March 7, 2016

Odds and Ends: It’s an oil bust, not a slump

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Margaret Wright

Oil rig in southeast New Mexico.

—A Susana Martinez adviser on energy policy said at an energy conference this weekend that the oil and gas market is in a “bust” period.

From the Farmington Daily-Times:

“This is what a bust is. You lose the workforce,” said [Daniel] Fine, who is associate director at New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech. “Loss to the country and to the Southwest will be the workforce. It will be decimated at levels of less than $30 a barrel (of crude oil).”

He also said that a third of all oil producers in the country will go bankrupt.

The bust of oil is a big deal in New Mexico; the plummeting oil and gas prices meant that the Legislature had to slash money from the budget to keep it balanced, as required by the state constitution.

—A couple of things to check out for Tuesday.

It’s filing day for legislative candidates on Tuesday. We will run down some key races to keep an eye on as well as let you know who is running as they file. All day long, we will update a post to let you know who is running in what district.

Later Tuesday, NM Political Report senior reporter Joey Peters will be appearing on KSFR to talk about some of his recent big stories, including one on a shakeup at the Public Education Department. We’ll get you the exact time that it will air.

—Gov. Martinez signed some bills on Monday.

The most notable was HB 97, sponsored by Rep. Andres Romero, D-Albuquerque, and it will eliminate tests for ninth and tenth grade students in the state.

Another bill would eliminate taxes for workers who come to New Mexico as part of emergency response to disasters.

“This legislation makes it easier for them to come to our state and repair much-needed infrastructure like telephone and gas lines in the event of a storm or another emergency,” Martinez said in a statement about the legislation sponsored by Sen. William Payne, R-Albuquerque.

—District Attorney Kari Brandenburg will hold a press conference Tuesday morning. They press release only says that the press conference will take place tomorrow and has no details, but it seems likely that Brandenburg will make it official that she is not running for another term.

—Speaking of press conferences, Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry will make an announcement of a new air service at the Sunport on Tuesday morning. With ridership declining annually at the airport, this should be welcome news for New Mexico and the economy.

Update: KOAT-TV reports it is Allegiant Air.

—The state Democratic Party will hold its pre-primary convention this Saturday in Albuquerque. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy will give the keynote address.

With no contested races, there won’t be much drama at the pre-primary convention, similar to how the Republican pre-primary convention a few weeks ago didn’t receive much attention.