Handle With Care: Last week on SFReeper.com, SFR broke the news of a still-unexplained Internal Revenue Service raid on the Torres Gallery on W. Water Street. Gallery owner Paula Hausvick claims the artwork agents seized belonged to her, not to local artist Robert Rivera, whose wife was named in the IRS notice of lien left at the scene. Hausvick tells SFR she is concerned about what the raid will do for her reputation—and for the integrity of Rivera’s gourd art. “What’s my merchandise going to look like when I get it back?” she says.
The Day After Mañana: On Dec. 7, Gov. Bill Richardson’s office announced via press release a series of measures on climate change, including this backhand swipe by Richardson at the global climate summit that began that day: “New Mexico continues to act—not just talk—as Congress debates cap-and-trade legislation and the international community meets in Copenhagen to discuss global emission reductions.”
Most intriguing was Richardson’s idea to convene a “Resilience Advisory Group,” charged with developing “a plan for adapting to climate changes.” So who’ll write the plan, and what will they propose? Sunscreen for all? Giant ships to carry all the rich people to safety, like in 2012
? Stop, drop and roll? New Mexico Environment Department spokeswoman Marissa Stone Bardino did not immediately return a message. But a second announcement from Richardson’s office that day offers a clue: The Guv attended the christening of Richard Branson’s new Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo
, which should one day launch from New Mexico’s Spaceport America.
Obama vs. Teague: On Dec. 3, US Rep. Harry Teague, D-NM, himself an oilman, sponsored a bill that would extend a tax break for owners of low-producing “marginal” wells for another year. If Teague’s bill doesn’t pass, the tax break, which industry lobbies figure is worth $8 billion, will expire on Jan. 1, 2010. According to the Independent Petroleum Association of America, marginal wells account for “approximately 20 percent of American oil production”—a figure cited by Teague in a press release from his office about the bill.
“Without these critical tax incentives many of our small producers would have to plug wells that create jobs for New Mexicans, keeping this incentive in place is critical to the recovery of our local industry,” Teague said in his statement.
Taxation of natural resource extraction is one area in which Teague differs with the head of his party, President Barack Obama. In April, the IPAA said Obama’s proposed repeal of certain long-standing industry tax breaks would “crush America’s clean energy and energy security” goals.