New Mexico official says Texas landowners are “stealing” millions of gallons of water and selling it back for fracking

ORLA, TEXAS — After you head northeast on Ranch Road 652 from tiny Orla, it’s easy to miss the precise moment you leave Texas and cross into New Mexico. The sign just says “Lea County Line,” and with 254 counties in Texas, you’d be forgiven for not knowing there isn’t one named Lea. But the folks who are selling water over it know exactly where the line is. That’s because on the Texas side, where the “rule of capture” rules groundwater policy, people basically can pump water from beneath their land to their heart’s content. But on the New Mexico side, the state has imposed tight regulations on both surface and groundwater that restrict supply.

Three NM Planned Parenthood clinics to close this year

Three Planned Parenthood clinics in New Mexico—one in Albuquerque, one in Rio Rancho and one in Farmington—will close by this fall. Whitney Phillips, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which oversees clinics for the women’s health provider in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada, attributed the closures to “reduced patient volume” and challenges in the healthcare industry. “There’s no secret that the reproductive health landscape right now is tough,” she said, referring to the “defund Planned Parenthood” campaigns from opponents of abortion. None of the three clinics slated to close perform surgical abortions. She also ascribed some of the troubles to the federal Affordable Care Act, which “impacted the way we operated, the way we bill things.” Still, she said Planned Parenthood still supports ACA “because the more people with insurance, the better.”

The coming closures will drop the number of New Mexico Planned Parenthood clinics from six to three by this September.

State Auditor finds $4.5 billion unspent in state bank accounts | Editorial/Opinion

[box type=”info”]Opinion/Analysis[/box]

New Mexico’s new state auditor, Tim Keller, has identified more than $4.5 billion of unspent funds spread across more than 700 state bank accounts, his office announced this week. A public report, “Money on the Sidelines,” tracked all of the unspent money left in bank accounts spread across the state’s multitude of agency and permanent fund accounts.  “Some fund balances serve a similar purpose within an agency for a specific project or a specific governmental function, while other fund balances represent money that could be spent on non-specified projects or functions,” Keller says in the report. Approximately half of the money appears to be allocated for capital infrastructure (such as roads, buildings and water projects). REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

 $4.5 billion of unspent public dollars in the State of New Mexico were spread across 737 different accounts throughout state agencies and affiliated entities, excluding fiduciary funds (permanent and pension funds).

Legislative tennis: How gaming compacts are made

The process of approving gaming compacts in New Mexico can be hard to understand. There is an interim legislative committee assigned to compacts, but it does not operate like traditional committees in the state legislature. Instead the Compact Negotiation Act outlines a process that can resemble legislative tennis. Gaming compacts are agreements between tribal and state governments regarding casino gaming. For New Mexico, gaming compacts outline rules, regulations and how much of a tribes net winnings are paid to the state.