The week in review: PED’s continued silence, climate change and reaction to the violence in Charlottesville

Here’s what you might have missed this week from NM Political Report. Leaked climate report paints dry picture of U.S. Southwest, by Laura Paskus

Albuquerque responds to violence at Virginia white supremacist rally, by Laura Paskus

Doña Ana County Republican Party chairman resigns after social media rant, by Andy Lyman

By not answering media questions, PED leaves public in the dark, by Andy Lyman and Laura Paskus

New Mexico’s reserves among lowest in the nation, by Matthew Reichbach

New numbers from the state on revenue, reserves by Laura Paskus

Augustin Plains Ranch order released, meetings scheduled on controversial water project, by Laura Paskus

Some stories from our news partners:
Trump has broad power to block climate change report, by Andy Revkin, ProPublica

Schools fail lead tests while many states don’t require testing at all, by Elissa Nuñez and Amy Molloy, Center for Public Integrity

Deadline looms on Zinke’s National Monument recommendations, by Roz Brown, Public News Service – NM

A new generation of white supremacists emerges in Charlottesville, by A.C. Thompson, ProPublica, and Karim Hajj, special to ProPublica

 

 
Opinion pieces
Trump needs to go, by Rep. Daymon Ely

Carruthers Should Stay At NMSU, by Rep. Bill McCamley

NMSU regents should keep Garrey Carruthers at the helm in troubled times, by Sen. John Arthur Smith, Sen. Steven P. Neville and Sen. Mary Kay Papen

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Trump has broad power to block climate change report

Earlier this month, someone involved in the government’s latest report on climate change provided The New York Times with a copy of the version submitted to the Trump administration for final approval. The main intent of the leak, according to several people tracking the report, was to complicate any attempt to suppress the study or water down its findings. Publication of the document inflamed an already-fraught debate about climate change. Administration officials and Republican lawmakers accused the leaker and journalists of manufacturing a dispute. They said the report, which was required by law, was moving through a normal process of White House review.

Trump needs to go

I’m Jewish.  I’m proud of being Jewish.  In fact, being the only Jewish member of the State House of Representatives is a special source of pride.  But there is always that concern — what if? When I was growing up and we would read about what had happened in Germany during World War II, my father would warn me — it could happen here.  I have never believed him.  Our institutions, our culture, our history and our people are too strong.  There will always be those who embrace hatred over understanding and love.

Schools fail lead tests while many states don’t require testing at all

WASHINGTON, D.C. – When Ceon Dubose Palmore got thirsty at school, an administrator had to escort the 15-year-old past trash-bag-covered fountains to a faucet two floors down. This report is part of a project on drinking water contamination in the United States produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. Like many schools across the country, her Washington, D.C. middle school discovered lead in its drinking water, making most fountains unsafe to drink. It took months to install filters sporadically around the school. Ceon rarely asked to get a drink from the working fountains since teachers didn’t want kids disrupting class time.

Carruthers Should Stay At NMSU

In 2013, Garrey Carruthers was named President of New Mexico State University. He was not my first choice, and I expressed my opposition to his hiring publicly. Boy, was I ever wrong. Since the beginning of his tenure Carruthers has lead NMSU through extremely tough times. State budget cuts created lower funding levels, and the decision of NMSU’s Regents not to raise tuition led to hard choices.

NMSU regents should keep Garrey Carruthers at the helm in troubled times

We and other legislators had hoped that the regents of New Mexico State University, in accepting the recently announced retirement of Chancellor Garrey Carruthers’ at the end of his contract next year, nonetheless would ask him to stay on for two more years. Chancellor Carruthers’ record of vision and leading the institution is outstanding, and big challenges lie ahead. The university needs him. Senator John Arthur Smith (D-35-Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Luna, Sierra) is the Chair of the New Mexico Senate Finance Committee. Senator Steven P. Neville (R-2-San Juan) serves on the New Mexico Senate Finance Committee.

Deadline looms on Zinke’s National Monument recommendations

New Mexico may learn next week if the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument will be reduced in size by the U.S. Interior Department. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been working toward an August 24 deadline to make his recommendations to President Donald Trump. Monument designations can work against increased energy development on public lands, which runs counter to a key Trump administration goal. Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project, thinks the monument review is the first step in a broader push for more drilling on public lands that will bypass what local residents want. “Really, all of these monuments that we’re talking about are places that have economies that have built up around them, that have communities that support them and want them,” he explains.

A new generation of white supremacists emerges in Charlottesville

The white supremacist forces arrayed in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend — the largest gathering of its sort in at least a generation — represented a new incarnation of the white supremacy movement. Old-guard groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nations and the Nazi skinheads, which had long stood at the center of racist politics in America, were largely absent. Instead, the ranks of the young men who drove to Charlottesville with clubs, shields, pepper spray and guns included many college-educated people who have left the political mainstream in favor of extremist ideologies over the past few years. A large number have adopted a very clean cut, frat-boyish look designed to appeal to the average white guy in a way that KKK robes or skinhead regalia never could. Interviews show that at least some of these leaders have spent time in the U.S. armed forces.

Senate Democrats delay HHS nominee over women’s health funding

Last week, 65 administration nominees — including four to Health and Human Services — sailed through the Senate confirmation process by unanimous vote without any debate. One candidate left out was Dr. Brett Giroir, a Texas physician, who is the president’s choice for assistant secretary of health. Now, shedding light on their reservations, Senate Democrats are saying that Giroir’s testimony before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee left them skeptical that he would support women’s health programs, which they say are under threat. The Democrats are insisting on a roll call vote on the Senate floor — after the Senate reconvenes Sept. 5. The position for which Giroir is nominated includes oversight of the Office of Population Affairs, which administers Title X grants, and the Office of Adolescent Health, which oversees the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

Interior’s new sage grouse recommendations at a glance

The Interior Department has finished a sweeping review of 98 West-wide sage grouse management plans, part of a broader effort to examine what President Donald Trump deems potential barriers to energy extraction on federal public lands. The review, which took place across the 10 Western states with existing sage grouse plans, ended with a contentious report filed to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last week. A panel of federal officials authored the report, which was released to the public on Monday. The report suggests scaling back protections for the imperiled bird, in an effort to give states (and likely industry) more flexibility. Some governors and industry groups say the recommendations open the door to more development.