Amid jostling for Biden energy roles, New Mexicans stake claim on Interior

The state’s Rep. Deb Haaland and Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have become increasingly visible in pitching themselves as potential heads of the Interior Department, sources following the jockeying said.

Haaland, the vice chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, didn’t deny her interest in the role as she touted her potential inclusion in a potential candidates’ list as a historic first.

“I’m honored that people believe in my leadership in protecting our public lands and combating climate change,” said the first-term House member who previously served as the state’s Democratic Party chair. “It is also meaningful that our country has finally reached the point where having the first Native American Cabinet Secretary is a serious consideration. I am open to those opportunities where I can best serve New Mexico, Indian Country and our country at large.”

Udall’s office declined to comment, and pointed to his March 2019 announcement that he would not seek reelection to the Senate but that he was not done with public life.

“Now, I’m most certainly not retiring,” Udall said in that video. “I intend to find new ways to serve New Mexico and our country after I finish this term. There will be more chapters in my public service to do what needs to be done.”

A source familiar with Udall’s thinking told POLITICO he would consider the position if asked.

Udall comes from a storied political family. His father, Stewart Udall, led Interior for eight years under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations where he oversaw the dramatic expansion of millions of acres of public lands and assisted in passage of bedrock environmental statues, such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Haaland’s backers are pushing for her to make history as the first Native American to serve in a presidential cabinet. She’s also teamed up with Udall as a lead sponsor of a resolution S. Res. 372 (116) setting a national goal of conserving 30 percent of U.S. land and oceans by 2030.

Staff for Heinrich, now in his second term in the Senate, demurred when asked about his interest, with one aide saying that he “is laser focused on doing absolutely everything in his power to ensure Joe Biden is elected president, so we can end Trump’s war on our public land and put millions of Americans back to work restoring our natural resources.”

Heinrich has played key roles behind-the-scenes in getting two major public lands packages —the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, S. 47 (116) and the Great American Outdoors Act, H.R. 1957 (116) — across the finish line this Congress. And he led Democrats’ charge to remove William Perry Pendley from atop the Bureau of Land Management, and is well-connected within influential sportsmens groups.

All three New Mexicans have been visible surrogates for the Biden campaign. Haaland is a member of the campaign’s Climate Engagement Advisory Council and hosted a fundraiser for the campaign alongside Udall in late June. Heinrich hosted his own fundraiser

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New Mexicans for Interior – POLITICO

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A trio of New Mexican lawmakers is vying for the top Interior job in a potential Biden administration, sources tell POLITICO, though the campaign says it is focused on winning the election first.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals spent nine hours debating the fine points of the Trump EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, a regulation that replaced the Clean Power Plan.

A Wyoming federal judge rejected an Obama administration rule intended to curb methane emissions, accomplishing in a day what the Trump administration failed to do in almost four years.

IT’S FINALLY FRIDAY: I’m your fill-in host Eric Wolff, and nicely done, you’ve made it to the end of the week. Good job, everyone! Congrats to Rob Hall from Entergy for being first to know that Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra both wore No. 8 when they caught for the Yankees and the retired number honors both of them. Also, apparently Khary Cauthen from Cheniere did submit the right answer for the first VP debaters, which was Tuesday’s trivia question, ME’s overactive junk mail folder nabbed it and I didn’t see it until Thursday. Since today is Bagel Friday in the Wolff household, your trivia question is: What’s the difference between lox and nova? Send your answer and your energy tips to [email protected] who will be returning Tuesday.

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UDALL, HEINRICH, AND HAALAND, OH MY: A trio of New Mexican lawmakers are all jostling to become the next secretary of Interior should Democratic nominee Joe Biden win next month’s election, sources tell Pro’s Anthony Adragna and Ben Lefebvre. Sens. Tom Udall, who is not running for reelection, and Martin Heinrich, and Rep. Deb Haaland, vice chair of the Natural Resources Committee, have all started to subtly make cases for themselves as the best candidates for the gig.

There are also rumblings around who might run EPA, with insiders contemplating Heather Zichal, the former Obama White House deputy assistant energy and climate change, as a potential pick, or Heather Toney, a clean air activist who is currently the national director for Moms For Clean Air Force and a former regional director of the EPA’s Southeast Region, as another.

But all the speculation comes with a big question

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‘Smoke With Freedom’: Mexicans Get High in Marijuana Garden Outside Senate | World News

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A cannabis ‘garden’ sprouting next to Mexico’s Senate building has become a smoker’s paradise, with Mexican stoners lighting up joints without fear of arrest.

The cannabis seeds sowed in a plaza by Mexico’s Senate by pro-marijuana activists in February have mushroomed into strikingly large plants, and become symbolic of a drive to legalize marijuana in a nation riven by drugs-related violence.

“Being able to smoke here (in the garden) in freedom is very important to me,” said Marco Flores, a barista sitting on a bench overlooking the Congress building.

“I no longer go out on the streets in fear”.

Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that laws prohibiting cannabis use are unconstitutional but the government is yet to draft legislation that would formally legalise marijuana, leaving pot-smokers facing criminal charges if caught smoking.

But in the garden run by pro-marijuana activists, people are allowed in for 30 minutes at a time and can light up in peace. So far police appear to be turning a blind eye to the practice, though it’s unclear how long that will last.

“It’s great that they have opened a space for people who are open to new experiences, or who want to find out a little bit about this subject,” said Carlos Diaz, another smoker. “They can come and check it out.”

For Jose Rivera, a cannabis activist, the garden is a tool to educate and offer ‘human rights’.

“We want (Mexican lawmakers) to understand that we are smoking quietly and that we are not a risk to anyone,” he said. “Enough of the mistreatment.”

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Drazen Jorgic, Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Mexicans get high in marijuana garden outside Senate

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A cannabis ‘garden’ sprouting next to Mexico’s Senate building has become a smoker’s paradise, with Mexican stoners lighting up joints without fear of arrest.

The cannabis seeds sowed in a plaza by Mexico’s Senate by pro-marijuana activists in February have mushroomed into strikingly large plants, and become symbolic of a drive to legalize marijuana in a nation riven by drugs-related violence.

“Being able to smoke here (in the garden) in freedom is very important to me,” said Marco Flores, a barista sitting on a bench overlooking the Congress building.

“I no longer go out on the streets in fear”.

Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that laws prohibiting cannabis use are unconstitutional but the government is yet to draft legislation that would formally legalise marijuana, leaving pot-smokers facing criminal charges if caught smoking.

But in the garden run by pro-marijuana activists, people are allowed in for 30 minutes at a time and can light up in peace. So far police appear to be turning a blind eye to the practice, though it’s unclear how long that will last.

“It’s great that they have opened a space for people who are open to new experiences, or who want to find out a little bit about this subject,” said Carlos Diaz, another smoker. “They can come and check it out.”

For Jose Rivera, a cannabis activist, the garden is a tool to educate and offer ‘human rights’.

“We want (Mexican lawmakers) to understand that we are smoking quietly and that we are not a risk to anyone,” he said. “Enough of the mistreatment.”

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Drazen Jorgic, Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source Article

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Thumbs: ‘Used Mexicans,’ Willie lit at White House, Big Tex’s face-diaper

[Thumbs up] Big Tex is 55 feet tall and made of steel and silicone, but even he’s not a big enough dummy to spurn a mask during the pandemic. The iconic animatronic statue that greets visitors at Dallas’ Fair Park is sporting the protective gear this year — emblazoned with his “howdy folks!” catchphrase, of course — to spread the word on the importance of face coverings. “All Texans are being asked to do the same and he is standing in solidarity with all of us,” State Fair of Texas spokeswoman Karissa Condoianis said in a statement. Unsurprisingly, some conservative activists are decrying the move as “virtue signaling,” “stupid” and they’re shaming Big Texas for his “face diaper,” according to the Dallas Morning News. This vocal minority, which equates life-saving face masks with communist tyranny, is precisely why we need a wiser, more evolved Texan to step in.

[Thumbs up] Speaking of 55-feet high Texas icons, Willie Nelson did indeed smoke weed on the White House roof, according to President Jimmy Carter, who recently confirmed the singer’s claims from his 1998 autobiography. Speaking in the new documentary “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President,” the former POTUS did Willie one better and revealed the identity of the red-headed stranger’s pot-smoking compadre as Chip Carter, one of the president’s sons. With all the D.C. malfeasance, even back in 1980, Willie and Chip’s stoner adventure seems quaint. It’s sad, though, that we’ve gone from a world where the president’s son hangs out with a gifted American songwriter and music legend to one where Don Jr. pals around with, well, Kid Rock. Ain’t it funny how time slips away?

[Thumbs twiddled] Willie was years ahead in his weedy ways, but the Texas Legislature may soon be catching up. Several Democratic candidates we spoke with recently mentioned legalizing pot as a possible revenue generator to shore up the state’s budget shortfall, a big jump from Texas’ restrictive existing medical marijuana program. But it’s not just Democrats who are rethinking pot. After touring an Austin-area grow facility, Republican Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said he was all for expanded medicinal use. “If it’ll help somebody, I’m for it. Whatever it is. I mean, a toothache, I don’t care,” he said. Granted, Democrats could do better than the scandal-prone commissioner who once inspired the Chronicle editorial “How long will Texans have to tolerate Sid Miller?” but you have to start your bipartisan support rolling somewhere. Meet you at the top of the Capitol dome, Sid. We’ll leave the lantern on.

[Thumbs up] On to a different kind of smoking, as Texas Monthly reports that an Austin-based company is working on a lab-grown brisket. Hold on, before we grab the pitchforks let’s hear them out. Apparently, BioBQ founders Katie Kam and Janet Zoldan respect the complexity of a good brisket and set a high bar on purpose. “It seemed like a great, challenging meat to demonstrate this technology working,” Kam said, adding that if you can design brisket

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