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Tracking Trumps first 100 days  
Tracking Significant Legislation

February 22, 2017 -
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
...Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s Southern White House, in Palm Beach, is a veritable termitarium (a termites’ nest) of extreme, and heretofore somewhat concealed, wealth that is is now coming out of the woodwork. CounterPunch  

US libraries join struggle to resist the Trump administration. Along with efforts to guide readers to trustworthy information sources, many branches are working to make themselves ‘sanctuary spaces’ for immigrants. Guardian  
Related: Office of Intellectual Freedom

Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas. ... The reason the Times wants Trump removed is because Trump wants to normalize relations with Russia which threatens to undermine Washington’s effort to project US power deeper into Central Asia.  CounterPunch
Related story:
Neo-McCarthyite furor around Russia is counterproductive.  Washington Post  

Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered.  ... Wall Street will do what it pleases and continue to share its wealth with our Politicians and in return our Politicians will make sure the Department of Justice never prosecutes the Wall Street Executives. CounterPunch

Donald Trump and the US media are in a fight to the finish – and they're both guilty of peddling alternative facts. ... Fake news may have helped hand Trump the presidency, but he is now finding it is a double-edged sword. Independent

February 21, 2017 -
What Is the Deep State? ... Even if we assume the concept is valid, surely it’s not useful to think of the competing interests it represents as monolithic. The Nation

From 2014 - The Next Act of the Neocons
Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton?   NYT  

How to Run a Rogue Government Twitter Account With an Anonymous Email Address and a Burner Phone. ... self-described government workers created a wave of rogue Twitter accounts that share real facts (not to be confused with “alternative facts,” otherwise known as “lies”) about climate change and science. Operational tips on burner phones. Intercept  

Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death. ... Self-absorbed and irrational Donald Trump may well be, but on Thursday he held what was probably the most interesting and entertaining White House press conference ever.  

Civil Rights Groups, Funded by Telecoms, Back Donald Trump’s Plan to Kill Net Neutrality. ... groups who for many years have been heavily bankrolled by the telecom industry are signaling their support for Donald Trump’s promised rollback of the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, which prevent internet service providers from prioritizing some content providers over others.  Intercept  

DHS Memos: Speed Up Mass Deportations & Prosecute Parents Who Help Undocumented Children Enter U.S. ... sweeping new guidelines to speed up the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. The memos instruct federal agencies to begin hiring 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, as well as 5,000 more Border Patrol agents. Democracy Now

February 20, 2017 -
Republicans Are Using An Arcane Tool To Handcuff Federal Agencies... And it could have long-term consequences.  Huffington    Related: GOP Wants NASA To Stop Worrying About Earth And Focus On Space ... There are talks of “rebalancing” the agency’s mission as it continues to tweet about climate change.  Huffington  

Death Eaters Not Only Walk Among Us—Now They Occupy the White House... J.K. Rowling called it back during the Republican primary. We should be terrified. AlterNet

Democratic Member to Quit Election Commission, Setting Up Political Fight - Democrat on the Federal Election Commission is quitting her term early because of the gridlock that has gripped the panel, offering President Trump an unexpected chance to shape political spending rules. NYT

A Short History of the Trump Family by
Sidney Blumenthal

Global arms trade reaches highest point since cold war era. ... Middle East almost doubles weapons imports, as US and Europe remain the main suppliers and China joins top-tier exporters.

Administration Moves To Block Access To Health Insurance. ... They can’t repeal Obamacare, so the Trump White House wants to make it much harder for you to get insurance with it. DCReport
Related Document: DHHS  45 CFR Parts 147, 155, and 156 CMS-9929-P

February 19, 2017 -
Seeding the Future Against Destructive Neoliberal Capitalism. ... The current oppressive neoliberal economic philosophy and its destructive regime of globalized capital is not inevitable. TruthOut

Head of U.S. Special Ops Says That America's Government Is in 'Unbelievable Turmoil'
Army Gen. Raymond "Tony" Thomas didn't offer specifics but said he wants the government as "stable as possible." AlterNet  

Weaponising the Police -
Trump will use every weapon to stamp out the grassroots resistance. ... Social movements play a critical role in holding his administration to account. But Trump's recent executive orders could endanger their survival. Guardian

Standing Rock: DoJ steps up aggression against those still battling the pipeline. ..Holdouts at the camp see the justice department’s recent round of arrests and warrants as an attempt to kill the movement’s momentum. Guardian

Trump loyalists stand by their man - but the resistance is taking root. ...After the blur of Donald Trump's opening weeks, what impact is he having in a former steel county in Pennsylvania which flipped for him in November? Guardian

Jason Chaffetz said he would investigate Flynn and Russia - but he's investigating media leaks instead. ... The committee chairman who was shouted down at a recent town hall said he was 'taking the lead' on issues surrounding disgraced Michael Flynn - but what is he actually investigating?

Empowering the "Deep State" to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy. Democracy Now

Honduras: the deadliest country in the world for environmental activism. ... More than 120 people have been killed in Honduras since 2010 for standing up to companies that grab land and trash the environment   Global Witness

February 18, 2017 -
That news conference wasn't "chaos"

Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer. ... with members of the CIA and NSA leaking materials on Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian officials, we are witnessing a slow boiling domestic coup that will transform American governance and the Executive Branch’s relationships with intelligence agencies. CounterPunch  

Does New Labor Secretary Nominee Alex Acosta Have the Perfect Résumé to Sabotage a Federal Agency? Democracy Now  

The Trump Administration Is Giving Cops Unprecedented Power. Forget the white working class; his base is the Fraternal Order of Police.

USDA puts blinders on animal abuse: Our view. USA Today  

Democrats Seem to Consider Snowden's & Manning's Leaks Evil & Leaks Under Trump Heroic
 Democracy Now  

This Blog Is Republishing All the Animal Welfare Records the USDA Deleted  MotherBoard.vice

February 17, 2017 -
18 WTF Moments From Trump's Unhinged Press Conference. ... "Russia is fake news," said the president of the United States, before musing about nuclear holocaust.  Rolling Stone  

Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer ... With members of the CIA and NSA leaking materials on Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian officials, we are witnessing a slow boiling domestic coup that will transform American governance and the Executive Branch’s relationships with intelligence agencies. It remains to be seen whether these moves signal broader attacks on the Presidency by agencies long accustomed to taking out administrations threatening the Agency’s perceived interests.

Donald Trump's Many, Many, Many, Many Ties to Russia. Time (August 2016)  and Donald Trump's Many, Many Business Dealings in 1 Map Time

Democrats Seem to Consider Snowden's & Manning's Leaks Evil & Leaks Under Trump Heroic.  Democracy Now  

Greenwald on Trump-Netanyahu Meeting & How Israel Is Turning into an Apartheid-Like State. Democracy Now  

Empowering the "Deep State" to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy.
Democracy Now

White House dismisses 6 over failed background checks  Huffington  

Archived News:  2016    Jan. 2017     Feb.2017
Scorching Hot Southwest Is Climate
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2017 - 53rd Legislaton:
Senate Mail List    -  House Mail List  

February 19, 2017 -

You Had Me At H2O: A look at who owns your water supply ... Get curious about how your water gets to you, before private companies pull the plug. MuchRock  

America can’t trust public water, so it’s turning to private companies. - While most Americans don’t have to think too hard about whether their water is safe to drink or not, people in Camden, New Jersey are used to not having clean water

From the BLM:
Improving the Way We Plan Together
As part of our continuing commitment to improve our management of the nation’s public lands, the Bureau of Land Management is reviewing the way we develop and update our Resource Management Plans (RMPs).

This initiative, known as Planning 2.0, aims to increase public involvement and incorporate the most current data and technology into our land use planning.
BLM Plan 2.0 presentation 
Plan 2.0 FAQ sheet

Cynic Comment: Under the current administration BLM efforts could be negatively revised by using an esoteric Congressional procedure to sabotage BLM efforts.

Republicans Are Using An Arcane Tool To Handcuff Federal Agencies... And it could have long-term consequences.  Huffington    An example just out today... GOP Wants NASA To Stop Worrying About Earth And Focus On Space ... There are talks of “rebalancing” the agency’s mission as it continues to tweet about climate change.  Huffington  

The Cynic is developing a new webpage that follows the Trump/GOP administration"disappearing" federal data and negative revisions to existing legislation, rules, and regulations. Click Here

February 17, 2017 -
We are still tracking HB 275, the Public/Private Partnership bill. Sadly, the House Transportation, Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee recommended a Do Pass, a big setback for us.

Next in line is a hearing at the House Labor and Economic Development Committee. OUR REPRESENTATIVE, GAIL ARMSTRONG, IS ON THAT COMMITTEE. You can do one quick thing: phone Representative Armstrong’s office and ask that she vote NO on HB 275. Her phone number is 505-269-2364. I usually call very early and leave a message. It is our numbers that matter, so the more people who call the better. It will take about 30 seconds!

Gail Armstrong website

February 15, 2017 -
From Conservation Voter of New Mexico -
Public-Private Partnerships (HB 275) seeks to give private companies control of New Mexico's critical public services - including our water.

A dangerous bill that could put your critical public services, like water, has again been introduced in the State House. ... Last seen in 2015, Public-Private Partnerships (now HB 275, Larrañaga/Cisneros) is a sweeping measure that would privatize projects that are most appropriately developed and maintained by public entities. In 2015, you raised your voice and we were able to stop the bill. Together, we can do it again.

HB 275 first, and it has powerful support in the legislature. If you speak up now, we can stop this dangerous "blank check" legislation in its tracks.
Public-private partnership, or P3, is a catch-all term for any project that partners government with private business. Generally speaking, the more heavily the private sector is involved, the riskier the project is for the public - in financial, social and environmental terms. Examples from across the country and right here in New Mexico have proven the need to take a very cautious approach to P3s.

Private companies are pushing hard to expand P3s in our state. HB 275 is one of the broadest, if not the broadest, pieces of P3 legislation in the country.

Follow this link to CVNM Action center and send your representative a message

Download this action alert  

February 15, 2017 -
This bulletin came in too late to be effective, but never-the-less... Rep. Pearce is having a call-in Town Hall TODAY. If you can't make the call, please email him ... he's in the process of giving away public lands. .

Signup website click here

Pearce Town Hall Bulletin  .

[NEW] February 12, 2017 -
Draft of memo from From:
AFSCME, AFT, NM Building Trades Council (15 affiliated unions), CVNM, CWA, Food & Water Watch, NEA-NM, NM Environmental Law Center, NM Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), Sierra Club, and Voices for Children.
To: NM Legislation
Re: Please OPPOSE House Bill 275 (Allowing Privatization of all Public Services and Infrastructure) and SUPPORT Senate Bill 143 (Narrower Public Private Partnership bill)
. 021317-AFSCME Memo

February 11, 2017 -
A cautionary tale from 2012:
How the Private Water Industry Is Teaming Up With ALEC ... ALEC has worked with the energy industry to create loophole-filled water protections and opposes federal oversight of fracking.

Profiting from Public Dollars: How ALEC and Its Members Promote Privatization of Government Services and Assets. Public Interest  

ALEC -The Water/Wastewater Utility Public-Private Partnership Act. (This is where your NM representatives get the text of P3 legislation)
ALEC-Sample Legislation

February 11, 2017 -
California water venture tied to Trump sees prospects rise after years of setbacks. ... Until Trump won the presidency, prospects looked bleak for Cadiz, a California company that has struggled for years to secure federal permits to transform Mojave Desert groundwater into liquid gold. McClatchyDC  
NB: the above article references the infamous "Emergency Infrastructure" list of critical projects in the 2nd paragraph (see January 27th commentary below). This is an example of very bad reporting using a fake list to generate an "exclusive".Always follow the money.

[NEW]  February 10, 2017 -
Quick note on legislation that requires fast action
in the form of a call or email to Santa Fe to make sure all of the following 5 Democrats are all present to vote against HB275  . (See below for more information) The main talking point about HB 275 is that it allows for privatization of virtually everything in government, including schools, water utilities, solid waste, waste water, watersheds, habitat restoration, and everything else done by state and local government. It's by far the broadest bill in America, and is terrible for any number of reasons (each activist group here will have their own reasons for not wanting to privatize government). The Legislature should appoint a commission to review all P3 bills and that commission should report to the Legislature. We need to emphasize that the lack of adequate oversight is enough by itself to defeat the bill. In addition, all reference to water projects should be removed.
These are the critical representatives: .

Chairman Bobby Gonzales (D-Taos) 505-986-4333

Vice Chair Moe Maestas (D-West side ABQ) 505-986-4438

Patty Lundstrom (D-Gallup) 505-986-4316

Harry Garcia (D-Grants) 505-986-4433 (note: shared phone with Ruiloba)

Pat Ruiloba (D-Albuquerque) 505-986-4433

ALEC is the source of this legislation. Through ALEC, global corporations are scheming to rewrite your rights and boost their revenue. Alec Exposed

There are several articles about P3's on this website. Note, Larry Larrañaga was at one time on the ALEC Federalism and International Relations Task force, but no longer listed. A search for Larrañaga in the search field above will link to stories that include him. NM representative on ALEC is Rep. Yvette Herrell

February 9, 2017 -
The Problems With Water Supply and Demand:
A disconnect between water supply and demand will always exist. The reason is that every time more water is made available to a community or state it creates an instant invitation to increase demand by way of development. Before long there is more demand for water than what was being made available. Our economic system demands that growth is essential if we are to prosper. Water is becoming like fiat money we continue to think there is more available and seem to think that if we use it up more will be found elsewhere. We never admit that there is not enough water until the well or spigot goes dry. In other words we do not live within our means. Read the rest of the commentary here  

February 7, 2017 - New found Resources:
* NM Drinking Water Allocation Program (WRAP)
OSE web page
* Who owns water. Water rights in the SW States. Published 2003 by Brian H Hurd - NM State University.
Who owns water in the SW.
* 2009 Overview of NM Ground Water Code.
Brockman Ground Water conference paper .
* 1962 - NM water law since 1955 - Clark   
* Office of State Eng. Glossary of water terms  

February 6, 2017 -
Support Reform of the (Interstate Stream Commission. This information came too late to call your the rules committee members today, but send your rep and e-mail or call will at least let them know they are being watched. (Rules Committee list)  

Today it is important to tell Senate Rules Members to Vote YES on SB157!   SB157 Analysis:   
SB157 Bill  

Senator Peter Wirth has introduced legislation (SB157) that would reform membership of the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC), the state agency charged with "developing New Mexico's waters including both interstate and intrastate stream systems."

The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Rules Committee (Room 321) on Monday, February 6 at 8 am.

The bill is designed to bring objectivity and science, and less political partisanship, into New Mexico's water management decisions. The ISC has responsibility for state and regional water planning and the technically infeasible and unaffordable Gila River diversion project among many others.

ISC appointments would be shared equally between the Governor's office and legislature. The bill requires an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, two water-related technical experts from either UNM or NMSU, and representation by the variety of interests that have a stake in how water is managed, including a representative from a non-governmental conservation advocacy organization.

Please contact members of the Senate Rules Committee and ask them to vote YES on SB157.

NM Interstate Sream Commission (OSE) website  
The February 6, 2017 - news item  

February 4, 2017 -
Below is a copy of form letter from the Office of The State Engineer. Re: The Application by APR, OSE file RG89943.  It includes a copy of the "request to docket application". There were 604 "timely" Protestants. A list of all Protestants was included in the original, but not part of this file. Those listed will recive the complete document.
OSE File: RG-89943 and associated notices dated February 2, 2017   What all this means will be discussed soon.

The SB 86 - requires the State Engineer to put notices on-line. NM Gov website or Download  

February 3, 2017 -
Why is EPA chief Gina McCarthy speaking at a conference full of private water company execs?

December 2016 article on Grist  

February 1, 2017 -

Fiscal impact Report - NM Infrastructure
Investment Act

In HB 275, Section 2- H(1)(n) under definitions of a public project (page 4 of the bill) seems to fit the APR plan. HB275   It will also be important to see if some of the language in HB 275 ends up in the broadband bill in a back-door type of move as this process progresses.

Food and Water Watch here in New Mexico is also an ally opposing the P3 legislation. Below is an analysis by Food and Water Watch of the President’s proposal to privatize water and sewer systems. We need to continue watching the President’s short list of infrastructure projects to be funded. (That may be a fake) To that end we have some help from a friend in DC, and I’ll keep you posted.

Trump Attacks the Safety of Our Drinking Water - Trump’s war on the EPA endangers our drinking water. His plans to gut the agency would sacrifice key programs that support and protect our public water supplies.
Democrat Plan for Infrastructure  
Trump's infrastructure plan (Mentions APR. Not White House approved, probably a fake)

AFSCME Public services union is also watching P3 legislation in New Mexico.

Download the February 1, 2017 News  

January 30, 2017 -
Here it comes - NM will attempt to turn over government agencies and projects to private for-profit companies... like charter schools, for example. More on these bills later: They will aid ARP in getting approval for the project with government support. Read the article below on National Security Projects.

Relating to public projects; enacting the public-private - partnerships act.... HB275 and SB143  

Related: P3 legislation was attempted in 2013 ...
HB405 under House Taxation & Revenue Committee.and HB560  and in 2015 HB299

January 27, 2017 -
There is a report floating around called the "Emergency & National Security Projects", (link below) in which APR is listed as one of 50 top national security projects.

Other projects in the report are massive and the patronage of the government.
Download the document here

Does it sound reasonable the Federal Government would be interested in a relatively small and very isolated private project?  Probably not, but it would be good to know how the APR ended up on the report.

What we know so far…

The story, originated with McClatchy DC, which is part of wider network of journalists who work in 14 states and 29 communities. Read the original story here   Trump team compiles infrastructure priority list

The Albuquerque Journal picked up the story and on investigation pulled it, saying .. "The original post on was removed late Tuesday night after a Politico Pro report questioned the document's authenticity." ... The Journal called the White House: "It is not a White House policy document", White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in an email ... responding to a Journal request for comment.

The Journal story is an important read to understand the sequence of events and latest information:
WH disavows infrastructure priorities document

McClatched followed up on the story with:
List of 50 infrastructure projects used by Trump transition team came from consulting firm  

PolitocoPro, mentioned above, may have originated the story and document, then backed off. As to PoliticoPro's reliability as a source of real news note that US Dept of Education wanted to buy a subscription to Politco Pro but did not....price tag too high and seemed to be based on "whatever the traffic would bear."

The complete story above for download

January 18, 2017 -
Water just like air is critical to our existence; we can’t live without it. Good potable groundwater is a quality of life essential. As a commodity its value varies with its
scarceness. Water laws governing water varies from state to state and country to country. People fight over water, states fight over water, and countries fight over water. Generally the rule for groundwater is that it is a defacto property right, if located under your land. In New Mexico the state controls groundwater through a permitting system by regulating the amount of withdrawal. However, if there are too many landowners vying for a limited amount of water the water is apportioned by need or a water master. So by its scarcity it has become more valuable. ...
Continue reading or Download the article 

January 17, 2017 -
New Mexico's Land Grant and Severance Tax Permanent Funds: Renewable Wealth from Non-Renewable Resources. ... New Mexico's Land Grant and Severance Tax Permanent Funds were constitutionally created to allow the state to save and invest the revenues it derives from the extraction of natural resources statewide. Those funds, responsibly invested, meet the dual goals of growing New Mexico's wealth and serving current and future generations of New Mexicans by funding public education. This type of system has been instituted in other states, provinces, and countries in the western United States, Canada, and abroad. Permanent funds elsewhere have achieved varying degrees of success. This article explores New Mexico's Land Grant and
Severance Tax Permanent Funds, evaluates such funds in other states, and presents lessons to be learned from those funds. Finally, this article proposes changes to New Mexico's funds based on these lessons, which would allow New Mexico to continue to meet and
exceed the dual goals of the Land Grant and Severance Tax Permanent Funds.
Complete areticle in the Summer 2008 Natural Resources Journal  

January 17, 2017 -
Severance compensation - This is not royalties that go to the State to compensate for using the States oil and gas resources.

Who does it go to?

How is it going to help the people who no longer have water?

Why is okay to takes one’s livelihood away so others can benefit at their expense?

Is the collapse of a community justifiable so that others can profit from a taking of a water resource?

Why would the State Engineer consider this course of action a way forward in granting this application?

Water is not equivalent to oil and gas as it is already is being put to a beneficial use and has senior rights
to its use over the junior rights of the LLC.

(See January 18, 2017 above, What is Water Worth?)
Download the above

January 17, 2017-
SENATE BILL 86 ... 2017 -
AN ACT Relating to water Rights Notifications, Requiring the Office of the State engineer to Post Notices On-line. Download SB86 Bill    NM Legislature Link  

January 17, 2017 -
NM Legislation 2017 -
Requesting the Interstate Stream Commission to Convene a Task Force to Make recommendations to Correct Deficiencies in State and Regional Water Planning Programs and Processes. Full Bill Here
NM Legislation original weblink.

Related: August 15, 2015 - Analysis: Weaknesses mar NM’s capital outlay system.   Click here

January 13, 2017 -
NM State Engineer: “You know, do we need to be looking at something like a severance tax on that water?”

Is an elaborate proposal to pump thousands of acre feet of water 150 miles to Albuquerque .... from the Augustin Plains Ranch (APR) in Catron and Socorro counties about to trigger a new policy for large scale water sales in New Mexico, treating water like oil and gas – including severance compensation as a political sweetener for such a deal?  The Candle Publishing  

January 10, 2017 -
No Right to Free Water, Except for Nestlé. ... former Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck is famous for denying that access to drinking water is a human right. But based on the company’s actions, its management seems to believe that Nestlé Corporation has a human right to free water.  CounterPunch  

January 9, 2017 - Whose water is it?

When you apply for a water right or a permit for a well from the State of New Mexico, it is assumed that there is water available for diversion. If there are no other wells or surface diversions in your vicinity then there will not be a likelihood of a protest. However, if there are other diversions close to your proposed diversion, those diversions would have prior existing rights over your application.

You would have to state how you are going to put this water to a beneficial use. The State Engineer would then evaluate your application to see if it meets the required standards for a permit to drill.

If you knew that the existing wells in your area were shallow and you wanted to put in a deeper well to ensure that you got all the water that was granted under your application, the neighboring well owners could challenge your application stating that you would be impairing their water right of prior appropriation and the fact that you could be over drafting the common aquifer and cause their well or wells to go dry. The State Engineer could respond, ‘that their wells are not going to be impaired and that those wells could always be drilled deeper’. This concept is a result of the Tom Morrison paper “Guidelines for the Assessment of Drawdown Estimates” Feb. 2006. Of course this could be a remedy; if it did not create a financial burden on the owners of the prior existing water rights. What if the existing wells were only about 200 feet deep and your well is 2,000 feet deep?  Would a 1,500 foot difference in depths be considered impairment? This is a major difference and could cost the original water right holders many hundreds of thousands of dollars to just compete with your well. Isn’t this also considered a type of impairment “financial in nature”?

The problem is that water generally flows down gradient, so that the water you are pumping that lies under your property; when pumped long enough and at much lower depth will cause the adjacent landowners water to flow toward your well over time. This gradient flow is the result of the cone of depression created at your well point. The bottom line is that you are mining your neighbor’s water.  If this occurred in the oil patch , a law suit would follow claiming a taking and you would have to pay for the oil you should not have pumped along with damages. It is too bad that this does not apply to water, a taking is a taking. So the question arises as to whose water is it?

 In New Mexico the water belongs to the state and you have permission under the permit system to only pump what you have been allocated under that permit. If you do not use the water that has been allocated the state can reduce your allocation to reflect what you are actually using. This practice is very common when a watershed or an area under goes adjudication. Adjudication is where all the water users in an area undergoing adjudication have their water use history researched and if the people cannot verify their water use they may wind up having their amount of water use reduced. This may seem harsh but once the water has been adjudicated the amount of water granted is yours in perpetuity.

So if the water in the state is the state’s water do whatever they wish with it; except where there are water compacts with other state’s that they otherwise obligated to comply with. Can the state just give it away to the highest bidder or to people that know how to play the political game of saying that the water is to be used for the greater good of the state’s residents. This is the case where there are winners and there are losers. In most cases the losers are residents in the rural areas of the state. This is the case where a major development in the Albuquerque area (Santolina Project) that is proposed but not yet approved, is trying to get water from the San Augustin Plains at the expense of the residents that live there.

Well again I come back to whose water is it? If you remember that, “water is life, if you control the one you control the other.” So water is a political pawn that is played with by the rich and influential to their financial gain and the end user is non-consequential.
Dennis Inman - Geologist - Download the comment
Guidelines for the Assessment of Drawdown

- Basic Groundwater Hydrology and Evaluation Porcedures - Training Manual

January 6, 2017 -
Business group lists priorities for legislative session...
Of particular interest is privatization of wate, and the support ... creation of public-private partnerships to develop water infrastructure that will provide public benefits, such as economical infrastructure project delivery and water conservation. NM Politics  

Beyond the Mirage The Future of Water in the West - Video on YouTube  

January 5, 2017 - The Great Public Land Heist Has Begun

Without demonstrable public will and with strong opposition from environmentalists, hunters, anglers, the Department of the Interior, and the outdoor recreation industry, among others, Republican lawmakers are attempting to transfer control of your public lands from federal to state governments in a thinly-veiled attempt to force their sale for purposes of resource exploitation. Now, the first blow has been struck. -

Under current Congressional Budget Office accounting rules, any transfer of federal land that generates revenue for the U.S. Treasury - whether through energy extraction, logging, grazing or other activities - has a cost. If lawmakers wanted to give such land to a state, local government or tribe, they would have to account for that loss in expected cash flow.

The immediate impact of the rules change is that lawmakers cannot raise a budgetary point of order if a land transfer bill comes to the floor. Under existing House rules, any measure that costs the U.S. Treasury money must be offset by either budget cuts or a revenue-raising provision.

The culprit, UT Congressman Rob Bishop:
"Bishop's initial act upon his appointment as Chairman Natural Resources was his decision to hire several oil and gas industry officials to work on the subcommittee that oversees oil and gas leases on public lands. Press coverage that highlights industry insiders working for the chairman contributes to the impression that Washington D.C.’s revolving door is alive and well at the Natural Resources Committee...."
Rest of the story - WestWise  :

115THCONGRESS - 1ST SESSION - H. RES. 5. The Bill, HR-115  

Related News Articles:

April 9, 2015 - Republicans just voted to sell off your national forests    Gizmo  

January 3, 2017 - House GOP rules change will make it easier to sell off federal land  WaPo  

January 4, 2017 - Selling off public lands. The House rule change that went unnoticed.  DailyKos  

October 18, 2016 - Ute Tribe declares political war with Rep. Rob Bishop. SLTrib  

June 22, 2016 -
House bill to sell national forests passes committee

The above article here  

December 23, 2016 - Indian Power - New Mexico tribes catapult into politics and join the state's water tug-of-war.  (April 2003 - scroll down) High Country News 

December 19, 2016 -
Intent of the Office of the State Engineer -  
What is the intent of the Office of the State Engineer when it comes to dealing with large water withdrawals from one basin to another (inter-basin transfers)? This is a question that is on minds of the residents of the Plains of San Augustin. The notion that the transferring of water from one location to another so that that one group of people can live and prosper at the expense of another group of people is flawed thinking, to many of the rural residents in New Mexico. The Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC application for 54,000 acre feet of water annually from the Plains of San Augustin is just such a plan. And if this application is granted by the State Engineer; why wouldn't another application from this location, not be granted? Is it the intent to drain the Plains of San Augustin so that the current residents have to move somewhere else?

This brings up the question of impairment to existing wells and water rights. If rich people with political connections and influence can sway the State Engineer and his office to grant these transfers at the expense of people in rural areas and cause financial difficulties as well as drain their aquifer is this not impairment? This is something that is not supposed to happen under state statutes. When and if the LLC gets their request and the project goes forward, it is not just a matter of the local rancher and other current residents in the basin to deepen their wells. This is matter of drilling new wells to a depth of 2,000 feet to compete with the LLC's wells. This would place a financial hardship on these folks and bankrupt many others, as they do not have the financial resources that the LLC has. Is this type of activity really in the states best interest? Why would they want to harm or alienate one group of people in favor of another?

The Plains of San Augustin are already feeling the effects of a prolong draught and the existing pumping of water under the state's permit system. There are wells in the southwestern part of the plains that are showing signs of decline. With the groundwater gradient flow for the whole basin toward the southwest and the Continental Divide this does not bode well for the Gila and San Francisco Rivers which have been adjudicated under the Arizona Water Settlement Act (AWSA). This application has the potential to decrease the amount of available water to the aforementioned rivers which opens the State up for yet another water law suit. The basin is leaking groundwater at such a rate that annual rain and snow fall is NOT recharging the basin sufficiently.

So why is this application still going forward? Is there an agenda that we are unaware of, or is it just incompetence on the State's part, that 10 years later we are still dealing with this screwball application?
Dennis Inman - Geologist.
Download the commentary

December 7, 2017 -
Two books that may be of interest re: APR issue …
Land Grants & Lawsuits in Northern New Mexico by Malcolm Ebright, 2008 edition
(Southwest books - Center for land grant studies

Land, Water & Culture: New Perspectives on Hispanic Land Grants, - Briggs, 1987 (Amazon link)

Below are several pertinent articles reference in the Ebright work, from the Journal of the Southwest, Autumn, 1990. They go with this excerpt....

Generally, ancient Hispanic practices as to the location and boundaries of land grants, water rights, do not conform and have not conformed to Anglo-American standards for legal a result...
Absolute title with the right to sell water is an Anglo concept imposed on New Mexico water users fairly recently, and like the imposition of a partition suit, it will inevitably lead to the loss of water rights, just as the partition suit resulted in the loss of common lands. Communal control of irrigation water by acequia associations has helped the communities that use those resources to survive, but with privatization both water rights and the communities themselves are in jeopardy...." - Frances Levine in "Dividing the Water,"

Attached are the full text of articles from the Autumn issue of Journal of the Southwest that may be of use giving some legal and common law background behind some of these water fights....
Dividing the water.pdf
Dancing for Water.pdf
Acequia Rights Law and Tradition.pdf

The entire Autumn, 1990 issue of Journal of the Southwest was devoted to Water Rights in New Mexico. (Three examples below) Of course, there are many other studies, some more recent, but the back-grounding in the issues were adjudicated in the courts of the last 60-70 years....

Land, Water, and Pueblo-Hispanic Relations in Northern New Mexico - Autumn 1990 -Quantana  

Applied Research on Land and Water in New Mexico: A Critique - Autumn 1900 - Rodriguez   

"A Never-ending source of Water: Agriculture, Society, and Aquifer Deletion on the Coast of Hermosillo, Snorooa - Winter 2012 - Moreno   

In researching the subject documents it's important to make a distinction between water law, water rights, surface water and groundwater.

The term acquifer[s] is not useful because most of the hydrological studies that refer to acquifers do so in terms of groundwater vs. surface water. There is an additional problem because while everyone knows that surface waters are related to rivers and groundwater basins, the knowledge of groundwater.

Sources are often highly technical in its exact relationship. Claims about recharging groundwater resources periodically, or about depleting such resources … torture the definitions of water rights on the surface and their relationship to groundwater basins and the connection of those groundwater resources to flowing rivers. The geologic fact of the course of the Rio Grande through New Mexico has also made arguments about urban growth and water resource management highly political....and stretched the concepts around common lands and resources....
2 articles below are representative about the issues and case law
Of course the APR issue is "privatization" of something underground that can be attached or sold off like a separate mineral resource and detached from or attached to the concept of private property. That may mean that they can put the resource into a deed of conveyance, but the issue of adjudicating the true ownership of the same resource in a court of law is often technical and highly flawed when it comes to politicians, judges, and state agencies such as the New Mexico State Engineer....having been captured by corporate interests....

The issues about whether the community, smaller or larger, has rights to manage the use of groundwater resources have not recently been accorded priority when stood up against private property concepts.

From the Chicago-Kent College of Law Scholarly Commons @ IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law ...
Water Supply and Urban Growth in NM - Same old same old, or a new era - March 1, 2003

Transboundary Aquifers: Conceptual Models for Development of International Law - Ground Water 43 No.5 – Eckstein

The commentary above can be downloaded here  

Journal of the Southwest
Journal of the Southwest website  

Focusing on P3 in the context of the Plains water project is like complaining that the mugger who slugged me and stole my wallet had dirty fingernails. It is not the subject of primary concern. .

Reviewing SB0077 (1) … (the legislation) includes both surface and underground water.
I see that it adds a few requirements to those already required to be addressed by the OSE. However, I don't see that it presents special hurdles to the APR, and it also lacks detail in some areas:

(9) whether the entity in the receiving basin has prepared and implemented a drought contingency plan and an approved water conservation plan;

Approved by whom?

(3) benefits presently and prospectively derived from the return flow of water used within the basin of
origin that will be eliminated by the proposed out-of-basin use;

What is return flow? Return from where?

(11) whether the source of supply can reliably sustain the diversion's anticipated firm yield considering the
predicted effects of climate change on precipitation patterns and temperature in the basin of origin.

The APR, despite its greenwashing about capturing surface water for recharging the aquifer, admits that there is negligible natural recharge and has presented no evidence that it can achieve artificial recharge. It claims that irrespective of such activity (and thus of climate-associated changes to precipitation patterns) the water reservoir underlying the Plains contains 300 years' worth of pumping at the stated rate. So all it has to do to meet condition 11) is abandon the flimsy pretense that it will do any recharging.
Finally, if I were the APR, I'd guarantee Plains residents an ample supply of water at a nominal rate. My money's being made from the Valley communities, especially once they're dependent on "my" water to sustain the overdevelopment that its consumption permits. I see no problem doling out a few hundred acre-feet to keep the locals happy.

So what are you prepared to do when the APR makes this guarantee: never mind about your wells; we'll meet your water needs!

First, do you object to this situation? If not, where's the problem?

Second: if you do object to it, what in any existing or proposed water law gives you any legal ground to prevent it? I really think you ought to answer both of these questions. If you can't, this legislation business just invites pettifoggery on both sides by evading the real issue.

Happily, I don't see how the APR can expect to overcome the objection that wrecked their previous proposal: they have no end user and are merely speculating.
(1) Links to SB 77 - NM SB 77 link to
Inter Basin Water Transfer Senate bill 2014  

Jim Nelson - Magdalena

Download the above commentary  






2017 - 53rd Legislaton:
Senate Mail List    -  House Mail List  

February 6, 2017 -
From NM Wilderness alliance:

SB 182 will be heard at 8:00 AM on Wednesday February 8th in the Senate Education Committee. This bill is the brainchild of State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, and would seize federal minerals which are lying underneath private land in New Mexico, and give those mineral rights to the state. While the state cannot complete this action without Congressional approval, Congressman Pearce is interested and Former Senator Pete Domenici has begun lobbying Congress to get it done. SB 182 on Wednesday is the first step. Oppose!

HJM 5 will be heard in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday February 7th at 1:30 PM. This is a Memorial which would ask the Farmington BLM office to halt all additional oil and gas leasing in the field office until after the Resource Management Plan revision is completed. BLM continues to lease additional acres on BLM land in the office, including parcels relatively close to Chaco National Historical Park. With over 90% of the field office already leased, we think this Memorial presents a common sense approach. Support!

HJM 3 will be heard in the House Land Grant Committee on Tuesday February 7th at 1:30 PM. This is a Memorial which essentially opposes any additional wilderness in the Pecos. As the Memorial states itself, the Santa Fe National Forest is legally obligated during its planning process to conduct an inventory of its land for wilderness characteristics and then make a management decision about those areas. It makes those decisions based on science and on Forest Service manuals and guidance documents. Additionally, the Forest Service is already obligated to conduct an extensive public involvement process, and it has continually reached out to NGO's, local governments, land grants, and tribes (you may have seen our other recent enews announcing additional public meetings the Santa Fe National Forest is holding about this very issue). Instead of Memorials like this, the Forest Service should be encouraged by the state to continue following its existing legal obligations, and to make its determinations based on the best science available. Oppose!

February 8, 2017 -
Federal Lawmakers Renew Their Cruel and Misguided War on America's Wolves
This isn't sensible, humane or even about conservation. It is an all-out, barbaric assault on the forebears of the domesticated dog. AlterNet  

January 30, 2017 -
The West’s biggest coal plant may be about to shut down.  Grist  

SunZia project may be costly for Socorro County

The Gila River - the last free flowing river in New Mexico (Video)

September 13, 2016 -
Five ways you are subdizing meat production.
With traps, snares, poisons, gas, and aerial gunning, the USDA’s Wildlife Services has killed more than 34 million animals in the last decade to protect the livestock operations of private meat producers, according to official records. The take in 2015 alone included 68,905 coyotes, 731 bobcats, 480 bears, 385 wolves, and 284 mountain lions. More >  

September 13, 2016 -
Scientific Study Warns of "Catastrophic Declines" in Earth's Wilderness

Sept 8, 2016 - Slaughtering the Profanity Pack: Losing Wolves and Academic Freedom   

Aug 26, 2016 -
For More Wonder, Rewild The world

August 24, 2016 - News on the City of Socorro feasibility study for municipally-owned electric utility. Meanwhile:

RFI for Wholesale Electric Power Supply

RFP for City of Socorro Municipal Electric Facilities Design.

Sept 8, 2016 -
In 20 Short Years, We’ve Wiped Out 10 Percent Of Earth’s Wilderness

August 7, 2016 - Official: Wolf issues resolved (Chieftain)

August 28, 2016 -
For More Wonder, Rewild The world (video)

2014-2017 - NM Wildlife plan  
Summary version

July 18, 2016 - Cibola forest plan was released today - Click "Cibola" above for documents that related to Magdalena area.

Mark your calendars and try and attend one of these meetings!When: July 26, 5:30 - 8 pm
Magdalena High School, 201 Duggins Dr, Magdalena

Cibola Forest press release  
The 1985 forest plan to be revised  

The Republican platform committee met this week to draft the document that defines the party’s official principles and policies. .... (there is) an amendment calling for the indiscriminate and immediate disposal of national public lands. Rest or the story here

July 11, 2016 - Federal Investigation: Wolf Program Mishandled (Abq. Journal)
" Less than a quarter of one percent, 0.23%, of the American cattle inventory was lost to native carnivores and dogs in 2010, according to a Department of Agriculture report".  
 Synopsis of the report  

June 16, 2016 - Judge temporarily stops wolf

June 16, 2016 - Keep politics out of wolf release

May 14, 2016 - (ABQ Journal)
State seeking to stop release of wolves

May 5, 2016 - Sheriff may try to stop wolves’ release in Socorro County - Chieftain

Important Survey:
The NM Department of Information Technology is soliciting your assistance in identifying those areas within NM having inadequate broadband service. As you all know Internet service in our area is poor.   Please take the speed test which will be logged by the Department as part of a survey. Conduct the test frequently at different times and days, at this website:

April 21, 2016 -
Chieftain article on the annual meeting  

More Electric Co-op news here


2014-2017 - NM Wildlife plan  
Summary version

February 6, 2016 -
The Battle to Save NM's Last Wild River  

January 12, 2026 - Department of the Interior and NM Central AZ Project Entity Sign Agreement to Further Evaluate a Gila River Water Project

2013 - Assessment of Climate Change
in the Southwest United States Click here

1968 - Public Law 90-537 - 90th Congress, S. 1004 - September 30, 1968:
Colorado River Basin Project: Objectives  

More Gila information here
More Cibola information here



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