Monday, December 17, 2012

On Thursday SWOP Delivered Pit Rule Petition Signatures to The NM Gov

From SouthWest Organizing Project:

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Groups and Community Activists Hold Press Conference in Albuquerque yesterday to discuss 12,000 New Mexico petitions in support of our strong Pit Rule; Petitions delivered to Gov. Susana Martinez in Santa Fe

In September, the Chile Lovers of New Mexico delivered a petition composed of over 10,000 signatures from New Mexicans in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Rio Rancho in support of protecting New Mexico’s landmark Pit Rule to Governor Susana Martinez. Since then, an additional 3,000 New Mexicans from our rural communities have spoken up in support of a strong Pit Rule.

The Pit Rule is an important safeguard that protects our land and groundwater from oil and gas industry waste. Currently, Martinez’s Oil Conservation Commission is considering dismantling the Pit Rule in ways that will hinder its ability to protect the land and water that sustains all New Mexicans.

The commission has delayed making a final decision several times, and is set to reconvene in January. Supporters of a strong Pit Rule are asking Governor Susana Martinez to not change the rule by adopting amendments proposed by the oil and gas industry.

Yesterday, organizers and volunteers gathered to hold a press conference in Albuquerque, and to deliver the petition to the Governor's office in Santa Fe. Here are some quotes from the statements made at the press conference:

Molly Brook, Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund: "...With drought and other factors making our water increasingly scarce, it is critical that every drop of water is clean and safe for us to use. Protecting New Mexico's water should be common sense, but that's why it's puzzling that we even have to be here fighting for our water in the first place- all because the safeguard that currently protects our ground water from pollution is under attack."

Patricia Atencio, community volunteer: "I do have a sister that does live in Las Cruces and she has some land out there in Doña Ana and they plant alfalfa and if the water is contaminated there will be no longer alfalfa, there will be no longer chile, and that goes for all of New Mexico. So I want to ask the people, the New Mexicans... to support us in this Pit Rule, we need it desperately."

Tomás Garduño, SouthWest Organizing Project: "All the people that we've been working with over the past several months, volunteers who have called the governor's office- over 300 people have called the governor's office- and these over twelve thousand total petition signatures that are going to be delivered to the governor's office really show that New Mexicans understand the connection between making sure that our water is not contaminated, and having a thriving economy."

The Chile Lovers of New Mexico is collaboration between the Southwest Organizing Project and the Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund.

The Pit Rule is a law that protects New Mexico’s land and water by ensuring that industries properly lines their waste pits to prevent contamination. Before the law was enacted in 2008, there were over 400 known cases of groundwater contamination that could be linked directly to poorly maintained oil and gas industry waste pits. Since then, there have been zero known cases.

December 17, 2012 at 09:44 AM in Energy, Environment, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12,000 New Mexicans Ask Gov. Susana Martinez to Protect the Pit Rule

From the SouthWest Organizing Project:
Groups and Community Activists Hold Press Conference in Albuquerque Thursday to discuss 12,000 New Mexico petitions in support of our strong Pit Rule; Petitions delivered to Gov. Susana Martinez in Santa Fe

In September, the Chile Lovers of New Mexico delivered a petition composed of over 10,000 signatures from New Mexicans in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Rio Rancho in support of protecting New Mexico’s landmark Pit Rule to Governor Susana Martinez. Since then, an additional 3,000 New Mexicans from our rural communities have spoken up in support of a strong Pit Rule.

The Pit Rule is an important safeguard that protects our land and groundwater from oil and gas industry waste. Currently, Martinez’s Oil Conservation Commission is considering dismantling the Pit Rule in ways that will hinder its ability to protect the land and water that sustains all New Mexicans.

The commission has delayed making a final decision several times, and is set to reconvene in January. Supporters of a strong Pit Rule are asking Governor Susana Martinez to not change the rule by adopting amendments proposed by the oil and gas industry.

Who: New Mexicans in support of protecting the Pit Rule and our groundwater
What: Press conference
When: Noon, Thursday, Dec. 13
Where: Washington Park at Park and 10th Streets, Albuquerque

What: Petition delivery in Santa Fe
When: 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13
Where: Gov. Martinez’s office, Santa Fe

The Chile Lovers of New Mexico is a collaboration between the Southwest Organizing Project and the Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund.

The Pit Rule is a law that protects New Mexico’s land and water by ensuring that industries properly line their waste pits to prevent contamination. Before the law was enacted in 2008, there were over 400 known cases of groundwater contamination that could be linked directly to poorly maintained oil and gas industry waste pits. Since then, there have been zero known cases.

December 12, 2012 at 04:19 PM in Action Alerts, Environment, Mining, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (3)

Udall, Grijalva Highlight Taxpayer Losses, Lack of Needed Data Revealed in New Oil and Mining Report

Press release from Senator Udall's office:

A report released this morning by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), originally requested by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), describes glaring shortfalls in the data publicly available on hardrock minerals and highlights lost revenue from extraction on federal lands.

In 2011, Udall and Grijalva requested the report from GAO to identify the amount and estimated dollar values of minerals extracted from federal land. The report examined available data on minerals extracted from land administered by the Department of Interior, which includes 700 million acres of federal land, 57 million acres of Indian lands, and 1.8 billion acres below offshore water. The full report is available here.

In its report, GAO concluded it could not estimate the available data on the amounts, types or values of so-called locatable minerals – such as gold, silver, copper and uranium – that are mined from federal lands each year because the 1872 Mining Law provides no royalties for the public. The law, which still governs hardrock mineral extraction, does not require mining companies to disclose how much they extract, where such minerals are sold or what the overall value of each mining operation is, even for multi-billion-dollar mining operations conducted on federal land.

"This report confirms what we've been saying all along – that we need to reform the mining law of 1872," Udall said. "Hardrock minerals are natural resources that belong to the American people, and we need to make sure we are getting the best return on what should be an investment – not a giveaway."

The report also details the value of minerals – including oil, natural gas, and coal – that are subject to lease and administered by the federal Office of Natural Resource Revenue. Although royalties are paid on these minerals, the report details a discrepancy between the amounts actually paid in royalties – which GAO calls the effective royalty rate – and the rates set out in existing law.

“We’ve been hearing from conservatives that we need fewer hours at national parks, less reclamation of valuable lands, fewer services for park visitors and a whole gamut of supposedly necessary cutbacks,” said Grijalva, the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. “Well, now we know we’ve been leaving a huge pot of money on the table that could change all that. There’s no reason to keep these extraction and royalty laws out of date. At the very least we need disclosure so American taxpayers know what is being taken from their lands. Keeping the public and Congress in the dark any longer about what’s going on with federal property doesn’t serve any public purpose, and it should end."

“There’s a simple legislative fix for this big hole in the federal government’s revenue stream, and it’s only fair that companies benefiting from access to public lands pay their fair share,” Grijalva added. “The Department of Interior should continue to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Congress should make sure disclosure a priority, and then we can talk about how to make sure the American people financially benefit from the sale of public minerals the way they should have been all along.”

Grijalva is a cosponsor of H.R. 3446, formally known as the Fair Payment for Energy and Mineral Production on Public Lands Act, which would set a 12.5 percent royalty rate on hardrock minerals. He has said he looks forward to supporting and strengthening an updated version in the upcoming Congress.

"I hope this report can be a catalyst for discussion about reform, but at a minimum it shows we need better disclosure on extraction of our natural resources," Udall said. "Both parties want to solve our economic challenges and make government more efficient for the taxpayers – here's an opportunity to do both. We should be able come together on this issue, and I look forward to making that case to my colleagues in the next Congress."

Udall is a member of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works.

December 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM in Environment, Mining, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wind Tax Credits Set to Expire: Congress Must Reinvest in New Mexicans' Green Future

Wind Energy in New Mexico Prevents as Much Global Warming Pollution as Taking 232,000 Cars Off the Road Each Year


Video above is Rikki Seguin of Environment NM presenting the report of the benefits of NM Wind Tax Credits in very simple powerful terms.

On November 28, last Wednesday, DFNM attended a press conference held by Environment New Mexico at Alvarado Urban Farm, the Gardens on the North side of the sustainably designed Silver Gardens Apartments located at 100 Silver Ave. SW Albuquerque, NM 87102.

As this summer’s extreme drought and its aftermath prompt more New Mexicans to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Environment New Mexico released a new Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center report that shows that New Mexico’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 232,000 cars off the road per year. Additionally, the Environment New Mexico report shows that wind power saves enough water to meet the needs of 11,600 New Mexicans.

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Environment New Mexico was joined by Commissioner Jason Marks, Public Resources Commission (PRC) District 1, and Albuquerque-based pulmonologist Dr. Dona Upson in releasing the Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, and touting wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow. The speakers urged Congress to extend critical federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—before they expire at the end of the year.

“Wind power is already replacing the dirty and dangerous energy sources of the past and creating a cleaner, healthier future for New Mexicans,” said Rikki Seguin of Environment New Mexico. “We can continue on this path of cutting dangerous pollution and saving water if Congress acts now to extend critical wind incentives. Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff. Our clean air, water, and children’s future are too important to blow it now.”

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Wind Turbine mounted on roof of Silver Garden Apts.

If wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years through 2016, New Mexico would reduce global warming pollution by as much as taking an additional 154,000 cars off the road and would save enough water to meet the needs of an additional 7,700 New Mexicans.

New Mexico has at least 13,000 megawatts of commercially-viable wind power waiting to be developed that could be providing clean electricity to homes and businesses across the Western U.S. without harmful emissions and without consuming our precious water supplies,” said Commissioner Marks. “A multi-year renewal of the PTC is a key component for realizing this potential.”

The report also outlined that today’s wind energy in New Mexico is delivering results for public health, by avoiding 1,830 tons of smog-causing pollution and 340 tons of soot pollution.

“We need to increase the environmental and health benefits of wind energy by increasing wind power in our state,” said Dr. Upson. “With so many New Mexicans suffering from respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and because of the disproportionate impact of air pollution on children's lungs, the clean air benefits of wind power can help improve and save lives.”

New Mexico’s successful development of wind energy results largely from the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards -- requiring utilities to provide 20% of their power from renewable energy by 2020 and the federal renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC).

Wind energy now powers nearly 13 million homes across the country and is on its way to being cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels. But the two key federal wind power incentives—the production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit —expire at the end of the year. Without these credits, many planned wind farms will not be built, leaving health and environmental benefits for New Mexican’s on the table.

Despite the benefits of wind energy and widespread public support for federal policies to promote renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their allies in Congress are vigorously opposing the PTC and ITC.


Rikki Seguin summary stated above and below. Fight on Udall and Bingaman.

“As our state is still healing from severe drought, we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air, fewer extreme weather events, and smart use of our water resources,” said Seguin of Environment New Mexico. “Time is running out. We thank Senators Udall and Bingaman for supporting clean, renewable wind power and urge them to do everything they can to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and offshore wind investment tax credit before the end of the year. Our clean air, water, and children’s future depend on it.”

Environment New Mexico is a statewide, citizen-based, environmental advocacy organization working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future. Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces by investigating problems, crafting solutions, educating the public and decision-makers, and helping the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.

December 5, 2012 at 07:45 AM in Energy, Environment, Green Economy, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

11/28: New Mexico Will Benefit from Increased Wind Power

Wind tax credits set to expire: Congress must reinvest in New Mexicans' green future.
From Environment New Mexico.org -
Environment New Mexico is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.

What: In the wake of this summer’s severe drought, and as the fiscal cliff and the expiration of key tax credits for wind power are quickly approaching, public health professionals and PRC Commissioners will join Environment New Mexico to release a new report that quantifies the public health and environmental benefits of wind power for New Mexico, including global warming pollution avoided and water saved. The report also estimates these benefits through 2016 if wind development continues at a pace comparable to that in recent years.

Who: Jason Marks, Public Regulation Commission (PRC) District 1 Commissioner Dr. Dona Upson, Pulmonologist Rikki Seguin, Environment New Mexico

When: Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 10am

Where: Alvarado Urban Farm: Gardens on the North side of Silver Gardens Apartments 100 Silver Ave. SW Albuquerque, NM 87102

From I-25: Take exit 224A for Lead Ave toward Coal Ave. Turn right on Lead Ave, then right on 2 nd St, and the first right on Silver Ave. Street Parking available, as well as Silver Gardens Parking Garage on Lead Ave and 1 st St. SW.

Excellent Visuals of Wind Turbines and Plants Affected by Drought

November 27, 2012 at 03:57 PM in Energy, Environment, Events, Green Economy, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Support Solar Energy Targets for New Mexico

From the NM Green Chamber of Commerce:
Action item: Click here to sign the letter to Vice Chair Commissioner Becenti-Aguilar, the swing vote on this issue, and you will receive notification of the mid-December PRC meeting to review the case.

The Reasonable Cost Threshold/Solar Diversity Target case (Case 11-00218-UT) before the Public Regulation Commission will have a dramatic impact on solar energy development. Cutting the solar target in half or completely, as some interveners are proposing, will mean job losses and worker lay-offs, and a return to more use of polluting fossil fuels.

This case has taken 17 months and now the Attorney General and the New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers are proposing to push the decision into next year, and a new Public Regulation Commission.

The current uncertainty and indecision by the Public Regulation Commission makes it impossible for renewable energy companies to make future business plans.

Solar remains wildly popular in our state, with a 2012 bi-partisan poll demonstrating an overwhelming majority of New Mexicans (66 percent) that want more of their energy to come from solar.

Please take the following steps:

  1. Click here to sign the letter to Vice Chair Commissioner Becenti-Aguilar, the swing vote on this issue, and you will receive notification of the mid-December PRC meeting to review the case.
  2. Call your Public Regulation Commissioner: Urge them to vote on the RCT rulemaking process before the end of this term. Urge them to support jobs in every part of the state, by supporting a diverse renewable energy portfolio with an aggressive solar target that continues to help build that industry. Urge them to maintain the current solar targets and continue to help provide both clean energy for consumers and jobs for electricians, technicians, and construction workers.

Jason A. Marks Commissioner - District 1 Jason.Marks@state.nm.us
Patrick H. Lyons Commissioner - District 2 Patrick.Lyons@state.nm.us
Douglas J. Howe Commissioner - District 3 doug.howe@state.nm.us
Theresa Becenti-Aguilar Vice Chair Commissioner - District 4 T.Becenti@state.nm.us
Ben L. Hall Commissioner - District 5 Ben.Hall@state.nm.us
Mr. Nick Guillen NMPRC Records Management Bureau prc.records@state.nm.us

Or, you can call them at 1-888-427-5772. Please be sure to mention Case No. 11-00218-UT.
Thank you for your interest in this.
Special Thanks to Kate Theisen at Sunspot Solar for providing the information.

November 26, 2012 at 03:45 PM in Energy, Environment, Green Economy, NM Public Regulation Commission | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Conservation Voters New Mexico Endorses Slate of Pro-Conservation Candidates for General Election

Press release from CVNM:

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Photo above from CVNM website.

Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) continues its efforts to build a political voice for conservation by endorsing pro-environment candidates who will work to protect the natural heritage and way of life that New Mexicans cherish. CVNM has endorsed a slate of 32 state legislative candidates for the November 6, 2012 general election.

CVNM endorses candidates based on their conservation records and responses to a questionnaire on topics including environmental health, quality of life, energy, water, land use, transportation, wildlife and wilderness.

“New Mexican voters have made it clear that they want to protect the air, water, land and way of life
that sustains us all,” said Sandy Buffett, Executive Director of CVNM. “We have an opportunity to elect state legislators who will work hard to represent the environmental values of their constituents.”

CVNM’s legislative endorsements* for New Mexico’s general election are as follows:

Senate District 10:  Joseph Carraro
Senate District 14:  Michael Padilla
Senate District 15:  Daniel Ivey-Soto
Senate District 17:  Sen. Timothy Keller
Senate District 18:  Bill Tallman
Senate District 29:  Sen. Michael Sanchez
Senate District 31:  Joseph Cervantes
Senate District 36: Sen. Mary Jane Garcia
Senate District 37:  William Soules

House District 8:  Frank Otero
House District 13:  Patricia Roybal Caballero
House District 14: Rep. Miguel Garcia
House District 15:  Emily Kane
House District 18:  Rep. Gail Chasey
House District 23:  Marci Blaze
House District 24:  Elizabeth Thomson
House District 25:  Christine Trujillo
House District 26:  Georgene Louis
House District 30:  Maryellen Broderick
House District 33:  Bill McCamley
House District 35:  Jeff Steinborn
House District 36:  Phillip Archuleta
House District 37:  Joanne Ferrary
House District 38:  Terry Fortenberry
House District 39:  Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez
House District 43:  Stephanie Garcia Richard
House District 48:  Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela
House District 50:  Stephen Easley
House District 52:  Doreen Gallegos
House District 53:  Nate Cote
House District 58:  Pablo Martinez
House District 68:  Eloise Gift

*CVNM does not endorse in uncontested races. For more information on our endorsement process, please visit www.cvnm.org.  Conservation Voters New Mexico, a nonpartisan, non-profit 501(c)(4) organization, works to protect New Mexico's natural environment and our cherished way of life. Our mission is to make sensible conservation policies a top priority for elected officials, political candidates, and voters across the state.

October 9, 2012 at 10:51 AM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races, Environment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 21, 2012

9k signatures in favor of Pit Rule delivered to Gov. Martinez

From the SouthWest Organizing Project

PitRulePetitionsOn Thursday, September 20th representatives from SouthWest Organizing Project and Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund delivered a petition containing almost 9,000 signatures to the office of Governor Susana Martinez. The petition represented New Mexicans who want to maintain a strong Pit Rule, which protects groundwater from waste produced by the oil and gas industry. The Oil Conservation Commission will make a decision on the Pit Rule on Monday, September 24th.

Here is the language as it appeared on the petition that was signed by nearly 9,000 New Mexicans:

As a concerned New Mexican and a supporter of Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund, I am outraged by your administration's efforts to weaken the existing environmental protections that safeguard New Mexico's clean air, land, water, and wildlife. Policies like the oil and gas Pit Rule -- which your Oil Conservation Commission is now considering dismantling -- protect our scarce water supply, and therefore our livelihood. New Mexicans are counting on your administration to keep these safeguards in place, hold polluters accountable, and protect our families, communities, and livelihoods.

What is the Pit Rule?

  • The Pit Rule was adopted in 2008 after extensive input from industry, ranchers, conservationists and residents. It protects groundwater from oil and gas production wastes and, despite evidence that it effectively avoids contamination, the oil and gas industry has attacked it from all sides.
  • In 2007, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division proposed a new rule to replace the existing rule. A Pit Rule Task Force, made up of 14 members who represented the OCD, the oil and gas industry, the cattle growing industry, the cities of Bloomfield and Lovington, environmental groups and other citizens, was formed to consider various pit waste issues. After hearing testimony from dozens of scientific and technical experts and months of deliberation, the OCC issued a final rule which became law June 16, 2008.
  • According to state records, before implementation of the Pit Rule there were more than 400 known cases of groundwater contamination that could be linked directly to poorly maintained oil and gas industry waste pits. Since the Pit Rule’s adoption, there have been 0 known cases.

Read more about the Pit Rule here and here.

September 21, 2012 at 01:35 PM in Action Alerts, Environment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Clean Energy Victory Bonds: We have a bill!

From Green America:

Clean Energy Victory Bonds

We have a bill!

On August 2, our Clean Energy Victory Bond bill was introduced in Congress. And as of today, the Library of Congress has published the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012, the culmination of several years of hard work here at Green America, and the support of clean-energy advocates like you all across the country.

Just like World War II era victory bonds enabled ordinary Americans to raise billions of dollars for the war effort, these new bonds are projected to raise enough money to generate 1.7 million new jobs manufacturing, deploying, and maintaining renewable energy projects. This bill ends the financial uncertainty around current federal programs, extending the imperiled Production Tax Credit for wind energy -- and other renewable energy incentives -- for as long as a decade.

Big thanks to Rep. Bob Filner (D, CA), who is sponsoring the bill, along with 10 co-sponsors, and big thanks to more than 40 other organizations* who are backing the bill with us. Now we need to get this bill passed. Here's where your support is crucial. This is what we need you to do:

1. Call your representative -- Look up your representative's telephone number here, give their office a call, and tell them that you enthusiastically support H.R. 6275, the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012. If you would be willing to to buy some of these savings bonds (as little as $25 is enough), tell them that too. We need to rapidly bolster bi-partisan support for this job-creating, renewable-energy-boosting bill.

2. Pledge to buy the bonds -- If you haven't already signed on at cleanenergyvictorybonds.org as a future purchaser of the bonds after the legislation passes, please do so right now. We need to be able to show clearly that these bonds have the support of the American people in every congressional district in the country. It's a win-win-win. You support clean energy and American jobs, you put some of your money away in a savings bond, and when they mature in 10 years, you’ll get back the purchase price plus interest.

3. Tell your friends -- This part is key! We need to rapidly spread awareness of this bill. Everyone who hears about this strategy loves it, because the bonds advance goals that both Republicans and Democrats can get behind. If you have ever thought about forwarding an e-mail from Green America to your entire address book, this is the email to forward. Tell your friends to sign on at cleanenergyvictorybonds.org, and post a link to the site on your Facebook page. Tweet about it, blog about, tell your neighbor over the fence. However you communicate with others, please share the news of this bill.

This might just be the most exciting project Green America has ever worked on. Thank you so much for being a part of it. Here's to a clean-energy victory,

August 16, 2012 at 10:18 AM in Energy, Environment, Green Economy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

8/28: Water Movie at NHCC: Screening - Last Call at the Oasis

Burque Bioneers hosts a monthly screening series focused on inspiring social and scientific innovation in our community that respects and fosters well-being for the web of life in the mid-Rio Grande valley. We partner with a number of local organizations and businesses to show thought provoking films and build an ongoing dialogue about the environmental, social and economic challenges we face and the creative ways we can address them.

Screenings are typically held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and are free of charge.

Last Call at the Oasis

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On August 28th, 7PM At the National Hispanic Cultural Center in the Bank of America Theatre, 1701 4th Street

Less than 1 percent of the world’s water is fresh and potable—and no more will ever be available. Thanks to pollution, global warming, and population growth, water access is poised to become today’s most explosive global issue. No resource on earth is more precious—or more endangered—than water. Last Call at the Oasis is a powerful tool for learning about the water challenges we face as well as the remarkable solutions available to us—if we have the will to use them.

This event is sponsored by National Hispanic Cultural Center, La Montanita Coop and KUNM 89.9 FM

This screening is free and open to the public; donations for the Last Call at the Oasis and Burque Bioneers gratefully accepted.

August 15, 2012 at 07:03 PM in Climate, Environment, Events, Film, Water Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Michelle Lujan Grisham Endorsed by League of Conservation Voters Action Fund

Democratic Congressional nominee Michelle Lujan Grisham was endorsed today by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, which works to elect candidates who will implement sound environmental policies.

“New Mexico families have trusted Michelle to put in place environmental safeguards to protect public health and our natural resources for more than twenty years. It’s time we had her leadership in Congress. LCV Action Fund is proud to endorse Michelle Lujan Grisham,” said LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski.

Michelle Lujan Grisham won a hard-fought, three-way, primary race in June. She is dedicated to protecting New Mexico’s environment and natural resources.

“I will always fight to protect our clean air, quality water and our pristine land,” Lujan Grisham said. “I have the experience and energy to end the gridlock in Washington and stand up to corporate polluters who need to do more to reduce greenhouse gas.”

Michelle was appointed by three New Mexico governors to serve as Director and Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Aging and Long-Term Services. She also served as the Secretary of the Department of Health. She was elected in 2010 to serve on the Bernalillo County Commission, and has supported efforts to protect our limited groundwater from pollution by replacing aging and unsafe home septic systems.

July 27, 2012 at 04:24 PM in Candidates & Races, Environment, Michelle Lujan Grisham, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

State Disclosure Policies, Oversight of Natural Gas Fracking Are Inadequate Protection for Water Supplies, Public Safety, New Report Finds

In a new report issued on July 9, 2012, OMB Watch finds that state oversight laws requiring disclosure of the chemicals used in natural gas fracking are in need of an overhaul. Disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is spotty and incomplete, and essential safeguards are missing.

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Image above from OMB and Al Granberg/ProPublica

"Public officials in state government are struggling to find a way to protect water supplies and public health in the wake of the rapid expansion of natural gas drilling and extraction. They haven’t gotten it right yet," said Katherine McFate, president of OMB Watch. "Some of the chemicals used in natural gas fracking have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer and kidney, liver, and neurological damage, so it is imperative that local water supplies be carefully monitored and protected."

The report, The Right to Know, the Responsibility to Protect: State Actions Are Inadequate to Ensure Effective Disclosure of the Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Fracking, examines state disclosure laws and rules and identifies the gap between effective policy and existing practice. The analysis is especially timely given the ongoing boom in natural gas extraction: almost half a million natural gas wells are operating in at least 30 states, and more are planned.

The report asserts that an effective chemical disclosure policy should contain the following elements:

  • Before receiving a drilling permit, the owners and operators of natural gas wells should gather baseline information on nearby water sources and water and air quality. They should disclose the chemicals they intend to use in the fracking process and commit to regularly monitoring the water and air near the gas wells and near wastewater storage facilities for potential contamination for as long as the well is operating and for some period after operations have ceased.
  • Information on the chemicals used in fracking should be collected from drilling companies, well operators, and manufacturers and should include specific information on the unique chemical identification numbers, concentrations, and the quantity of the chemicals used.
  • States should have clear guidelines limiting "trade secrets" exemptions from disclosure laws to prevent companies from invoking this loophole to avoid disclosure.
  • Information about the chemicals used at each individual well where fracking occurs should be posted on a public website in a way that allows users to easily search, sort, and download data by chemicals used, companies involved, and well location.

"Some states, like Colorado, do a better job than others of making chemical information available to the public, but no state is requiring enough upfront collection of baseline data and ongoing monitoring to adequately protect local water supplies and public health. Citizens need to have adequate information to evaluate the potential risks and rewards of allowing natural gas fracking in their communities," said Sean Moulton, Director of Information Policy at OMB Watch and an author of the report.

Because of a major loophole written into the Energy Policy Act of 2005, natural gas fracking activities have been exempt from federal oversight under the Safe Drinking Water Act. As a result, oversight of fracking has shifted to the states.

Over the past three years, 13 of the states with natural gas extraction activities have established rules or laws to require some level of public disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking. Seven states with significant amounts of fracking have no public chemical disclosure requirements, even though a few of them do regulate drilling to a certain extent.

"We hope this report will encourage state and local authorities to improve their chemical disclosure standards, especially in those regions of the country most involved in and affected by natural gas fracking," McFate concluded.

The Right to Know, the Responsibility to Protect is available online at www.ombwatch.org/naturalgasfrackingdisclosure.

July 12, 2012 at 07:16 PM in Energy, Environment, Fracking, Water Issues | Permalink | Comments (1)