State of the Air: New Mexico

Celerah HewesContact Celerah Hewes at to learn more or volunteer.

Celerah grew up in Corrales, New Mexico where she loved to climb trees and race her bike with the neighbor’s horse. After moving to San Francisco to get her MA in U.S History, she returned home to New Mexico to have a family. Since returning, she has been working with local businesses who believe that taking care of people and protecting air, land, and water is as important as profit. She has a four year old daughter who loves exploring nature and hopes to help preserve that for other families.

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Alexandra MerlinoContact Alex Merlino at to learn more or volunteer.

Alexandra is an entrepreneur and nonprofit executive with more that 15 years experience growing small business and nonprofit enterprises. She has launched and managed organizations and businesses focused on sustainability, economic development, consumer products and community. A Los Angeles native, Alexandra moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2007 to enjoy the great outdoors and the rich cultural heritage of New Mexico.




Here’s what we’re working on in New Mexico:

Increasing oil and gas production in the San Juan Basin and southeastern New Mexico is driving an increase in air pollution in communities across New Mexico. Many areas are seeing rising levels of smog, or ground level ozone, which is created in the atmosphere when heat and sunlight combine with oil and gas pollution. Smog is a lung irritant that can trigger asthma attacks, interfere with normal lung development, and increase the incidence of respiratory infections.

Methane is a large problem in New Mexico. New Mexico’s San Juan Basin has the largest amount of methane emissions in the United States. Methane is a flammable gas that is the main constituent of natural gas, it is highly efficient at trapping heat, making it a powerful greenhouse gas. Methane is 84 times more powerful, on average, than carbon dioxide, in the first two decades after its release. Studies have found that living close to natural gas operations is associated with an increased risk in neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, and a preterm birth. Children, with their developing organ systems, are especially vulnerable to these health impacts. Federal limits on methane pollution will help curb climate pollution and protect New Mexico communities from the co-pollutants, like benzene and VOCs, that can form smog, trigger asthma, and even cause cancer.

As New Mexico families deal with the health impacts of oil and gas extraction, Moms Clean Air Force is educating families, policymakers, and elected officials about air pollution and climate change, and galvanizing parents for action to reduce pollution from the oil and gas sector.

In addition to state-specific work, Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico is supporting national efforts:

Mercury: We are supporting strong limits on harmful mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Climate Change: We are fighting global warming by supporting policies, namely America’s Clean Power Plan, that will reduce carbon emissions and decrease dangerous co-pollutants.

Clean Energy: We are ensuring that our energy future is renewable, clean, and healthy — for the sake of our children’s health.

Chemical Policy Reform: We are fighting to keep toxic chemicals out of the products we use every day, through joining local efforts to protect families from toxic chemicals and advocating for strong implementation of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (2016).

Natural Gas Pollution: We are demanding strong protections from methane, volatile organic compounds, and other harmful air pollutants associated with fracking and natural gas development.

New Mexico’s electricity generation by source, 2017:

  • Coal (60%)

  • Natural Gas (24%)

  • Wind (12%)

  • Solar (3%)

  • Other (1%)

New Mexico’s San Juan Basin has the largest methane leak in the United States. The region was responsible for 10 percent of all the methane emissions from the natural gas sector in the country between 2003 and 2009

According to the American Lung Association’s 2017 State of the Air report, Farmington, New Mexico is the 2nd cleanest city for year-round particle pollution

Power plants are New Mexico’s single largest source of carbon pollution. In 2011, power plants and major industrial facilities in New Mexico emitted more than 40 million metric tons of carbon pollution—that’s equal to the yearly pollution from more than 8.5 million cars

According to the American Lung Association’s 2017 State of the Air report, 9% of New Mexico children have asthma

Childhood asthma has become an epidemic in New Mexico. Of asthma-sufferers in the oil patch of southeastern New Mexico, approximately 3 out of 5 children are hospitalized annually for their condition. Overall, 6.6% of New Mexico children suffer from asthma

How to Call Your Elected Officials

BY Moms Clean Air Force ON January 1, 2017
We’re all used to text and email, and often that’s speedy and effective. But sometimes, the sound of a voice makes all the difference. Now is one of those times. Your members of Congress must hear from you on the issues that matter to you! Click here...

TOPICS: Activism, Alaska, Children's Health, Colorado, EPA, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Politics, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington State, Wisconsin, Wyoming
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Upcoming Events

Friday, December 1, 4-6 PM: Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico is hosting a Health Summit in Las Cruces, NM. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

Past Events

October 2017:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico, parents and teachers gathered in Santa Fe for a Science “Teach in” at the Public Education Department.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico coordinated and moderated a tele-presser on Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Threat Map. Two moms were present on webinar to discuss the impact of oil and gas drilling near schools.

September 2017:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico traveled to Washington, DC to meet with lawmakers and urge them to protect EPA’s budget.

August 2017:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico  hosted a Back to School Party at Tasty Tuesday.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico partnered with Progressive Action Picnic to table at Hyder Park in Albuquerque and talk with families about kids’ health and clean air.

July 2017:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico members attended the 2017 Play-In for Climate Action in Washington, DC.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico attended a lunch event with Senator Martin Heinrich.

May 2017:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico hosted a “Meet & Greet” in Albuquerque. Folks gathered to meet field organizers, Celerah Hewes and Alexandra Merlino and to learn more about how to get involved and help draw attention to important issues, including: methane pollution, clean energy, asthma, and climate change.

April 2017:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico attended the March for Science in Albuquerque & Santa Fe.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico attended a methane Town Hall featuring Senator Udall.

September 2016:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico collected GOTV promise cards at Zozobra and Labor Day events in Santa Fe.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico educated parents at Desfile de los Ninos and Desfile de la Gente.

August 2016:

Field organizer, Chelsey Evans attended the Conservation Forum around Latino voices in Albuquerque.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico educated parents at Blacklight Yoga, Burning of Zozobra, and ABQ Labor Day Picnic and Santa Fe Labor Day Picnic.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico educated parents at Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe Farmers Market, and Kaune Community Conversation.

July 2016:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico signed on a letter in support of urging Secretary Jewell to strengthen and finalize the BLM methane rule as soon as possible and no later than the fall of 2016.

June 2016:

Moms Clean Air Force Missouri hosted a “School’s Out Food Drive” contributing to the over 4,542 pounds of food collected by Moms Clean Air Force chapters nationwide.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico hosted a press conference and delivered over 2,100 actions to Land Commissioner Dunn urging him to end his opposition to the BLM methane rules curbing harmful methane emissions.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico educated parents at Santa Fe Farmers Market and ABQ Railyards Market.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico held a roundtable focused on toxic chemical reform, which included speaker Senator Tom Udall.

May 2016:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico participated in a press conference with Senator Tom Udall on TSCA reform.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico educated parents at the Santa Fe Farmers Market and the NM Land Commissioner’s Office.

April 2016:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico participated in an Earth Day Service Project: Arroyo clean-up with Santa Fe Community Yoga Center.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico attended an Earth Day Community Event.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico hosted a Super Mom house party.

March 2016:

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico hosted a Read-In at ABQ Main Library.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico hosted a Read-In at Santa Fe Main Library.

Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico educated parents at Meow Wolf Site in Santa Fe.

February 2016: 

On February 16, 2016, Chelsey attended a hearing in Farmington at San Juan College. The hearing, put on by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provided community members the opportunity to offer their support for the methane standards proposed earlier this year. Those speaking in favor of the proposed rules outnumbered those in opposition by more than 2 to 1.

The BLM recently proposed standards that will reduce methane waste from oil and gas operations on public lands.


Exclusive Interviews


Susana Martinez

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US Senate

Martin Heinrich

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Tom Udall

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Environmental Scorecard

US House of Representatives

Michelle Lujan Grisham (District 1)

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Environmental Scorecard

Steve Pearce (District 2)

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Ben R. Lujan (District 3)

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Environmental Scorecard

Take a look at what we’ve been up to in New Mexico: