Artesia Hosts Science Roundtable on the "Lizard"

Steve Pearce
Artesia, NM (May 16, 2011) A group of scientific experts will convene in Artesia on Tuesday, May 17th, to discuss concerns over the proposed endangered species listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard. Congressman Steve Pearce will attend the meeting and speak to the scientists at 8:00 am. Congressman Pearce believes that preserving the species is an important goal, but wants to ensure that the issue is handled with the most appropriate means available. The lizard is already protected under Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs) authored by Fish and Wildlife in concert with local stakeholders, and a Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) implemented by BLM “in close coordination with FWS.” The members of this panel will discuss the scientific evidence on whether an endangered species listing is the best vehicle through which to protect the species, or whether existing agreements are more appropriate.
Dennis Kintigh
The independent group of scientists represents the fields of geology, biology, archeology, geosciences, and wildlife management. The group includes representatives from New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Junior College and the Range Improvement Task Force. It will be led by New Mexico State Representative Dennis Kintigh.
The need for a listing has come under increased scrutiny. In recent weeks, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has officially voiced its opposition to the proposed listing, saying that existing agreements address “all major threats to the species,” and that “the listing of the dunes sagebrush lizard is not warranted, because of the various conservation tools in place to ameliorate threats to the species.”
“I am encouraged that an independent group of scientific minds is gathering in Artesia,” said Kintigh. “This group will begin an organized review of the assertions and claims made in the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing of the Sand Dune Lizard as an endangered species. Decisions that can have significant impact on our economic well-being demand careful and critical examination. I am confident this team will do that review.”
Oil and Gas Industry Roadrunner
A partial list of panelists is below: John Clema, Geologist, Sante Fe, Steve McAllister, Archeology, Albuquerque, Dr. Donald Wolberg, Geology, NMT, Sam Smallege, Range Improvement Task Force, NMSU, Dr. Nick Ashcroft, Range Economics, NMSU, David Codding, Geosciences, Artesia, Calvin Smith, Western Heritage Museum Complex, NMJC, Dr. A.L. Gennavo, Wildlife Management, ENMU.


PNM Rate Case: The Things Some People Say

The Republic - PNM is asking regulators for the increase mainly to recoup investments made in infrastructure to ensure reliability of its hundreds of miles of transmission lines and power generating stations. An additional $20 million could be recouped for more infrastructure investments made through the end of 2012, if approved by regulators. When PNM initially made the request last summer, the utility estimated that investments in its system would total more than $575 million through 2011 and it wanted to raise rates by about 21 percent, or $165 million. Negotiations with the commission's staff, the attorney general's office and others helped cut the proposed rate increase in half. PNM officials have argued that they tried to strike a balance among investments needed to keep service reliable, investments in the environment and making sure rates stay affordable.
Critics contend the latest request doesn't accurately reflect the impact on customers. Steve Michel, an attorney with Western Resource Advocates, told The Santa Fe New Mexican that his group and others opposing the rate hike will ask the hearing examiner to reject the settlement and the rate case or modify it. "PNM is proposing an across-the-board increase for most residential customers. What we've said is this is not the way to collect these rates," he said. "We think the largest users should pay the highest rates." Read full story here: News New Mexico


Chandler Says He Has Just Begun

Matt Chandler
KOB TV - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Clovis District Attorney Matt Chandler says his investigation of a new round of pay-to-play allegations against former Gov. Bill Richardson's administration has just begun. Chandler, who won a bribery indictment of State District Judge Michael Murphy, says his office will continue to "investigate any allegation of any violation of the law."
Edgar Lopez
According to the indictment of Murphy, the judge bragged that he paid Richardson $4,000 for his appointment and told potential judicial candidate Beverly Singleman she should make regular payments to Las Cruces Democratic activist Edgar Lopez if she wanted a seat on the bench. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Gingrich Labels Ryan's Entitlement Reform "Right-Wing Social Engineering"

Newt Gingrich
WSJ - White House hopeful Newt Gingrich called the House Republican plan for Medicare "right-wing social engineering," injecting a discordant GOP voice into the party's efforts to reshape both entitlements and the broader budget debate. In the same interview Sunday, on NBC's "Meet the Press," Mr. Gingrich backed a requirement that all Americans buy health insurance, complicating a Republican line of attack on President Barack Obama's health law. The former House speaker's decision to stick with his previous support for an individual mandate comes days after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defended the health revamp he championed as governor, which includes a mandate. The moves suggest the Republican primary contest, which will include both men, could feature a robust debate on health care, with GOP candidates challenging the Democratic law while defending their own variations. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Driessen: If the President Were Honest He'd Say...

Paul Driessen
Townhall - If the President were honest, he would say: “We’re running out of oil that Democrats, my Administration and our radical environmentalist allies will let this country produce. We’re running out of places we’ll let companies drill. We have 2% of world oil reserves, because we’ve made most of our resources off limits.” If he were honest, he would also say: “We will demonize, penalize, hyper-regulate, tax and kill hydrocarbons. But we will mandate and subsidize wind, solar and ethanol, ignore their environmental and human costs, and extol the measly, expensive, unreliable energy they produce. “We oppose subsidies for oil and coal companies (even in the form of tax deductions for actual expenses), because they promote drilling – and their CEOs and workers rarely vote for us. We support huge subsidies for wind, solar and ethanol, because those guys keep us in power and force a transition to renewable power.
“We know oil, gas and coal generate royalty and tax revenues, and provide 85% of the energy that powers America and supports jobs, commuting, factories, transportation, tourism, hospitals, ambulances, churches and living standards. But we don’t care about revenues, except when they come from higher taxes on corporations – or rich families that make over $250,000 … $150,000 … $65,000 a year. We detest free enterprise, and want government to control more of your energy, economy and lives. Read full column here: News New Mexico


Lujan Decided to Take Cash From Lobbyists

Ben Ray Lujan
From -Like other politicians eager to show the public they’re not beholden to Washington’s special interests, Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico has proudly refused to take campaign contributions from federal lobbyists. The fine print on his fundraising notices made clear that “People for Ben does not accept contributions from registered federal lobbyists,” a stance that won him praise from editorial writers in his home state as recently as February. Yet on a recent evening, Mr. Lujan was the featured lawmaker at a Cinco de Mayo-themed political fundraiser held in the Capitol Hill home of a prominent Washington lobbyist, Robert Raben. The fundraiser benefited the Committee for Hispanic Causes, also known as the CHC BOLD PAC, a political action committee chaired by Mr. Lujan. A Lujan spokesman pointed out that Mr. Raben wasn’t in attendance, but acknowledged that the congressman’s position on taking campaign cash from lobbyists had changed. More News New Mexico

Texas Officials Say Terrorists Are Crossing Border

From Texas Department of Public Safety chief Steve McCraw testified before lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday. He says the majority of people from terrorist sponsored countries are getting into the U.S. along the Texas border. He pointed to Ahmed Muhammad Dhakane as one of those terrorists. He asked for asylum at an international crossing in Brownsville in 2008. Halfway through the request, Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents took a closer look at him. They say he was an Al Qaeda terrorist and human smuggler. Dhakane admits to smuggling seven members of Al Qaeda into the U.S. More News New Mexico

Kennedy and Carruthers to Appear on NewsNM

Garrey Carruthers
Rod Kennedy
Judge Roderick Kennedy joins us on News New Mexico Monday morning to discuss the state of New Mexico's judicial system and some of the more interesting cases and legal questions facing the courts. He will appear at 7:00am followed by former Governor Garrey Carruthers and then three-time Emmy Award winner Rob Nikolewski of Capitol Report New Mexico.


Parker: Education Freedom a Civil Rights Issue

Star Parker
Townhall - Criminal charges against one single black mother and conviction of another for sending their children to schools in districts in which they are not residents provide yet more indications of deep seated problems festering in our country. Moreover, it makes you wonder about how long it is going to take for blacks to wake up to their real problems and who and what holds up black progress. In one case, a single, homeless black mother in Connecticut is now charged with larceny for supposedly “stealing” $15, 686 in education services because she sent her 5 year old son to kindergarten in a school district where she doesn’t live by using her babysitter’s address. Earlier this year, a single black mother in Ohio was convicted and sentenced to 10 days in jail and three years probation for using her daughters’ grandfather’s address so the girls could attend better and safer schools. Did these women break the law? Technically, yes. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Durango Body Count Rises to 218

KGUN - TV - MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican security forces have discovered another 17 bodies from mass graves found last month in the northern state of Durango. The discovery brings the number of bodies recently unearthed in Durango to 218. That total eclipses the 183 bodies found in pits last month in Tamaulipas. Durango's security agency said on Saturday that the excavation also turned up a bag of bones. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Foundation Violated Lobbyist Act

Bryant Furlow
VeritasNM - An attorney for the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation’s board of directors has acknowledged in a May 10 letter to Secretary of State Dianna Duran that Foundation officials likely failed to comply with the state’s lobbying law. “I have advised the Foundation that the Board should adopt a policy that if any officer or member of the Board engages in contact with the legislature on behalf of the Foundation, that person should register pursuant to the statute,” attorney Brad L. Hayes wrote. “Further, I will advise the Board to place the subject as an automatic annual agenda item to remind Board members and Foundation officials of the obligation. Frankly, I do not believe anyone at the Foundation viewed their minimal activities as falling within the definition of lobbying, however, those activities clearly are not excluded” from the law, Hayes wrote.
Clara Apodaca
Sec. Duran had directed Apodaca on April 26 to submit “under penalty of perjury” a written explanation of Foundation violations of the state Lobbyist Regulation Act since 2006. In 2007 and 2008, the Foundation secured $812,500 in legislative capital outlay appropriations. The move followed reports by Veritas New Mexico that Foundation records indicated state funds intended for completion of the Center’s TorreĆ³n Building fresco had been used to reimburse the Foundation for lobbying expenses, even though Foundation officials and staff had not registered as lobbyists or submitted lobbying expenditure reports to the Secretary of State’s office, as required by law. Read full story here: News New Mexico