Monday, October 10, 2011

As Obama Anglo Support Wanes He Looks To Hispanics For Winning Margin, Plus: Change The "Pit Rule?" But Where's The Damage? 

We're traveling abroad this week so we're out of the immediate news loop, but we still have some blogging for you...

President Obama will look to Hispanics and other minorities as his popularity descends among whites. This is from a recent Wall St. Journal piece:

In New Mexico, the voting-age Hispanic population (from 2008-2010) rose by more than 36,000, outpacing the growth among whites of just 19,000....

The Republican message does not appear to be resonating among Hispanics. (The polling firm) Resurgent Republic asked Hispanics...in New Mexico whether they agreed that the best way to improve the economy was to increase government investment in job training, education and infrastructure, or by reining in government spending, lowering taxes and reducing excessive regulations. New Mexico sided with more government spending--59% to 30%...

That takes us back to last month when the state Legislature meeting in special session scaled back Governor Martinez's capital outlay bill from $213 million to $86 million. And the charge for the lesser amount was led not by Republicans but by Senate Democrats. That's not the right choice if the Dems are going to get their working class Hispanic constituents excited about going to the polls next year.


When it comes to the "pit" rule around here, it's all about producing proof--definitive proof that the environmental rule governing the clean up of oil and gas drilling sites is driving business out of our state. The NM Oil & Gas Association, which we take pride in for the great contributions it and its industry have made to this state for several generations, has announced it will ask the NM Oil Conservation Commission to lighten up on the pit rule. They give this as their central reasoning:

"The oil and gas industry worked extremely hard on this rule over several months,” said Steve Henke, President of the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association. “The team knows how important changing the rule is to help New Mexico secure project funding that has been going to other states."

Fair enough, Steve. But we've asked on this blog for exact examples of the pit rule chasing business out of New Mexico. We've received some anecdotes, but nothing definitive. In fact, most reports we get in here indicate a rather robust oil drilling industry. (Natural gas is in a multi-year bear market because of oversupply).

Here's what we're looking for: The specific names of oil and gas companies that cite the pit rule as their primary reason for not doing business in New Mexico. That would be declarations in writing. Also, the calender day when they made that decision, the drilling site where they proposed the drilling but then decided to abandon because of the pit rule; how many employees they would have hired; the exact out-of-state location the company relocated to when they discovered the pit rule was too onerous and the number of jobs created elsewhere as a result of that relocation.

If there are indeed examples provided that have cost NM significant jobs and revenue to its treasury then this corner will reconsider its stance on changing it. We suspect there would be a number of others joining us.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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