President Welcomed in NM by Protests

From - New Mexico’s biggest utility welcomed President Barack Obama to the Land of Enchantment Wednesday evening with full-page newspaper ads protesting an Environmental Protection Agency order to curb the pollution that causes haze. But there’s a catch. The utility, PNM, is joined by the Navajo Nation, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Prosperity Works, an advocacy group for low-income New Mexico residents. The ad, which ran in the state’s four largest newspapers, protests an EPA order that would require the utility to retrofit an old coal-fired power plant to reduce haze. The company has taken the agency to court, arguing a state requirement accomplishes the same goal at a fraction of the cost. The advocacy groups joined the fight because, they argue, the EPA order would result in increased electricity costs for New Mexico residents because the utility would pass the costs of an upgrade on to consumers.  More News New Mexico

Obama in Roswell: "I Come in Peace"

From -President Obama had a simple greeting for his New Mexico hosts when upon arriving at a Roswell airfield this afternoon: “I come in peace,” he said. The words – a playful reference to the famous 1947 Roswell UFO incident that continues to capture imaginations – could have as easily been directed to skeptics of his energy policy. Obama’s visit to an active oil field on federal lands was squarely aimed at countering criticism from the right over rising gas prices and claims that domestic oil production is declining on his watch. “We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high. More than 70 of those rigs are right here in this area,” Obama said in a speech before a ConocoPhillips rig, idled for the event. “In fact, business is so good that today the biggest problem is finding enough qualified truck drivers to move all the oil that’s coming out of these wells down to the refinery. Too much oil – that’s a good problem to have,” he said.  Domestic oil production overall in the U.S. is at its highest level in the past eight years, according to the Energy Department.  But production on federal lands was down 14 percent year-over-year in 2011, and overall remains 13 percent lower than it was in 2003. Still, Obama – who has made renewable energy a hallmark of his administration — insisted he’s not backing away from drilling or searching for more oil. “You wouldn’t know it from listening to some of these folks running for office, but producing more oil here in our own country has been, and will continue to be, a key part of our energy strategy,” Obama said.  “We’re drilling all over the place,” he said.  More News New Mexico


LULAC Challenges PRC District Lines

KOAT - Hispanic advocacy groups and northern New Mexico Democrats are challenging new political districts for a state utility regulator. The New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens filed a lawsuit in federal court last Friday seeking to invalidate Public Regulation Commission districts that were ordered by a state court judge. The lawsuit contends the redistricting plan dilutes Hispanic voting power in northern New Mexico by moving most of San Miguel and Mora counties into a solidly Republican district in eastern New Mexico. Read full story here: News New Mexico


5 Jobs and a 35% Rate Hike

Nevada Journal - BOULDER CITY, Nev. — President Obama will tout investments in “renewable” energy Wednesday at the local Copper Mountain Solar 1 plant, although the plant has only five full-time employees. The plant, owned by San Diego-based energy company Sempra, was built in late 2010 at a cost of $141 million. Funding included $42 million in federal-government tax credits and $12 million in tax-rebate commitments from the state of Nevada. Construction of the plant involved over 300 part-time jobs, but currently only five full-time employees operate the plant, a Sempra spokeswoman confirmed. That comes out to $10.8 million in tax-dollar subsidies per employee. Solar 1 is the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the country and is regarded as a “revenue generator” by Sempra. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Boulder City expects to receive over $60 million in lease revenue from the plant. Boulder City Manager Vicki Mayes, however, told Nevada Journal the $60 million was "highly inaccurate" and that the total lease revenue will be "much less."
Increasing green-energy production has been one of President Obama’s main goals since he took office. Politicians such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and officials including Secretary of Energy Steven Chu have zealously encouraged green-energy subsidies in Nevada. In addition to wanting to create many new jobs, President Obama has claimed green-energy investment will decrease America’s energy costs and reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil. In Boulder City, however, renewables have produced no lower energy costs. Instead, in late 2009, the city approved a 35 percent rate hike, while power generated by Copper Mountain is to go to Southern California — rather than serve Nevadans whose taxes helped finance the plant. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Oklahoma Oil Workers Will Protest Obama Photo Op

KFOR - CUSHING, Okla. -- The President is scheduled to speak in Payne County this Thursday morning. It may be rural Oklahoma, but when it comes to pipelines, it's the Capitol. The President is expected to talk about energy, though many in that industry are not impressed. They are even planning to protest his visit, calling it a political ploy more than a genuine interest.
Mike Cantrell with the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance says, "For the last three years he's been anti-fossil fuels." Mickey Thompson, an energy industry expert and political analyst, says, "He calls our industry an industry of the past and they'd like us to go away." The President is expected to mention his support for a pipeline running from Payne County to the gulf; it's the southern end of the “Keystone XL Pipeline.” Industry experts say while his support for the southern end is welcome, it's not needed. They build pipelines in the country all the time without needing presidential approval. The President's "green light" is only needed for approximately 50 feet on the northern end of the pipeline; that segment would cross the Canadian border. So far the President has delayed that project. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Coach Sean Payton No Saint

USA Today - New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for one year, the team will lose its second round pick in 2012 and '13 and pay $500,000 as a result of the NFL's bounty investigation, the league announced Wednesday.
Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who orchestrated the program, has been suspended from the NFL indefinitely. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis faces an eight-game suspension and a $500,000 fine.
"The game doesn't need to be played this way," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on NFL Network. "We think that while it is a strong message, its an important one to send -- that we need to protect our players." Read full story here: News New Mexico

Candidate deadline comes and goes: No more cakewalks for some longtime Roundhouse veterans

New Mexico Roundhouse
Capitol Report New Mexico - We’ve got a pretty good look at who’s running and who’s not in upcoming Roundhouse elections this November after Tuesday’s filing deadline (March 20) for statewide races. I say “pretty good” because the list compiled at the Secretary of State’s Office is not complete. At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Capitol Report New Mexico talked to Ken Ortiz at the Secretary of State’s Office who said he expects a full and completed list of candidates will be posted around noon Wednesday. Why the delay? Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that candidates whose districts comprise a single county have to file with their respective county clerks by March 20 while candidates whose district comprise multiple counties file directly with the SOS. The Secretary of State’s Office will gather the outstanding candidates’ registrations and post the complete list tomorrow. Read More  News New Mexico


Daily Kos: Eric Griego Critical to Nancy Pelosi Getting Her "Gavel" Back

Eric Griego
We were conducting our first background check on State Senator Eric Griego. He is the Congressional District # 1 frontrunner for the Democratic Party nomination. We were able to find a pretty good summary of him on the website which heartily endorsed him. Let’s see why. Below are a few excerpts of what the folks at Daily Kos had to say about Griego:
Griego, a state senator and former city councilperson in Albuquerque, has received the strong enthusiastic endorsements of, Democracy for America, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Blue America PAC.....
The enviros are all aboard—Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Conservation Voters New Mexico, as well as much of labor—the Teamsters, CWA, AFSCME and several local unions....
Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, chair of the House Progressive Caucus, was effusive in his endorsement:
Nancy Pelosi
"As State Senator, he took on the Big Oil companies and put middle-class workers first by passing a green jobs bill into law," Grijalva continued. "Eric is supported by leading progressive groups and major labor unions -- and he is the only candidate in the race to have a lifetime 100% rating from Conservation Voters New Mexico......
Holding this open seat will be critical to getting Rep. Nancy Pelosi her gavel back.



Heather Wilson to Appear on News NM

Heather Wilson
Former New Mexico Congresswoman Heather Wilson who is a candidate for the United States Senate, will appear on News New Mexico at 7:50am Wednesday morning. Topics of discussion will be her recent victory in the state pre-primary GOP convention last weekend and the visit of President Obama to an oil field on public land in Lea County New Mexico later in the day. 
Ironically, the Obama administration has worked behind the scenes with its appointees in the Fish and Wildlife Service to force the listing of the so-called "Dunes Sagebrush Lizard" as an endangered species in southeast New Mexico and West Texas. If successful the lizard's listing threatens to dramatically reduce oil and gas production throughout the Permian basin, kill jobs in the area, raise the price of gasoline, and cause the U.S. to become even more dependent on imported OPEC oil. 
Oil rig in Lea County, N.M.
Earlier this week reports indicated that U.S. oil and gas production on public lands reached a nine year low due to onerous restrictions on leasing and deliberate slowdowns in the issuing of oil and gas drilling permits by Obama's Energy Department appointees.
During his carefully choreographed New Mexico photo-op, the president is expected to assert his support for increasing the supplies of oil and gas. He will do so after recently blocking the Keystone XL pipeline project. That project was estimated to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs for American workers and billions of dollars in tax revenues to the federal government. The area the president is purportedly "protecting" from the Keystone XL pipeline already has dozens of pipelines in the ground.