Farmington will appeal cap and trade ruling

NewsNM thinks this is just the first of several lawsuits that will be filed to deal with the "Cap and Tax" regulation recently imposed upon the state in the last days of the Bill Richardson administration.

From - The city of Farmington came to a decision Tuesday morning on moving forward with filing an appeal against the State of New Mexico’s cap and trade program. City councilors voted unanimously to move forward with the appeal. The program would require certain businesses to annually cut greenhouse gases by 2 percent. The mayor of Farmington, Tommy Roberts, says he only wants what is best for the county. “We are heavily dependant in San Juan County on extractive industries and these regulations are likely to have a significant impact on those industries,” he said. Read more

Commentary: Mexico's season in hell

From McClatchy Newspapers - By Mary Sanchez The Kansas City Star - Over the border and through the cartels to Abuelita's casa we go. A scary new reality arrived with the long Christmas season in Mexico. For generations, families have driven across the border from the U.S. to spend much of December and into January visiting relatives. This year, the Mexican government put out stark warnings to such merry travelers. Travel in convoys, in daylight and if possible, contact federal authorities for a military escort through the portions of Mexico where the drug cartel violence has been particularly gruesome. Feliz Navidad. And most of us are worried about overly exuberant security agents touching our junk as we travel for the holidays. The U.S. is forever proclaiming its war on drugs. And if you live in an urban community where police regularly stop folks in search of those carrying contraband, you'd be justified to feel under siege. But if you want to know what a real drug war is, behold Mexico. The scale of the casualties (more then 28,000 in four years) and disruption to daily life is difficult for most in the U.S. to grasp. Mexico's version of our Health and Human Services secretary told the Los Angeles Times he worried that his nation is on the cusp of becoming one where "killing someone can be seen as normal or natural." It's easy to cluck our tongues about the gruesome violence "over there," but to do so is to absolve ourselves of the role our country plays in this bloody import/export business. Let's be honest: this is a trade relationship. Mexico supplies the drugs. We supply the users. Read more

CDC to talk about Trinity Test impacts, recommendations

From the Alamogordo Daily News - By Joan E. Price, For the Daily News - TULAROSA - Ranchers and citizens of the Tularosa Basin were originally told that the searing light rising into the sky on July 16, 1945, was a military ammunition cache that exploded. Henry Danley, founder of Sanders and Danley Feed and Supply Store in Alamogordo, was manning a military watch tower that morning. He was ordered not to tell anyone anything; he told friends and family much later. Fred Tyler, a son of Rufina Tyler Utter, of Tularosa, heard the story often from his mother before she died of multiple bouts with various cancers. Tina Cordova grew up in Tularosa. She has had thyroid cancer and has lost family members to cancer. She looked up statistics on the Internet under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for auto-immune diseases and cancers. For example, in 1999, the national average was 202.7 per 100,000 people, but in Otero County, it was 694.6. In Lincoln County it was 764.5 per 100,000 people. "From year to year, the numbers are very consistent," she said. Cordova and Tyler founded the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium several years ago to gather data from family histories and individuals who may have been damaged by Trinity radiation exposure. Then they decided to push for financial compensation like the downwinders in Utah and Nevada received to ease the often devastated incomes of cancer families. They took the data to congressional offices. A thorough historic review began of the clandestine Los Alamos project that brought the Trinity Test to the basin has been completed under the CDC. The final report, the Los Alamos Historic Retrieval and Assessment Project that contains an "unprecedented" wealth of additional information and recommendations to the Department of Energy, will be presented at a public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Tularosa Community Center, 1050 Bookout Road. "We had radioactive ash fall three days later in La Luz, Tularosa and Alamogordo. Ash was found in six counties," Tyler said. "What we have been told is that when a mother of childbearing age is exposed to high doses of radiation, her eggs are genetically altered." "I believe that is why there are generations, including those born shortly after the test, having cancers," Tyler added. "We have some very unusual cancers like brain, esophageal and thyroid cancer that have been directly linked to radiation exposure." Read more


Richard Branson’s new climate project unveiled

From the New Mexico Independent - by Laura Paskus - CANCÚN, MEXICO — On Monday, Kevin Conrad, special envoy and ambassador for environment and climate change, Papua New Guinea, unveiled a new project from Sir Richard Branson. The Carbon War Room is a US-based nonprofit that “harnesses the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change.” One of the features of its website is a tool to measure shipping efficiency. According to a press release from the Carbon War Room:
Shipping produces almost 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide emissions each year, or a thousand million tonnes, more than the total emissions of Germany. The Carbon War Room saw an opportunity to support its ambitions of rapid, large-scale emissions reduction by entrepreneurial means, in targeting the sector. They, and others, have estimated that there is more than 30% profitable efficiency potential on current technology.
The Carbon War Room’s homepage offers a scrolling list of dramatic facts, such as:
Atmospheric concentrations of CO₂e are rising due to increasing anthropogenic emissions. Unchecked, rising concentrations of CO₂e in the atmosphere will lead to catastrophic climate change.
Public electricity and heating in Annex I countries accounted for over 6.68 billion tons of CO₂e emissions annually in 2007.
4,626,841 THOUSAND TONS OF CO₂E IN 2007Transport is responsible for approximately 20% of global anthropogenic emissions, or more than 4.63 billion tons of CO₂e annually. Source: UNFCCC, 2009.
There’s no mention, however, of one of Branson’s own projects, New Mexico’s Spaceport America, emissions from which are expected to accelerate climate change. Read more

The Rail Runner track that may cost NM big money

From Capitol Report New Mexico - You’ve heard of the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska. Now, there’s fear New Mexico may have bought the “Railroad Track to Nowhere.” Members of the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) are alarmed to hear that the Department of Transportation has already spent $5 million on nearly 200 miles of track that has no plans for being used. And on top of that, the track — which was purchased from from BNSF Railway Company between Lamy and the Colorado border — could put the state on the hook for $6 million a year in maintenance because of 10 potential environmental “hotspots” along the line. The 200-mile stretch was bought in the hopes of extending the Rail Runner into northern New Mexico some time in the future. Department of Transportation officials spoke to members of the LFC Monday (Dec. 6) and, according to the Albuquerque Journal, the DOT rail manager admitted that “we have just started to do an environmental analysis,” which led LFC members to ask why the analysis wasn’t done before the purchase. Read more

Report: Guantanamo Bay transfers return to terrorism

From the Washington Times - By Bill Gertz - Nearly one in four terrorists released from the detention facility at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, resumed terrorist activities against the United States and the number is expected to rise, according to a report to Congress by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The report, made public Tuesday, stated that out of a total of 598 detainees released as of October, 150 were confirmed or suspected of "reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer," the two-page unclassified summary said. The report's findings prompted a harsh response from Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who criticized President Obama for ordering the prison in Cuba closed. "Unfortunately, these latest numbers make clear that fulfilling a campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay is overriding what should be the administration's first priority — protecting Americans from terrorists," Mr. Bond said in a statement announcing the release of the report. "It is unacceptable to continue transferring these dangerous detainees when we know that one in four are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight," he said. Read more

NM Education Dept. Seeks 8% Funding Increase

From A request to increase education funding is disagreed with by the legislative finance committee who say now is not the time to be asking for more money and that districts should begin dipping into their rainy day funds. The Secretary of Education Susanna Murphy told the committee on Monday that a 7.7 percent increase in next year’s budget would be needed to offset the loss of non-recurring federal stimulus dollars plus increases due to population growth and educational retirement plans. After hearing the request, lawmakers began to press Murphy on why many school districts are asking for more funding but threatening to layoff and furlough their staffs when millions of dollars are stored in reserve accounts. Economists with the finance committee report that districts across the state have more than $100 million in reserve cash balances. On Monday, a spokesperson for Rio Rancho Public Schools reported to KOB Eyewitness News 4 that their cash balance left over from last year was about 7.5 million.
More here

FCC Commissioner Wants Net Neutrality

From The First Amendment forbids Congress from infringing on Americans' right to free speech. But the Federal Communications Commission is not Congress. And Michael Copps, one of four FCC commissioners reporting to Chairman Julius Genachowski, seems intent on ignoring that pesky part of the First Amendment about "abridging the freedom of speech" when that speech is sent out over the airwaves. In two American Thinker articles earlier this year, I discussed possible FCC attempts to force progressive programming into broadcast media. Now, in addition to a nasty Christmas present that Genachowski wants to give Americans on December 21 (Net Neutrality), Copps wants government to control private-sector broadcast content. In a December 2 speech, Copps proposed that the FCC conduct a "public value test" of commercial broadcast stations. If a station passes the Public Value Test, it of course keeps the license it has earned to use the people's airwaves. If not, it goes on probation for a year, renewable for an additional year if it demonstrates measurable progress. If the station fails again, give the license to someone who will use it to serve the public interest. More here

The Pigford Shakedown

From When the Shirley Sherrod saga erupted on the nation’s airwaves this past July, most people took the immediate firing and then rehiring of Mrs. Sherrod as a morality tale about the dangers of the media and race in America. But to an experienced politicahand like former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, the story had to be about more than that. As he wrote: “As an old pro, though, I know you don’t fire someone without at least hearing their side of the story unless you want them gone in the first place. This woman has been a thorn in the side of the Agriculture Department for years. She was part of a class-action lawsuit against the department on behalf of black farmers in the South. For years, she has been operating a community activist organization not unlike ACORN.” The full 29 page report can be seen here

New Mexico's EIB - Job Killers

From Capitol Report New Mexico - One month after passing a controversial cap and trade agreement, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) on Monday (Dec. 6) passed another sweeping measure aimed at lowering the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. By a 4-1 vote, the EIB passed a statewide, New Mexico-only plan that places a cap upon the amount of emissions generated in the state. The plan was headed by the environmental group the New Energy Economy (you can see some of the details of the plan here.) Read more here:

Commentary: Where is Martinez’s ‘new level of transparency?’

From NM - by Heath Haussamen - Gov.-elect Susana Martinez’s “bold change” was supposed to include a “new level of transparency” not seen before in state government. In one of the first tests of that pledge, Martinez is coming up short. The Santa Fe New Mexican requested copies of applications for state police chief and head of the Department of Public Safety from Martinez’s transition team, which is working to set up the administration before Martinez is sworn in on Jan. 1. If Martinez had already been sworn in, the applications would be public. But because Martinez isn’t yet governor, her transition team claims, nothing about the applicants is public. “Gov.-elect Martinez takes her responsibilities in relation to open government and transparency very seriously,” Martinez spokesman Danny Diaz was quoted by The New Mexican as saying. “The reality of the situation is that these are not public records; therefore, there is no records custodian due to the fact that there are no public funds, employees or equipment dedicated to the matter.” N.M. Foundation for Open Government Executive Director Sarah Welsh disagrees. “Those people are applying for state jobs, not campaign or transition team jobs – their salaries will be paid with taxpayer money, and they will be managing large state agencies,” she said. “Their applications are being received, used and held on behalf of the executive branch by the transition team.” Read more

Deal for MORE SPENDING Made on Taxes

From the Washington Times - Brushing aside calls from his own political base to take a stand, President Obama last night announced a deal with congressional Republicans that will extend expiring Bush-era tax cuts — even those for the wealthiest filers — for two years in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits. The fate of the tax cuts, due to expire Jan. 1, has dominated the lame-duck session of Congress and posed a difficult political challenge for Mr. Obama, who has long favored extending only the lower rates for "middle-class" households making $250,000 a year or less and individual filers earning less than $200,000. Read full story here: