This is the stunning, unique and precious Rio Chama Watershed, New Mexico

Bepuwaveh, Bienvenidos, Welcome

Who are Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens?

We are a grassroots organization that defends against Oil and Gas development in the Rio Chama Watershed, NM while educating and advocating for sustainable, safe energy and income sources in our region.

Our Considerations Are:

  • To inform and educate our community on current issues that affect public health, safety, land, air and water quality in the Rio Chama Watershed.
  • To promote the Rio Chama Watershed as a model for sustainable development and renewable energy.
  • To stand for the “Frontier District” as designated in the Rio Arriba County Oil and Gas Ordinance (2009). This district is east of the Continental Divide and home of the Rio Chama Watershed.
  • To maintain a relationship with Federal, State, and County decision-makers to provide information and education concerning Oil and Gas development and promoting Green Energy to the wider community.

Keep up with the latest environmental and sustainability news affecting our Watershed, region and the wider world via our Facebook stream.

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The 2023 New Mexico Legislative session ended on March 17th. Here is a breakdown of bills that passed, didn’t pass or were stalled – as reported by Retake Our Democracy. Retake is a Santa Fe based volunteer citizen advocacy group who attend the legislative session hearings and report on up-to-date details. (Edited by RACC for brevity-editorial comments by Retake).

Fifteen good bills that passed. Those signed by the Gov. as of 3-20-23 are marked with an asterisk. We should feel very good about these wins for our state. We did especially well for children.

1. HB 4 Voting Right Protections
2. *HB 7 Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Healthcare: With SB 13, NM showed regional, even national leadership.
3. *HB 9 Unlawful Access to Firearm by Minor: Holding adult gun owners accountable.
4. *HB 95 Renewable Energy Office in State Land Office
5. HB 142 Generating Facility and Mine Remediation: After decades of trying to close San Juan Generating Station, a cesspool of toxins leeching into the water was the legacy. This bill results in a comprehensive plan to fully remediate and restore the habitat. Thank you, New Energy Economy for never giving up or giving in.
6. HB 400 State-Administered Health Coverage Plan: Wider access to health coverage.
7. HB 547 Tax Changes: Tripling the child tax credit will lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty. Thanks to NM Voices for Children for leading the charge.
8. *SB 1 Regional Water System Resiliency: With SB 337, we’re finally paying attention to water.
9. SB 4 Healthy Universal School Meals: Free, healthy meals for every New Mexican student.
10. SB 9 Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund: An historic investment in land, water, and cultural projects.
11. SB 13 Reproductive Health Provider Protections: Essential in the current national political climate.
12. SB 19 Law Enforcement & Public Safety Telecomm
13. *SB 53 Storage of Certain Radioactive Waste: It stops a mega corporation from turning NM into the nation’s Sacrifice Zone for high-level radioactive waste.
14. *SB 64 No Life Sentence for Juveniles
15. SB 337 Water Security Planning Act: Giving water the attention it needs.

Eighteen good bills that didn’t pass, notes where they died. Some of these were deliberately killed, others ran out of time, and still others admittedly needed fine tuning to succeed. (Committee abbreviations at the end.)

1. HB 25 Minimum Wage Increase & Indexing – Died in HCEDC
2. HB 42/SB 5 Public Health & Climate Resiliency – Died in HAFC/SFC
3. HB 50 Possession of Large Capacity Gun Magazine – Died in HCPAC
4. HB 100 14-Day Waiting Period for Firearm Sales – Died on House Floor
5. HB 101 Large-Capacity Magazines & Assault Weapons – Died in HJC
6. HB 432/SB 243 Plastic Waste Reduction Act – Died on House Floor/STBTC
7. HJR 1 – Independent Redistricting Commission – Died in HJC
8. HJR 2 Legislative Changes – Died on House Floor
9. HJR 4/SJR 6 Environmental Rights (Green Amendment) – Died in HENRC/SRC
10. HJR 8 Legislative Salaries – Died in SFC
11. SB 11 Paid Family & Medical Leave Act – Died in HCEDC
12. SB 44 Prohibit Firearms at Polling Places – Died on House Floor
13. SB 57 Water Trust Fund – Died in SFC
14. SB 99 Rent Control Prohibitions – Died in SHPAC
15. SB 116 21 Years Old to Purchase or Possess Firearms – Died in SJC
16. SB 140 NM Housing Trust Fund – Died in SFC
17. SB 165 Local Choice Energy Act – Died in SJC
18. SB 427 Firearm Sales Waiting Period – Died on Senate Floor.

Bad Bills Defeated
1. HB 174 Underground Injection Fund – Died in HAFC
2. HB 431 Local Govt. Utility Service Restrictions – Died in HGEIC
3. SB 493 Brackish Water Reuse – Died on Senate Floor. We believe all your calls and emails kept it from being heard on the Senate Floor.
4. SB 520 Clean Future Act – Died in SCONC.
5. HB 12 Advanced Energy Technology Act – Died in HENRC

Key to Committee Abbreviations
HAFC House Appropriations & Finance - HCEDC House Commerce & Economic Development – HCPAC House Consumer & Public Affairs - HENRC House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources - HJC House Judiciary – SCONC Senate Conservation - SFC Senate Finance - SHPAC Senate Health & Public Affairs -SJC Senate Judiciary -SRC Senate Rules - STBTC Senate Tax, Business & Transportation
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Two bills that need our attention- Reported by Retake Our Democracy – whose headlines in the article below say it all. 1) “SB 520 – Enacting the Clean Futures Act: A bill badly in Need of Amendments”. 2) “HB 12: The Bill We Thought We Killed but is Rewarded with $50M in the Current Budget”.

Both of these bills will ENSURE that Hydrogen development will happen in New Mexico – unless we speak up. We are in the last 2 weeks of the NM 2023 Legislative session, so staying focused is key. (RACC has missed the Tues. morning window for speaking to committee members for SB520 – but there is still time to speak up regarding HB12 which died, but the intentions morphed into the overall Budget Bill). Read on for details and action information – RACC edited for brevity.

SB 520 – Enacting the Clean Futures Act: A bill badly in Need of Amendments

We agree and support state efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and appreciate how bill sponsors have been responsive to input from environmental organizations and we especially appreciate the sponsors responding to that input by eliminating the net zero, offset and carbon trading aspects of the bill, which we believe is harmful and undermines effective regulation.

While this was our largest concern with SB520 it is not our only concern and so we remain opposed to this legislation until we can see three critical changes in the bill.
1) Include downstream accounting of emissions:

Given New Mexico’s continuing global carbon impact from increased extraction in the Chaco region and Permian Basin, it’s essential that we include downstream emissions tracking from NM oil and gas extraction in the reporting section of the bill. We are not persuaded that this will significantly increase the costs of implementation, as OCD already tracks O&G production and assigning carbon output values to this production is not an onerous task.

2) Fully fund EMNRD & NMED for environmental enforcement actions, and to not use that funding for hydrogen planning & development.

As reported, in 2022, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division (OCD) — the state’s oil and gas monitoring body — has only 11 inspectors dedicated to field work and has vacancies for two more. The Air Quality Bureau (AQB) at the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has six inspectors, but they monitor a lot more than just oil and gas operations.[1] That means fewer than a dozen full-time, oil-and-gas-only field monitors to cover more than 52,000 active wells in the state. That’s not to mention thousands more injection wells, with more and more wells drilled every day. That is not adequate levels of inspection and reduces regulation to industry self- report. And guess what? Industry reports almost no leaks. We need inspectors to inspect and we need inspection to hold the industry accountable.

3) Ensure that “beneficial reuse” won’t be used for hydrogen.
We do not support efforts to squeeze hydrogen into bills. and want assurance that reuse has nothing to do with hydrogen. With these changes we would see this bill as an excellent start toward holding our gas & oil operators accountable. But the devil is in the details and so we insist on these amendments.

We also need to observe that a bill of this importance should not be introduced in a dummy bill in the last two weeks of the session, especially when the bill was developed in a Conservation Voters of NM silo with input sought only after the bill had been designed. Our environmental community is better served by working proactively and collaboratively. But CVNM has graciously sought input now and as noted above, conceded on our largest concerns (off sets and net zero language).

HB 12: The Bill We Thought We Killed but is Rewarded with $50M in the Current Budget

The bill is now officially dead and buried thanks to vigorous opposition and the bill sponsor’s late realization that the anticipated strong support from the tribal community, was in fact, strong opposition. But the work never ends as we killed the bill now, we need to kill the funding.

Call or email Senate Finance committee and say: “My name is xx. I live in xx. I’m curious what the $50 million for the Economic Development Department for Advanced Energy Federal matches is in the budget bill. Why is this huge amount of money in the budget when it doesn’t seem to have a viable bill attached to it? I’d like to see Climate Solutions and Just Transition bills funded with this money until the public has a more clear view of what this money is for.”

Contact info for Senate Finance Committee members below - group email info to save time: For HB 12 Contact Sen Finance Committee Members This Week

Bulk mail: use BCC: “William F. Burt” <>, “Pete Campos” <>, “Crystal R. Diamond” <>, “Roberto “Bobby” J. Gonzales” <>, “Siah Correa Hemphill” <>, “George K. Munoz” <>, “Michael Padilla” <>, “Nancy Rodriguez” <>, “William E. Sharer” <>, “Jeff Steinborn” <>, “Pat Woods” <>
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Help us keep this beautiful land and water pristine for another 100 million years.