Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunshine is Free, Unless Exxon Buys the Sun

Hear what Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders (I) says about concentrated solar power's potential to reverse global climate warming. He told Correspondent Mark Bralley, after a Senate Hearing in Albuquerque, he believes solar power will help America break its dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.  Listen to Bralley's interview with Sen. Sanders and Senate Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman on "What's the Word?" blog here. Hear some hopeful news ...

July 6, 2008 at 08:05 PM in Energy, Environment | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Check Out Encouraging Report on ABQ "Green" Businesses

Great news about green businesses in Albuquerque today, and opportunities for an abundance of green jobs in the future. Now if the old economy politicos and officeholders would just wake up and smell the green, we might start moving energetically into the new economy that will dominate the 21st century. Stop the push to drill in ANWR and offshore and start the innovating -- and pass the legislature we need to encourage and nurture it.

The non-profit groups New Mexico Youth Organized and the 1 Sky New Mexico Campaign today announced the release of a new report that details great potential for emerging “green” businesses in the Albuquerque area. According to the announcement, the Albuquerque Green Sectors report, which was commissioned by NMYO & 1Sky NM, suggests the possibility of huge growth in such green job sectors as construction, manufacturing, professional, scientific and technical services throughout the Albuquerque area.

The Albuquerque Green Sectors report provides valuable analysis that will be utilized immediately. New Mexico Youth Organized has worked with the Albuquerque City Council to introduce legislation creating green jobs training through local workforce development institutions.

“This report shows that if we don’t prepare for the ‘green’ wave, Albuquerque and New Mexico will be left behind,” said Keegan King, director of NMYO. “Our City has the potential to lead the country in ‘green’ manufacturing and ‘green’ technology development but only with investment and a workforce to support it.”

“As a young person’s organization, we at NMYO believe that our city and state government needs to begin transitioning our economy to one built on high-paying jobs in green industries,” said Juan Reynosa, organizer with the 1Sky Campaign. “1Sky’s Green-collar Jobs campaign will bring desperately needed jobs to New Mexico and help move our antiquated energy policy to one built on a clean, renewable economy.”

Click for a copy of the Executive Summary.

To read profiles of young people and green business owners over the coming weeks go to:

To download the complete Green Sectors Report go here.

Technorati Tags:

June 24, 2008 at 01:58 PM in Energy, Environment, Green Economy, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prompting Discussion Today: Taos Conservation Area

Read John Arnold's excellent article No Slam Dunk at the New Mexico Independent. It presents competing versions of what went wrong with a proposal to legislate a national conservation area in the vicinity of Taos, how Jim O'Donnell of the Wilderness Alliance got blamed and fired for it and what role Sen. Jeff Bingaman and his staff played in the situation. If you're so inclined, join in the discussion in the comments section of that article. I did.

Technorati Tags:

June 19, 2008 at 06:11 PM in Environment, Local Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

(Updated) Jim O'Donnell Guest Blog: The Right-Wing Offshore Drilling Scam

Update: Also see New Mexico FBIHOP's post that expands on this post by discussing this issue in terms of the views being expressed by New Mexico's Congressional delegation.

We're very pleased to have another insightful guest blog from Jim O'Donnell, author and former coordinator of the Coalition for the Valle Vidal in northern New Mexico:

Offshoredrill2Over the past eight years, the number of drilling permits issued for development of public lands increased by more than 361%. Have you seen your gasoline costs drop? How about your electricity costs? Propane? Natural gas? Uh ... no.

Don’t be fooled, amigos. All this talk about offshore oil drilling and the price of gas and the pump is a bunch of horse manure. In fact, the Republican Party is colluding with the oil and gas industry to drive up the price of energy.

This is criminal.

The oil and gas industry, buoyed by their Right-Wing minions are on a coordinated and well-thought out mission to end the twenty-six year old moratorium on off-shore oil and gas drilling. The goal?  Increase corporate profit at your expense.

First of all, there is no “ban” on drilling. In reality, there is a moratorium on drilling in certain coastal areas. Other areas are not only open to drilling but leases and drilling permits have already been issued. And they are not being drilled.

In fact, only 17% of the leased areas are in production. So, with about 33 million acres of offshore areas already available to drill and not being drilled, why does the oil and gas industry need to have access to still more? The fact is that tens of BILLIONS of barrels of oil off the coast of the United States are currently available for drilling ... and industry is not drilling it. It has been estimated by the Energy Information Administration that if all of those currently inactive leases were drilled, the USA would produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas EVERY DAY, accounting for a doubling of US oil production and a 75% increase in US natural gas production. The Minerals Management Service tells us that about 80% of fossil fuels available in offshore are currently available for development.

This is the story throughout the country. All told (onshore and offshore), 68 million acres are leased and sitting idle. Over 10,000 permits are currently 'stockpiled' by industry. But still they want more.

Meanwhile, Senate Republican last week blocked debate of a bill that would have offered about $17.7 billion in tax incentives for consumers to build renewable energy sources.  Nice.

What's going on here is yet another cynical attempt by the GOP and the oil and gas robber barons to increase and assure huge industry profits at the expense of the American people.

These companies don’t want to drill these areas. They want to hold them as assets to limit the amount of oil and gas on the market so that prices rise still further - and they make more money. They want to hold on to these areas so that they can drill them ten or fifteen years from now when oil is at $300 a barrel and make an even bigger fortune. 

This is criminal.

John McCain, George W. Bush and the Republican Party don’t give a damn about high energy prices. In fact, they are colluding with the oil and gas industry and Wall Street traders to deliberately drive up prices and increase profits while you and I suffer.

Don’t be fooled.

This is a guest blog by Jim O’Donnell, who is the former coordinator of the Coalition for the Valle Vidal. He is also the author of "Notes for the Aurora Society," due out later this summer. He writes, walks and marvels from northern New Mexico.

Guest blogs provide our readers with an opportunity to express their opinions on pertinent political issues. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

Technorati Tags:

June 18, 2008 at 04:26 PM in Energy, Environment, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rep. Tom Udall's Sabinoso Wilderness Bill Passes U.S. House

Yesterday the Sabinoso Wilderness Act of 2008, HR 2632, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on a unanimous voice vote. If the bill is passed by the Senate, it will be the second wilderness bill related to New Mexico to be considered for passage in more than 20 years. The legislation would set aside more than 17,600 pristine acres east of Las Vegas, NM as wilderness, including the majestic canyons and rugged beauty of one of the finest intact Great Plains ecosystems left in New Mexico.

Rep. Tom Udall (D, NM-01), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement, "The House's broad, bipartisan support for my Sabinoso proposal should push the Senate to act on this legislation now. I worked with community groups in New Mexico to make this a plan that everybody, from every part of the political spectrum, can support."

Said Udall, "Sabinoso is more than an incredibly beautiful patch of land -- it is a thriving ecosystem and a piece of New Mexico history. Visitors to the area will find horses, wild turkeys and other birds most people never get a chance to see. They will also find homesteads that go back generations and pristine wilderness that still looks like it did when settlers first came to this part of North America."

"This legislation is the product of a lot of hard work and discussion," said Udall. "I worked with everybody who wanted a say in the bill, and it reflects the interests of everybody who will be impacted."

Please call Congressman Tom Udall at 202-225-6190 and thank him for his leadership and hard work on passing the Sabinoso Wilderness Bill.

The Sabinoso area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the state of New Mexico. If the measure is approved, the area would still be available for grazing, hunting and other recreational uses and landowners would still have access to private land nearby.

The Sabinoso Wilderness Act is widely supported by local governments, business and economic development interests, sportsmen, conservation groups, and state officials. More specifically, the New Mexico State House of Representatives, San Miguel County Commission, Village of Wagon Mound, and the Town of Springer have passed resolutions supporting the designation of the Sabinoso wilderness.

The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance has more info on the Sabinoso.

Technorati Tags:

June 10, 2008 at 08:19 AM in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Amigos Bravos: Two River Cleanups in Taos Area

From Amigos Bravos:
As part of National River Cleanup Week (June 1 – 8) Amigos Bravos is joining with three other local groups to organize two river cleanups in the Taos area. We are looking for volunteers to help with these cleanups!

June 7th — River Cleanup Sponsored By Centinel Bank, Water Sentinels of Taos, and Amigos Bravos

  • When: Saturday, June 7, 2008. 8:30 AM to Noon (Cookout Afterward)
  • Where: Meet at Centinel Bank Main Parking Lot 512 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur
  • Why: To clean up portions of the Río Fernando and the Little Río Grande
  • Bring/Wear: Water Bottle, Work gloves, hat, long sleeved shirt, long pants, sturdy shoes.
  • Contact: Jim White, Telephone 758-6749, Email:

June 8th — River Cleanup Sponsored By Unitarian Congregation of Taos and Amigos Bravos

  • When: Sunday, June 8, 2008. 12:30 to 3:00pm
  • Where: Meet at 303 Este Es Rd. (look for Unitarian Sign)
  • Why: To clean up portions of Arroyo de los Coyotes
  • Bring/Wear: Water Bottle, Work gloves, hat, long sleeved shirt, long pants, sturdy shoes.
  • Contact: Steve McElmury Telephone 758-9225, Email:

Rivers are the lifeblood of New Mexico; they allow our communities to thrive. Arroyos are the veins and capillaries of our rivers, since what flows through the arroyos eventually ends up in our rivers and streams. The biggest source of pollution of our rivers is from non–specific sources like poor land management practices and household trash. Unfortunately, arroyos are often used as illegal dumps by people who cannot afford to dump at the landfill.

Communities can protect against pollution by creating buffers along rivers and providing incentives for the safe disposal of trash and old appliances. Meanwhile it falls on individuals, businesses, and community groups with civic pride to take on the cleaning up of trash that has made its way into our arroyos and rivers after heavy rains and driving winds.

Amigos Bravos is delighted to see interest and engagement from a diverse range of local groups in cleaning up our local watersheds. Three of these groups are joining with Amigos Bravos to act as stewards for our local rivers during National River Cleanup Week (June 1-June 8). Centinel Bank, Sentinels Ríos de Taos, and Amigos Bravos are joining together on June 7 for a trash cleanup of in Río Fernando and the Little Río Grande. On June 8 the Unitarian Congregation of Taos and Amigos Bravos will be conducting an arroyo trash cleanup of Arroyo de los Coyotes between Gusdorf and Maestas roads in Taos. We encourage all Taoseños to join us on these dates!

Technorati Tags:

June 5, 2008 at 11:06 AM in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Defenders of Wildlife Pledges to Help Udall Defeat Pearce

The U.S. Senate race in New Mexico between the GOP's Steve Pearce and Dem Tom Udall will pit one of Congress’ most anti-environmental members, Pearce, against on of its environmental champions. According to a release today by the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, Pearce’s nomination triggers a second phase of support by the group, which for several months has run a fully integrated, pro-Udall campaign involving extensive TV and radio ads and a growing door-to-door canvass, against both Pearce and Wilson.

“We’ve been pointing out since April that as U.S. Senators, both Pearce and Wilson would be bad for New Mexico. And, unfortunately, extremist ring-wing forces have now succeeded in nominating the one who would be the worst of the two,” said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of the Defenders Action Fund. “At least Wilson on rare occasion would vote against a special interest provision and to protect the environment. But Pearce is absolutely irredeemable. He never votes to protect the environment if big oil and other special interests want something else. He is an anti-environmental extremist in the true sense of the phrase.”

“Steve Pearce has a lot of explaining to do to New Mexico voters,” continued Schlickeisen. “He voted against fuel efficiency for cars and voted to give oil companies billions in tax breaks while New Mexicans are being squeezed at the gas pump.  He even voted to protect the makers of toxic chemicals that pollute the drinking water in his own district, all while accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from big oil companies. He has consistently served the special interests instead of the people’s interests.”

Defenders Action Fund has pledged to continue to expose the extreme anti-environmental record of Steve Pearce. Its new, multifaceted campaign focuses on Pearce’s record as he vies against Rep. Tom Udall, in the race for the U.S. Senate. 

“As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Pearce is responsible for protecting our air, land and water,” added Schlickeisen, “but he has consistently done just the opposite.” 

While sitting on the House Natural Resources Committee, Pearce has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from big oil companies and has repeatedly voted against clean energy solutions and efforts to combat global warming, as well as voting to give oil companies billions in tax breaks.

In February, Defenders Action Fund announced its endorsement of Rep. Tom Udall in his bid for the U.S. Senate. As a House member, Udall has consistently given strong support to clean, renewable energy and other efforts to combat the harmful effects of global warming.

“There are huge energy and environmental problems facing New Mexico and the nation,” concluded Schlickeisen, “and it is vitally important that the political leaders New Mexico send to Washington be part of the solution and not part of the problem. There is no question that Steve Pearce, who is tied for the worst environmental record in Congress, is a big part of the problem.”

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund ( provides a powerful voice in Washington to Americans who value our conservation heritage. Through grassroots lobbying, issue advocacy and political campaigns, the Action Fund champions those laws and lawmakers that protect wildlife and wild places while working against those that do them harm.

Technorati Tags:

June 4, 2008 at 10:36 AM in 2008 NM Senate Race, Environment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

NM-03: Stewart Udall Endorses Luján

SudallThe Ben R. Luján campaign announced that Stewart Udall (right), the father of Rep. Tom Udall (D, NM-03), has endorsed Luján for Congress in the Third District's Democratic primary. Stewart Udall's environmental credentials and integrity are powerful and impeccable. Udall's endorsement may well provide a boost to Luján's chances in the closing days of the hotly contested primary race to be decided on June 3rd.

Luján is running to replace Tom Udall, who's running for U.S. Senate. Rep. Udall has not endorsed any candidate in the race.

Check out Matthew Reichbach's scoop on the story on the endorsement at the New Mexico Independent, which includes a nice photo of Luján and Udall. In a phone interview with NMI, Stewart Udall explained his endorsement this way: "I like him as a person, but I’m for him because of the strong position he’s taken on the issues that are important to me."

Steve Terrell's article in the Santa Fe New Mexican reports another quote from Udall:

"I've followed (Luján's) career, and I have a high regard for him," the elder Udall said in a telephone interview. He said he likes Luján's record on energy and environmental issues. "He's interested in all the things I am," Udall said.

An article in the Albuquerque Journal included commentary from the campaign of Don Wiviott, another Dem running in the NM-03 primary who's considered to be Luján's main rival:

A Stewart Udall endorsement would have likely been welcomed by Lujan's five Democratic opponents for the nomination, many of whom appear eager to assume the Tom Udall mantle. But an aide to Santa Fe developer and political newcomer Don Wiviott said the campaign knows not to expect such endorsements.

"Obviously, Wiviott respects Secretary Udall immensely and is grateful for his distinguished service to our country, but as an outsider and a candidate who is not a career politician, he doesn't expect a lot of endorsements," spokesman Webster Cash said in a statement.

Steward Udall, now 88, served in the U.S. House representing Arizona from 1955-61 and as Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson from 1961-69.

Udall was the primary mover and shaker behind the enactment of environmental laws as part of Johnson's Great Society initiative, including the Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the Land and Water Conservation [Fund] Act of 1965, the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, the National Trail System Act of 1968, and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. He's a giant in the environmental community and a living legend to many.

Luján has also received endorsements from prominent environmental groups including the League of Conservation Voters, Conservation Voters New Mexico, Sierra Club and Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, but this is the topper.

Photo of Stewart Udall by Kurt Markus from a on the Udall family that appeared in Outside magazine in March.

Technorati Tags:, , , , , , , ,

May 15, 2008 at 10:31 AM in Environment, NM-03 Congressional Seat 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

'You Can't Drink Oil' Set for 5.20, Santa Fe

Click on image for larger version. Click for FLYER (pdf). More info at Common Ground United and New Mexico Environmental Law Center.

Technorati Tags:, , , , , , ,

May 14, 2008 at 08:30 AM in Energy, Environment, Events | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Celebrate 20th Anniversary of Amigos Bravos

From Amigos Bravos, Friends of the Wild Rivers:
Come celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Amigos Bravos and the launch of a new campaign to establish the constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment in New Mexico. No charge for current members -- this party is for you! Friends who wish to become members: $25 at the door.

Where: Philip Bareiss Gallery, 15 Route 150, Taos, NM
When: Saturday, May 17, 6-9 PM
Music by the Brent Berry Band

13th Annual Raffle for the Río
Grande Prize — Round-Trip Tickets for Two to the Bordeaux region of southwestern France, and a seven-day stay in the BED & BREAKFAST at the historic Chateau La Gatte, in Saint André de Cubzac (Some restrictions apply).

A $25 ticket gives you one chance to win -- Purchase a packet of 5 tickets for $100 and multiply your chances -- or give tickets to your friends. Click here to purchase your tickets now! Raffle coming to an end on Thursday, May 15th at 5:00 PM.

May 11, 2008 at 12:55 PM in Environment, Events | Permalink | Comments (1)