New Mexico governor’s resumes publication of her meetings, travel

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham resumed publication Monday of a running list of her appointments and work travel after a seven-week lapse, with her agendas showing recent meetings with variety of energy companies amid an overhaul of methane regulations and new mandates for cleaner sources of electricity.

In response to an inquiry by The Associated Press, Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki said the delay in publishing the governor’s agenda was an oversight.

Weekly online updates about the governor’s conversations and appointments were introduced earlier this year as an extra step toward transparency. It marked a change from the administration of Republican predecessor Susana Martinez, who offered a rough itinerary with far fewer details.

During an annual meeting of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association in Santa Fe in September, Lujan Grisham met privately with petroleum multinational ConocoPhillips and natural gas producer Hilcorp Energy. No names were listed for company representatives who attended.

State regulators overseen by Lujan Grisham are in the midst of drafting new proposed rules for state oversight of methane amid efforts to limit leaks and discourage the release or unnecessary burning of the powerful greenhouse gas.

Closed-door government talks involving technical analysis are currently are under way involving representatives from more than a dozen oil companies — including ConocoPhillips and Hilcorp — and several environmental groups.

Since late September, Lujan Grisham has crisscrossed the state, from an open-house meeting in the northern city of Mora to a tour of a geothermal power facility in the southwestern New Mexico.

Lujan Grisham also visited Texas to meet with New Mexico troops as they deploy abroad and, on a separate occasion, to attend a gala by the group Annie’s List that strives to elect progressive female candidates to state, local and federal office.

The governor met with politicians including U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, from the state’s southern 2nd Congressional District, Mayor Tim Keller of Albuquerque and Democratic state Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming who oversees the Legislature’s lead budget-writing committee.

The governor’s office has said the published calendars included about 95% of professional engagements and that unlisted engagements primarily involve staff.

The governor also recently met with St. Louis-based Ameren Transmission Company that oversees bulk-electricity infrastructure.

New electric transmission infrastructure is seen as crucial to the governor’s goals for expanding renewable energy production in the state. Ameren says it is pursuing transmission investments outside its traditional Illinois-Missouri customer service territory.