Political ‘retribution’: The DOI rejected 100% of New Mexico’s proposed LWCF projects

After cheering the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which secured permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), New Mexico wildlife and conservation advocates were shocked to learn every single project proposed to the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) for LWCF funds was rejected. 

The LWCF, created by Congress in 1965 to support public land management using offshore oil and gas royalties, received $900 million annually under the Great American Outdoors Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump in August. It marked just the second time since its creation that the program is fully funded. The Great American Outdoors Act, which environmental groups considered a historic public lands conservation package, passed the Senate with what some dubbed “rare” bipartisan support on a 73-25 vote. The bill was introduced earlier this year by Republican U.S. Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana—both of whom relied heavily on the Act’s passage in their respective reelection campaigns. New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich also supported the bill, as did U.S. Reps.

New Mexico surpasses 100,000 cases and reports record-breaking 40 deaths from COVID-19 Wednesday

New Mexico became the 37th state to record 100,000 cases in total for COVID-19 and the state announced a record-breaking 40 deaths Wednesday related to the illness. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a statement in response, saying that the state is “headed for a painful winter.”

“Today alone we lost 40 New Mexicans to this virus. We cannot become numb to this tragedy. Families all across our state are grappling with unfathomable grief. Each of these New Mexicans was loved.

A Black life ends in a New Mexico police shooting

Rodney Applewhite, 25, was driving through New Mexico late last week on his way to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with his mother and other family members. 

Just outside of Los Lunas, on the last leg of a trip that started in South Bend, Indiana, a New Mexico State Police officer attempted to pull Applewhite over for what was described as a traffic stop. It was 8:32 a.m., a NMSP press release said. About 10 minutes later, two state troopers tried to arrest Applewhite. When an altercation occurred with the first officer, the second officer shot Applewhite, firing “at least one round,” the NMSP said. Applewhite, unarmed, died that day in the hospital. 

“I can’t sleep, I can’t eat.

Governor discusses ‘red to green’ framework

In a press conference on Monday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase went over the new tiered “red to green” COVID-19 framework that the state will enter on Dec. 2, following the end of the two-week lockdown “reset.” 

“This, we believe, is a mechanism that will allow New Mexico to sort of move through the virus, protect New Mexicans [and] provide a little bit of more economic certainty for the entire state as a whole,” Lujan Grisham said during the remote press conference. 

Hospital leaders warn of growing hospitalizations: ‘We are really totally full’

Leaders from three hospitals in Albuquerque continued to ask New Mexicans to abide by COVID-19-safe practices and warned that hospitals are full—and that they expect to see another big jump in confirmed cases in the coming weeks after the Thanksgiving holiday. Dr. Jason Mitchell, the Presbyterian chief medical officer, said that all main hospitals are already over ICU capacity and at 110 percent or 120 percent of normal capacity. “At Presbyterian, we’re at surge level at Pres hospital, which means that we’ve done everything we can to expand, short of crisis standards of care,” he said. “And we are out of ICU beds currently. And so we are really totally full.”

This impacts rural hospitals as well, which may have to delay patients who need a higher standard of care while the “hub” hospitals across the state try to find an available bed.