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Residents Defeat Water Grab Effort

State Engineer Denies Water Application

Santa Fe, N.M. – On November 14, 2014, New Mexico State Engineer denied the company Aquifer Science LLC the right to pump hundreds of acre-feet of water annually from the Sandia Underground Water Basin because there is no unappropriated groundwater available in the Basin to satisfy the application. (view order)

On behalf of dozens of landowners in the area, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) successfully argued before the State Engineer that there was not sufficient water in the Sandia Basin to serve the new development. The company sought to acquire the water to develop a 4000 home residential community and 18-hole golf course in the East Mountains area east of Albuquerque, NM.

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11/18/2014 • Back to top


Supreme Court side-steps water grab issue

Frederick said the court may have rejected it because of a separation of powers issue. “We’re still in limbo,” Frederick said. “The application is still sitting there in the state engineer’s office.” Frederick said the state engineer must reject the 2014 application for the same legal reasons that he denied the 2007 application. El Defensor Chieftain

Go to El Defensor Chieftain for full story.

11/06/2014 • Back to top


Supporters of Energy Efficiency Building Codes Petition State Supreme Court

Santa Fe, N.M. – On October 27th, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) filed a petition with the New Mexico Supreme Court asking the Court to review the Court of Appeals September decision on New Mexico’s energy efficiency building codes. The Court of Appeals upheld the repeal of the codes and upheld the adoption of codes that require substantially less energy efficiency for new buildings.  The Petition was filed for Environment New Mexico, Sundancer Creations Custom Builders, LLC, eSolved, Inc., Tammy Fiebelkorn, Sanders Moore, and Faren Dancer.

“In lieu of reviewing the record, the Court of Appeals merely assumed that it contained substantial evidence because it was such a ‘voluminous record’,” says Douglas Meiklejohn, NMELC Executive Director and lead counsel on the case. “I think most people understand that the presence of many pages does not necessarily equal actual substance.”

Visit case page.

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10/31/2014 • Back to top


Films to Inform, Ignite and Inspire Your World

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes to Santa Fe!

Santa Fe, N.M. – Join the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) when it hosts the Wild & Scenic Film Festival Tour, in its only northern New Mexico stop, at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market Pavilion on Saturday, November 8, 2014.

“We are excited to host this entertaining event about community activism and environmental protection,” says Elizabeth Lee, NMELC Director of Philanthropy.  “It will showcase a range of perspectives about how to be heard and how to make a difference. It will also celebrate the natural world and our relationship to it. The festival encapsulates the spirit of the Law Center’s work: to stand up for individuals and communities whose wellbeing is threatened by environmental degradation.”

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10/15/2014 • Back to top


Don and Lorraine

Don and Lorraine

New Mexico’s communities and environment have lost two important friends and allies in the past several months.  Don and Lorraine Goldman, who supported the Law Center with their volunteer work, their encouragement, and their good humor, both passed away recently.  They were both committed to the protection of the environment and communities that were threatened or impacted by environmental degradation, and they carried through on that commitment with their volunteer efforts.

They also were friends to and supporters of the Law Center almost since its doors opened.  Law Center Director Doug Meiklejohn first met Don and Lorraine at an outdoor gathering in the summer of 1988 on a blistering hot day.  Don was there as an employee of the National Park Service, and he was wearing what Doug recalls as one of the heaviest shirts Doug had ever seen.

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10/10/2014 • Back to top


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.” See Petition for Writ

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09/22/2014 • Back to top


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