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2012

  • September 13, 2012
    By ERIC LIPTON and CLIFFORD KRAUSS, The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.

    As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.

    This year’s campaign on behalf of fossil fuels includes a surge in political contributions to Mitt Romney, attack ads questioning Mr. Obama’s clean-energy agenda, and television spots that are not overtly partisan but criticize administration actions like new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

    “Since Obama became president, gas prices have nearly doubled,” said one advertisement by the American Energy Alliance, a group financed in part by oil executives. “Tell Obama we can’t afford his failing energy policies.”

    With nearly two months before Election Day on Nov. 6, estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this year, according to an analysis by The New York Times of 138 ads on energy issues broadcast this year by the presidential campaigns, political parties, energy companies, trade associations and third-party spenders.

    That tally is nearly four times the $41 million spent by clean-energy advocates, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups to defend the president’s energy record or raise concerns about global warming and air pollution. The Times rated presidential campaign and national policy ads by whether they promoted fossil fuels or pushed clean energy and conservation, regardless of their sponsors, using ad and spending data compiled by Kantar Media, a company that tracks television advertising.

    The lopsided nature of the energy messages this year contrasts sharply with 2008. Back then, global warming was a top public concern, and green ads greatly outnumbered those for fossil fuels, $152 million to $109 million, according to the analysis by The Times, which looked at 184 energy-related ads. In 2008, Chevron, one of the nation’s leading oil companies, trumpeted its investments in geothermal power, and Mr. McCain spent millions of dollars on ads featuring solar panels and wind farms as part of a solution to global warming.

    But climate change legislation died in Congress, Republicans gained a majority in the House, and pocketbook issues like the price of gasoline began dominating public discussion. After imposing a yearlong oil and gas drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in response to the disastrous BP spill in 2010, President Obama recast himself as favoring an “all of the above” energy strategy, allowing the industry to drill offshore as deep as ever and moving to open up new regions like Alaska’s Arctic waters.

    The shift left many fossil fuel critics disillusioned and unwilling to do much to support the president. “It’s hard to think of any environmental activist who is enthused about anything Obama does these days,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, which challenges the industry on drilling plans. “Obama’s explicit embrace of fossil fuels and implicit embrace of all the environmental degradation that entails are almost indistinguishable from the policies of the Bush administration.”

    Mr. Obama’s policy decisions on the Keystone pipeline and clean air rules did not win him friends in the fossil fuel world, either. Many of the industry’s titans are going all out to elect Mr. Romney, who has promised to open up more land and coastline to oil and gas drilling, end wind and solar power subsidies and curb regulations that discourage burning coal for electricity.

    “The stakes are high,” said Steve Miller, the recently retired president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which has spent about $12 million on pro-coal television ads, according to the Kantar data. “Our goal is to assure that whoever is elected will have seen a groundswell for coal in swing states.”

    The Times analysis shows that ads with energy themes have played an outsized role in the 2012 campaign season, with energy earning more frequent mentions than every other issue except jobs and the economy.

    Energy first emerged as a major advertising topic during the last presidential election. Back then, one of the biggest spenders was the Alliance for Climate Protection, an environmental group backed by former Vice President Al Gore that spent an estimated $32 million on ads urging legislation to combat global warming.

    This year, the alliance, now called the Climate Reality Project, is not buying television ads at all, focusing instead on social media, training and organizing. “Whatever we would spend, it would just be washed away in this sea of fossil fuel money,” said Maggie L. Fox, the group’s chief executive.

    Other clean-energy players, particularly from the solar industry, are also keeping a low profile after Solyndra, a California solar module manufacturer that received half a billion dollars in federal loans, declared bankruptcy and became a favorite Republican target.

    Certain environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, are still running their own television commercials this year in support of Mr. Obama’s policies. And the wind industry is on a campaign to win renewal of a major tax credit. But “we are being outgunned by orders of magnitude,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “There is just no way we can compete with some of the richest companies in the history of the world.”

    The American Petroleum Institute, backed by the nation’s largest oil and gas companies, is the top energy spender this year with its “I’m an energy voter” campaign. Although the ads avoid explicitly endorsing any candidate, they clearly echo policy stands taken by Mr. Romney and the Republicans: opposing regulations that might slow down drilling and denouncing Mr. Obama’s proposal to eliminate oil industry subsidies.

    “New energy taxes could hurt drivers and families,” one ad says. “Better to produce more energy here, like oil and natural gas. That will help the economy. That’s good for everyone.”

    The petroleum institute has spent an estimated $37 million so far on television ads, according to the Kantar data, more than it spent in all of 2008. And it is just one of nearly two dozen groups — including Americans for Prosperity, backed by the oil billionaire David H. Koch, and Crossroads GPS — that are running advertisements this year advocating more fossil-fuel production or condemning spending by the Obama administration on solar and wind projects.

    “These are companies and industries that clearly feel threatened,” said Ken Goldstein, president of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. “And when companies and industries with resources feel threatened, they air advertisements.”

    The fossil fuel industries have also used more subtle tactics, like mobilizing miners to wear pro-coal hats and shirts at candidate events and placing a coal industry logo on the cars for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Nascar team.

    Their trade associations have targeted swing states like Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and Pennsylvania, where there are established operations like coal mines or fast-growing new efforts, like fields where natural gas is extracted through hydraulic fracturing, a technique that could face new restrictions from regulators.

    “President Obama has placed a de facto embargo on energy production on American lands and shores,” said Benjamin Cole, a spokesman for the American Energy Alliance, which expects to spend $7 million on television ads and other media to defeat Mr. Obama. “It’s irresponsible and overzealous.”

    The imbalance in spending shows up on the campaign finance side as well.

    Mr. Romney, the Republican National Committee and Mr. Romney’s political action committee have taken in at least $13 million in campaign contributions from oil, gas and coal industry executives or their related groups.

    By comparison, Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee have received less than $950,000 from the fossil fuel industry over the past two years, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The clean-energy industry has hardly made up the difference, with Mr. Obama directly collecting only about $78,000 from it so far, according to the center’s data.

    The surge in energy-related political spending partly reflects the rise in overall election spending after the Supreme Court lifted limits on corporate contributions in 2010. Mr. Romney, for example, has accepted $3 million in contributions from Oxbow, a coal company controlled by William Koch, a brother of David Koch.

    At a $50,000-a-plate shrimp-and-steak lunch in Houston last month, Mr. Romney solicited advice on energy policy from scores of oil and gas executives.

    The group — which included Rex W. Tillerson, chief executive of Exxon Mobil, and Harold G. Hamm of Continental Resources, a top adviser to the Romney campaign — told Mr. Romney that the best thing he could do would be to reduce the regulatory burdens on the industry and permit more drilling on federal lands.

    “There is a lot more at stake now,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, associate director of the Rice University energy program. “The producers can drill a lot in the United States or they could lose the right to drill in the United States. It’s a campaign about the E.P.A., how the president responds to a major accident, and it’s about do we or don’t we lease on federal lands.”

    Eric Lipton reported from Washington, and Clifford Krauss from Houston.

  • May 17, 2012
    Elizabeth Shogren for NPR
    http://www.npr.org/2012/05/17/151545578/frackings-methane-trail-a-detective-story

    Gaby Petron didn’t set out to challenge industry and government assumptions about how much pollution comes from natural gas drilling.

    She was just doing what she always does as an air pollution data sleuth for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    “I look for a story in the data,” says Petron. “You give me a data set, I will study it back and forth and left and right for weeks, and I will find something to tell about it.”

    Petron saw high levels of methane in readings from a NOAA observation tower north of Denver. And through painstaking, on-the-ground detective work, she tied that pollution to the sprawling oil and gas fields in northeastern Colorado.

    The story she stumbled into suggests that government may be far underestimating air pollution from natural gas production. Her measurements, which were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, suggest that methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is leaking at at least twice the rate reported by the industry.

    Coal Vs. Natural Gas: Which Is Cleaner?

    Her paper was the latest volley in an intense estimate war under way in the scientific community about whether natural gas really is cleaner than the coal it’s already starting to replace on the electric grid.

    A lot of research shows power plants pump out fewer greenhouse gases when they run on gas instead of coal. But no one really knows how much natural gas leaks out when companies are drilling for gas and getting it to power plants. Natural gas is primarily methane.

    Science And The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers

    “We need to know a lot about methane itself, which is natural gas, if we’re worried about climate change, so that we don’t automatically think that gas is so much cleaner than coal,” says energy consultant Sue Tierney at Analysis Group.

    Methane is very effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And already, natural gas production is the biggest manmade U.S. source of methane.

    “Fifty years from now, are we really going to be wondering if we really screwed up because we went on this big gas boom? You really wouldn’t want to be messing that up,” Tierney says.

    Tierney says the time to study air pollution from natural gas is now, before the U.S. makes major investments in new power plants and factories that would use natural gas.

    The way it is now, the Environmental Protection Agency relies on estimates of methane emissions. They’re based on some measurements of emissions from individual pieces of equipment and lots of complicated math.

    “What the official estimates are based on generally are not so many measurements, but rather estimates,” says Greg Frost, an atmospheric scientist and air pollution expert for NOAA. “They really are based on maybe a measurement here or there, but then they’re largely based on extrapolation. So in other words, you make a measurement in one place or for one particular source, and you do a complicated calculation to assess what does that mean across a whole region, across 20,000 wells?”

    A Revealing Tower

    A tall tower at the foot of the Rocky Mountains tipped off scientists that these estimates are poor substitutes for measuring.

    Gaby Petron, an atmospheric scientist with NOAA, stands in front of a natural gas well. Several years ago, Petron stumbled upon data suggesting northern Colorado’s natural gas production fields were leaking surprisingly high levels of methane into the air.

    Imagine an open metal structure as tall as the Eiffel Tower and in the shape of a Toblerone chocolate box. A tiny elevator runs up the middle.

    For the past few years, that tower has been Gaby Petron’s muse, spewing out numbers about air pollution.

    Petron was studying those numbers at NOAA’s lab in Boulder, Colo., just 15 miles from the tower. What she saw amazed her.

    “Oh, my God, we were looking at something really different than anywhere else where we were taking measurements in this country,” Petron recalls. “And at first I didn’t know what it was.”

    What she saw was very high levels of methane gas, not all the time, but often. And every time methane was high, she saw a consistent mix of other chemicals with it — a sort of chemical cocktail — that included methane, propane and pentane in specific proportions.

    Levels as high as she was seeing suggested a lot more methane than anyone realized was coming from somewhere, but from where?

    She talked a colleague into turning his Prius into a mobile lab so she could sniff out the source.

    “You want to see the invisible. You want to see what’s in the air, and you want to know exactly where the air is coming from,” Petron says.

    As they drove east, toward the tower, methane levels would increase.

    Seeking The Source

    They saw lots of potential sources of methane: a landfill, cows and lots of telltale signs of the oil and gas industry, such as storage tanks, drill rigs and lots of bright red Halliburton trucks.

    “And then you come here and you see cows,” Petron says. “OK, maybe it’s the cows — they burp methane.”

    She collected canisters of air near cows to see if they were her mysterious source. But when the analysis came back from the lab, there was methane, but not the other chemicals in the cocktail from the tower. No match.

    The landfill was not a match, either.

    When she drove around the oil and gas field northeast of the tower, the methane levels spiked.

    “They would increase a lot, and that’s why we saw we were looking at something really important and really big,” Petron recalls. “We would say, ‘Oh, my god, let’s stop and take a sample.’ ”

    When her lab analyzed the canisters of air from the gas field, she had a match. The tower is on the southwest corner of the Denver-Julesburg basin, where at the time there were more than 20,000 active natural gas and condensate wells.

    She got detailed wind direction data from the tower and confirmed that methane at the tower was highest when the wind was blowing from the direction of the gas fields. She also got a hold of the industry’s analysis of the mixture of chemicals that come out of the ground with the natural gas here. It also matched what she found in the tower air.

    “So that’s when you have your moment. All right, the story is right there. It’s really not the landfill. It’s really not the cows. It’s really all the oil and gas equipment and activities that are going on in the region. And it’s not new — it’s always been there. We were just not measuring it.” Petron said.

    Then came the hard part: trying to figure out how much methane was leaking from the gas fields. That took a few years and a lot of input from industry and regulators. The science and calculations were complicated.

    “That’s why it took so long to write this story,” Petron recalls.

    Petron says even the lowest range of her estimate was higher than the leak rate industry and regulators were reporting.

    “Really, what our story is telling in our paper is the leak rate is twice what the industry thinks it is,” she says.

    Petron’s work also suggests that the industry is underestimating its releases of other chemicals, including benzene, which, if present at high enough levels, can cause cancer. The industry reports negligible benzene emissions. But her calculations show it is likely the region’s largest source of benzene.

    Measuring A Sprawling Industry

    So why don’t gas companies measure the pollution they pump into the air?

    Companies can have thousands of gas wells, storage tanks and equipment that leak air pollution sprawled over hundreds of square miles.

    Allen says it would take too much work for companies to maintain air pollution monitors near each well site.

    “Direct emission measurement is extremely expensive. It’s not realistic to install such devices on every single emissions source that there is,” says Cindy Allen, who heads the environment team for a drilling company called EnCana.

    The American Petroleum Institute says companies are trying to improve their air pollution estimates. The trade group is working on a new survey of methane emissions from tens of thousands of wells.

    The API’s Howard Feldman says more measurements like the ones that came from that NOAA tower are needed, too.

    “Both are valid, and both add to the information that we have,” he says.

    Feldman says it’s in the industry’s interest to find leaks and capture methane, because methane — which is natural gas — is their product, and they don’t want to lose it to the atmosphere.

    Road Trip

    Petron believes scientists need to play a much bigger role in measuring air pollution from natural gas production — at well sites and compressor stations, and over entire gas fields.

    “I think the atmosphere, it’s not lying,” Petron says.

    This winter, she tricked out a van with a lot of sensitive instruments and hit the road in Utah and Colorado. She’s collaborating with other scientists measuring the air over gas fields from aircraft.

    She believes pollution levels could vary a lot from one gas field to another. So Petron wants to take her van to other gas fields in Utah, Texas and Pennsylvania.

    “There’s a lot of booming oil and gas activities around the country,” Petron says. “If I could dream, I would be going to all these places.”

  • NMWA Gila 

    Video provided by Elke Duerr

  • NMWA Gila 

    Video provided by Elke Duerr

  • Dear Friends of Wilderness,

    I am writing you today to say thank you for your continued strong voice in protecting wild lands and wildlife in our state. We have very good news from our Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks campaign. Just a few hours ago, the El Paso City Council passed unanimously a resolution of support for our efforts to protect more than 600,000 acres of land around the community of Las Cruces as a national monument. Combined with resolutions from the City of Las Cruces, Mesilla, and Doña Ana County, we have made our case for protection of this historically and ecologically rich area. Once again, your calls and letters have moved us that much closer to a monument.

    Often it seems getting good news is hard to find in conservation. Although our fights are many, there are also things to celebrate. For starters, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York yesterday reversed course and decided more study was needed before allowing oil companies to go into the state and begin the process known as “fracking” for natural gas. His decision was the result of more than 80,000 letters from people across the state and the nation asking that fracking not be allowed in New York. The oil and gas industry is not happy, but his decision could start a precedent in this country. That is the power of your letters, calls and actions; they really can help! Write Gov. Cuomo today and say thank you for delaying fracking in New York.

    That’s not all. In other news, the Supreme Court recently refused to hear arguments from the mining industry, who has been fighting the Roadless Rule since the last days of the Clinton administration. With the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the mining industry, the Roadless Rule is finally the law of the land. This protects more than 50 million acres of national forest lands across the country!

    For the past two days we have been asking you to keep the pressure on US Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle. If you haven’t taken action yet, send a free fax now.

    Today, I am asking that you forward this important action alert to five friends. If we are to keep this beautiful alpha female in the wild it will require all the pressure we can mount! Thank you for your outpouring of support. Your calls, letters and e-mails are working to change the dynamics of wolf policy in New Mexico!

    Many thanks for your efforts. Although it’s just Tuesday, it has already been a busy week.

    Sincerely,

    Stephen Capra

    Executive Director

    PS: Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the wolf fundraiser in Santa Fe on Oct. 23. Starring world renowned pianist Helene Grimaud, tickets start at just $20. Helene stands as one of the true champions of wolves in the wild and her music is pure magic! Purchase your seats now.

  • Dear Friends of Wilderness,

    I am writing you today to say thank you for your continued strong voice in protecting wild lands and wildlife in our state. We have very good news from our Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks campaign. Just a few hours ago, the El Paso City Council passed unanimously a resolution of support for our efforts to protect more than 600,000 acres of land around the community of Las Cruces as a national monument. Combined with resolutions from the City of Las Cruces, Mesilla, and Doña Ana County, we have made our case for protection of this historically and ecologically rich area. Once again, your calls and letters have moved us that much closer to a monument.

    Often it seems getting good news is hard to find in conservation. Although our fights are many, there are also things to celebrate. For starters, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York yesterday reversed course and decided more study was needed before allowing oil companies to go into the state and begin the process known as “fracking” for natural gas. His decision was the result of more than 80,000 letters from people across the state and the nation asking that fracking not be allowed in New York. The oil and gas industry is not happy, but his decision could start a precedent in this country. That is the power of your letters, calls and actions; they really can help! Write Gov. Cuomo today and say thank you for delaying fracking in New York.

    That’s not all. In other news, the Supreme Court recently refused to hear arguments from the mining industry, who has been fighting the Roadless Rule since the last days of the Clinton administration. With the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the mining industry, the Roadless Rule is finally the law of the land. This protects more than 50 million acres of national forest lands across the country!

    For the past two days we have been asking you to keep the pressure on US Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle. If you haven’t taken action yet, send a free fax now.

    Today, I am asking that you forward this important action alert to five friends. If we are to keep this beautiful alpha female in the wild it will require all the pressure we can mount! Thank you for your outpouring of support. Your calls, letters and e-mails are working to change the dynamics of wolf policy in New Mexico!

    Many thanks for your efforts. Although it’s just Tuesday, it has already been a busy week.

    Sincerely,

    Stephen Capra

    Executive Director

    PS: Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the wolf fundraiser in Santa Fe on Oct. 23. Starring world renowned pianist Helene Grimaud, tickets start at just $20. Helene stands as one of the true champions of wolves in the wild and her music is pure magic! Purchase your seats now.

  • Dear Friends of Wilderness,

    I am writing you today to say thank you for your continued strong voice in protecting wild lands and wildlife in our state. We have very good news from our Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks campaign. Just a few hours ago, the El Paso City Council passed unanimously a resolution of support for our efforts to protect more than 600,000 acres of land around the community of Las Cruces as a national monument. Combined with resolutions from the City of Las Cruces, Mesilla, and Doña Ana County, we have made our case for protection of this historically and ecologically rich area. Once again, your calls and letters have moved us that much closer to a monument.

    Often it seems getting good news is hard to find in conservation. Although our fights are many, there are also things to celebrate. For starters, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York yesterday reversed course and decided more study was needed before allowing oil companies to go into the state and begin the process known as “fracking” for natural gas. His decision was the result of more than 80,000 letters from people across the state and the nation asking that fracking not be allowed in New York. The oil and gas industry is not happy, but his decision could start a precedent in this country. That is the power of your letters, calls and actions; they really can help! Write Gov. Cuomo today and say thank you for delaying fracking in New York.

    That’s not all. In other news, the Supreme Court recently refused to hear arguments from the mining industry, who has been fighting the Roadless Rule since the last days of the Clinton administration. With the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the mining industry, the Roadless Rule is finally the law of the land. This protects more than 50 million acres of national forest lands across the country!

    For the past two days we have been asking you to keep the pressure on US Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle. If you haven’t taken action yet, send a free fax now.

    Today, I am asking that you forward this important action alert to five friends. If we are to keep this beautiful alpha female in the wild it will require all the pressure we can mount! Thank you for your outpouring of support. Your calls, letters and e-mails are working to change the dynamics of wolf policy in New Mexico!

    Many thanks for your efforts. Although it’s just Tuesday, it has already been a busy week.

    Sincerely,

    Stephen Capra

    Executive Director

    PS: Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the wolf fundraiser in Santa Fe on Oct. 23. Starring world renowned pianist Helene Grimaud, tickets start at just $20. Helene stands as one of the true champions of wolves in the wild and her music is pure magic! Purchase your seats now.

  • Last Friday we invited our members to a public meeting with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about Río Grande del Norte. We are excited to say there were about 150 people at the meeting with standing room only. There was full unanimous support from the crowd, and there were about 50 speakers representing business, grazing, tribes, sportsmen, boy scouts, artists, educators, chambers, outfitters, recreationists, landowners, archeologists and more! No one spoke in opposition!

     
    Thank you so much to those of you who came out to support the monument. Salazar will now be working on determining how best to get protection for Rio Grande del Norte.
     
    “Public lands provide huge economic benefits to communities through tourism and outdoor recreation, and the Rio Grande del Norte is no exception,” Salazar said. “We need to ensure that generations to come have the opportunity to experience this iconic Western landscape.”
     
    Please join us in protecting Rio Grande del Norte National Monument today. Your donations not only help us keep pressure on the decision-makers, but also help us continue our work with the culturally diverse communities of New Mexico to support creation of a national monument. Your letters to the president are also critical to the success of this historic conservation effort. Please use the link below to send your free fax today.
     

    Quick Links

    New video showcasing Rio Grande del Norte

    Take action by sending a free fax to the president

    Read more about Salazar’s visit

    Donate to our cause and help us make history!

  • Last Friday we invited our members to a public meeting with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about Río Grande del Norte. We are excited to say there were about 150 people at the meeting with standing room only. There was full unanimous support from the crowd, and there were about 50 speakers representing business, grazing, tribes, sportsmen, boy scouts, artists, educators, chambers, outfitters, recreationists, landowners, archeologists and more! No one spoke in opposition!

     
    Thank you so much to those of you who came out to support the monument. Salazar will now be working on determining how best to get protection for Rio Grande del Norte.
     
    “Public lands provide huge economic benefits to communities through tourism and outdoor recreation, and the Rio Grande del Norte is no exception,” Salazar said. “We need to ensure that generations to come have the opportunity to experience this iconic Western landscape.”
     
    Please join us in protecting Rio Grande del Norte National Monument today. Your donations not only help us keep pressure on the decision-makers, but also help us continue our work with the culturally diverse communities of New Mexico to support creation of a national monument. Your letters to the president are also critical to the success of this historic conservation effort. Please use the link below to send your free fax today.
     

    Quick Links

    New video showcasing Rio Grande del Norte

    Take action by sending a free fax to the president

    Read more about Salazar’s visit

    Donate to our cause and help us make history!

  • By Scott Keyes and Adam Peck
    Oct 9, 2012

    ThinkProgress

    Pearce Steve

    Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)

    DENVER, Colorado — A key western congressman declared late last week that Mitt Romney supports his push to “reverse this trend of public ownership of lands.”

    In a speech to the Colorado Conservative Political Action Conference, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) criticized Teddy Roosevelt’s “big ideas of big forests and big national parks,” which primarily exist in the West. Pearce told the audience that, if elected, Mitt Romney will help turn back public lands to the states or private entities.

    PEARCE: America, each state, the public lands were given back to the states after they were chartered. But in the West, starting with Teddy Roosevelt who had the big ideas of big forests and big national parks, they held that land. And so the next chart shows you the effect on us in the West. Just understand this is the education. The red is of course bad. We’re starved in the West for education funds because of policies that Mitt Romney sat and listened to Rob Bishop and myself explain when it came to Hobbs. He knows that if we want to reverse the trend, we’ll reverse this trend of public ownership of lands starving education.

    Watch it:

    Though Romney’s campaign has asserted that they’re not targeting national parks for further drilling, Pearce disputed the notion that they should be off-limits. “Constitutionally,” Pearce told ThinkProgress after the speech, decisions about drilling in national parks and other public-owned lands “should be left with the states.” Indeed, drilling is already underway in a number of parks, with dozens more threatened.

    Public lands are vital to the nation for many reasons. They allow anyone, not just the wealthy, access to beautiful natural areas. They provide clean air and water. They even help the United States adapt to climate change while boosting the economy.

    For a primer on how the nation’s 700 million acres of public lands could be affected under a Romney presidency, click here.

  • By Stewart Brandborg, The Christian-Science Monitor
    November 30, 2012 

    The Wilderness Act has protected America’s wild lands for 50 years. It is now under threat by a House bill deceptively called The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act. Citizens must demand the US Senate do nothing to advance its devastating provisions.

    Read more

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    april 19 weekly

  • By  on Fri, Apr 13, 2012

    Endangered Wolves Ral McCu 278x350

    Activists gather outside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional headquarters in Albuquerque on Friday to pressure the agency to release more captive Mexican gray wolves into the wild. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

    Albuquerque activists want the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release more captive Mexican gray wolves into the Southwest.

    About four dozen people gathered outside the agency’s regional headquarters in downtown Albuquerque on Friday. They were armed with banners and paper wolf masks. Some donned cloth wolf ears and wore black stickers with the image of a wolf on their chests.

    Steve Capra is director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. He says there’s “huge frustration” with the agency when it comes to wolf recovery.

    The last time managers released a new wolf to the wild was 2008.

    Agency spokeswoman Charna Lefton says strides have been made over the last 14 years. She says more than 95 percent of the animals currently in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico were conceived and born in the wild.

  • By  on Fri, Apr 13, 2012

    Endangered Wolves Ral McCu 278x350

    Activists gather outside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional headquarters in Albuquerque on Friday to pressure the agency to release more captive Mexican gray wolves into the wild. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

    Albuquerque activists want the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release more captive Mexican gray wolves into the Southwest.

    About four dozen people gathered outside the agency’s regional headquarters in downtown Albuquerque on Friday. They were armed with banners and paper wolf masks. Some donned cloth wolf ears and wore black stickers with the image of a wolf on their chests.

    Steve Capra is director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. He says there’s “huge frustration” with the agency when it comes to wolf recovery.

    The last time managers released a new wolf to the wild was 2008.

    Agency spokeswoman Charna Lefton says strides have been made over the last 14 years. She says more than 95 percent of the animals currently in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico were conceived and born in the wild.

  • oct 31 weekly

  • oct 31 weekly

  • Dear Friend,

    Today I want to thank you for the help you have given us on our various campaign and to speak with you in particular about one special campaign that is on the brink of success—the Rio Grande del Norte.

    One important aspect of what we do is garnering support from different stakeholders, including traditional communities. Within the Rio Grande del Norte lies generations of people that have been on the land for some 400-plus years going back as far as 11 generations in some families—now that’s history! And we have worked hard to bring these traditional communities to the table for protecting public land.

    Please give a tax-deductible year end gift to help us continue to work with traditional communities and other groups, whose support is a key ingredient in achieving the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

    We have managed to secure traditional community support—something that will be vital to all conservation work as we move forward—for the Rio Grande del Norte campaign. One group that has stepped up to offer their support in protecting the Rio Grande del Norte as a national monument is the San Antonio de Rio Colorado Land Grant. This land grant has taken a major step working with conservation groups to get these areas protected through the federal legislative process.

    Traditional communities are a vital piece of the puzzle in obtaining local support for protecting landscapes throughout New Mexico. Please give now to help us continue to work with various important stakeholders, which is essential if we are to obtain national monument status for Rio Grande del Norte.

    Thank you so much for your ongoing support,

    John Olivas, Traditional Community Organizer

    As Traditional Community Organizer, Olivas represents traditional communities in northern New Mexico focusing his conservation work with grazing permittees, land grant members and Acequia Mayordomos and Parciantes. In addition to his role as traditional community organizer for NM Wild, Olivas is chairman of the Mora County Commission.

    Donate Online

  • Dear Friend,

    Today I want to thank you for the help you have given us on our various campaign and to speak with you in particular about one special campaign that is on the brink of success—the Rio Grande del Norte.

    One important aspect of what we do is garnering support from different stakeholders, including traditional communities. Within the Rio Grande del Norte lies generations of people that have been on the land for some 400-plus years going back as far as 11 generations in some families—now that’s history! And we have worked hard to bring these traditional communities to the table for protecting public land.

    Please give a tax-deductible year end gift to help us continue to work with traditional communities and other groups, whose support is a key ingredient in achieving the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.

    We have managed to secure traditional community support—something that will be vital to all conservation work as we move forward—for the Rio Grande del Norte campaign. One group that has stepped up to offer their support in protecting the Rio Grande del Norte as a national monument is the San Antonio de Rio Colorado Land Grant. This land grant has taken a major step working with conservation groups to get these areas protected through the federal legislative process.

    Traditional communities are a vital piece of the puzzle in obtaining local support for protecting landscapes throughout New Mexico. Please give now to help us continue to work with various important stakeholders, which is essential if we are to obtain national monument status for Rio Grande del Norte.

    Thank you so much for your ongoing support,

    John Olivas, Traditional Community Organizer

    As Traditional Community Organizer, Olivas represents traditional communities in northern New Mexico focusing his conservation work with grazing permittees, land grant members and Acequia Mayordomos and Parciantes. In addition to his role as traditional community organizer for NM Wild, Olivas is chairman of the Mora County Commission.

    Donate Online

  • Renee Blake/Beth Blakeman, Public News Service – NM
    September 24, 2012

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Mexican gray wolf proponents say the animals do a lot of good for the environment. That’s one reason the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is acting to focus attention on this symbol of wild land.

    Stephen Capra, executive director of the Alliance, says the wolf suffers due to longstanding myths, subsidized grazing on public lands, and politicians. The cattle growers pressure Republicans about the wolves and the Democrats have remained silent on the issue, Capra says.

    “The vast majority of people in the state support wolves being re-introduced into the wild. However, ranchers are creating opposition to wolves in the wild. What they don’t want is a real discussion about the subsidies they’re receiving.”

    Those subsidies allow their cattle to graze on public land at greatly reduced rates, Capra explains.

    In an effort to raise money to promote education and understanding about wolves and how they balance the ecosystem, the Wilderness Alliance is presenting classical pianist and wolf supporter Helene Grimaud in concert in Santa Fe on Oct. 23. The funds raised will be shared with Grimaud’s Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, N.Y.

    Only about 57 wolves live in the wild in New Mexico, Capra says, but some 300 more are in pens where they have been waiting to be released for the past four years. He adds that many New Mexicans support wolves but their voices are not being heard. The concert is part of an effort to get what Capra calls the “quiet majority” to speak up as one, in an orchestrated campaign.

    “The passionate voice of this quiet majority has got to come out very loud. That’s when politicians are going to begin to listen. Up to now, they’ve just been hearing from a lot of ranchers. Wolves are like the ‘third rail’ of conservation: They don’t want to touch it.”

    Capra says the wolves are an important part of the ecosystem in places like New Mexico and the Northern Rockies. He points to Yellowstone National Park as an example of how reintroducing wolves rebalances the ecosystem.

    “Where streams were just denuded, we’re seeing willows now that are towering, which is helping fish, which is bringing more birds back. That’s what we need to see here in New Mexico. But you’re not going to do that when you have only 57 wolves.”

    The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe. Information is available at www.nmwild.org.

    Listen to the audio.

  • Renee Blake/Beth Blakeman, Public News Service – NM
    September 24, 2012

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Mexican gray wolf proponents say the animals do a lot of good for the environment. That’s one reason the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is acting to focus attention on this symbol of wild land.

    Stephen Capra, executive director of the Alliance, says the wolf suffers due to longstanding myths, subsidized grazing on public lands, and politicians. The cattle growers pressure Republicans about the wolves and the Democrats have remained silent on the issue, Capra says.

    “The vast majority of people in the state support wolves being re-introduced into the wild. However, ranchers are creating opposition to wolves in the wild. What they don’t want is a real discussion about the subsidies they’re receiving.”

    Those subsidies allow their cattle to graze on public land at greatly reduced rates, Capra explains.

    In an effort to raise money to promote education and understanding about wolves and how they balance the ecosystem, the Wilderness Alliance is presenting classical pianist and wolf supporter Helene Grimaud in concert in Santa Fe on Oct. 23. The funds raised will be shared with Grimaud’s Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, N.Y.

    Only about 57 wolves live in the wild in New Mexico, Capra says, but some 300 more are in pens where they have been waiting to be released for the past four years. He adds that many New Mexicans support wolves but their voices are not being heard. The concert is part of an effort to get what Capra calls the “quiet majority” to speak up as one, in an orchestrated campaign.

    “The passionate voice of this quiet majority has got to come out very loud. That’s when politicians are going to begin to listen. Up to now, they’ve just been hearing from a lot of ranchers. Wolves are like the ‘third rail’ of conservation: They don’t want to touch it.”

    Capra says the wolves are an important part of the ecosystem in places like New Mexico and the Northern Rockies. He points to Yellowstone National Park as an example of how reintroducing wolves rebalances the ecosystem.

    “Where streams were just denuded, we’re seeing willows now that are towering, which is helping fish, which is bringing more birds back. That’s what we need to see here in New Mexico. But you’re not going to do that when you have only 57 wolves.”

    The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe. Information is available at www.nmwild.org.

    Listen to the audio.

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