign WildEarth Guardian’s petition to the Governor, click here. But also, we need your testimony, so go to our Actions & Events page and find out about the hearing.

You can watch an excellent video from YUCCA, WildEarth Guardians and New Energy Economy below. In only a few minutes you will understand just how orchestrated this entire process has been from the start. After viewing the video, please go to our Actions & Events page to find out how to raise your voice. There are links, speaking points and schedules of when to act along with info on actions related to the PRC hearing TODAY!

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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