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

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06/26/2014 • Back to top

Dairy industry and environmental groups clash on groundwater protections

New Mexico’s dairies are not small, mom-and-pop operations producing milk from a modest number of cows grazing on pastureland. Instead, the state’s approximately 150 dairies have a total of about 350,000 cows, with an average herd size just over 2,000 cows…there’s no pastureland to be had. Santa Fe Reporter

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06/25/2014 • Back to top

NMELC challenges Administration’s effort to put industry profits above water and public health

SANTA FE, N.M. — Today the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) filed its Reply Brief in an appeal against the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission’s weakening of the Pit Rule in 2013. The Pit Rule is a set of rules that were originally designed to regulate oil and gas well waste pits in order to protect public health and the environment. The NMELC, representing Earthwork’s Oil and Gas Accountability Project, asserts that the changes should be overturned on the grounds that the Commission’s action was based on no new data, and done solely to accommodate the oil and gas industry’s economic goals.

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06/25/2014 • Back to top

The man behind a New Mexico county’s fracking ban

In April 2013, Olívas – modest and soft-spoken but ready for a fight – led the charge to make his county the first in the U.S. to permanently ban corporations from fracking or otherwise developing oil and gas within its borders. “A lot of people asked, ‘Who in the heck is this small community up in northern New Mexico that’s picking a fight with oil and gas?’ ” he says. As a matter of survival, local people have always prioritized conservation, and they resent outside corporations making money at their expense, he notes. High Country News

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06/23/2014 • Back to top

The Mother of All Anti-Fracking Tools

The first county in the United States to outlaw fracking has an idea that could give environmentalists the upper hand—and deliver a major setback to big oil.

The likely outcome? Busy lawyers. But the suits could also set a nationwide precedent by settling an interesting argument: Does a community’s right to self-governance trump the rights of corporations? The county ordinance’s basic aim is to protect the water supply in a parched region of a drought-stricken state, but it also contains a bill of rights for the environment, which argues that natural ecosystems “possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist.” Outside Magazine

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06/01/2014 • Back to top

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