Water Groups to NM Supreme Court: Invalidate Evisceration of Pit Rule

“...the Oil Conservation Commission forgot who they worked for. It isn’t the oil and gas industry.” Bruce Baizel, Executive Director, Earthworks’ OGAP

SANTA FE, NM — Yesterday, groups working to protect New Mexico’s water resources and wildlife asked the state Supreme Court to review the Martinez Administration’s “Pit Rule”. The Rule governs the storage and disposal of wastes at oil and gas drilling pits in New Mexico.

The petition for a writ of certiorari was filed by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) on behalf of Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. The public interest groups have been working on the issue since before the Pit Rule was first adopted in 2008, after a lengthy public process. The petition asks the state’s highest court to review a decision handed down by the state Court of Appeals in February upholding the amended Pit Rule. See Pit Rule Fact Sheet.

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03/25/2016 • Back to top

Groups to EPA: Stop Letting Industry Dump Chemicals into Drinking Water Sources

Today, the NMELC and other groups petitioned the U.S. EPA to stop allowing industries to dump their hazardous waste in our country’s groundwater.

One reason why this petition is important to New Mexico:

NMELC’s client, the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM), has been fighting for years to get an aquifer exemption overturned. The EPA granted the exemption for uranium mining in an aquifer near Church Rock shortly before the aquifer was deemed by the Navajo Nation as “a promising source of drinking water in the future due to its high quality”. See NRDC press release.

03/23/2016 • Back to top

Discharge Permit for Church Rock Uranium Mine Terminated

“We live everyday with environmental legacy from past uranium mining. The termination of this permit means we won’t face new mining anytime soon.”
Larry J. King, ENDAUM

SANTA FE, NM — A state groundwater discharge permit for a controversial uranium mine proposed near Church Rock, NM has been officially terminated. Mining cannot begin at the site without a valid permit.

DP-558, originally issued in 1989, allowed Hydro Resources, Inc. (now Uranium Resources, Inc.) to discharge contaminated water into the aquifer as part of its mining operation. The permit expired in 1996. Although the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) received a renewal application from Hydro Resources in 1996, the agency did not act on the application until the summer of 2015 – 19 years after the company submitted its renewal application.

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03/22/2016 • Back to top

Supreme Court gets one step closer to Copper Rule decision

“When Respondents demand that the Court pay deference to the Commission, they are actually demanding that the Court pay deference to Freeport McMoRan.”

With your support, we filed our Reply Brief in the Copper Rule challenge before the state Supreme Court on March 7th. It’s one of our last steps before the state’s high court hands down a ruling in a case that could decide how groundwater is protected – or sacrificed – at industrial sites in New Mexico for years to come.

Go to case page.

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03/08/2016 • Back to top

SWOP + NMELC: “EPA – Don’t toss out environmental justice protections!”

NMELC filed comments on March 3 urging the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen –rather than strip – important protections for communities impacted by environmental injustice. The comments were filed on behalf of the SouthWest Organizing Project in response to the EPA’s proposed amendments to its regulations implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Read the comments.

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03/07/2016 • Back to top

Amid federal gridlock, lobbying rises in the states

“Right now I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the oil and gas industry in New Mexico is essentially self-regulating,” said Eric Jantz, an attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center… “Oil and gas brings out its lobbyists and gets people from the oil patch to come and testify and spreads money around.” NMPolitics.net

Go to NMPolitics.net for full story.

02/12/2016 • Back to top

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