Gov. responds to TV ad; Ignores thousands of oil and gas violations unenforced

Gov. responds to TV ad; Ignores thousands of oil and gas violations unenforced

 WAIT, WHAT?

In a response to our ad campaign, Governor Martinez' staff told the ABQ Journal that "her office also said the administration has “collected more fines from polluters than any administration in state history.' " [read more]

That sounds great until you check the facts.  

Fact check: 

ENFORCEMENT: In N.M., 3,600 violations, 1 court case, 0 fines ... | Environment & Energy Publishing

Nov 14, 2013 - New Mexico oil and gas regulators haven't fined a single driller forviolations this year. They didn't last year, either. Or the year before that.

There Will Be Spills: Yet NM can't hold oil and gas violators accountable | Santa Fe Reporter

May 13, 2014 - While all New Mexicans benefit from oil and gas revenues, only part of ... found 3,600 violations related to oil and gas drilling—none of which ...

Report: Thousands of violations, no fines for oil and gas companies ... | NM TELEGRAM

Nov 15, 2013 - Report: Thousands of violations, no fines for oil and gas companies ... found that despite 3,600 violations by oil and gas companies, there have ... who violate New Mexico regulations and laws pertaining to oil and gas drilling.

NM In Depth: Potential Carlsbad sinkhole used in attack ad against Gov

Potential Carlsbad sinkhole used in attack ad against Gov

BySandra Fish, New Mexico In Depth | 08/16/2016

A TV ad criticizing Gov. Susana Martinez on an environmental issue is airing in the next two weeks, sponsored by ProgressNow New Mexico.

The progressive nonprofit is airing the ad on Albuquerque TV and cable stations starting today.

A New Mexico In Depth analysis of Federal Communications Commission contracts indicates the group has reserved more than $94,000 in airtime. While the current ad is scheduled to run for two weeks, the group also has time scheduled in September.

Martinez backed a bill during the 2016 legislative session that would have funded a study to prevent a potential sinkhole from an abandoned brine well near Carlsbad.

If the sinkhole opened up, according to the fiscal impact analysis of a bill sponsored by Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad,  it would affect "...a mobile home park, a place of worship, a feed store, two highways (US 285 and US 180/62), a BNSF Railways facility, and Carlsbad Irrigation District’s Southern Main canal."

The company that owned the brine well went bankrupt, but its former owners and their family members donated nearly $20,000 to the governor’s 2010 and 2014 campaigns, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported earlier this year.

Lowell Irby and his sons, Eugene and Kirk, have donated more than $30,000 to New Mexico candidates, mostly Republicans, since 2010. Of that, Martinez received $19,750 and her Susana PAC received $1,000. Lowell and Eugene were officers of the mining company.

After the New Mexican story, two bills to fund the $150,000 study died in the Legislature. The work needed to prevent the sinkhole is estimated to cost up to $25 million. While the ad insinuates Martinez asked the Legislature to fund the cleanup, neither bill asked for $25 million.

The initial ad in the “Put New Mexico First” campaign states that Martinez “personally asked legislators to pick up the tab to clean up their mess,” referring to the company.  The ad then notes company officials' campaign contributions to Martinez.

The campaign is aimed at getting New Mexicans to make the connection between money in politics and policy decisions, said ProgressNow New Mexico Executive Director Pat Davis.

“There’s no ‘call this person now and tell them they’re a terrible person,’ ” Davis said. Instead, the ad emphasizes “the obscene amount of money in politics and its impact on policy."

The campaign is focused on the environment because “this is something that New Mexicans universally support,” he said.

Similar ads will air on radio and online, with future ads planned based on response to the initial offering, Davis said.

The ad drew heat on Twitter from Advance New Mexico Now, a super political action committee affiliated with Martinez.

Advance NM Now@AdvanceNM

Where is @justinhorwath & @NMPoliticsnet demanding that@ProgressNowNM disclose donors of latest negative ad campaign? #hypocrisy#nmpol

9:10 AM - 15 Aug 2016
 
New Mexico In Depth is awaiting response to a request that someone from Advance New Mexico Now call to discuss the ad campaign.

Davis noted that the ad doesn’t have a political message, so no disclosure of its funding is required.

“We’re not talking about anybody on the ballot, we’re not talking about any piece of legislation,” Davis said. “We’re talking about how the process works."

Read more, including a breakdown of the Irby family's donations to candidates in New Mexico, at NM In Depth

ABQ Journal Politics Notebook: Ad targets Martinez

Ad targets Martinez...

By Deborah Baker / Politics Notebook; Thursday, August 18th, 2016 at 12:02am

SANTA FE – A potential sinkhole in Carlsbad is the focus of a new TV ad critical of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Put New Mexico First, a project of the ProgressNow New Mexico Education Fund, is running an ad on broadcast, cable and satellite television in the Albuquerque and Las Cruces markets for the rest of the month. There’s also radio and social media advertising.

 

The progressive nonprofit says it’s not a one-time ad aimed at the election – Martinez isn’t on the ballot this year – but rather part of a yearlong campaign to stir up interest in voting and make elected officials more accountable.

The ad criticizes Martinez for asking the Legislature to appropriate $150,000 annually to a group of local and state officials to oversee remediation of an abandoned brine well. The underground cavern threatens to collapse – affecting buildings, highways, a canal and a railway facility – and the cost to make it safe is estimated at $25 million.

The mining company that operated the brine well has gone bankrupt. The ad says the owners “walked away” and the governor asked lawmakers “to cover the tab to clean up their mess” – then points out that the owners gave Martinez’s campaign more than $18,000.

Martinez’s office responded that the brine well problem predated her administration and should have been fixed years ago, before the company went bankrupt. It’s “a public safety issued that needs to be fixed ASAP – which is why she called on the Legislature to do so,” the statement said.

Her office also said the administration has “collected more fines from polluters than any administration in state history.”  [Read the original story in the Albuquerque Journal online]

 Wait, what?

"Her office also said the administration has “collected more fines from polluters than any administration in state history.” "

Fact check: 

ENFORCEMENT: In N.M., 3,600 violations, 1 court case, 0 fines ... | Environment & Energy Publishing

Nov 14, 2013 - New Mexico oil and gas regulators haven't fined a single driller for violations this year. They didn't last year, either. Or the year before that.

There Will Be Spills: Yet NM can't hold oil and gas violators accountable | Santa Fe Reporter

May 13, 2014 - While all New Mexicans benefit from oil and gas revenues, only part of ... found 3,600 violations related to oil and gas drilling—none of which ...

Report: Thousands of violations, no fines for oil and gas companies ... | NM TELEGRAM

Nov 15, 2013 - Report: Thousands of violations, no fines for oil and gas companies ... found that despite 3,600 violations by oil and gas companies, there have ... who violate New Mexico regulations and laws pertaining to oil and gas drilling.