KRWG

Local Viewpoints

KRWG welcomes you to join our community discussion.  E-mail your comments to:  feedback @ nmsu.edu  Comments included here represent the views of the individual writers and do not necessarily represent the views of KRWG or New Mexico State University.  Submissions must adhere to these guidelines.

The Economic Impact of Oil Field Remediation in New Mexico

17 seconds ago

  Commentary: Plugging abandoned oil and gas wells and cleaning up sites and related infrastructure on State Trust and private fee lands in New Mexico could generate $4 billion in wages, 65,337 jobs and $541 million in revenue for the state, according to a new report from O’Donnell Economics, a New Mexico-based firm specializing in economic impact analyses.

“A concerted effort to clean up unplugged oil and gas wells, tanks and pipelines on state and private land in New Mexico offers the state tremendous job and economic benefits in addition to addressing an environmental and public health problem,” said Dr. Kelly O’Donnell, Principal of O’Donnell Economics and research professor at the University of New Mexico School of Public Administration. “But the benefits accrue only if oil and gas companies fund the clean-up of their sites.”

Couy Griffin


 

  Commentary: I wish Couy Griffin would do us all a favor the next time he goes on national television and tells them he's from Texas.

 

Griffin was one of a handful of Jan. 6 insurrections featured Sunday night on a two-hour CNN special about the riot that day at the U.S. Capital. He was later arrested by FBI agents on federal charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.

 

Among the pearls of wisdom he dispensed were the belief that Capital Police Officer Brian Sicknick and protester Ashli Babbitt are still alive; and that Donald Trump was “annointed by God.”

  Commentary: The Republican Party of New Mexico stands with the Union Protectiva de Santa Fe organization in its lawsuit against Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber over the destruction of a veterans memorial at the Santa Fe Plaza. The group is asking the Mayor  to restore the Plaza obelisk after protestors tore it down last Indigenous Peoples Day.
 
RPNM believes the suit is the proper course of action because the organization is protecting our Hispanic history, culture, heritage and faith. 

These monuments serve as a reminder of who we are as New Mexicans and as a people. 

Las Cruces Municipal Court

  Commentary: Sitting in the upstairs courtroom of our modest brick Las Cruces Municipal Courthouse reminds me of sitting there in 1975, a young reporter covering a federal kidnaping case.

Back then, this was the U.S. Courthouse. Now, morning shadows from the massive Federal Courthouse across Church St. darken Muni Court.

U.S. v. Lowe was tried here because it was too hot for Albuquerque.

Juneteenth: A Reason to be Optimistic

Jun 18, 2021

Commentary: The kindness of strangers has been the mantra for many people in this country for generations. Certain acts of kindness have changed the course of history. One of the most notable acts of kindness occurred on June 19, 1865, two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, when Union Soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger delivered an order, declaring, “the people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free”.

Gila River

Commentary: U.S. Representative Yvette Herrell argues the Environmental Protection Agency’s unravelling of the Navigable Water Protection Rule is a “Washington-Knows-Best” move. The move is designed to restore federal pollution oversight to U.S. waterways, such as oversight of a massive proposed open-pit copper mine near Tucson.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan has committed the agency to holding public outreach sessions around the country this summer and fall. Does that sound like a “Washington-Knows-Best” approach or “Washington-Wants-to-Hear-From-And-Work-With-You" approach? Regan, the former head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, has a reputation as a person who works well with all sides. The public outreach sessions will help create rules that are durable, so  the rules won’t be changed every four years when a new administration comes into office. That sounds like openness, dialogue and common sense, not “Washington-Knows-Best.” 

Herrell: Water protection changes are inexcusable federal overreach

Jun 16, 2021

Commentary: From how to spend your money to how to manage your land, the Biden administration thinks they know best. Take for example this week’s move by the Environmental Protection Agency to begin unravelling the Navigable Water Protection Rule and bring back the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. This “Washington-Knows-Best” decision is a direct attack on the private property rights of millions of farmers, ranchers, and homeowners.

Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter responds to court order on leasing pause

Jun 16, 2021
Laura Paskus, New Mexico In Depth

  Commentary: On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the Biden administration's pause on new oil and gas leasing on federal public lands pending reviewing of the Interior Department’s leasing program. The court’s preliminary injunction, which applies to Interior leasing nationwide, harms the needed transition from fossil-fuel pollution and efforts to address the climate emergency.

The Sierra Club joined environmental and community organizations in seeking to intervene in the case to defend the pause, citing climate, economic and public-health concerns, but that motion was denied. Sierra Club has since participated in the case as an amicus curiae. 

The super-rich should pay their fair share of taxes

Jun 15, 2021

Commentary: How do the super-rich avoid paying their fair share of taxes?  By convincing Federal, State and local politicians with money and lobbyists about what is good for the economy. These include gimmicks like tax reductions to stimulate business investment, private equity takeovers and special treatment for capital gains and carried interest. You will notice that none of these ideas benefit the average wage earner—and it doesn’t trickle down. The super-rich earn virtually all their wealth from the constantly rising value of their assets--particularly in the stock market. Using the gimmicks just mentioned-- their tax rate is incredibly low or zero.

No more turning a blind eye to systemic violence

Jun 15, 2021

  Commentary: The calls for justice in every corner of our globe continue to get louder and louder. Not only because injustices continue happening across our world, but because people have been awakened, and they are not allowing our governments and ourselves to turn a blind eye to systemic violence and abuse impacting our communities. 

 

The world is being forced to reckon with the brutal reality of systemic genocide against Indigenous peoples around the world after the remains of 215 children were found in the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Southern British Columbia. Residential schools are what we in the United States have come to know as ‘Native American Boarding Schools’. While this story has made the news globally, this horrible discovery has been met with silence and inaction right here in New Mexico––despite the well documented history of atrocities that were carried out in our five boarding schools.

Refills from a Blessed Cup

Jun 15, 2021

Commentary: It was hard for my dad to describe to me what he did at work when I was little. He was a mechanic in the Air Force, specializing in hydraulics for F-16s. When I asked, he would tell me about how fluids turn into pressure and how wind creates lift, conversations that floated above me but must have ended up still tucked into a corner of my mind where I listen to them now. But then, I must have given him enough blank looks to usually have him end with a gruff, "I fix planes."

The View From Juarez

Jun 15, 2021

Commentary: I recently took a friend of mine and his son to Juarez, Mexico, to pick up some items over the Memorial Day weekend. Usually, I would drive into Mexico, but I didn’t want to do this on a holiday weekend. I knew the later we stayed in the city, the longer the northbound lines at the ports of entry to cross into the U.S. would be, as U.S. citizens/residents who have relatives in Mexico returned home. Therefore, I parked at the base of the Santa Fe Bridge and we entered Mexico by foot.

Leakers are essential to honest government

Jun 14, 2021

Commentary: I rise today in support of leakers.

Here’s to Daniel Ellsberg, a former Marine who was working as a private-sector military analyst  in 1971 when he leaked the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study on U.S. activities in Vietnam dating back to the Truman administration. It revealed a decades-long history of lies to the American public by both military and civilian leaders, including their denials at the time of bombing raids beyond Vietnam’s borders.

Peter Goodman

 

 Commentary: Thursday I spent a half-day with high school students in a photojournalism class. The kids saw things in neat ways, some had a real good eye. It was refreshing.

One student had written a thought-provoking poem. (Sunday’s blog post will reprint the full poem.)

With the poem lingering in my head, I read that Donald Trump is telling Joe Biden to fire the Joint Chiefs of Staff if they think climate change is a big deal.

Sonoma Ranch East, Las Cruces / Coldwell Banker LC

Commentary: The League of Women Voters studies and takes positions on public policy issues at the local, state, and national levels.  Based on a local housing study completed in 2012, the League of Women Voters of Southern New Mexico (LWVSNM) supports efforts to increase the availability of safe housing that is affordable to moderate- and low-income households.  Actions the League endorses include housing options, such as those appropriate for seniors, the disabled, and first-time home buyers; a variety of types of housing for rent and purchase integrated within the community; and strategies such as use of public-private partnerships and grants, rehabilitation, fee waivers, and a housing trust fund and land bank to promote housing affordability.

  Commentary: Senator Crystal Diamond (District 34-Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Luna, and Sierra) today sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) expressing her opposition to the planned translocation of Mexican gray wolves to the Ladder Ranch, in Sierra County. In the letter addressed to the Coordinator of the federal Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, Senator Diamond criticized FWS for failing to provide sufficient notice to local producers and agriculture groups, noting the threat these wolves pose to local livestock.

 

“These wolves have a known history of livestock depredation and their proposed translocation site at the Ladder Ranch is within five miles of active livestock grazing pastures,” said Senator Diamond. “The suggestion that these wolves will remain within the boundaries of the Ranch is highly improbable, and without a liability and compensation plan in place for future kills, our local producers will pay the price.”

 

Under the FWS plan, two wolves with a documented history of cattle and horse kills are scheduled to be translocated to the Ladder Ranch this month, along with their pups. The two wolves have been previously removed from the wild multiple times due to past incidents.

Gila River

Commentary:  Water advocates across New Mexico applaud the Biden Administration’s decision to repeal the Trump Administration’s Dirty Water Rule. The Dirty Water Rule, combined with previous reductions of protections at the federal level in 2001 and 2006, negatively impacts New Mexico more than any state in the nation leaving more than 90% of New Mexico’s waters unprotected by the federal Clean Water Act. 

Amigos Bravos, New Mexico Acequia Association, and Gila Resources Information Project, represented by New Mexico Environmental Law Center joined together last year to appeal the Trump Dirty Water Rule. This appeal will remain active until the rule is formally repealed by the Biden Administration. 

Herrell Leads Letter to Protect the Future of Elephant Butte

Jun 10, 2021
Bureau of Reclamation

  Commentary: Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) lead a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation today regarding the future of the Elephant Butte Reservoir. "Elephant Butte is both the hub for outdoor recreation for the state of New Mexico and the lifeblood of the prolific agricultural industry of Southern New Mexico and has been so for decades," Herrell and 13 stakeholders wrote. "Elephant Butte faces an existential crisis this year, with water levels the lowest in recent memory." Herrell and the stakeholders acknowledge the crisis "is not an issue of recreation versus water users," but a shared challenge as tourism and agricultural "industries both require a healthy and sustainable Elephant Butte."

  Commentary: Increasingly, the global market is shifting to electric vehicles (EVs) – tapping into EVs’ potential to save families thousands of dollars, lower carbon pollution, and make the air we breathe cleaner. Yet, despite pioneering the technology, the United States is behind in the race to manufacture these vehicles and the batteries that go in them.

Paying the Dues for Life and Not for Work

Jun 8, 2021

Commentary: A few years back, at a weekend conference, I did a brief tour of the newsroom of my state's largest newspaper. Other attendees walked through the rows of empty desks without so much of a glance around. I ogled the different personal items on the desks — the witty mugs, the dog calendars and so, so many books — I thought about what it might be like to work there.

My undergraduate degree is in journalism. I started college in an offshoot of a computer science degree at a technology-focused university. Unfortunately, the only class I enjoyed was English. I did the sensible thing and followed all my high school friends to the "party school," the state school, down the road.

Las Cruces Candidates Call for Repeal of Ranked Choice Voting

Jun 8, 2021

Commentary: Two candidates for Las Cruces City Council are calling for the Mayor and City Council to repeal the Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) process used in the 2019 municipal election, and “return to the time-honored traditional one-person, one-vote system” for future elections.

“The convoluted RCV process produced a bizarre result in 2019,” said Fifth District candidate Ronnie Sisneros and Sixth District candidate William Beerman in a joint statement. The candidates said, “Even though only about one-third (37 percent) of the voters voted for the incumbent Mayor as their first choice, he ended up getting another 4-year term because of the RCV process.”

Herrell Requests Oversight of Meatpacking Industry

Jun 8, 2021

Commentary: Following last week's bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Department of Justice requesting an investigation of potential antitrust violations, Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) today requested the House Oversight and Reform Committee hold a hearing on the lack of competition within the beef processing industry and its threat to our nation’s food supply.

Heinrich: The Electric Future Must Begin Now

Jun 8, 2021
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  Commentary: Our future depends on our acting now to confront the climate crisis by enacting policies to convert our economy from fossil fuels to clean energy. By making this switch, we will also create millions of new jobs, save American households money on their energy bills and protect lives by improving the air we breathe in our homes and workplaces.

To get there, we need to begin by electrifying large parts of our economy and changing the supply of all that electricity from polluting fuels to clean energy. We must start with our homes and vehicles because, according to research from Rewiring America, a nonprofit organization focused on the widespread electrification of the U.S. economy, 42 percent of all of our energy-related carbon emissions come from the machines we have in our households and our cars. To keep global warming at livable temperatures, we need to replace existing machines that use fossil fuels with clean electric substitutes when they reach the end of life.

Crash Davis doesn’t have much to offer Osaka

Jun 7, 2021

 


  Commentary: There’s a great scene in the movie “Bull Durham” where Crash Davis, the veteran catcher, teaches hotshot pitching prospect Nuke Laloosh how to talk to the media: “We’ve got to play ‘em one game at a time.” “I’m just happy to be here, and hope I can help the ballclub.” “I just want to give it my best shot. And, the good Lord willing, things will work out.”

 

As a former sportswriter, I thought director Ron Shelton gave it 110 percent in capturing the typical locker room exchanges. Players and coaches lean on cliches because they’re safe, and there’s one available for every situation.

No One Is Above The Law

Jun 7, 2021

 

Commentary:  A friend said recently that even if prosecutors proved that Donald Trump had committed huge crimes, we should never see a President of the United States in an orange jump suit.

He had no quarrel with Trump’s impeachment, or with VP Spiro Agnew going to jail in the ‘70s. If Trump cheated banks and government out of big bucks, they could and should pursue him civilly; but not jail an ex-president.

I disagree.

  Commentary: The Republican Party of New Mexico condemns the sale of shirts and masks being sold on Amazon that read “Blue Lives Murder.” RPNM believes such an anti-police message is unconscionable and downright dangerous. 
 
RPNM finds these shirts and masks offensive and joins law enforcement, police unions and others in a call to remove these items from being sold. It’s imperative that we stand with our police.
 
“The sale of these shirts and other items is shocking and horrifying,” said RPNM Chairman Steve Pearce. “We denounce these sales. These are turbulent times when police officers are being attacked across our country. This sends the wrong message and will provoke more violence against the men and women in blue. RPNM will always support law enforcement. These brave heroes serve and protect our communities, and to promote and sell apparel and masks with these words is immoral and cannot be tolerated.”

Signing The Papers

Jun 4, 2021

Commentary: The doctors first asked me to leave the room. I can't remember where I went and whether I was escorted or not, but I left. My parents went to sit down with the doctors at a little table in my hospital room. The doctors would explain, and my parents would meticulously sign, the stack of forms that detailed all the horrible ways the surgery I would have the following morning could go wrong.

It was extensive. I could lose feeling in my body, or I could become a paraplegic. I could suffer blood loss; I could die. My parents, then the age I am now, sat and signed those documents one by one as the doctors talked. My mom, scared and overwhelmed, only remembered that at the end, she asked them to get a very good night's sleep to prepare for the next day. They assured her they would.

Roping Together a Weak Defense of Social Media

Jun 4, 2021

  Commentary: Social media gets a bad rap. Most of it is well deserved. It caters to various strains of "fake news," unrealistic life standards and relentless commercialism of all aspects of life. But as a work-from-homer, social media has been a savior against the stark loneliness I felt when I sat in the office alone, particularly over the past year.

Pinging people during the day via the internet has allowed me to stay sane. I didn't know how much I'd miss the watercooler at the office — or more, the work friends I could meet in the break room for another cup of stale coffee — until it was only me and four walls.

Commentary: As New Mexico families emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us find life incredibly different than it was 15 months ago. Our households, our communities, and our jobs have all been impacted and likely look very different now.   

The pandemic was an indiscriminate hammer, fracturing the lives of people across the spectrum and far too many New Mexicans now find themselves struggling to make ends meet, or are employed but behind on housing costs like mortgages, rent, or utilities.  

Fortunately, thousands of renters in New Mexican are likely eligible to receive funds to cover up to 15 months of rent and utility payments. These payments will help keep people in their homes. 

Breaking Up with Oil and Gas Begins at the Roundhouse

Jun 4, 2021

Commentary: New Mexicans know very well that we are living in a ‘toxic’ relationship. For far too long, the Oil and Gas Industry has created a dependency model which has trapped our people into thinking ‘we are nothing without Oil and Gas’. 

Well, this is a lie. 

Our destiny as New Mexicans is not defined by an industry based on ecological destruction–rather by our love to our people, land and culture. We have a prosperous and healthy future awaiting, without the need to sacrifice our communities health and wellbeing. 

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