News Clips

A poll shows majority support for a paid family and medical leave insurance program

A poll taken this fall shows that New Mexican voters are in favor of a state-supported paid family and medical leave program. A group of Democratic representatives, led by state Rep. Christine Chandler of Los Alamos, have sponsored a bill to establish such a program in the last few legislative […]

Legislative committee gives state finance authority the greenlight for cannabis business loans

An interim legislative committee on Tuesday approved a state-run loan program for small cannabis businesses. The decision was approved by the New Mexico Finance Authority Oversight committee with a 9-2 vote.  The program will be overseen by the state’s finance authority and will be funded by the Economic Development Revolving […]

Interior oil and gas review met with mixed reactions

While environmental activists praise various aspects of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s newly released report on federal oil and gas leasing and permitting processes, some say the report is incomplete and fails to account for the impact fossil fuel emissions have on climate change. The department released the report […]

How the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion rights this term could affect LGBTQ+ rights

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on anti-abortion bans that some say could have the potential to impact LGBTQ+ constitutional rights. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments earlier this month for two cases filed over Texas SB 8, which prohibits abortion at six weeks. On December […]

Emails show exchanges between plaintiffs, employees and RLD that helped lead to whistleblower suit

Next week, a New Mexico state district judge is slated to hear arguments for and against a group of state employees adding a Whistleblower Protection Act claim to an already pending lawsuit against the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department.  The initial suit, filed by four Cannabis Control Division employees, claims […]

Study: Emergency managers should plan for volcanic eruptions in the southwest

The southwest United States has thousands of volcanoes that were only active for a very short period of time and, a new analysis published in the journal Geosphere urges emergency managers to be aware of the potential for further volcanic activity. The authors of the study counted 2,229 volcanoes in […]

A small seabird found far from home in New Mexico

Mikal Deese has rehabbed more than a hundred species of birds at her non-profit rehabilitation center in Corrales, but last week she received a bird that she’d never seen before. The small black and white bird was found unable to fly on the side of a trail in Placitas and […]

Vaccines, masks required in the Roundhouse during upcoming legislative sessions

The upcoming legislative special session for redistricting and next year’s regular legislative session will be open to the public—but they must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter and wear masks while in the Roundhouse. That’s according to the Legislative Council Service, which announced the changes on Tuesday. “Given the […]

Haaland visits Chaco Culture National Historical Park

As the U.S. Department of the Interior begins the process of placing a 20-year moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands near Chaco Canyon, some nearby Indian allottees say that such an action would limit their ability to make a living off of their land. Meanwhile, proponents […]

2021 a challenging year for New Mexico animal shelters

The year 2021 has proved to be even more challenging than 2020 for Rover and Whiskers, animal shelters across New Mexico report. The problem all three animal shelters in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces were primarily dogged by in 2021 was a pet population explosion. At least two animal […]

Build Back Better Act passes U.S. House of Representatives

Legislation that includes dozens of provisions to address climate change is one step closer to the president’s desk following a near-party-line vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday morning. The Build Back Better Act would provide funding to support working families, increase access to home ownership and address […]

State utility regulators look toward increased adoption of electric vehicles

Utility regulators in New Mexico are preparing for increasing use of electric vehicles in the state and, while they have approved transportation electrification plans for the three investor-owned utilities in New Mexico, they say there is still more work to do. New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Joseph Maestas spoke about […]

ISC looks at Abiquiu Reservoir to ease storage constraints while El Vado undergoes repairs

Amid the need for reservoir repairs and the decreased water levels due to drought and climate change, the Interstate Stream Commission’s staff is looking at ways to store some of the water from El Vado Reservoir downstream in Abiquiu Reservoir. During an Interstate Stream Commission meeting on Thursday, Page Pegram, […]

NM issues first cannabis cultivation license

A New Mexico-based cannabis company announced this week that it received the first cannabis cultivation license earlier this month from the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.  In a statement from president and CEO of Mother’s Meds, Tony Martinez, the company was awarded a cannabis production license by RLD on […]

NM high court: Legislature, not governor, has authority over federal COVID-19 funds

The New Mexico Supreme Court, in a ruling from the bench, ordered Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to stop using any unspent federal COVID-19 stimulus money without approval from the state Legislature.  New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Michael Vigil, after a brief deliberation by the justices, read the ruling.  “The court […]

Three new state positions announced following passage of federal infrastructure package

On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced three new positions focused on the federal funding that is coming to the state through the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law this week. Leading this effort is former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, who will serve as […]

PRC hearing examiner recommends approval of PNM’s Four Corners shares transfer to NTEC

While environmental advocacy groups are concerned that transferring Public Service Company of New Mexico’s 13 percent ownership share in the Four Corners Power Plant to Navajo Transitional Energy Company will lead to continued or increased emissions, a hearing examiner for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission recommended last week that […]

Air quality group discusses ozone levels

Ozone levels in the Four Corners region—including New Mexico’s San Juan Basin—have been hovering just under the federal threshold of 70 parts per billion, according to data presented by Mark Sather, who works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s region six in air monitoring and grants, during the Four Corners […]

‘A blue-collar blueprint to rebuild’: Biden signs infrastructure package

President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure package Monday that includes funding for expanded broadband, plugging of orphaned oil and gas wells and remediating abandoned mines among other investments.. The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been touted as the largest infrastructure investment since the New Deal. During […]

Interior begins process to end new oil and gas leasing near Chaco for 20 years

President Joe Biden’s administration took steps today to begin the process of banning new oil and gas leases within a 10 mile buffer zone of Chaco Culture National Historical Park for 20 years. Monday, the president announced a series of initiatives focused on Indigenous communities, including the Chaco Canyon buffer […]

How Mariposa Fund helps undocumented people access abortions

Medicaid covers the cost of abortion in New Mexico if the pregnant person is a legal resident. But undocumented people who reside in the state, many of whom are often vulnerable, lack Medicaid coverage to pay for abortion care, said Italia Aranda, a volunteer with Mariposa Fund. The fund helps […]

Panelists: Plans for plutonium transportation put New Mexicans at risk

Transportation of weapons-grade plutonium to and from Los Alamos National Laboratory puts New Mexicans at risk, according to panelists who presented to the interim Legislative Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee on Friday. Santa Fe County Commissioner Anna Hansen said the panel presentation came in response to the federal fiscal year […]

Las Cruces store owner charged with felony cannabis distribution

An owner of a CBD store and gift shop in Doña Ana County pleaded not guilty earlier this week to a fourth-degree felony charge of unauthorized cannabis sales. Jason Estrada, who is one of the owners of Speak Easy in Las Cruces, filed his not guilty plea with a state […]

Legal experts say Haitian asylum seekers held at Torrance County Detention Center not allowed due process rights

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has transported a group of Haitian asylum seekers to the Torrance County Detention Facility and are not allowing the asylum seekers their due process rights, legal immigration experts have said. In addition, the asylum seekers at the Torrance County facility could have witnessed U.S. […]

San Juan County passes ordinance requiring demolition of San Juan Generating Station

Despite opposition from the San Juan Generating Station’s majority owner, a new ordinance in San Juan County will require the power plant to be demolished once it is permanently closed. The San Juan County Commission unanimously passed an ordinance requiring the demolition and remediation of the coal-fired power plants upon […]

Bernalillo County considers indoor-only cannabis consumption areas

As soon as next month, the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners will vote on a zoning ordinance change that specifically addresses cannabis establishments in the county. Since New Mexico’s Cannabis Regulation Act went into effect in June, municipalities and counties across the state have been crafting their own ordinances to […]

Four Democratic state Senators ask to join NM Supreme Court case over federal funding

Four more New Mexico lawmakers will likely be a part of oral arguments in a New Mexico Supreme Court case regarding whether the governor or the legislature can appropriate federal relief money.  State Senators Jerry Ortiz y Pino, George Muñoz, Joseph Cervantes and Daniel Ivey-Soto, all Democrats, filed a motion […]

Second in command at RLD leaving

After just several months serving as second in command of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, John Blair announced on Tuesday that he is leaving his position as the deputy superintendent of the department.  In addition to regulating many industries in the state, RLD most recently took on regulation […]

Language, tactics used by anti-abortion movement called misinformation

The Texas law, SB 8, that bans abortion after six weeks in that state, is called “the Texas Heartbeat Act.” But there is no heart within the pregnant person’s womb at six weeks after conception, according to health experts. At roughly six weeks, a current of electrical activity begins in […]

NM poised to get billions of dollars in funding for infrastructure

New Mexico is poised to get billions of dollars in infrastructure investments through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that is awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature. This bipartisan infrastructure package passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday and previously cleared the U.S. Senate. During a press conference on Tuesday, […]

Mystery surrounds the last cannabis production license DOH granted

Recreational-use cannabis dispensaries in New Mexico are slated to open their doors in about five months, if not sooner. Medical cannabis dispensaries, many of which have been in operation for years, may end up feeling the brunt of an expected run on cannabis products next year, but legacy cannabis cultivators […]

Head of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains retires after 18 years at helm

Vicki Cowart, president and chief executive officer for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, was once thrown out of a business club in Caspar, Wyoming, for being a woman. It was a different time then, one in which job interviewers didn’t hesitate to ask women if they planned to have […]

The clock is ticking for new cannabis producers

As New Mexico regulators comb through applications for cannabis businesses and craft further rules and regulations, some industry hopefuls as well as industry veterans are starting to get nervous about timing.  By law, the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department must start issuing cannabis production licenses by Jan. 1, 2022. […]

Push continues to prevent gravel mining on 4,200 acre area in Sandoval County

The four Democrats in New Mexico’s congressional delegation are pushing to have 4,200 acres of Bureau of Land Management land removed from mineral development, in particular gravel mining, in Sandoval County near Placitas. U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury introduced the Buffalo Tract Protection Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on […]

Heinrich, Lujan seek wild and scenic river designation for the Gila

In the face of climate change and a history of proposals to dam or divert water from the Gila River, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, Democrats from New Mexico, have introduced legislation that would designate a section of the Gila River in New Mexico as a wild […]

Activists are hopeful that EPA proposed methane regulations will reduce emissions

Kendra Pinto, a resident of Navajo Nation, was using an infrared camera to check for emissions earlier this year when she discovered methane leaking from under the ground due to a leak at a well site. Pinto said she reported the leak and, to her knowledge, the well site was […]

Keller wins reelection; stadium bond fails

A record number of voters cast ballots in Albuquerque, and chose to reelect Tim Keller as mayor for a second term. Keller won in a three-way race with over 55 percent of the vote with 71 or 72 vote centers reporting.  Keller easily outdistanced both of his opponents, Bernalillo County […]

Hearing examiner says potential harms outweigh benefits in PNM/Avangrid merger

A hearing examiner for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission says the harms of a proposed merger between the state’s largest electric utility and a global utility giant outweigh the benefits. Hearing Examiner Ashley Schannauer issued his recommendation that the PRC deny the merger between Public Service Company of New […]

Voters head to the polls for local elections

Voters throughout the state will go to the polls on Tuesday in local elections. The two biggest elections, in terms of voters, are those in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Both elections will feature incumbent mayors seeking a second term. In Albuquerque, incumbent Mayor Tim Keller faces two opponents, Bernalillo County […]

U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Monday on Texas anti-abortion law

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday morning for two cases related to the Texas law that bans abortion at six-weeks of gestation. The arguments presented procedural questions about whether or not a group of providers and advocates called Whole Women’s Health Coalition and the U.S. Department of Justice […]

Lujan Grisham touts New Mexico’s climate policies at COP26

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham highlighted her administration’s steps to combat climate change by reducing emissions while talking about climate change at an international conference on Monday. Her remarks came during a Cut Methane sub-national spotlight as well as when she joined the White House national climate advisor Gina McCarthy, U.N. […]

Pecos River Basin study looks water supply under various climate change storylines

As climate change impacts water supplies across the southwest, farmers in the Pecos River Basin could face challenges.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released a study on Oct. 12 looking at how climate change and agriculture will impact the Pecos River Basin under five different storylines. Reclamation’s study manager Dagmar […]

NM state regulators hear from public on proposed cannabis courier, manufacturing, retail rules

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department and its Cannabis Control Division heard from the public on Thursday during a public rulemaking hearing regarding cannabis couriers, retail establishments and manufacturing facilities.  The comments during the meeting varied from proposed regulations for packaging requirements, general business practices to cannabis deliveries to […]

Proposed revision to Mexican wolf plan removes population cap

Wolf advocates praised a proposed revision to the Mexican wolf management plan that removes a cap on the number of animals, but they say this change does not go far enough. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the proposed revision on Wednesday for public comments and the notice was […]

Section 8 tenants struggle to find homes in Albuquerque

Renee Garnett is a regular at Sagebrush Church in Albuquerque, where Sunday prayers are led by a five-piece worship band and everyone gets a chance at a better life. On Oct. 9, the 51-year-old grandmother took a seat near the front of the sanctuary, her greying hair pulled back tight, […]

PRC kicks off formal community solar rulemaking process

After months of informal stakeholder meetings, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission drafted a proposed community solar rule and  opened the formal rulemaking process. The PRC unanimously approved an order kicking off the formal process during its Wednesday meeting. The rules must be in place by April 1 under the […]

EPA responds to governor’s petition regarding PFAS contamination

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responded in a letter dated Tuesday, Oct. 26 to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s petition to list PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, as hazardous waste. In the letter, the EPA stated that it is moving forward with a rulemaking process that will list several of the […]

Climate Summit discussions include equitable transition away from fossil fuels

The impacts of climate change are disproportionately felt by low-income and minority communities—and those same people could be left behind as the state works to combat this crisis if equity is not placed at the center of conversations, according to panelists who spoke during the 2021 Climate Summit in Santa […]

Growing Forward: Consumption areas

While the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department is working towards finalizing rules and regulations for cannabis businesses, local governments around the state are also doing some fine-tuning of their respective zoning laws.  The state’s new Cannabis Regulation Act prohibits municipalities and counties from limiting things like the distance between […]

Poaching takes away from New Mexico residents, harms genetics

When a moose wandered into New Mexico in September, someone shot it near Bloomfield and left it to die. Ultimately, an officer from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish had to kill the bull as it was unable to be saved. Poaching is not uncommon in New Mexico […]

State crosses 5,000 COVID-19 deaths

State health officials announced on Monday that New Mexico reached 5,000 COVID-19 related deaths. The news on Monday came as the state announced 15 additional deaths related to COVID-19 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, for a total of 5,002 COVID-19 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March […]

Governor says goals to address climate change should be codified

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called for codifying New Mexico’s goals for addressing climate change while speaking at the state’s first climate summit hosted by House Speaker Brian Egolf on Monday. During her speech, she highlighted progress that the state has made toward addressing and mitigating climate change and spoke about […]

Oklahoma anti-abortion laws could add to strain on NM clinics

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday it would hear oral arguments regarding a restrictive Texas anti-abortion law on Nov. 1. But, on the same date, Oklahoma is expected to enact three highly restriction abortion laws. The laws are medically unnecessary, Adrienne Mansanares, chief experience officer of Planned Parenthood of […]

Navajo group alleges U.S. violated human rights in uranium mine licensing

With historic uranium mine sites already polluting communities, members of the Navajo Nation have been fighting for 27 years to stop a new mining initiative from starting in the Crownpoint and Church Rock areas. On Thursday, the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining took that fight to the Inter-American Commission […]

Conference provides fresh data on wellbeing of New Mexico children during the pandemic

New Mexico Voices for Children held its annual conference Thursday and put a special emphasis on the need to support women of color. The nonprofit, which advocates for children and family-friendly policy, provides the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids COUNT data book each year. The data book, which gives data […]

Snake receives critical habitat designations in Arizona, New Mexico

A small snake that eats fish has gained additional critical habitat designations in New Mexico and Arizona under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule in the Federal Register this week designating 23,785 acres of critical habitat for the narrow-headed garter snake in […]

San Juan County takes steps to require power plant demolition upon closure

With less than a year left before San Juan Generating Station’s scheduled closure, San Juan County officials are concerned that the facility could become an eyesore if it is retired in place rather than immediately demolished. In the past, the plant’s majority owner, Public Service Company of New Mexico, has […]

Redistricting commission advances state House maps

On Wednesday, New Mexico’s newly formed Citizen Redistricting Committee finalized its its recommended maps for the Legislature’s consideration.  Wednesday’s meeting was solely focused on advancing three map concepts for state House Districts.  The first map the committee approved was a modified version of a map submitted by the advocacy group […]

U.S. Supreme Court ruling on qualified immunity won’t affect New Mexico

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of qualified immunity in two separate, but similar, federal cases that involved police officers who, the plaintiffs alleged, used excessive force in the two separate incidents.  But, those rulings will not impact the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, which prohibits the […]

State supreme court sets date for arguments on pandemic aid case

The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case over who has the authority to distribute federal pandemic aid funds in November. The case, which will have oral arguments on Nov. 17, is brought by legislators who say the governor’s veto of language that directed the use […]

New campaign with New Mexico roots pushes for wildlife management reform

A newly launched initiative seeks to reform wildlife management not only in New Mexico, but across the nation. Wildlife for All is a campaign from the Southwest Environmental Center, which is based in Las Cruces. The advocates behind the effort say the current system of managing wildlife places too much […]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ordered to address poaching in Mexican wolf recovery plan

Conservation advocates say they won a partial victory in a lawsuit regarding the Mexican gray wolf recovery plan. A federal district court judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday to produce a draft recovery plan. This plan must be released for public comment within six months and […]

EPA issues roadmap for addressing PFAS contamination

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a roadmap for addressing PFAS, a group of forever chemicals that have contaminated air, water and soil across the United States. “For far too long, families across America – especially those in underserved communities – have suffered from PFAS in their water, their air, […]

Commission votes to send proposed redistricting maps to Legislature

The newly formed New Mexico Citizen Redistricting Committee, tasked with presenting new political maps for the state Legislature to consider, decided on a series of maps last week, but still has more work to finish this week.  The committee approved three map concepts on Friday for congressional districts, state Senate […]

Los Alamos scientists work on technique for estimating stress in earth’s crust from oil and gas activity

A new method developed by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory could reduce the costs of determining if proposed oil and natural gas activity could lead to earthquakes and which direction fractures are likely to occur during hydraulic fracturing. A study published in Nature’s Communications Earth and Environment journal looked […]

While Texas abortion ban yo-yos in courts, one provider talks about the effects

As Texas abortion rights yo-yo in the courts, one Planned Parenthood doctor said the volume in patients coming from Texas has not changed. Last week a federal Texas judge placed a temporary injunction on SB 8, the Texas law that bans abortion at six weeks, at the U.S. Department of […]

Native groups protest fossil fuels in Washington, D.C.

Native American groups have been protesting fossil fuel production this week in Washington, D.C., in order to help shine a light on the connection between fossil fuel extraction and violence against Native women. Members of the New Mexico Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW) traveled to participate in […]

State treasurer says COVID-19 relief money should be governed by Legislature

The New Mexico state treasurer agrees that federal COVID-19 relief funds should be handled by the state Legislature and not the governor, according to a response filed on Tuesday by his attorney.  Treasurer Tim Eichenberg was named as a party of interest in a case filed last month by state […]

Commission set to vote on redistricting proposals

For the first time ever, the political redistricting process in New Mexico will start with recommendations from a citizen redistricting committee. While the final say ultimately lies with the state Legislature, the newly formed citizen committee is set to finalize their suggestions this week.  After a long series of meetings […]

Groups express concern about hydrogen hub push

Supporters of hydrogen power say it can create good-paying jobs while also providing zero-emission energy, but some environmental advocacy groups are concerned about a proposal to create a hydrogen hub in New Mexico. These advocates say the use of fossil fuels to create hydrogen could lead to further emissions from […]

EBID officials, farmers testify during virtual Texas v. New Mexico water trial

Groundwater provides an important source of irrigation for farmers in southern New Mexico, but Texas alleges that New Mexico’s use of groundwater below Elephant Butte reservoir has reduced surface water in the Rio Grande that is available for farmers downstream.  Texas filed a lawsuit in 2013 before the U.S. Supreme […]

Texas judge stays six-week gestational abortion ban

Update: The federal Fifth Court of Appeals temporarily reinstated the ban on Friday, Oct. 8. A Texas federal court judge stayed the Texas six-week gestational abortion ban this week. The law went into effect on Sept. 1 and has created chaos in Texas for abortion care patients who now must […]

Heinrich says hardrock mining reform is needed

While companies across the United States are extracting metals like gold, silver and copper, they do not pay royalties like other extractive industries. This is in part because the laws governing hardrock mining date back to 1872. U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, wants to reform hardrock mining […]

McKinsey never told the FDA it was working for opioid makers while also working for the agency

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. Series: McKinsey’s Rules When Consultants Work For Governments Since 2008, McKinsey & Company has regularly advised the Food and Drug Administration’s drug-regulation division, according to agency records. […]

Employees seek to add whistleblower complaint to existing suit against NM cannabis regulators

Four state employees who initially filed a lawsuit against the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department over where they were assigned to work have asked the judge in the case to allow more claims to be added. The four plaintiffs filed a motion last week to amend their suit to […]

With 130 percent increase in Texas patients, New Mexico Planned Parenthood clinics have 21 day wait times

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountain clinics, which includes those in New Mexico, experienced a 130 percent increase in patients coming from Texas since August. The organization held a press conference on Monday alongside elected officials from New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada to discuss how the six-week gestational abortion ban […]

More than 1,200 customers of Monterey Water Company told to boil water before use

More than 1,200 water users in Valencia County have been asked to boil their water after E. coli bacteria was discovered in a routine sample. These customers receive their water from Monterey Water Company. The New Mexico Environment Department instructed the utility to issue a boil water advisory on Oct. […]

Environmental advocates say draft ozone precursor rule should be strengthened

Environmental advocates say the ozone precursor pollutant rule developed by the New Mexico Environment Department should be strengthened, while supporters of the oil and natural gas industry say the draft rule is too restrictive and the costs of retrofitting equipment could lead to wells being plugged. Organizations on both sides […]

New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs requests $5 million in funding

During an interim committee hearing, the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs asked for $5 million to be added for state budget consideration in the 2022 Legislature. Alexandria Taylor, deputy director of the coalition, said the state ranks seventh in the nation in rates of sexual violence and called […]

NM Supreme Court denies stay, asks for response in relief money case

The New Mexico Supreme Court denied a request by two state senators to stop Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham from further spending federal COVID-19 relief funds. But the high court also gave the governor and the state treasurer until Oct. 15 to respond to the original petition.  Sen. Jacob Candelaria, […]

Publicly funded stadiums boost quality of life. But economy? Not so much.

Albuquerque voters will decide in November whether the city should foot the bill for a new soccer stadium. Unlike a proposal to build a downtown multi-use arena that percolated in the mid-2000s, this one could become reality.  That’s because the city has a new professional soccer team that has proven […]

Rise in New Mexico earthquakes likely triggered by oil industry

New Mexico’s oil and gas regulators and scientists are on alert after a dramatic increase in earthquake activity in southern New Mexico — an increase likely triggered by oil and gas industry injection wells in the Permian Basin. Since 2018 the number of small quakes of magnitude 1 or greater in […]

PRC concerned about supply chain impacts leading to power shortages

Global supply chain challenges may make it hard for the state’s largest utility to meet electricity demands next summer and the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission is concerned that these could include unanticipated problems. These supply chain challenges were sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had impacts like slowing manufacturing […]

Chipmunk subspecies only found in the White Mountains could be listed as endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking comments regarding listing the Peñasco least chipmunk as endangered. The Peñasco least chipmunk is a subspecies of the least chipmunk that has historically been found only in the White and Sacramento mountains of southern New Mexico. However, it has not been seen […]

BLM lease sale seeks to expand geothermal energy in New Mexico

As part of an effort to increase renewable energy, the Bureau of Land Management will hold a virtual geothermal lease sale this fall for three parcels totaling nearly 4,000 acres. These parcels are located in Hidalgo and Sierra counties in southwest New Mexico. This comes after President Joe Biden issued […]

Two New Mexicans die treating COVID-19 with ivermectin

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A veterinary drug doctors call unsafe for treating COVID-19 has caused the deaths of two people in New Mexico, according to the state’s Department of Health. “Ivermectin toxicity” is being blamed for the deaths, with doctors reminding those desperate for a cure that drugs to treat animals […]

How the Texas abortion ban is affecting New Mexico abortion providers and funds, almost four weeks in

An abortion provider in New Mexico said the increase in patients from Texas will no longer be manageable if it continues in the coming weeks. Adrienne Mansanares, chief experience officer for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, told NM Political Report that the group’s clinics are “not in crisis right […]

These single moms are forced to choose: Reveal their sexual histories or forfeit welfare

Amberly Sanchez had a job as an accountant at a real estate company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when she was laid off due to the pandemic. Then an electrical fire destroyed her apartment building, forcing her and her 16-month-old daughter Avery to stay in a $400-a-week motel. She’d lost everything, from parenting essentials — crib, baby clothes, toy car — to her own mother’s ashes.

This spring, she applied for welfare.

Bill to protect women’s right to abortion passes U.S. House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act on Friday by 218 to 211 largely along party lines. One Texas Democrat voted against it while all Republicans voted against the bill. U.S. Representatives Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, and Teresa Leger Fernández New Mexico’s […]

NM congresswoman seeks apology for downwinders’ radiation exposure

The National Defense Authorization Act that passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week includes an amendment introduced by U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández that would officially apologize for the radiation exposure resulting from nuclear tests the federal government conducted in states like New Mexico. The massive bill also includes […]

Fall moisture brings a ‘glimmer of hope’ to ranchers

With monsoon rain bringing drought relief to New Mexico, cattle ranchers who had to sell off stock have found a glimmer of hope, according to Eric Scholljegerdes, a range animal nutritionist with New Mexico State University.  Scholljegerdes specializes in beef cow nutrition and he conducts research at the Corona Range […]

Newly disclosed prisoner addresses show 30% in Albuquerque. Advocates want to exclude them from political maps.

While nearly a third of New Mexico’s state prisoners who disclosed where they were living prior to incarceration gave Albuquerque addresses, in the country’s once-a-decade census they’re counted as living in smaller towns and rural areas. Roughly a quarter of New Mexico’s population lives in Albuquerque, so it’s no surprise […]

New Mexico Democrats in Congress sign onto amicus brief supporting Roe v. Wade

The New Mexico Democratic Congressional delegation signed onto an amicus brief urging  the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade in the Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That case will be heard December 1. But the court has traditionally made its ruling on abortion cases […]

NM-based abortion fund twice as busy as pre-pandemic

This month, New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an Albuquerque-based abortion fund, has helped 28 patients get an abortion, up from 15 in September 2020 when fears of COVID-19 prevented travel and 21 in September 2019. And the month of September is not yet over, Brittany Defeo, New Mexico […]

Border patrol agents criticized for treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio as U.S. tries to dissuade more from coming

DEL RIO 一 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday sent a message to migrants, particularly Haitians, attempting to enter the country through the southwest border: “People coming to the United States illegally will be returned, your journey will not succeed.”

Mayorkas’ comments in Del Rio come as lawmakers and immigrants rights advocates denounced the treatment of some Haitians by Border Patrol agents. Images and videos taken by journalists and widely shared on social media show agents on horseback charging and herding migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande, including an agent swinging his reins toward a migrant.

Ozone precursor pollutants hearing kicks off with NMED, park service witnesses

The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board kicked off a hearing about the ozone precursor pollutants rule on Monday with opening statements from the New Mexico Environment Department, environmental advocacy groups and industry groups. The hearing is anticipated to take two weeks and public comments are being accepted at multiple times […]

Two NM lawmakers ask state supreme court to give federal funding discretion to legislature

In a move, not likely surprising to political insiders, a Democratic New Mexico state senator who has been a vocal critic of the governor joined one of his Republican colleagues in an attempt to block further spending of federal relief money.  Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, along with Senate Minority Leader […]

‘This is the time.’ Stansbury seeks funding for Pueblo irrigation infrastructure

The Pueblo people have been farming along the Rio Grande since time immemorial, but funding is needed for the infrastructure to keep this practice going, according to U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, who worked to get $200 million included in the reconciliation package for that purpose. The Albuquerque Democrat said that […]

Federal judge denies injunction for NM public health order

A federal judge ruled earlier this week that two women who filed a lawsuit against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham did not adequately show how a state emergency public health order requiring vaccines for certain activities violated their rights.  U.S District Court Judge Martha Vásquez denied a motion filed by the […]

BLM says social cost of carbon analysis not needed for Loving oil project

When Kayley Shoup, a community organizer with the Carlsbad-based group Citizens Caring for the Future, read over an environmental assessment for new oil wells and infrastructure near Loving, she noticed that the Bureau of Land Management chose not to analyze the social cost of carbon. The BLM states in the […]

Officials urge DHS to end program that puts asylum seekers at greater risk

Several elected New Mexico officials signed onto a letter sent by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking for the end of border expulsions under Title 42. Title 42 is a program started under former President Donald Trump […]

New Mexico AG joins suit to fight Texas six-week gestational abortion ban

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas joined attorneys general from 22 other states and the District of Columbia on an amicus brief in support of the U.S. Attorney General’s suit against Texas’ six-week gestation ban. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is the lead on the brief but Balderas spoke along […]

U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell compares abortion to eugenics

In a tweet earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell equated abortion with eugenics. Herrell’s tweet on Monday was a response to a clip from an NBC broadcaster who was commenting that the state of Texas is “running over” women’s constitutional rights to obtain an abortion since that state’s six-week […]

State sees fewer COVID-19 cases as Delta surge wanes

The state’s current surge of COVID-19 cases, driven by the Delta variant, appears to be slowing down in recent weeks, top health officials said in a press conference on Wednesday. Hospitalizations are still at a very high rate, with 375 people hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, and acting Health […]

Environmental Improvement Board prepares to hear ozone precursor pollutants rule

With just days left before a public hearing of the ozone precursor pollutants rule, changes are still being made to the proposal that the New Mexico Environment Department plans to present to the board. The Environmental Improvement Board’s public hearing begins at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 20. Among the changes […]

Eunice Gas Plant to shutter as part of settlement agreement

The Eunice Gas Plant will be shutting down as part of a settlement between the plant’s owner, DCP Operating Company and the New Mexico Environment Department. NMED alleges DCP illegally emitted almost 3.8 million tons of pollutants from May 2017 through June 2019 at various facilities including the Eunice Gas […]

Leger Fernández introduces bill to help communities’ economic transitions away from fossil fuels

When the transition away from fossil fuels occurs, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández told NM Political Report it is important not to “leave the communities that powered America’s growth behind.” Leger Fernández, a New Mexico Democrat, introduced a bill, known as the Just Transition for Energy Communities Act, last week […]

Undoing of Trump-era clean-water rule creates optimism, uncertainty

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Opponents of rollbacks to the Trump-era Clean Water Act say 90% of New Mexico’s waters were left unprotected and hope a recent court decision will be a turning point. A federal judge ruled the Trump administration’s 2020 “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” was too flawed to keep in place. That means for […]

‘Religious’ exemptions add legal thorns to looming vaccine mandates

In Northern California, the pastor of a megachurch hands out religious exemption forms to the faithful. A New Mexico state senator will “help you articulate a religious exemption” by pointing to the decades-old use of aborted fetal cells in the development of some vaccines. And a Texas-based evangelist offers exemption […]

State issues warnings on ivermectin use

The state warned residents about the dangers of using ivermectin without a prescription and that there is no medical proof that it helps treat COVID-19. In a press conference earlier this week, acting Department of Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase said he was told that there was one death related […]

Recreational cannabis industry sparks struggle for water rights in parched New Mexico

When New Mexico’s recreational cannabis bill was signed into law in April, Mike Hinkle and Ryan Timmermans jumped at the chance to get into the industry. The two business partners, both recent transplants from the South, bought portable buildings, seeds, grow lights and a property in the village of Carson, […]

Solar developers, utilities reach agreement regarding interconnection applications for community solar

While community solar interconnection applications cannot fully be processed until the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission adopts rules next spring, the three investor-owned utilities are accepting interconnection applications from developers hoping to build a community solar array following a complaint from the Renewable Energy Industries Association. While these applications can […]

With increased push for outdoor recreation, stream access question remains contentious

As outdoor recreation becomes more common in New Mexico, the intersection of stream access and private property rights could become more contentious, according to those on both sides of the debate. Both sides agree that the public has a constitutional right to float waters in New Mexico, even when these […]

Moms concerned about COVID, but many still want in-person learning for their kids

Scared and watchful, moms said they want their children to remain in in-person learning despite the Delta variant causing another COVID-19 surge in New Mexico. After about a year of remote learning, New Mexico public schools started the new year in August and returned to in-person learning. But the Delta […]

Early childcare education advocates push for $15 an hour minimum wage

Without wage parity, New Mexico cannot grow its early childcare education, according to the grassroots organization, OLÉ New Mexico. OLÉ New Mexico held a virtual meeting Thursday evening to bring attention to the low wages early childcare educators make in New Mexico.  According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington […]

As Texans fill up abortion clinics in other states, low-income people get left behind

“As Texans fill up abortion clinics in other states, low-income people get left behind” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Sign up for The Brief, our daily […]

NM Cannabis Control Division employees sue agency over assigned work location

As the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department prepares to issue licenses to cannabis businesses, court records show they are also facing a lawsuit by some of the employees tasked with daily operations.  In July, about a month after the state’s Cannabis Regulation Act went into effect, four RLD employees […]

NM medical cannabis producers warn of cannabis shortage ‘crisis’

As New Mexico prepares for its new recreational-use cannabis industry, two cannabis producers are warning of an impending crisis if state regulators do not lift a moratorium on expanding existing medical cannabis production.  After the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department and its Cannabis Control Division announced a halt on […]

Groups work to track E. coli in rivers

In late August, San Juan Watershed Group Coordinator Alyssa Richmond reached out across the San Juan River using a long pole as it flowed through the Fruitland area and scooped up water. This water was transferred into a bottle that was capped to be sent to a lab in Florida […]

Unable to get assistance: What happens to New Mexicans who speak lesser used languages

Kahleel Alkhalil, a 35-year-old Syrian refugee living in Albuquerque with his wife and eight children, has not been able to receive government relief he qualifies for because he speaks Arabic. Alkhalil is one of thousands of New Mexicans who are eligible for pandemic relief who speak a language other than […]

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations remain high

Modeling from Los Alamos National Labs for the state of New Mexico shows that the current surge of COVID-19 cases could peak soon. That’s according to state epidemiologist Dr. Christine Ross, who was one of three top state health officials who spoke during a press conference on Wednesday. “We all […]

Acequias along the Rio Chama face water shortages amid drought, climate change

For centuries, acequias have provided water to farmers along the Rio Chama near Abiquiu, but now some stretches are drying up and the community is facing curtailment. With climate change leading to less water in the area—especially in terms of spring runoff—the acequia members are looking to make every drop […]

40 million people rely on the Colorado River. It’s drying up fast.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.Series: Killing the Colorado The Water Crisis in the West This story was originally published by ProPublica On a 110-degree day several years ago, surrounded by piles of […]

Hunting opportunities expanding in Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge

A national wildlife refuge in New Mexico will have increased opportunities for hunting as part of what the U.S. Department of the Interior described as the “largest expansion of outdoor recreation opportunities in recent history.” On Monday, the department announced that 88 national wildlife refuges and one national fish hatchery […]

Some don’t know what they’ll do when federal unemployment assistance ends Sept. 4

With federal unemployment assistance ending in New Mexico on Sept. 4, Albuquerque resident Rhiannon Chavez-Ross worries she could lose her house. A single mom with two children, Chavez-Ross lost her party and event business when the COVID-19 pandemic began. She said she received a Paycheck Protection Program loan of less […]

Community solar workshop touches on bill credits, customer eligibility

A workshop on Friday allowed stakeholders to weigh in on various topics related to community solar, including bill credits, the statewide megawatt cap and low-income subscribers. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission is tasked with drafting rules for the community solar program.   This process was sparked by the passage of […]

Breast cancer screenings remain down but breast cancer incidence is up in New Mexico

A University of New Mexico Cancer Center oncologist said she and other providers are seeing an increase in the amount of people diagnosed with breast cancer in the state. Dr. Ursa Brown-Glaberman, medical oncologist at the UNM Cancer Comprehensive Center, said the increase in cancer diagnosis began in fall of […]

What’s ahead for the U.S. Supreme Court this year for reproductive health

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the U.S. Supreme Court case on Mississippi’s 15-week gestational ban, is not the only reproductive healthcare case that the high court could hear this year, according to Supreme Court watchers. The date for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health has not been set yet but Ellie […]

DOH: Pregnant people should get vaccinated to prevent severe illness

The New Mexico Department of Health is encouraging women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant to get vaccinated because COVID-19 during pregnancy can lead to complications. DOH issued a statement Thursday reminding the public the importance of vaccinations against COVID-19 for pregnant people. The U.S. Center for Disease […]

NM starts accepting cannabis cultivation license applications

Nearly 400 companies started the process of applying for a license to grow cannabis in the first several hours the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department started accepting applications.  According to an RLD representative, of the 344 applications that were started, 226 of them were for a microbusiness license, which […]

ICUs full as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations grow

The growing number of COVID-19 cases and the strain on hospitals is a concern in New Mexico, with crisis standards of care likely to come in a week. So much so that currently there are currently fifty people on a waitlist to find an ICU bed, Acting Department of Health […]

Labor secretary, congresswoman visit orphaned well in Kirtland

As he stood looking at an orphaned well in Kirtland, U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh asked, “is this ground dirty here?”  Activist Don Schreiber said yes and Adrienne Sandoval, the Oil Conservation Division Director for the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, confirmed that there was surface contamination […]

Cause of San Juan Generating Station cooling tower collapse remains unknown

While the cause of the collapse of a cooling tower at unit one of the San Juan Generating Station has not yet been identified, Public Service Company of New Mexico has provided the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission with some more information regarding the event. Following the collapse, the PRC […]

Governor signs 30×30 executive order

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Wednesday that aims to set aside 30 percent of the state’s lands and waters by 2030 for conservation and another 20 percent for climate stabilization. This comes amid President Joe Biden’s America is Beautiful Initiative, which aims for 30 percent of land […]

Judge denies restraining order in lawsuit against vaccine requirement

A federal lawsuit against New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, over one of her public health orders, is moving forward. But the judge in the case dismissed a request to issue a temporary restraining order to block vaccine requirements for health care workers and state fair attendees.  U.S. District Court […]

Majority of voters back mask mandates

A majority of New Mexico voters support a mandate to wear masks indoors, an action that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state Department of Health took place last week a day after a poll conducted for NM Political Report ended. An even larger majority thought schoolchildren under the age […]

Archaeology Southwest report finds lack of tribal consultation in oil and gas leasing

Oil and gas development on federal lands has prioritized development over protection of cultural sites and has occurred with inadequate tribal consultation, according to a new report authored by Paul Reed, a preservation archaeologist with Archaeology Southwest. During a press conference on Tuesday, Reed said that needs to change.  Reed […]

Bernalillo County commission chooses Bounkeua to fill vacant legislative seat

With a unanimous vote, the Bernalillo County Commission appointed the first Asian American woman to the New Mexico Legislature.  Viengkeo Kay Bounkeua, who goes by Kay, was sworn into office Tuesday evening by Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover after commissioners voted 4-0 to appoint Bounkeua to fill the House District […]

NM cannabis regulators set to accept applications for growers

New Mexico cannabis regulators are one step closer to opening the proverbial floodgates for those who plan to apply for a cannabis cultivation license.  The state’s Regulation and Licensing Department and its Cannabis Control Division announced on Tuesday that the department finalized rules and regulations for cannabis cultivation as well […]

Slight majority of voters approve of governor’s, president’s handling of COVID-19

A poll of New Mexico voters showed that 51 percent approved of both Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and President Joe Biden’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling for NM Political Report, found that 44 percent disapproved of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, while just […]

Monsoon rains help reservoir levels, but won’t end drought in New Mexico

Monsoon rains have brought a small amount of welcome relief to dwindling reservoirs in New Mexico but drought conditions will continue to impact the state, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Albuquerque Area Office. The BOR had projected that Elephant Butte Reservoir, located near Truth or Consequences, could drop […]

NM judge calls for increased purchase limit for medical cannabis patients

As New Mexico’s Regulation and Licensing Department works toward finalizing rules for non-medical cannabis sales, some unfinished business remains when it comes to the state’s medical cannabis program.  A state district judge last week ordered RLD, the New Mexico Department of Health and the governor’s office to either change their […]

Poll: Lujan Grisham at 46% approval, 45% disapproval

A new poll finds that the governor’s approval rating is below 50 percent, but still slightly more people approve of her job than disapprove. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling for NM Political Report, found that 46 percent of New Mexico voters approve of Michelle Lujan Grisham’s job performance […]

Utah ed-tech company paid $4.6 million to phone, text, email New Mexico students

In Spring 2020, uncertainty quickly turned to desperation for New Mexico’s Public Education Department. In the first months of the pandemic, tens of thousands of students — as many as one in five across the state — were failing a class, skipping school or nowhere to be found. In response, […]

New lawsuit claims NM public health order violates rights

The governor of New Mexico and one of her cabinet secretaries is again facing a lawsuit after issuing a COVID-19 public health order requiring healthcare workers, among other professions like teachers or school staff, to be vaccinated unless they qualify for an exemption. The order, which was issued on Aug. […]

Northwest New Mexico seeks to become hydrogen hub

The United States and countries around the world are eyeing hydrogen as a source of clean, dispatchable power, but work is still needed to get to that point, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told NM Political Report while touring a facility in Farmington that manufactures blue hydrogen reactors. […]

Study: Women may pay more than men for car insurance

With the exception of 16-to-25-year olds, a study found that some women pay more than men for car insurance in New Mexico, according to a consumer advocacy group. According to the data, provided by Consumer Federation of America, the difference in annual average pay rates between a single woman and […]

State hits 75% of adult population with at least one shot

The New Mexico Department of Health announced the state reached another major vaccination threshold, with 75 percent of residents age 18 or older having received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. New Mexico health officials have been pushing for more New Mexicans to become vaccinated to slow the […]

Environmental advocates disappointed in return of oil and gas leasing amid appeal of federal moratorium

While President Joe Biden and the U.S. Department of the Interior announced on Monday that they will appeal a district court’s preliminary injunction that ended the pause of oil and gas lease sales, environmental advocacy groups in New Mexico expressed disappointment that lease sales will resume during the appeals process. […]

Mask mandate for public, indoor spaces returns; vaccination requirements expanded

In an effort to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the governor announced a mask mandate for all public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status, which she was hopeful would be enough to blunt the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. “We’re going to use masks and vaccines to […]

El Paso Electric, community advocates reach agreement regarding Newman Unit 6

An agreement between El Paso Electric and community advocates may lead to cleaner air in the southern part of New Mexico while allowing the utility to construct a new unit at a natural gas generating facility in west Texas.  The settlement agreement between the utility and the Chaparral Community Coalition […]

Growing Forward: Cannabis testing

In two weeks, the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, by law, must start accepting applications for non-medical cannabis cultivation licenses. But an often overlooked aspect of the cannabis industry is testing.  The state Department of Health has long had a list of testing requirements for medical cannabis, but now […]

New executive order to direct demographic information on the LGBTQ+ community

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Monday, effective immediately, directing state agencies to collect voluntary data for informational purposes on the LGBTQ+ community. The state Department of Health will be the lead agency, Lujan Grisham’s press secretary Nora Meyers Sackett wrote to NM Political Report. But all state […]

Legislative committee discusses wildlife management reform, funding

As Congress considers a bill that would fund wildlife conservation efforts nationwide, panelists told the state Legislature’s interim Water and Natural Resources Committee in Taos that more funding is needed to support those efforts, but disagreed on efforts to reform the way wildlife is managed in New Mexico. The Recovering […]

NMSU/UNM classes resume, COVID protocols announced

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Administrators at New Mexico State University know they’re headed into a fall semester this week facing a spike in COVID-19 cases, but they still hope to make campus life as normal as possible. NMSU Vice Chancellor and Chief COVID-19 Officer Ruth Johnston said they’ve tightened protocols, […]

Despite eviction moratorium, landlords sought to evict hundreds in Albuquerque

Alexander Handboy, an easygoing 40-year-old, moved into Arroyo Villas, a large, well-kept apartment complex in northwest Albuquerque, in December 2019. Less than two months later, he lost his job as a line cook. By the time the pandemic took hold in March and restaurants began to shutter, he’d given up […]

Five ways the federal infrastructure bill could benefit New Mexico projects

From municipal water system resiliency to energy projects, the bipartisan infrastructure package that passed the U.S. Senate on a 69-30 vote this week could help a variety of projects within the state. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, which is reconvening on […]

Stratospheric platform will allow for real-time emissions monitoring

New Mexico will soon be able to pinpoint sources of emissions using high altitude platform stations, or airships, that will be located in the stratosphere approximately 65,000 feet above New Mexico. The company Sceye—pronounced sky—signed a memorandum of understanding with the New Mexico Environment Department, the New Mexico Economic Development […]

Pandemic burnout exacerbates state’s nursing shortage problem

The hospital was full. People were crammed in hallways, in closets, in a repurposed nursery — everywhere a bed could fit. Nurses, doctors, the whole hospital staff were still scrambling to care for everyone coming into the emergency room. It had been like that for more than a year when […]

Drought limits the ability for an endangered fish to reach adulthood

The Rio Grande silvery minnow once swam up and down the Rio Grande, even venturing into the Pecos River. But now its range is limited, in part due to humans, and the drought conditions that have led to reduced spring runoff are limiting the number of wild fish that live […]

Hospital leaders urge vaccinations among surge during ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’

Leaders from New Mexico’s largest healthcare systems had a message for New Mexicans: Get vaccinated. During a press conference Tuesday, they discussed the current surge in cases, which they all described as largely among those who remain unvaccinated. “Evidence shows that COVID-19 is now really a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” […]

CYFD secretary steps down, citing a family decision to move out of state

The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department will have a new department head in October, according to an announcement on Tuesday from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.  According to the announcement, current Secretary Brian Blalock will step down this month “to support his wife’s pursuit of new work opportunities in […]

PNM customers concerned Avangrid acquisition could lead to increased rates, outages

Public Service Company of New Mexico customers expressed concerns about the state’s largest utility being acquired by Avangrid, the subsidiary of a global utility giant, during a New Mexico Public Regulation Commission hearing on Monday. At the end of Monday’s session, hearing examiner Ashley Schannauer thanked the participants and encouraged […]

Women of color artists: We’ve been held back

When Nora Naranjo Morse, of the Santa Clara Pueblo, was a little girl, she watched her mother, a potter, defer to the white man who sold her pottery at a local curio shop. It’s a memory that haunts the Española-based artist to this day. Naranjo Morse said her mother “was […]

Valencia County man sues for excessive force used on him at the local jail

A lawsuit from a Valencia County man says his civil rights were violated when a group of Valencia County Jail employees beat him with excessive force in March. The man, Marvin Silva, received level two trauma care at University of New Mexico Hospital due to his injuries, according to the […]

PNM, Avangrid merger hearing starts Monday

A New Mexico Public Regulation Commission hearing regarding the Public Service Company of New Mexico merger with Avangrid is set to kick off Monday morning via Zoom. The hearing will also be broadcast on YouTube. A link to the YouTube livestream will be posted online a few minutes before the […]

Governor, others ask private sector to implement vaccination policies

A number of elected officials, including New Mexico’s governor and both of the state’s U.S. Senators, encouraged the private sector to implement vaccination policies for employees. The state has implemented a vaccine requirement for employees. Employees who don’t get vaccinated will need to have regular tests. “A willingness on the […]

Analysis: Don’t want a vaccine? Be prepared to pay more for insurance.

America’s covid-19 vaccination rate is around 60% for ages 12 and up. That’s not enough to reach so-called herd immunity, and in states like Missouri — where a number of counties have vaccination rates under 25% — hospitals are overwhelmed by serious outbreaks of the more contagious delta variant. The vaccine resisters offer all kinds of […]

Uranium remediation could create jobs for impacted communities

State Rep. D. Wonda Johnson, D-Gallup, teared up as she told her colleagues on the interim legislative Indian Affairs Committee and the Rural Economic Opportunities Task Force about the Church Rock uranium spill of 1979. Johnson was a member of a panel presenting to the committees about the economic development […]

New Mexico renters protected under state supreme court eviction stay

Renters in New Mexico who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are still protected under the New Mexico Supreme Court’s stay on evictions, said a court official. Barry Massey, public information officer for the Administrative Office of the Courts, told NM Political Report that the state supreme court’s […]

State seeks to reduce risk of abandoned mines

Last year in the area near Orogrande in Otero County, a motorcyclist was killed when he ended up in an abandoned mine, according to Jerry Schoeppner, the Mining and Minerals Division director for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. Abandoned hard rock mine sites throughout the state […]

Growing Forward: New Mexico’s Green Rush Part 2

About a month after New Mexico legalized cannabis use and possession, and about eight months until sanctioned sales are expected to start, there is little doubt that many New Mexican’s are eager to get a foothold in the state’s newest industry.  The state’s Regulation and Licensing Department is still in […]

Burn scars can have lasting impacts on communities for years after wildfire

Cimarron District Forester Arnie Friedt remembers the Ute Park Fire of 2018 and how crews worked to prevent any residences from being destroyed. Then the rain came and flooding from the burn scar damaged more than 26 homes. “So actually the flooding was more damaging than the fire to property,” […]

Monsoon moisture brings drought relief, but New Mexico may see a dry winter

The monsoon moisture has brought welcome relief to the drought that has strained water resources in New Mexico. At the start of 2021, the entire state was experiencing some degree of drought conditions and more than half the state was in exceptional drought category, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. […]

Sheryl Williams Stapleton resigns

Embattled House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton resigned from her position in the state legislature amid state and federal investigations into alleged corruption related to her role in Albuquerque Public Schools. Earlier this week, state investigators raided Williams Stapleton’s house and Friday the Albuquerque Journal reported APS received a federal […]

Restoration project proposals sought for rivers impacted by Gold King Mine spill

As the sixth anniversary of the Gold King Mine spill approaches, the New Mexico Office of the Natural Resources Trustee is seeking proposals for restoration projects along the impacted river system in the northwest part of the state. The office hosted a webinar on Wednesday to provide groups interested in […]

State to require vaccinations or regular tests for state employees

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order on Thursday that will require all state employees to be either vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. The move, which starts on August 2, comes as vaccine cases statewide grow and as the state recommends all New Mexicans wear masks in public […]

COVID-19 cases grow as officials urge New Mexicans to mask up

Top state health officials spoke about the threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in New Mexico and nationwide and encouraged New Mexicans to wear masks, following federal health guidelines. The health officials came into the meeting with masks on. “This is not like throwback baseball uniforms,” Dr. David Scrase, […]

AG raids House Majority Leader’s home

State investigators served search warrants at the Albuquerque home of House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton according to multiple media reports. The Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican and other outlets reported the warrants from the Attorney General’s office were in regard to investigations into ties to Robotics Management Learning […]

New Mexico’s climate may lead to a smaller carbon footprint when growing cannabis

When the New Mexico Legislature was considering a bill that eventually became the Cannabis Regulation Act, one of the major topics of concern was water use. Ultimately, lawmakers agreed to require cannabis growers to prove they had legal access to water. But one issue that was not addressed, at least […]

State orders Las Cruces store to stop ‘gifting’ cannabis

In what could end up being the first test case of illicit cannabis operations in a post-legalization New Mexico, a business “gifting” cannabis has caught the attention of state regulators.  According to KVIA-TV, the state’s Cannabis Control Division sent a cease and desist letter to a Las Cruces business called […]

Climate change places some of New Mexico’s unique species at risk

As climate change leads to warmer, drier conditions, some high altitude species found only in small areas of New Mexico may see their habitat vanish and have nowhere to go. This is a concern for an orange, brown and white butterfly found only in a small area of the Sacramento […]

Growing Forward: Green Rush Part 1

By law, the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department has about a month before it has to start accepting applications from businesses looking to enter the new, non-medical cannabis industry. The state’s Cannabis Regulation Act, which was signed into law in April, legalized the adult-use and possession of cannabis as […]

For families of color, climate change in New Mexico is already here, say experts

Climate change isn’t in the future for New Mexico—it’s already here and impacting families of color, according to climate change experts. From Navajo leaving their land due to dwindling resources, hotter wildfires altering landscapes, an increase of climate change refugees crossing outside ports of entry and wells running dry in […]

The stench of climate change

“Oh my gosh. It is just cranking.” Nathalie Eddy, a field advocate for Earthworks, the environmental monitoring group, is sitting in her Jeep next to an oil well southwest of Loving, New Mexico, in the Permian Basin. A tangle of well pumping equipment is on one side of the quarter-acre […]

CYFD employees say they were reprimanded, fired for asking questions about major software contract

In late 2019, Jackson Williams, manager of a data unit at the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, raised his hand at a work meeting to ask about a massive computer system upgrade at the agency — one that could potentially cost $45 million over the next decade. Led […]

Restaurant jobs abound. But many in NM want something better to come back to.

SANTA FE —  More than 71 percent of New Mexico residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine. Thousands of restaurant jobs are vacant statewide, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has even offered up to a $1,000 cash payment for workers to come back in July. But according […]

Legislators told of possible low-emission cement production at Escalante Power Plant

Beyond coal plants, carbon capture and sequestration may help with cement manufacturing and create new industry in New Mexico, according to a presentation at the Legislative Finance Committee on Thursday. Others, however, remain skeptical of the industry’s viability. Wiley Rhodes, co-founder of Escalante H2 Power, said a retrofit of the […]

New Mexico begins clean car standards rulemaking process

In a few years, new cars being sold in New Mexico may be required to meet more stringent emission requirements, similar to those in place in California. The City of Albuquerque and the New Mexico Environment Department kicked off the rulemaking process to adopt California’s clean car standards with a […]

Early childhood education expansion could empower New Mexico women, advocates say

On August 1, New Mexico will expand early child care assistance to allow a family of four with a  nearly $93,000 yearly income eligible for assistance from the state, among other early childcare changes. Some have said the expansions to early childcare could empower women in New Mexico. Gov. Michelle […]

U.S. House passes PFAS Action Act

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 241-182 in favor of legislation that would regulate PFAS. The PFAS Action Act would require federal regulators to establish national drinking water standards for per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances. The legislation would further designate PFAS as hazardous, thus allowing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up […]

Democrat Manny Gonzales wants to be mayor. Republicans run his campaign.

Eight years ago, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, a Republican, cruised to re-election with almost 70% of the vote. Yet this year, with just three weeks left for a candidate to produce the 3,000 petition signatures necessary to get on the ballot, it seems likely there won’t be a registered Republican […]

Heinrich, Blunt introduce legislation to fund wildlife conservation

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich described wildlife conservation as a topic that can bring people together—something that he said is highlighted by a bipartisan Senate bill.. “Whether you grew up in New Mexico or you grew up in Missouri, you remember the first fish you ever catch, you remember the butterflies […]

Border wall map reveals damage to landscape, migration routes

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A newly-released map identifies portions of the U.S.-Mexico border wall built by the Trump administration, and for conservation groups and wildlife advocates, it is alarming. The Biden administration halted construction, and said it will use federal funds to assess damage caused by the new, higher walls. Myles Traphagen, borderlands program coordinator for […]

Abortion care providers prepare for Texas gestational ban

Abortion care providers in New Mexico expect an increase in patients if a court allows Texas’ six-week gestational ban to take effect in September. A group of Texas abortion fund and clinic providers filed suit in a Texas state court last week to stop the state’s new law from going […]

In rural New Mexico, water systems need funding and support

As state Rep. Susan Herrera, D-Embudo, listened to discussions about drought in New Mexico during a legislative Water and Natural Resources Committee meeting, she thought about the rural water systems in her district in Rio Arriba County, where she said four utilities have required temporary backup water as infrastructure failed. […]

Report documents PFAS use in fracking in New Mexico

A report indicating that PFAS chemicals have been used in hydraulic fracturing operations in New Mexico “emphasizes how important it is for regulators to know what is in the industrial wastewater,” Maddy Hayden, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Environment Department told NM Political Report in an email. Physicians for […]

PRC plans to open official inquiry into San Juan cooling tower collapse

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission plans to open an investigation into a cooling tower collapse that happened in late June at the San Juan Generating Station. “We had a major baseload component of our power system go down and we were in the dark about it,” said Commission Chairman […]

Enchant Energy pushes for legislation clarifying pore space ownership

Enchant Energy is asking New Mexico lawmakers to introduce legislation that would clarify who owns the rights to the small cavities in geological formations that carbon dioxide can be injected into. These cavities are known as pore space. Enchant Energy is hoping to take ownership of the San Juan Generating […]

AHA: LGBTQ at greater risk for cardiovascular events and risks

Growing evidence indicates that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults experience worse cardiovascular health than their cisgender heterosexual peers according to the American Heart Association. For instance, transgender men are twice as likely to have a heart attack than cisgender men and four times as likely than cisgender women, […]

Top NM cannabis regulator on rule changes: Substantive changes require a new hearing

There are less than two months left before the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department is required by law to start accepting recreational-use cannabis business applications. But before the department can do that, it needs to finalize rules that outline its own standards and requirements for cannabis businesses.  The department […]

USDA may buy cows from dairy farm contaminated with PFAS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on regulations that would allow the government to buy the cattle from a dairy farm in Clovis where groundwater was contaminated by PFAS related to training at a nearby Air Force base, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez said during a virtual press conference […]

State Oil Conservation Division can issue fines for spills

Soon the state’s Oil Conservation Division will have the ability to issue civil fines when oil and natural gas industry spills occur. The Oil Conservation Commission approved a final order to amend the state’s release rule during a meeting on Thursday. This unanimous vote came approximately one month after it […]

Old oil fields may be ideal for carbon sequestration

When looking for places to sequester carbon, old oil fields may be a promising choice, according to a new study published in the journal Geology. Geophysicists from Stanford University analyzed the Delaware Basin – a sub-basin of the Permian Basin in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico – and found […]

San Juan Generating Station taken offline after cooling tower collapse

Unit one of the San Juan Generating Station was taken off line last week after a cooling tower collapsed, sources familiar with the incident told NM Political Report. The cooling tower is necessary to operate the unit and, unless it is repaired, the unit will not be able to produce […]

Paid sick leave law will go into effect in 2022

On Thursday most bills that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law earlier this year went into effect but the one that did not yet is the Healthy Workplaces Act. The Healthy Workplaces Act, or paid sick leave, provides all private sector employees up to 64 hours of paid time […]

Coalition of Native women urge the public to keep wearing masks

On Thursday the state ended COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates, but Indigenous leaders with the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women urge the public to keep wearing the mask. Angel Charley, Laguna and executive director of CSVANW, said this is a safety precaution. “It requires a lot of sacrifice […]

Advocates: SCOTUS decision emphasizes need for more LGBTQ protections

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Fulton v. the City of Philadelphia is not likely to a impact the New Mexico LGBTQ community, legal experts and advocates have said. Fulton v. the City of Philadelphia asked the Supreme Court to decide if Catholic Social Services (CSS) could continue its contract […]

OCD has issued 23 complaints resulting in fines against oil and gas companies

The Oil Conservation Division of the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department regained the ability to fine oil and gas companies that were not complying with state laws a little more than a year ago, and officials say this has paid off. Since February of 2020, the OCD has […]

NM expands early childcare subsidies

For the next two years, New Mexico will raise the income eligibility for childcare assistance from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 350 percent of the federal poverty level with a phase out at 400 percent of the federal poverty level, officials announced Thursday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, […]

Survey: Half of New Mexicans approve of governor’s job performance

A poll conducted by SurveyUSA for KOB-TV showed that half of New Mexico adults approve of how Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is doing her job. The poll showed that 50 percent of those polled approved of her job performance, while 32 percent disapproved and 18 percent were not sure. Lujan […]

As water levels drop in Elephant Butte, Reclamation prepares for conditions not seen since the 1950s

Recent rains have brought some relief to Elephant Butte reservoir in southern New Mexico, but the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is still preparing for low levels that have not been seen since the 1950s. Mary Carlson, a spokesperson for the BOR, said three decades of drought conditions where dry years […]

Lujan Grisham says she wants NM to have the best cannabis in the region

Hundreds of people vying to be a part of New Mexico’s newest legal industry gathered in downtown Albuquerque on Wednesday, a day after recreational-use cannabis became legal in the state.  Dozens of vendor booths that included marketing professionals, cultivation suppliers and cannabis educators attended the first day of the two-day […]

New Mexico lifts pandemic restrictions

The state’s pandemic restrictions ended on Thursday, marking the end of restrictions that have been in place for over 470 days. The state first put occupancy rules in place last March, when the state recorded its first cases of COVID-19. Since then, the state has reported 205,542 confirmed cases of […]

State takes first steps to establish adult-use cannabis regulations

On the first day of legalized, recreational-use cannabis in New Mexico the department set to oversee the new industry held a rulemaking hearing.  During the hearing, held by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department and its Cannabis Control Division, a long list of stakeholders shared their concerns about water […]

New Mexico’s first day of legal adult-use cannabis

Today marks the first official day of adult-use cannabis legalization in New Mexico. But legal sales for those without authorization to purchase and use medical cannabis will not begin until sometime early next year.  The New Mexico Legislature passed the Cannabis Regulation Act earlier this year during a special session […]

Federal court of appeals sends solar standby fee case back to lower court

The federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a lower court’s ruling on a case centered around whether a utility can charge an extra rate to customers with solar panels.  The court remanded the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on Monday after judges […]

NM Department of Game and Fish considers river otter reintroduction into the Gila River

While various environmental advocacy groups are pushing for river otter reintroduction in the Gila River basin of New Mexico, biologists say this could impact several sensitive fish species that the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has been working to protect and recover. These fish once coexisted with the […]

Former inmate sues Corrections Department for negligence

A former inmate is suing the New Mexico Corrections Department and some of its employees for allegedly endangering the man’s life while transporting him and others in an unair-conditioned vehicle in 2019. Lawrence Lamb, 61, filed the suit last week in Santa Fe state district court. The suit alleges that […]

Revenue diversification needed as NM looks to transition away from fossil fuels

As New Mexico looks at an inevitable end to oil and gas extraction, some environmental advocates say no new leases should be issued and the United States should work to phase out fossil fuels. This would not have a huge immediate impact on the state, but could result in less […]

House votes to restore Obama-era methane rules

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 229 to 191 on Friday to reinstate methane regulations implemented under President Barack Obama’s administration and rolled back by former President Donald Trump. The House’s vote comes after the U.S. Senate voted in late April in favor of the measure, which is intended to […]

With shelter beds available in New Mexico, asylum seekers wait across the border in dangerous conditions because of a Trump-imposed policy

Hundreds of available shelter beds in New Mexico are empty while families, including a Honduran mother and her child, seek asylum in the U.S. are forced to wait across the border with Mexico in Ciudad Juárez. Advocates have said there is a humanitarian crisis happening along the border. The Donald […]

High-level officials accuse CYFD of retaliation

A husband and wife who blew the whistle on the state’s destruction of official records have filed a lawsuit against the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department, claiming they were fired from their jobs in retaliation.  The lawsuit was jointly filed Tuesday by Cliff W. Gilmore, the former head […]

Iberdrola executives named in criminal espionage investigation

Public Service Company of New Mexico and Avangrid have informed the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission of a criminal investigation in Spain that names several executives of Avangrid’s parent company, Iberdrola. This comes as the PRC is weighing a merger case that would allow Avangrid to acquire PNM. A document […]

As liquor law changes go into effect on July 1, delivery will have to wait on rulemaking

On July 1, a number of bills signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will go into effect. Among those bills is one that makes significant changes to New Mexico’s liquor laws. But some of those significant changes, like delivery of alcohol, are also dependent on administrative rules and […]

NM hits 60 percent vaccination mark

The state of New Mexico reached two milestones in its vaccination efforts this week: over 1 million people fully vaccinated and 60 percent of all residents age 16 or older fully vaccinated. The numbers came as the state announced it would fully reopen businesses to maximum capacity on July 1, […]

Governor petitions EPA to list PFAS as hazardous waste

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, to list per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, as hazardous waste under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. “PFAS chemicals present an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment,” […]

Social justice advocate Pamelya Herndon appointed new HD 28 representative

The Bernalillo County Commission appointed social justice advocate and lawyer Pamelya Herndon to the state House to replace U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, on Tuesday. The Bernalillo County Commissioners voted 4 to 0 in favor of Herndon with one, Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, absent. Herndon vied for the job against seven other […]

War of words over New Mexico’s oil fields

In mid-June, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the Biden administration’s 5-month-old pause on new oil and gas lease sales on federal lands and waters. But in New Mexico, where the state’s Democratic governor had requested an exemption to the pause, the tension over leases highlights how tricky it is for […]

Former legislator seeks appointment to vacant state House seat

Idalia Lechuga-Tena announced on Friday she is seeking appointment to House District 28 amidst a growing list of women interested in the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury. Bernalillo County Commissioners meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday in a special meeting to decide who will replace Stansbury. Bernalillo County Commissioners […]

BLM releases draft environmental assessment for potash mine clay settlement facility

The federal Bureau of Land Management has released a draft environmental assessment regarding Mosaic Potash Carlsbad’s plans to use a nearly 1,000 acre natural playa as a clay settlement facility. The playa, known as Laguna Uno, has previously been used by the mine and, if approved, the mining company will […]

The great disconnect

On May 18, a judge overseeing the historic Yazzie-Martinez case ordered the New Mexico Public Education Department to take stock of the massive digital divide in the state and finally identify the roughly 76,000 students who lacked Internet connections they desperately needed for school.  One of PED’s responses was to […]

State to allow 100 percent capacity for businesses on July 1

Capacity-based restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will end in New Mexico on July 1, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Friday, which means all companies will be able to open at 100 percent capacity. “The simple fact is: We are beating this pandemic,” the governor said. The opening is […]

ABQ city council rejects most of mayor’s cannabis zoning proposals

The Albuquerque City Council made zoning restrictions and allowances for recreational-use cannabis official Thursday night after a six hour meeting to approve the city’s updated Integrated Development Ordinance.  For weeks, both those in the medical cannabis industry and those hoping to be a part of the recreational-use cannabis industry have […]

New Mexicans weigh in on methane as EPA considers new rules

Dozens of New Mexicans issued warnings about the current and future impacts of climate change this week as they urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt a new rule that would lead to significant methane emission reductions from the oil and gas sector. The comments happened as part of […]

EMNRD launches interactive climate change map

The state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department launched an interactive map that will help New Mexicans see how climate change is anticipated to impact their communities. The department  created the map in collaboration with The University of New Mexico’s Earth Data Analysis Center. In addition to showing how climate […]

PED: Pandemic impacts will affect schooling going forward

During the first twelve months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the academic school year was like no other. From March 2020 until April 2021, students in New Mexico public schools learned either remotely or through a hybrid model that included some in-person learning. Remote learning nationwide, on average, put more stress […]

PRC says community solar projects cannot be approved until rules are completed

While the Community Solar Act does not go into effect until June 18, investor-owned utilities have been receiving applications, and at least one of the utilities has expressed uncertainty about how to process such applications because rules regarding such projects will not be completed until next year. The New Mexico […]

Health officials continue push for New Mexicans to become vaccinated

While over two-thirds of New Mexicans age 16 or older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot, the number who are fully vaccinated remains below the state’s 60 percent goal. As of Wednesday’s update, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said 67.6 percent of all New Mexicans age […]

New Mexico birders have the opportunity to participate in a community science project

A group of researchers chose a mountain peak in New Mexico as a location where birders can help with breeding bird counts. The Mountain Bird Network selected Deception Peak, which can be accessed from the Ski Santa Fe area, in New Mexico as one of three locations to start the […]

Army veteran seeks House seat

An Army veteran has announced she is seeking the appointment to House District 28. Michelle Peacock, who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Nurse Corps Officer, has joined the list of two other women who are seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury for her […]

PRC receives first grid modernization application

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has received its first grid modernization application since the state Legislature passed the Energy Grid Modernization Roadmap during the 2020 session. Southwestern Public Service Company filed an application for grid modernization on June 4 and, during the Tuesday PRC meeting, the commission’s counsel Judith […]

Study: Pneumatic controllers, wellbore liquids unloading make Hilcorp the top methane emitter

Hilcorp Energy, a prominent oil and gas company that operates in the San Juan Basin, has the highest reported methane emissions in the country, according to a report released this month by the Clean Air Task Force in collaboration with Ceres. The report, which was authored by the advisory group […]

Activist announces she is seeking appointment to HD 28

Long time community activist Pamelya Herndon announced on Monday that she is seeking appointment to state House District 28 to replace U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury. Herndon moved to the district in 1982, where she and her husband raised their three children. She said she thinks she is the best person […]

LNG proponents say exports could reduce emissions, but critics call it a bridge to nowhere

Touting natural gas as a bridge fuel to help address global climate change, a study released by the Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative (WSTN) states that replacing coal-fired generation in several Asian countries with liquefied natural gas from Rocky Mountain states could reduce net life cycle emissions […]

Stansbury to resign from state House, be sworn into U.S. House

New Mexico state Representative Melanie Stansbury announced her resignation from the state House. The resignation will be effective Monday, the same day Stansbury will be sworn into the U.S. House after a landslide special election victory earlier this month. “Serving in the New Mexico House of Representatives has been one […]

How a federal abortion bill could impact New Mexico

This week members of Congress introduced legislation into both chambers that would codify Roe v. Wade into law if it passes. HR 3755, more commonly known as the Women’s Health Protection Act, would protect a person’s ability to terminate a pregnancy and would protect a provider’s ability to provide abortion […]

A broken system: Why the number of American Indian and Alaska Natives who have died during the coronavirus pandemic may never be known

This story is produced by the Indigenous Investigative Collective, a project of the Native American Journalists Association in partnership with High Country News, Indian Country Today, National Native News and Searchlight New Mexico. It was produced in partnership with MuckRock with the support of JSK-Big Local News. In May of […]

NMED secretary says federal regulations are needed for PFAS

Toxic chemicals that do not break down in the environment have been threatening water sources nationwide, witnesses told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during a hearing on Wednesday. Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS, have received attention in New Mexico and nationwide as they were […]

Dispute over wolf cross-fostering in Catron County

After learning about a plan to place captive-born Mexican wolves in a den of wild wolves in Catron County, Rep. Yvette Herrell, a Republican from New Mexico, wrote a letter to State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard urging her to reconsider the move. “These activities are occurring less than two […]

NM Senate leadership clears senator of ethics violation allegation

A dust-up between an outspoken New Mexico state senator and a state cabinet secretary over ethics related to cannabis legislation has come to a resolution, at least temporarily.  According to a letter from Senate leadership last month, sent to New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Tracie Collins, there will be […]

A group of inmates sue state and Corrections Department over medical grievance system

A group of state prisoners alleged a corrupt medical grievance system violates their constitutional rights and has contributed to a bone epidemic in New Mexico prisons in a lawsuit. The 18 prisoners filed a lawsuit last month in state district court against the state, the New Mexico Corrections Department and […]

Members of redistricting committee chosen

The seven members of the state’s redistricting committee are set, as the state prepares to do its decennial redistricting process. The Legislature passed a bill to set up a redistricting commission earlier this year.  Legislative leaders and the state ethics commission selected the members of the redistricting committee. The ethics […]

New Mexico Supreme Court: State not required to compensate businesses for public health closures

Businesses that were ordered to close during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic do not have a claim for government compensation, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled.   The unanimous opinion, written by Justice Shannon Bacon, states that public health orders from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state Department […]

Citizen lawmakers find work in new cannabis industry

Cannabis legalization in New Mexico was sold as, amongst other things, a job creator. Those who are eyeing the new industry are navigating proposed rules and regulations and making plans for real space, how many plants they will be able to grow and how to get their applications approved by […]

NMED investigates size of PFAS plumes

The New Mexico Environment Department is investigating the size of the PFAS plumes in eastern New Mexico. PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are chemicals that were used in firefighting foam at two air force bases in the state. The chemicals can impact human health and are known as “forever […]

Scientists say dire climate change scenarios should be taken into account in Colorado River Basin water management

Climate change threatens the availability of water in the Colorado River basin and water managers need to take steps now to prepare, the director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico John Fleck and Brad Udall, the senior water and climate research scientist at the Colorado […]

Lujan Grisham announces reelection campaign

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made it official on Thursday: She is running for a second term in office. At an event in Old Town New Mexico, she announced that she would run for a second term. No New Mexico governor has lost a reelection campaign since 1994 when incumbent Bruce […]

All counties are turquoise as 60 percent fully vaccinated nears

Every county in New Mexico is now at the turquoise level, the least restrictive level of restrictions. “Given the state’s vaccination progress and continued positive outlook with respect to new virus cases, counties will remain at the turquoise level barring exceptional circumstances,” Department of Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said. […]

Stansbury wins special election

New Mexico state Rep. Melanie Stansbury will soon officially become a U.S. Representative.  Stansbury won easily on Tuesday over three other opponents on the ballot in a special election: Republican Mark Moores, Libertarian Chris Manning and independent candidate Aubrey Dunn.  The special election was held in order to replace former […]

Vaccinated New Mexicans eligible for sweepstakes with $5 million grand prize

New Mexicans who are vaccinated and part of the state’s vaccinenm.org registration system will be entered in a sweepstakes with a chance to win part of a $10 million prize pool—including a $5 million grand prize. The Vax 2 the Max Sweepstakes is New Mexico’s version of an effort by […]

IEEFA report: Carbon capture project lacks investors, has an unrealistic timeframe

Enchant Energy faces “insurmountable” obstacles as it works to acquire the San Juan Generating Station and retrofit it with carbon capture technology, according to David Schissel, director of resource planning analysis for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Schissel authored a report released on Thursday looking at the […]

Cannabis providers try to navigate a new industry

While the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department scrambles to fully implement regulations for non-medical cannabis, those who plan to get into the new industry as well as those already in the medical cannabis industry are already trying to navigate proposed rules.  With an April 2022 deadline to have a […]

In Anthony, NM, a border community and its farmworkers find solidarity in the pandemic

ANTHONY, N.M. — Josh Jasso stood among mounds of greenery in an otherwise parched expanse, squinting at the fields of La Semilla Community Farm. “We’re feeling smaller and smaller in our fractured landscape,” said Jasso, the farm manager at La Semilla, which is located on a stretch of highway in […]

House Natural Resources Committee passes bill addressing orphaned oil and gas wells

A bill that would help states plug and clean up orphaned oil and gas wells passed the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday on a 22 to 17 vote. The Orphaned Well Clean Up and Jobs Act is sponsored by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, a Democrat from New Mexico. “Orphaned […]

Environmental groups say an EIS is needed for the San Juan carbon capture project

A group of nine environmental organizations sent a letter to the Department of Energy secretary requesting the initiation of a multi-agency environmental impact statement looking at Enchant Energy’s proposal to retrofit the San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture technology. If an EIS is required, it would delay the project […]

Lesser prairie chicken in New Mexico could be listed as endangered

Two populations of the lesser prairie chicken could receive federal species protections amid concerns about loss of habitat. The southern population would be listed as endangered while the northern population would receive protections as a threatened species, according to a press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The […]

Where does New Mexico stand in the path to net zero emissions by 2050

The state of New Mexico has emerged in recent years as a leader in policies aimed at reducing emissions amid the climate crisis, but at the same time it has seen an increase in oil and gas production in the southern part of the state and faces challenges with inequitable […]

Incarcerated woman challenges New Mexico Corrections Department’s methadone policy

An incarcerated woman in New Mexico filed suit last month against the state Department of Corrections after officials allegedly discontinued her prescription for methadone. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed an emergency injunctive relief on Monday in federal court for a plaintiff known as “S.B.” who suffers from […]

Recent storms have brought moisture, but fire danger remains

Recent rain and snow in parts of New Mexico have brought a temporary reprieve from the high fire dangers, but officials warn that the vegetation can dry out quickly and that precautions should be taken to prevent and prepare for wildfire. “My biggest concern and concern from fire management is […]

Two CYFD employees who raised concerns over deleted records were later fired

The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department has fired two high-level employees who raised concerns about the agency’s practice of encrypting and summarily destroying records. A Searchlight New Mexico investigation has found that over the past year, the CYFD used the secure text messaging app Signal to discuss a […]

The future of reproductive healthcare in NM if Roe v. Wade is overturned

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or guts Roe v. Wade next year when it hears the case involving a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks, New Mexico could face a fight and increased harassment at clinics, according to reproductive rights experts. The U.S. Supreme Court announced […]

Analysis finds $8.1 billion gap in New Mexico bonding requirements, clean up costs for oil and gas

Oil and gas infrastructure could leave the state with a hefty price tag for cleanup  if companies go bankrupt, according to a new analysis completed by the Center for Applied Research. The analysis found an $8.18 billion difference between the bonds for the infrastructure in the state and the cost […]

NM Tax and Revenue: Lawmakers didn’t intend for cannabis tax breaks

The issue of whether taxes on medical cannabis sales in New Mexico should have been deductible prior to this year is one step closer to being heard by the state’s supreme court.  The state Attorney General’s office filed a brief on Monday with the New Mexico Supreme Court on behalf […]

Secretary of State and state Libertarian Party, argue legal ballot challenge lacks merit

Despite a special congressional election well underway, with many absentee ballots already returned and early in-person votes cast, the New Mexico Supreme Court may consider a case that challenges the validity of one of the candidates whose name is on the ballot.  In April, a state district judge dismissed a […]

Chaparral residents seek alternative to new El Paso Electric natural gas unit

When Ida Garcia looks out the kitchen window during cool mornings, plumes billowing from a power plant less than a mile away in Texas obscure her view of the broad Chihuahuan desert skies and expansive vistas. During hot summer days the plumes disappear but she still worries.  “We see that […]

Medical cannabis patient asks judge to rule on purchase limits

A New Mexico medical cannabis patient is challenging state rules for medical cannabis purchase limits.  Jason Barker, a medical cannabis patient and advocate, filed a request in Santa Fe’s First Judicial District Court earlier this month, asking a judge to compel the state’s Medical Cannabis Program and Cannabis Control Division […]

New Mexico utilities prepare for electric vehicles

While there may not be a lot of electric vehicles on the roads today, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative CEO Luis Reyes said his utility is taking steps to prepare for this to change in the upcoming years. Hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations have been installed around the state and […]

Heinrich requests protecting Chaco from oil and gas leasing

Sen. Martin Heinrich sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland requesting an area surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park be protected from future oil and gas development. Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, asked Haaland to administratively withdraw the federal minerals within a 10-mile radius of the park from leasing. […]

Lawsuit against alleges civil rights violations by private prison company, Torrance County

Nine migrants who were detained in Torrance County Detention Facility and a nonprofit called the Santa Fe Dreamers Project are suing the operator of the facility and Torrance County for an alleged incident when guards pepper sprayed the detainees to disrupt a hunger strike last year. The nine individual plaintiffs […]

High density of rooftop solar can create challenges on the grid

With rooftop solar growing in demand, there are some places in New Mexico where residents are being told they cannot install solar panels due to capacity limitations. For example, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) placed 178 applications for interconnection on hold in 2019 and 2020 because of capacity […]

Masks no longer required for those who are vaccinated (in most situations)

Those who are fully vaccinated can now go without masks in most situations in New Mexico—indoors or outdoors. The state Department of Health followed federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance in making sweeping changes to its suggested mask use. Getting vaccinated is the ticket to a safe and […]

Inhumane conditions and alleged sexual assault at NM women’s prisons

Many incarcerated women, often already traumatized from gender violence, potentially face re-traumatization once imprisoned in New Mexico through inhumane conditions and sexual assault, according to attorneys. Lalita Moskowitz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, said the inhumane conditions run the gamut in New Mexico prisons—from […]

Heinrich to introduce legislation to provide a ‘glide path’ for energy producing states

Sen. Martin Heinrich announced Thursday plans to introduce legislation that would help areas that depend on revenue from fossil fuels maintain balanced government and education budgets as the country moves toward a clean energy economy. Known as the Schools and State Budgets Certainty Act, the bill would provide funding to […]

Viva Las Vegas: The town is getting a pandemic revival thanks to local teens

LAS VEGAS, N.M. — A loud bass beat vibrated through the air in the kitchen of The Skillet, but line cook Kyle Conway worked in silence. The 18-year-old, a big kid with the suggestion of a mustache, spiralized potatoes into ribbon fries, dumped breaded green chile into bubbling oil and […]

Some energy transition funding project proposals include fossil fuels

As the northwest corner of New Mexico prepares for the closure of the San Juan Generating Station, at least one proposed project to help displaced workers could lead to increased natural gas extraction. Last year, the Energy Transition Act committee sent out a request for information on projects that could […]

New study looks at jaguar reintroduction possibilities

A big cat, largely absent from the United States since the 1960s after living in the southwest for thousands of years, could make a return to the area. Conservationists are now exploring reintroducing the jaguar to New Mexico and Arizona. A study published on Tuesday in the journal Conservation Science […]

Navajo-Gallup water delay spurs problem solving in arid Southwest

Early this year, five of Gallup, New Mexico’s 16 water wells stopped producing water, including two of its biggest. After a few days of maintenance, two worked. The other three were out of commission for more than a month. Had it happened in summer, the city might have asked residents […]

U.S. Health and Human Services stays restrictions on mifepristone

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department and the American Civil Liberties Union agreed to put a lawsuit on hold late last week that could have longer term implications for the abortion medication mifepristone. On Friday the HHS, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration, filed in Hawaii district court […]

Study finds high levels of methane emissions on Navajo Nation lands

Carol Davis, the director of the environmental advocacy group Diné CARE, recalled spending a few days camping near Counselor, New Mexico with other members of the advocacy group a few years ago and feeling sick from the emissions related to oil and gas production. “For me, being in a region […]

NMED releases ozone precursor rules

Following concerns from members of the environmental community, the New Mexico Environment Department removed the exemptions from the oil and gas sector ozone precursor rule for stripper and marginal wells. The department released the ozone precursor rule Thursday and filed a petition with the Environmental Improvement Board to review it. […]

‘America the Beautiful’ report outlines path toward 30 percent conservation by 2030

President Joe Biden has called for preserving 30 percent of the lands and waters in the United States by 2030 and, on Thursday, his administration released a report outlining how this could be accomplished. The report released on Thursday, called Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful 2021, states that three […]

Most of state is at turquoise level as vaccinations still grow

Nearly every county in New Mexico, including the state’s most populous counties, are set to be in the turquoise tier, which has the least capacity restrictions. “It’s exciting what’s happening to the color of the state,” Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase said, referring to the restrictions by county. […]

State agencies confirm medical cannabis purchase limits will not increase anytime soon

Two New Mexico state agencies confirmed on Wednesday in a letter that medical cannabis purchase limits will not increase, as it was previously suggested last month by a group of medical cannabis producers.  Related: NM medical cannabis patients should not expect increased purchase limits any time soon In an official […]

Heinrich touts transmission, agriculture and hydrogen as ways to address the climate crisis

Sen. Martin Heinrich said this week reinstating methane regulations that former President Donald Trump rolled back will buy time to take the next steps to addressing the climate crisis.  The Senate approved revoking the rollback of the methane regulations about a week ago and the House of Representatives, where the […]

Fungus that causes white-nose syndrome is found on bats in New Mexico caves

A fungus that causes the often-fatal white-nose syndrome in bats has been found in two caves in eastern New Mexico. These caves are located within the Bureau of Land Management’s Roswell Field Office in De Baca and Lincoln counties. BLM Wildlife Biologist Marikay Ramsey said New Mexico has not had […]

Children sentenced as adults are disproportionately children of color

When Carissa McGee was 16 years old, she was sentenced to 21 years in an adult correctional facility for stabbing two members of her family. McGee told NM Political Report she was mentally ill at the time, but the judge still sentenced her to more than two decades in prison. […]

Existing cannabis producers get an extension on licensing deadline

New Mexico medical cannabis producers that intend to continue doing business after commercial cannabis sales begin next year will not be required to renew their license this summer, according to state officials.  The state’s Department of Health and the Regulation and Licensing Department said in a letter that current medical […]