Electioneering During a Pandemic

If you are in the Albu(r)querque area and able to help collect signatures for State House Candidate Stephen Verchinski please contact us.

While states must take actions–including social restrictions–to promote and preserve public health, the same thought must be given to promoting and preserving the health of a fragile representative democracy.  Minor party and independent candidates in New Mexico face the same difficulties as those in other states with respect to petitioning.  Minor party and independent candidates may canvass only during prescribed time periods.  Because of the public health order imposed by the governor, this signature-collecting period was effectively reduced to a couple of weeks in March.  In New Mexico, the power to change election law resides with the state legislature and the courts.  The non-major-party candidates must hope that potential future colleagues understand the importance of a truly representative democracy overrides the self-preservation tendencies of entrenched power.  Relief from the stringent petition-gathering requirements should be granted to all minor party and independent candidates during this extraordinary situation.

The Green Party of New Mexico requested relief from the governor–who has the powers to call a special legislative session and put items on the agenda.  The other possible remedy is seeking relief from the courts.  Lawsuits have been filed across the country.  Accounts can be found at Ballot Access News and GPUS.

Chaco at Risk

May 28th is the deadline to submit comments on the Resource Management Plan amendment and its corresponding Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS) regarding management of the Mancos Shale/Gallup Formation.  Areas of focus are fluid leasable minerals, vegetation management, lands and realty, and lands with wilderness characteristics.  The amendment is expected to open the Greater Chaco Region, including parts of Sandoval County, to MORE FRACKING.

VIRTUAL MEETING MONDAY, MAY 18 9:00 a. m.  Participate and register your opposition to oil & gas exploration in the Greater Chaco Region and demand an extension to the public comment deadline until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control in NW New Mexico.  The people most affected by the harms of oil & gas exploration are the most affected by the pandemic in New Mexico.

Register on line at https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/plans-in-development/new-mexico/farmington-rmp-mancos-gallup-amendment.  Once you have registered for one of the virtual meetings, you will receive an email containing instructions on how to join the meeting.

Register by phone at 505-635-9701. An operator will register you and provide you with details on how to join the conference by phone.



50 Years Ago Today

National Guardsmen attacked protesters at the University of New Mexico in Albu(r)querque, New Mexico. Eleven people were bayonetted. Despite a lawsuit, the no one was held accountable. Many protesters inside the Student Union Building (SUB) refused to leave after occupying the building; 131 were arrested by local law enforcement officers. The arrests were peaceful and orderly, contrasted with the mayhem created by the National Guard out on the plaza. The protests were part of the anti-war protests of the era, supercharged by the killing of four students at Kent State University on May 4. Jane Fonda was on campus that week as a student strike was in effect, and the University was shut down for a time.

GPAMA, Veterans for Peace-ABQ, and students at Media Arts Collaborative Charter School were working on a 50th Anniversary commemorative event that had to be postponed because of the public health order. We expect to reschedule the event for the Fall Semester. We will let you know the particulars when we have them. The event will be free, educational, and perhaps a bit healing for some.  We hope to have a trailer video soon to give you a preview of the public event.


The effort to place a Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility in Lea County continues.   The public comment deadline for the draft Environmental Impact Statement has been extended to July 20, 2020.

A national webinar and five public meetings in New Mexico during the public comment period to present the staff’s preliminary findings and receive public comments are planned.  As the COVID-19 public health emergency evolves, the NRC staff will continue to re-evaluate these plans for engaging the public and will consider additional extensions to the comment period.

The draft EIS can be accessed at https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML2006/ML20069G420.pdf

A summary (Reader’s Guide) of the EIS report can be accessed at:   https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML2007/ML20073P254.pdf

  • Submit comments on line at https://www.regulations.gov/ (Docket ID NRC-2018-0052).
  • Mail comments to the Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWFN-7-A60M, ATTN: Program Management, Announcements and Editing Staff, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555-0001.
  • E-mail comments to Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov.


Earth Day Turns 50

There is a global celebration happening amidst a global pandemic.  Earth Day Live 2020 streams April 22-24.  Perhaps two truths will finally emerge from the fear and uncertainty of 2020:  we have to take care of the earth, and we have to take care of each other.

While maintaining your social distancing, think about future local food production and plant something in your yard or on your balcony.  Realize the simple pleasure of taking a walk alone or with a loved one.  A deep breath in less-polluted air can be calming.

Here is a little reminder of the 20th Earth Day: