UPDATE: Thank you! HB625 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee!
The New Mexico Mining Act is one of New Mexico’s most effective and revered environmental laws – and now it’s under attack. For 25 years, the Mining Act has ensured that mining corporations protect our water, clean up messes they create, and don’t foot taxpayers with billions of dollars of reclamation costs. But that may change, if the mining industry gets its way with HB 625.
Representative John Zimmerman (R-Dona Ana, Grant & Sierra) is sponsoring House Bill 625 to rollback critical safeguards in the New Mexico Mining Act that would allow mining operations to pollute our valuable groundwater.
Key provisions of the bill:
• Remove the existing Mining Act requirement that reclamation be self sustaining and not reliant on perpetual care by mining companies.
• Allow unlimited expansion of some open pits or waste units.
• Relax “standby” requirements that could allow operators to circumvent reclamation at mining sites.
• Weaken financial assurance requirements.
HB625 is being heard by the NM House Energy Environment and Natural Resources Committee on the morning of Friday March 6 at 8:30 am in Room 309.
Download the bill:
03/05/2015 • Back to top
SANTA FE, NM––MARCH 5, 2015 ––A coalition of eight local, state and national organizations are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6, Water Quality Protection Division (EPA) to increase its involvement in controlling the environmental and community health impacts of New Mexico’s dairy industry. Led by Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP), the groups have submitted scientific, technical and legal comments on the EPA’s proposed federal Clean Water Act General Permit for New Mexico’s concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to encourage direct action for improving regulation of the industry. Link to the filed comments.NM_CAFO_Comments_To_EPA_3.15.pdf
03/05/2015 • Back to top
HB 190 provides an exception in the New Mexico Mining Act to the definition for certain “small” mining operations that do not use chemical means for extraction.
House Bill 190 will be heard on Friday, February 13th at 1:30 PM in Room 315.
HB 190 should not be enacted because it would mean that there will be no oversight to ensure that these mines:
- Comply with all applicable air and water quality standards;
- Prevent erosion;
- Provide financial assurances to achieve reclamation if the mine operator is unable or unwilling to do so;
- Prevent nuisance impacts from noise and dust; or
- Prevent damage to cultural resources, cemeteries, or burial grounds.
02/13/2015 • Back to top
Staff Attorney Bruce Frederick has taken a new job and will be leaving the Law Center at the end of January. Returning to government service, where he invested 17 years before joining the Law Center in 2007, Bruce will be working for Santa Fe County on public utility and natural resource issues.
In his 7 years with the Law Center, Bruce has been instrumental in earning some important successes for our clients. He leaves a legacy of highly effective representation for communities whose health and natural resources are at risk, and a strong foundation for his successor to build upon going forward.
During the transition Bruce will continue to advise the Law Center on his active cases, including the San Augustin water grab, the Aquifer Science residential development project in the East Mountains, and the ongoing challenge to the Copper Rule.
We wish him well on his new adventure. (See job announcement)
01/27/2015 • Back to top
Attorney Bruce Frederick, of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center who represents approximately 80 protestants, said the letter is an improvement over the state engineer’s prior silence on the application. “But the State engineer apparently intends to allow San Augustin Ranch to speculate in water by attempting to create a new pseudo-beneficial use called ‘commercial sales,’” Frederick said. El Defensor Chieftain
12/11/2014 • Back to top
After a district court judge denied the state’s Sierra Club chapter a writ requiring that hearings on dairy rules be held in Santa Fe rather than Roswell, the Sierra Club now has asked the court to reconsider its denial.
On Sept. 25, First Judicial District Judge Jennifer Attrip denied the Sierra Club’s petition, but on Sept. 26 the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, representing the Sierra Club, asked the judge in a court filing to reconsider the decision. Quay County Sun
12/05/2014 • Back to top