Call to Action: NM Dem Leaders Seek Waiver from Oil Leasing Pause; Update on Results of Sunday Hearings; What’s Next This Week

Community Solar, Sustainable Economy Task Force, Roxy’s Law, Paid Sick Leave & End-of-Life Options all advance. Three important bills being heard today! Plus commentary on Heinrich, Lujan, and Lujan Grisham’s collective climate cowardice.

I am sure those of you observing hearings and/or sending emails and making calls are all running on fumes. We sure are. But today, we ask you to take action to oppose our state Democratic leadership’s requested waiver of the federal gas and oil leasing moratorium. We’re also asking for action related to some key bills being heard today that are inches from getting to the Governor’s desk. And we offer info on a Working Families Party Zoom on Wednesday that looks tremendous, a refreshing change of pace from the hearings we’ve endured. And then, as we do on every Monday, we provide summaries and links to last week’s posts with two identified as of particular importance. Read on! We are almost to the end of the session.

Legislative Update

If you are interested in the Roundhouse Session and are not subscribed to our Alerts, you really should. We send them out daily with updates on committee hearings, with contact info and links to speaking points. Click here to subscribe.

Today, we have final committee hearings for HJR 1 Permanent Fund for Early Childhood in Senate Finance; SB 66 Permitted Percentage Rates (AKA Predatory Lending) in House Judiciary, and HB 12 Cannabis and HB 209 State Indian Child Welfare Act in Senate Judiciary. Unfortunately, most hearing times are now identified as “at the call of the chair” or “30 minutes after the floor session” neither of which are easy to predict. But this only impacts those of you who want to view the hearing or offer comment. You can still send emails and make calls to legislators. Get more details in today’s Alert at this link.

For those of you who missed yesterday’s post outlining the status of the 43 bills Retake is supporting, we have created a page that will be updated every day for the rest of the week. It includes the status of all of our bills, plus new commentary on some of the trends we are observing in hearings. It was just updated at 8:00 this morning. We have also begun examining bills of significance that are very near a final chamber floor vote and that we had not had on our list previously. Today, we added SB 82 Radioactive Waste Task Force to our list. You can access the list here.

The Governor and Senators Heinrich & Lujan All Call for a NM Waiver On Biden Gas & Oil Pause

New Energy Economy provided a chunk of the info on this topic, including speaking points and strategy below. Thanks to NEE, our most valued ally! We support their call for action today, focusing on messaging to the Interior Department (which by Monday night will be headed by Deb Haaland!). We need to note that our Governor and Democratic Senators have joined together to support the waiver. Apparently, MLG is not the only Democrat who works for gas and oil, so we also provide contact info for our Senators.

NEE focused on providing brief speaking points, but we also want to address our Democratic leadership’s justification for seeking a waiver to Biden’s 60-day gas and oil leasing moratorium.

MLG and other Dems point to the ETA as emblematic of NM being a leader in addressing the looming climate catastrophe. But the ETA is just a goal for the proportion of renewable energy we consume. While it is a very good thing to significantly and quickly increase our use of renewable energy, the energy we actually use is a minute factor in NM’s impact on climate:

“New analysis estimates that New Mexico’s oil and gas companies emit over 1.1 million metric tons of methane annually. That’s approximately 5 times more pollution than EPA data suggest and has the same near-term climate impact as 25 coal-fired power plants.”

From Educational Defense Fund: “Explore New Mexico’s oil and gas pollution
Updated analysis reveals the scope of the state’s methane emissions and needed solutions”

As Rainforest Action Network’s Oil Change points out in its “Understory,” methane emissions tell only a small part of the story of NM’s contribution to global climate change.

“The Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is currently the epicenter of this global surge of oil and gas production. No other geological basin has so much potential for production growth and therefore so much potential to fuel additional climate pollution.2 Projections suggest that oil production, including production of fossil gas liquids (hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane, and butane, used for heating and cooking and as feedstock for the petrochemical and plastics industry) could grow from 4.7 million barrels per day to nearly 12 million barrels per day by 2030.”

From Rainforest Action Network: “Understory”

So while it might be politically expedient to boast of NM leading the charge in combating the climate crisis, it is also entirely disingenuous, and it avoids the inconvenient truth that what we consume barely matters while what we produce has a catastrophic impact. Biden is asking for just a 60-day pause in leases while we assess the short and long-term implications–economic and environmental–of continued extraction of coal and production of gas and oil. Sixty days! Given that in anticipation of a possible moratorium the extractive industry went on a lease purchasing binge and has stockpiled a huge inventory of leases, they are not going to be harmed by this moratorium and neither is NM.

To raise your voice with the Interior Department, click on the “SEND A MESSAGE” link below, asking them to deny the Governor’s request for an waiver. Please use your own words and include some of these talking points:

  • Oil and gas obtained from Federal lands accounts for 24% of carbon dioxide emissions in the country. The climate crisis demands immediate action and the consequences of inaction will be catastrophic in New Mexico.
  • On 474,121 acres of the 4.3 million total acres currently leased for oil and gas operations remain undeveloped and unused. The oil and gas companies are complaining, but in fact they can continue drilling under this Biden Administration pause on new leasing without any substantial injury.
  • New Mexico can pursue alternative funding, including remuneration from the Federal Government, for losses to local or state tax revenues associated with the pause.
  • New Mexico families across the state are hurting from the degradation, despoliation, and pollution caused by oil and gas leasing in our communities. We support the pause on oil and gas leasing in our state while a more sustainable land use policy is developed.


To Contact Senator Lujan and Heinrich.

Ben Ray Lujan, US Senate

Martin Heinrich, US Senate

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

One More Action

And an activist friend, Lora Lucero, has created a petition opposing the waiver that she will forward to the Governor.

Click here to sign the petition.

From Our Friends at Working Families Party

Roxanne and I subscribe to Frontline, a project of the national Working Families Party. They have been hosting a variety of informational and/or training events on Zoom. We think this may be worth your time, if you have any bandwidth left for being on Zoom ;-). From WFP:

Our communities desperately need Care and Relief – and it’s Congress’s job to deliver. If we lift our voices – together – we can win federal policies that would mean our people getting the Care and Relief we need and deserve.

Join us Wednesday 3/17 at 8:00pm ET for “On the Frontline: Winning the People’s Agenda.” We will hear about a number of federal policy proposals that address economic justice, racial justice, climate justice, and democracy reform. We’ll discuss how all these issues are connected and how you can help win the people’s agenda by taking action during the Congressional recess. In late March and early April, your members of Congress will be in their home districts, which is a great opportunity to demand critical legislation that our communities need.

“On the Frontline: Winning the People’s Agenda” will cover:

  • The THRIVE Agenda,a bold plan to revive our economy while addressing climate change, racial injustice, public health, and economic inequality with a proposal to create dignified jobs for millions of unemployed workers and provide real recovery for millions more.
  • The BREATHE Act, a visionary bill that answers the call to defund the police and allows all communities to finally breathe free.
  • Structural Democracy Reform: Just imagine what we could win if we actually had an equal voice in our political system! By making it easier to vote, ending gerrymandering, fixing our campaign finance system – and more – we can create a government which truly represents the people.

We have been organizing for years to get to this critical moment. Sign up to join our mass call on Wednesday. Then get involved with The Frontline to win the people’s agenda.

A Look At Last Week

Most of the posts last week focused on the legislative session and so some of the “Legislative Update” in those posts are out of date. Read on!

Biden Effort to Cut Childhood Poverty in Half, Reform Elections & Support Labor; Legislative Update–Community Solar Fixed, Cannabis Advances

Wednesday, March 10. We were relieved to see SB 84 Community Solar Act fixed, but potential landmines remain. Permanent Fund for Early Childhood heads to Senate Finance. And we analyze Biden’s transformational child poverty initiative and preview legislation to protect elections and labor.

Facebook Fleeces Los Lunas for $6 Billion, Update on Stalled Bills With a Focus On Sen. Judiciary & Actions We Can Take

Friday March 12. In this post we report on Wyoming’s shift to wind power, while our Roundhouse stalls all energy bills and placates industry. Plus a cool video from U.S. Rep. Katie Porter who stands up to a gas and oil lobbyist lying about their subsidies. Would that we had NM Democratic leadership with as much courage.

Click here to read the full post.

Haaland Confirmation Monday; YUCCA Video Interview; Legislative Review: Status of 43 Retake Supported Bills

Sunday, March 14. We spent hours reviewing the votes, committee paths, and landing places for all of the Transformational and Priority bills we are supporting. In this post, we offer a status report, analysis of trends, and projections of how things may end. We also provide a Deb Haaland tribute from TEWA Women United; she is slated to be approved by the full Senate TODAY!

Click here to review the full post.

In solidarity and exhaustion,

Paul & Roxanne

P.S. We are anticipating Saturday at noon, when the session ends. And with daylight savings and a predicted 68-degree high in Santa Fe, we anticipate an afternoon hike and an evening BBQ on the patio. We will toast all of you and every, single legislator and legislative staff.

Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

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5 replies

  1. Thanks, Paul. I have called all the numbers and left messages. It’s just so typical of main-stream democrats – acknowledge climate crisis, run on concern for environment and then simply request waivers from any environmental action that makes a difference. The industry wins. Watching this legislative session has been painful, more so than ever because we supposedly have changed the composition of the legislature and have the numbers needed to make a change. NM is in the most severe draught on record, and yet not a single action-oriented environmental bill has been passed. There is no excuse for that.

  2. Both our Senators and our Governor need to hear from every progressive person in this state. Let them know they can’t bow to NMOGA and protect our environment or address Climate Change. Oil and Gas has treated NM as their personal colony, raping the land, contaminating the soil, water and air. This has to stop. PLEASE, if you have not yet emailed or called these officials, do so NOW. Lets raise some hell and call out our highest democratic elected officials — tell them they can’t have it both way. If you want our votes again, you need to stand for the environment, not the pillaging industries. NM is not a colony for extractive industries that don’t even pay their way on royalties, bonds, and responsible clean up of sites abandoned.

  3. Hey Paul —
    Thanks for this heads-up on this movido estupido de Lujan Grisham et al. I have a stupid computer and when I clicked on the Dept of Interiour comment link microsoft thinks I still have a hotmail account and it acts as if I need to go there to proceed.

    . When I went to Dept of Interior website, there is no place for comments. Can you send me a ULB — is that what its called? so I have a direct link for leaving a message. Thanks!

  4. One of Our Fifty is Missing – and it is New Mexico.

    We can be as appalled and disgusted as we want. It will do zero good. We can call or write or email or go to a local office of the federal reps we have in the Senate, and it will do no good. Our votes are a mockery.

    The FIX is IN. It has been in for decades.

    There is no Democratic Party in the NM Legislature. There are a number of Democrats working alone, on their own, but they have zero power.

    I am not a Democrat or an Extinct R Party zombie. Last year Retake and Invincible and many others felt if they could get rid of six or eight DINOs all would come around. That happened, and then nothing happened. The D brand serves the same masters as the Extinct Rs. There is only one party – The Elite Party.

    Numerous former members of the Suzanna Martinez/Tea Party/Koch Bros. cabal RUN the Legislature and are using two tin cans and a string between the Roundhouse and the NM Oil and Gas Comm. every minute of every day. The PNM coupe is basically complete and that Company Store will call EVERY shot in the development of ALL electric power it conveys, and it has the entire Executive at its disposal. The state Supremes will soon fall in line.

    The Guv, as I suspected from the get go, is running on the fumes of massive ambition. She wants to be a big fish and swim in the big pond. All across the board our beloved state is being destroyed as THE National Sacrifice Zone for the country.

    LANL is moving into SF. The military/industrial/academic/corporate overlords are firmly in control.

    The rich are fleeing the big cities and will soon Aspenize Del Norte and Las Cruces.

    Welcome to the 21st Century, and the end of the democratic experiment that Franklin and Rosseau ‘questioned’ could walk away from 4800 years of dark history. It did not.

    Since Nam I have warred against most of this insane treachery, the betrayal of our Earth and its good, kind, decent creatures. I am relieved I am old. A thousand ETAs, no matter who pockets the cash, will not save us from ourselves. I have no regrets, but it would be the best for all other creatures if we expired quickly.

    In a million years, a wiser, much more mature and sane hominid might emerge. That is an extinction and a revolution I can get behind.

    Mick Nickel

  5. Done! I’m happy and hopeful about Deb Haaland’s confirmation on Friday as the Interior Secretary. I’m thinking that she will bring a fresh perspective to this oil & gas stand off..

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