On April 1, 2022 Roxy’s Law, a ban on trapping on New Mexico public lands more than a decade in the making, goes into effect after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed it last year. Nearly 32 million acres of public lands, including state-owned parcels, national forests, and Bureau of Land Management holdings will be free not only of cruel leghold traps, which can amputate and maim, but also from strangulation snares, body-crushing traps, and deadly poisons like sodium cyanide bombs. From the beautiful Latir Peak Wilderness to the incredible Florida Mountains, vast amounts of New Mexico will be safer for people, pups, and wildlife alike. Along with Roxy’s Law, New Mexico has recently taken other meaningful steps toward protecting wildlife.
In 2015, The Red Nation and a coalition of Native and non-Native organizations led a successful campaign to rename the second Monday of October Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Albuquerque City Council issued a proclamation abolishing Columbus Day that was signed by Rey Garduño, Ken Sanchez, Klarissa Peña, Isaac Benton, Brad Winter, and Diane Gibson, with three council members abstaining. The proclamation declared that the day “shall be used to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples on this land.” For the first time this year, the city and their nefarious initiative “One Albuquerque,” are hosting an alternative to our annual IPD march and rally, with Albuquerque’s Mayor Tim Keller as the keynote speaker.
Indigenous and Chicanx/Latinx people, who comprise nearly 50% of New Mexico’s population, have been subjected to generational and current day racist reproductive policies under the United State’s federal- and state-funded legacy of forced sterilization and coercive reproductive control. Yet New Mexicans, including Indigenous people, Black people, people of color, and people of faith have built and fought for safe and legal access to reproductive health for centuries to protect our own loved ones.
Santa Fe, NM – With the New Mexico Legislature approving social justice-centered cannabis legalization during the special session today, Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director for Resident States and New Mexico for the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement: “New Mexicans are finally able to exhale. After many years of hard work, another whirlwind legislative session, and input from stakeholders throughout the state, social justice-centered cannabis legalization is on its way to the Governor’s desk, where she has already agreed to sign. We thank the Governor and our legislative allies for not taking ‘no’ for an answer and stopping at nothing until we were able to get justice for New Mexico communities—particularly Hispanic/Latinx, Black, Native and Indigenous—that have been immensely harmed by cannabis prohibition.
Radical and progressive activists recently led the way to an important victory for working-class women in New Mexico. For the past three years, several organizations in New Mexico, including the Party for Socialism and Liberation, have struggled to force the repeal of a 1969 New Mexico law which made it illegal for women to make their own decisions about their bodies. Finally reacting to significant protests, on Feb. 26, the governor signed a bill which repealed the law that made abortion illegal. This ban was, of course, unenforceable under the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. However, with the new conservative-dominated Supreme Court, the real fear that this latent law could come into effect spurred action. PSL members joined other organizations in a series of protests during the 2018 legislative session, including a rally which disrupted proceedings.
Later this month, New Mexico lawmakers will have another chance to fix an economic problem that has plagued the state for decades. “For at least 40 years people in the state government and the Legislature have known that they are overly dependent on oil and gas for state revenue,” says Jim Peach, regents professor of economics at New Mexico State University. Right now, more than 40% of the state’s income relies on the boom-and-bust fortunes of oil and gas. Now, according to a trio of New Mexico’s leading economists, the time has come to change course. “Like it or not, we’re at the tail end of the fossil fuel age,” Peach says. “We really are.”
New Mexico - When I was a child, my dad and I would sometimes walk down to Santa Fe Plaza, especially on cool autumn afternoons. We would get Cokes from Woolworth’s. My father would visit with friends and family, selling under the portal of the Palace of the Governor’s, and we would sit in the center of the Plaza, on the stone banco around the obelisk. My dad would point out the word savage which was etched into the marble plaque, and he would laugh. “Those are your ancestors,” he would say, with no little bit of irony.
New Mexico - Visitors to the historic plaza in Santa Fe, a bastion of liberalism in northern New Mexico, will find a charming square in the Spanish colonial style, surrounded by shops selling native wares — typically sold by non-native peoples — and a monument at the center of it all celebrating the slaughter of the area's original, commercially monetized inhabitants. At least until Monday, when protesters marked Indigenous Peoples' Day by tying a chain around the monument, managing to topple it amid clashes with police.
New Mexico - The spicy pungency of sagebrush filled the air in Greater Chaco, New Mexico, in late July this summer as I watched towering, rain-laden clouds gather across the endless horizon — a reminder that the midsummer monsoon season would soon turn the dirt roads that snake across the Navajo Nation reservation into quagmires. Locals are accustomed to these storms, but this region is now also being pummeled by two other tempests — the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the Navajo Nation hard, especially due to many residents’ difficulty in accessing clean water, and also the tumult of fracking, which has now been lashing the region for 10 years.
Penny Aucoin, her husband Carl Dee George, their son Gideon and their daughter Skyler have had their lives devastated by the fracking industry. There was no oil and gas infrastructure where they lived when they moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico. But six years ago, during a massive expansion of drilling across the Permian Basin that spans West Texas and southeastern New Mexico — one of the most prolific oil and gas basins in the United States — the drilling began. It was so loud they had to provide hearing protection for Skyler. Then when the flaring commenced, dead birds began literally falling out of the sky right next to their home, and one of their chickens died.
The events in Portland understandably have raised serious concerns that the various white-nationalist militias, having infiltrated various police departments, might decide en masse to “help” the Feds “maintain order” in such a way as they are doing presently in Oregon. It is not a long step, after all, from badgeless Feds in unmarked rental vans to badgeless civilians in unmarked rental vans. As regards to this possibility, it’s important to keep an eye on one courthouse in New Mexico. Back in June, when protestors assembled to remove a statue of a Spanish conquistador, a bunch of cospaly Rambos called the New Mexico Civil Guard showed up in opposition. (Eventually, in the middle of a scuffle, a guy named Steven Baca opened fire on the demonstrators.)
It has always been known that the oil and gas industry only survives by way of debt financing. Fracking is capital intensive, and very few companies involved ever actually even turn a profit in excess of the cost of capital. Instead, they have always operated by dependency on cheap money from Wall Street banks to finance their drilling and operations. Fred Nathan is the executive director of Think New Mexico, an independent nonpartisan statewide think tank whose mission is “to improve the quality of life for all New Mexicans, especially those who lack a strong voice in the political process.” Nathan said that the contraction of the oil and gas industry in New Mexico is a “cause for deep concern” for the state budget, because every time the price of a barrel of oil drops $1, the state’s general fund takes a $22 million hit.
State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has put a halt to new oil and gas leasing on some 73,000 acres of state trust land near the Chaco Culture National Historic Park in Northwest New Mexico, saying the move will help protect archaeological and cultural resources of the state’s pueblos and tribes. “We are focusing on this particular area because it is so significant to all Native populations in New Mexico and has such a cultural and historical value to them,” Garcia Richard said by phone Tuesday.
By Steven Rosenfeld for AlterNet - The nation’s second-largest private prison corporation is holding New Mexico politicians hostage by threatening to close unless the state or federal authorities find 300 more prisoners to be warehoused there, according to local news reports. “The company that has operated a private prison in Estancia for nearly three decades has announced it will close the Torrance County Detention Facility and lay off more than 200 employees unless it can find 300 state or federal inmates to fill empty beds within the next 60 days,” the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported last week. The paper said that county officials issued a statement citing the threatened closure and emphasized that every virtually every politician in the region, from county officials to state officials to congressmen, were scurrying to save jobs—as opposed to shutting a privatized prison by an operator that has been sued many times for sexual harassment, sexual assault, deaths, use of force, physical assaults, medical care, injuries and civil rights violations. “This is a big issue for us,” Torrance County manager Belinda Garland told the Santa Fe newspaper.