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.