Democrats Raked In Over $1 Million As They Deliberate the Governor’s ‘Produced Water’ and Hydrogen Grifts.

“When the Governor says it, that Doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Democrats, especially progressive Democrats, jumped out of their skin when they heard Donald Trump claim that “When the president says it, that means it’s true.”

But in New Mexico, as Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham makes over-the-top claims about her environmental enterprises, Democratic legislative leaders – including progressives – line up to advance her produced water and hydrogen hub grifts.

And then they elbow the Republicans out of the way to get to the front of the oil and gas bread-line.

In just over two years, legislative Democrats in the state have pocketed over $1 million in campaign largess from oil and gas interests that are the real beneficiaries of Lujan Grisham’s so-called “environmental” efforts.

(Yesterday, The Candle reported on $231,536 in campaign contributions to legislators from oil and gas lobbyistsjust since last October. Most of that money went to Democrats – a review of the last two years of campaign reports is even more eyeopening.)

Lujan Grisham self brands her administration as a leader in energy transformation – but when investigated, the policies favor traditional fossil fuel producers.

The latest plan would have the state finance the research to clean billions of gallons of water contaminated by the industry’s production practices.

Oil and Gas companies, hedge fund investors in blue and gray hydrogen development of industrial feedstock, midstream operations (transportation and storage of crude oil and natural gas), and the lawyers and engineering companies that serve fossil fuel development, are crafting initiatives with the Governor that would also keep oil and gas at the heart of energy policy.

The fossil fuel and investment house folks were given preferential access to the governor’s team when she crafted hydrogen hub legislation in 2022.

Now they have the undivided attention of James Kenney, Lujan Grisham’s Secretary of the Environment Department, regarding her “Strategic Water Supply” brainchild.

During her State of the State address last week, the Governor proposed another gift to fossil fuel producers, although she is trying to pass it off as a benefit to the state’s residents.

“Imagine the potential of turning the ocean of brackish water beneath our feet into water we can put to use,” Lujan Grisham offered as a hook.

When she attended a conference in Dubai last year, she spoke of the need to tap the vast amounts of “brackish” water that is naturally present in the state.

In the speech last week, little, if anything, was mentioned regarding the investment she wants to make in the “produced water” problem created by oil and gas production.

As reported by INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS, “produced water” is waste:

  • “Produced water” is water that returns to the surface as wastewater during oil and gas production.
  • “The water typically contains hydrocarbons from the deposit as well as naturally occurring toxic substances like arsenic and radium, salts and chemical additives injected into the well to facilitate extraction.
  • “These additives include carcinogens and numerous other toxic substances that have the potential to harm human health and contaminate the environment.
  • “The content and toxicity of produced water vary considerably, depending on the geology of the petroleum deposit. 
  • “Produced water is the largest waste stream from fossil fuel extraction.”

The spin offered by the Governor regarding the Strategic Water Supply is misleading – her focus, and the focus of the fossil fuel folks, is on bailing them out while pretending to be addressing sound water policy.

“I am asking the Legislature for $500 million in Severance Tax Bonds to make this Strategic Water Supply a reality – spurring the private sector to turn an untapped resource into water that we can use without asking taxpayers to front the cost,” the Governor added in her State of the State address.

She then reintroduced her commitment to the hydrogen driven project of two years ago.

“I’m also proposing that we dedicate two percent of our severance tax permanent fund – that’s $170 million dollars – to catapult forward the advanced energy sources of the future – hydrogen, geothermal, next-generation battery storage – further committing our state to the climate goals of the country.”

Kenney’s agency has already advanced proposed rules changing policy to pave the way for expanded use of “produced water.”

The Candle spoke with people inside the Environment Department who acknowledged that any effort to tap the “ocean of brackish water beneath our feet into water we can put to use,” is not what they were ordered to deal with first.

The fossil fuel folks are getting their agenda addressed before any other – bailing them out of their produce water debacle – for which they likely feel they are entitled, due to the money they have spent on legislators and the governor.

Grass root supporters and environmental advocates need to call out the Governor’s plan for what it is: A Grift.

And they should stop worrying so much about Republicans giving voice to the virtues of the oil and gas lobby – that’s what they always do – besides they don’t control any branch of the state government.

The Democrats do.

Traditional environmental advocates also need to stop playing nice and publicly call out the Democrats gathered around the Oil and Gas ‘bread-line.”