To Nathalie Eddy’s eye, Loco Hills has become “a graveyard” of oil and gas development.
Eddy is the Colorado and New Mexico field advocate at the environmental group Earthworks. Eddy works frequently in the Permian Basin, using special imaging cameras to capture methane leaks coming from oil and gas wells sites in the area.
Loco Hills, located north of Carlsbad on the Lovington Highway, is a legacy oilfield whose landscape is now dotted with inactive wells, and a few wells still producing, stretching as far as the eye can see. Most of those defunct wells are located on state or federal public lands and they aren’t going away anytime soon. The area “offers a sobering glimpse of drilling’s irreversible damage that scars these public lands and makes the land unavailable for any future use for future generations,” Eddy told NM Political Report.
There is concern that other parts of the Permian Basin may suffer a similar fate.
Byachel Mabe and Ed Williams, Searchlight New Mexico |
On a Thursday in late May, Michael Trujillo sat in the slightly softened evening light and watched his three children play in the water at Lake Carlsbad Beach Park, an unexpected patch of blue in the Chihuahuan desert. With his pit bull puppy at his feet, Trujillo passed slices of pizza from a stack of three Little Caesars boxes to two men in camp chairs. All three are oilfield workers, Carlsbad natives and, unlike thousands of others in the industry, all are still employed. But that hasn’t relieved their anger at the New Mexico governor and her coronavirus shutdown orders. “She needs to open the place up and let us do what we need to do,” the 36-year-old Trujillo said.
Like a lot of people in town, Trujillo wishes Carlsbad was in Texas.
This story originally appeared at Searchlight New Mexico and is republished with permission. In that state, just 40 miles to the south, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t order a COVID-19 lockdown until April 2 and allowed businesses to start reopening by May 1.
State health officials announced Sunday an additional 203 cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico, with no new deaths related to the disease. The number of tests, which reached a record-high on Saturday, dipped to one of the lowest totals in weeks. In total, there have been 13,256 confirmed cases in the state and 513 total deaths.
Bernalillo County had the most new cases, but McKinley County still has the most total cases and San Juan County has the second highest total number of cases.
State health officials also reported 119 people are currently hospitalized in New Mexico with COVID-19, a decrease of two since Saturday, and 5,860 people are deemed recovered from the disease, an increase of 15 since Saturday.
The state reported 375,054 tests processed, an increase of 2,766 since Saturday. The percentage of positive tests to total tests was 7.3 percent, well above the state’s seven-day average. Here are the new cases broken down by county:
65 new cases in Bernalillo County8 new cases in Chaves County2 new cases in Cibola County3 new cases in Curry County38 new cases in Doña Ana County1 new case in Eddy County2 new cases in Grant County1 new case in Hidalgo County15 new cases in Lea County4 new cases in Luna County20 new cases in McKinley County1 new case in Roosevelt County1 new case in Sandoval County28 new cases in San Juan County8 new cases in Santa Fe County2 new cases in Torrance County4 new cases in Valencia County
And here are the county totals, including Sunday’s announcement:
The Otero County Prison facility, which houses inmates in state custody still has the highest number of total cases of COVID-19 among those in state or federal custody.
Here are the totals for state prisons:
Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Valencia County: 6Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County: 1Otero County Prison Facility: 448Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County: 1
Here are the totals for federal detention centers within New Mexico.
Cibola County Correctional Center: 2Otero County Prison Facility: 275Otero County Processing Center: 149Torrance County Detention Facility: 43
Health officials continue to encourage everyone to wear face coverings in public and to stay at home as much as possible. They also asked anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 to immediately see a healthcare professional or call the Department of Health at 1-855-600-3453.
On Saturday, the state Department of Health announced that 291 people tested positive for COVID-19, once again setting the standard for the second-most confirmed cases in a single day in New Mexico. The number came as the state reached a new single-day high in COVID-19 tests. Additionally, the state announced two additional deaths related to the disease.
Of the tests that were part of Saturday’s announcement, the positivity rate was 3.26 percent, similar to those in recent days, but still up from the record lows earlier this month.
As of Saturday, the state has now recorded 13,063 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 513 deaths related to the disease. Of the state’s confirmed cases, 1,446—or 11.1 percent—have come in the last seven days. Saturday’s numbers included 79 cases in Bernalillo County, 56 in Doña Ana County, 34 in McKinley County, 25 in Lea County, 21 in San Juan County, ten in Cibola County and 10 in Eddy County.
Cases have dramatically spiked in Bernalillo County, as well as areas bordering Texas, which includes Doña Ana, Eddy and Lea counties.
ESTANCIA, N.M. – The migrants were on a days-long hunger strike when guards entered their prison dormitory in full riot gear —gas masks, shields and canisters of pepper spray. The officers corralled the two dozen or so inmates into a huddled mass. Two men fell to their knees, begging them not to attack. “Suddenly, they just started gassing us,” said Yandy Bacallao, a 34-year-old asylum seeker from Cuba. “You could just hear everyone screaming for help.”
State health officials announced Friday 257 new cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths related to the disease heading into the Fourth of July weekend. The largest increases in new cases were in Bernalillo, Doña Ana and McKinley counties, three counties that have seen more new cases each day this week. Five of the eight new deaths were in McKinley County. The state also announced 11 new cases at the federal Torrance County Detention Facility. In all, five counties had double-digit rises in new cases.
Friday’s number of new cases represent the highest single-day increase since June 5, when the state saw a record 331 new cases reported.