State methane regulations are in the middle of a much-needed overhaul that began over a year ago. New Mexico ranks third in the U.S. for production of oil and ninth in gas production. But of all the major petroleum-producing states, New Mexico has been ranked dead last in the regulation of air emissions associated with that production. The New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission finalized the first phase of this emissions overhaul with new, strong rules March 24. The next step is detecting and repairing leaks of methane from oil and gas operations, and that’s where the New Mexico Environment Department has a role to play.

In May, the Environment Department will propose new, complementary air-quality protections (“New Mexico adopts rules to curb emissions from oil industry,” March 27). As explained in the article, closing loopholes for stripper wells is an important battlefront in cleaning up New Mexico’s air quality and curbing emissions of methane, the powerful climate-warming gas.

Stripper wells are marginal oil and gas wells nearing the end of their production life. But what they lack in productivity, they make up in numbers: 29,838 stripper wells are quietly emitting greenhouse gases and other pollutants statewide today. Many are owned by large national and multinational corporations; they are not mom and pop operations, as industry sources claim. They cannot be exempted from regulations.

Environment Secretary James Kenney must propose rules to regulate all stripper wells, keeping Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s commitment to lead the nation in regulating methane.

Jim Mckenzie

Santa Fe

Contemporary scene

After reading Michael Abatemarco’s Pasatiempo article about the Museum of Fine Art’s current exhibition on Elaine Horwitch and contemporary art (“Fortune’s favor: Elaine Horwitch and the rise of Southwest art,” April 16), I feel obliged to respond. I would like to point out that a few stolid souls, such as myself, had broken ground and laid the seeds for contemporary art to be shown in Santa Fe during the late 1960s and early ’70s.

Years before Horwitch arrived, I had promoted the first major gallery showing of Fritz Scholder, presented a Christmas showing of a dozen totally unknown young talents, and followed with R.C. Gorman’s first Santa Fe exhibition. (It was his earlier work before the Navajo Women series took center place in his career.)

Margaret Jamison asked me to relocate from New York when I closed my gallery there. I arrived in 1968 and was captivated by the wonderful talents who had no place to exhibit, other than going to New York or Los Angeles. I was considered crazy at the time to begin showing their works. A few other forward-thinking gallerists joined in this crusade. The ground was fertile for Horwitch to move in to operate a supermarket of contemporary art. Without our early efforts, the Horwitch legacy might have been different.

R. Eric Gustafson

Santa Fe

Confirm Strickland

Margaret Strickland, our own New Mexican attorney, has an excellent reputation fighting for her clients in civil rights case and criminal cases in state and federal courts in New Mexico.

She also advocated and supported the passage of House Bill 4, the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, which allows a person claiming a deprivation of any “rights, privileges or immunities” secured by the Bill of Rights of the New Mexico Constitution to be able to sue and win damages and relief in state District Court. The bill was opposed by municipalities and insurance carriers, with multiple amendments proposed. The New Mexico Civil Rights Commission Final Report and the help of Strickland’s testimony gave New Mexicans in support of passing the bill numerous speaking points communicating with their state representatives.

Now Strickland has been nominated to be a federal judge. She is more than qualified to serve as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court.

Donna Thiersch

Santa Fe

Fast work

I am a frequent walker to the Frank S. Ortiz Dog Park. There is a crosswalk directly across from the entrance to the parking lot. Although there are standing signs indicating the crosswalk, the painted lines on the road had all but faded away, making pedestrian crossing hazardous.

I notified José Lerma with traffic operations at the city of Santa Fe, who not only responded immediately to my concern, but in two days had assessed the problem and repainted the white lines.

Thank you to Mr. Lerma and his team for taking care of the problem. The crossing is now more visible and safer for those of us who walk up the hill, with or without our four-legged friends.

Ann MacVicar

Santa Fe

(1) comment

Richard Reinders

Ann, it is an election year, if you have anything else, this year is the best opportunity to actually get something done.

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