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NM Oil Conservation Commission should work for the people, not the oil and gas industry

SANTA FE, N.M.— The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) filed its Brief in Chief today in an appeal against the 2013 amendments to the Pit Rule - a rule that regulates oil and gas operation waste pits. The NMELC argues that the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) re-wrote the previous, more environmentally protective Pit Rule solely to increase oil and gas companies’ profits. The NMELC requests the State Court of Appeals to throw out the 2013 Pit Rule on behalf of client, Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP).

“The OCC heard identical testimony and evidence in the Pit Rule hearings of 2008 and 2013,” says Eric Jantz, NMELC Staff Attorney. “In 2008, the OCC adopted a Pit Rule that protected public health and groundwater resources for all of New Mexico. In 2013, the OCC removed nearly all of these protections for no other discernible reason than to maximize oil and gas corporate profits. This Commission was created to regulate the oil and gas industry and protect the environment - not protect industry profits.”

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04/21/2014 • Back to top


Groups file challenge to Copper Rule

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center has filed its brief in a challenge of the state’s Copper Rule, which oversees the handling of mining wastes.

The center’s brief argues that the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) violated the state’s Water Quality Act when it adopted the Copper Rule, and asks the Court of Appeals to set the rule aside. Albuquerque Business First

Go to Albuquerque Business First for full story.

04/14/2014 • Back to top


NMELC files Reply Brief in Energy Efficient Building Codes Appeal

On April 9, 2014, the NMELC filed a Reply Brief with the state’s Court of Appeals for clients Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, Sundancer Creations Custom Builders, Environment New Mexico, e-Solved, Inc., and individuals.

This marks the final bit of briefing in the appeal over the repeal of building codes by the New Mexico Construction Industries Commission. The codes would have required new construction to be 20% more energy efficient than was required previously. The Court might take up to nine months to decide on the matter.

Visit Repeal of Energy Efficient Building Codes case page.

04/11/2014 • Back to top


Watershed groups call for Court of Appeals to throw out Copper Rule

SANTA FE, N.M.— The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) filed its Brief in Chief yesterday in an appeal against the adoption of the Copper Rule - a rule that regulates discharges from copper mines. The brief argues that the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) violated the state’s Water Quality Act when it adopted the Copper Rule, and asks the Court of Appeals to set the rule aside.

“This rule, on its face, allows toxic pollution into groundwater,” says Bruce Frederick, NMELC Staff Attorney. “Given that sixty-five percent of our state is currently in severe drought or worse – including Grant County where Freeport McMoRan’s massive copper mines are located – our decision-makers should be developing rules that protect groundwater. The law is clear in New Mexico: water is a public resource, and it must be protected.”

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04/10/2014 • Back to top


Copper Rule leaves a bad taste in NM’s mouth

By Douglas Meiklejohn / Executive Director, New Mexico Environmental Law Center

Printed in the Albuquerque Journal on March 27, 2014

Groundwater provides the drinking water for 90 percent of the people in New Mexico. For that reason, whether the recently adopted regulation that addresses groundwater pollution by copper mines (commonly referred to as “the Copper Rule”) adequately protects New Mexico’s groundwater is a very significant issue.

Officials of the New Mexico Environment Department, including its new Secretary, Ryan Flynn, have attempted to defend the Copper Rule by asserting that it is the most protective regulation in the country.

That assertion is not accurate.

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04/02/2014 • Back to top


Fighting Goliaths in the Land of Enchantment

The slightly shabby Santa Fe office of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center doesn’t look like it houses a formidable legal force. But it does. “The Law Center is the most important environmental organization in New Mexico today,” says Antonio Luján, a former state representative. “It has credibility with the Legislature, credibility with communities, and it takes on the right issues.” Green Fire Times

Go to Green Fire Times for full story.

04/02/2014 • Back to top


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