State proposes changes be made to groundwater rules; Revisions would be first in 20 years

State officials say that the first proposed changes in groundwater quality regulations in more than 20 years will streamline processes and bring New Mexico into alignment with stricter federal standards, but groups opposing some of the changes have said that the new rules would shut down public discussion and lower New Mexico water quality standards…“Why is New Mexico taking a step back?” asked Jaimie Park, staff attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. “We used to have standards more stringent than the federal standards.” Roswell Daily Record

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09/29/2016 • Back to top

Copper mining regulation goes before state Supreme Court

But opponents argue the rule is overly broad, relaxing regulations and enabling wide-scale pollution. They argue that the rule is the first time in the state’s history that an industry has been given a license to pollute and that the rule poses a substantial threat to the state’s aquifers — which provide 90 percent of the water that flows to New Mexicans’ taps. Santa Fe New Mexican

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09/29/2016 • Back to top

New Mexico high court to settle dispute over pollution rules

The state Water Quality Act requires regulations that prevent or abate pollution, but the rules in place specifically allow the copper mining industry to pollute groundwater, said Doug Meiklejohn, an attorney and executive director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. Albuquerque Journal

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09/29/2016 • Back to top

Copper Rule faces Supreme Court

The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear arguments today regarding the controversial Copper Rule, which regulates the state’s copper mines and the amount of pollution they are permitted to release in their operations. This is the third time the rule has faced opposition from environmental interest groups and government officials. Silver City Daily Press

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09/28/2016 • Back to top

NM High Court to Consider Water Sacrifice Zones

“As communities throughout the state are confronted by the critical impacts of long-term drought, it is irresponsible to allow mining companies to pollute groundwater that is needed by everyone.”
Allyson Siwik, GRIP Executive Director.

SANTA FE, N.M. — In a case that will set precedent for how the State of New Mexico protects water at industrial sites, the state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the “Copper Rule” case for September 28, 2016.

The Copper Rule is a regulation adopted by the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) to regulate groundwater contamination by the copper mining industry. It is the first regulation since the state’s adoption of its Water Quality Act in 1967 that allows an entire industry to intentionally pollute groundwater. The Copper Rule was largely written by mining giant Freeport McMoRan, and adopted in October 2013.

The state’s high court has been asked to set aside the Rule and require the WQCC to adopt a regulation that protects groundwater quality from copper mine contamination.

Learn more about the Copper Rule.

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09/19/2016 • Back to top

They Keep Coming Back for the Plains of San Augustin Water

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center continues to represent the protestants, and yesterday, September 12, submitted a motion to the Catron County Seventh Judicial District Court that the Court re-open its 2012 Memorandum Decision (denying the Ranch’s appeal of the OSE’s rejection of the water transfer) so that the Court can order the OSE to reject the Ranch’s amended 2016 application, which includes the same defects that caused the OSE to deny the application in the first place. La Jicarita

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09/13/2016 • Back to top

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