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Residents ask state Supreme Court to rule in Augustin Plains water grab case

Santa Fe, NM — Today, a retired couple from western New Mexico asked the state Supreme Court to order the State Engineer to dismiss a massive speculative water appropriation application from Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC (“APR”).

In their petition for a writ of mandamus, filed by attorney Bruce Frederick of the non-profit New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Ray and Carol Pittman state that a second application filed by APR this summer is “identical in all material respects” to the application that APR filed in 2007. The 2007 application was denied by State Engineer Scott Verhines and a District Court after five years of litigation. Just like the 2007 application, the 2014 application seeks to appropriate 54,000 acre-feet of water per year (afy), but fails to indicate exactly how or where the water will be used, as required by the state Constitution. “By keeping the intended use vague,” said Frederick, “the Ranch hopes to speculate in future water markets and ultimately sell to whoever the highest bidders may be in seven counties.”

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09/22/2014 • Back to top


Burqueños Challenge Discriminatory Air Pollution Practices

Albuquerque, NM – Yesterday, the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) filed a complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County under Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint, submitted by the non-profit New Mexico Environmental Law Center, asserts that local decision-makers “have demonstrated a record of marginalizing minority communities so that they are exposed to an unequal burden of air pollution and the concomitant adverse health effects.”

As documented in the complaint, adverse health impacts linked to pollutants in the San Jose and Greater Gardner neighborhoods include asthma and shorter life spans. Mountain View, which has an elevated concentration of “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs), has “higher than expected numbers of lung, bladder, brain and thyroid cancers, as well as higher than expected numbers of leukemia compared with the rest of Bernalillo County.”

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09/17/2014 • Back to top


United Nations releases Concluding observations on the periodic reports of the US

The concluding observations produced by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights includes observations and recommendations for the United States to better meet its commitment to eradicate racial discrimination.

One observation of particular concern: “the Committee is concerned that individuals belonging to racial and ethnic minorities as well as indigenous peoples continue to be disproportionately affected by the negative health impact of pollution caused by the extractive and manufacturing industries.” Read full report.

08/29/2014 • Back to top


Local Groups Inform UN: US Falling Short on Eliminating Racial Discrimination

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center has submitted two reports to the United Nations’ committee overseeing the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The reports, submitted on behalf of NMELC clients Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) and SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), describe instances in New Mexico where Federal and local governments disregarded or failed to uphold the human right to equal treatment under the law.

“There are communities here that have been waiting decades to be heard by the government agencies that are supposed to serve them,” says Eric Jantz, NMELC Staff Attorney. “Communities of color in New Mexico represent the majority of people who live in this state, yet these communities continue to be the least served when it comes to basic protection from toxic pollution.”

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07/18/2014 • Back to top


NMELC Files Reports with UN International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center filed the following Shadow Reports with the United Nations’ committee overseeing the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The reports, submitted on behalf of NMELC clients Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) and SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), describe instances in New Mexico where Federal and local governments disregarded or failed to uphold the human right to equal treatment under the law.

See MASE Shadow Report and SWOP Shadow Report.

07/03/2014 • Back to top


Pit rule challengers outline legal position

“The commission has not shown any legitimate reason for weakening the rule,” said Eric Jantz, the NMELC’s attorney. “The state testified it had no problems implementing the 2008 pit rule, and during the time that rule was in effect, there were no recorded instances of groundwater contamination from waste pits. The 2008 pit rule worked, so why was it changed?” Albuquerque Business First

Go to Albuquerque Business First for full story.

06/26/2014 • Back to top


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