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

NM Environment Department violates Advisory Committee process for dairy rule meetings

NMED and industry agree to separate meetings excluding community and environmental groups

SANTA FE, N.M.— In a move that may violate New Mexico law, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) plans to hold closed door meetings with dairy industry groups who have petitioned the Martinez Administration to withdraw pollution safeguards for the protection of drinking water.

Instead of following legal requirements, NMED has announced plans to hold exclusive and separate Advisory Committee meetings with the dairy industry and the Citizen Coalition - a coalition of environmental and community groups that support the current dairy rules.

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05/14/2014 • Back to top

Court of Appeals Ruling does not decide merits of Copper Rule case

SANTA FE, N.M.—The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) is disappointed by and concerned about the May 7th ruling by two Judges of the Court of Appeals denying a stay of the Copper Mine Rule. The ruling means that copper mine companies may continue to pollute groundwater while the validity of the rule is being challenged - which can take a year or more.

Douglas Meiklejohn, Executive Director and attorney with the NMELC, stated that the Court’s ruling is just preliminary. “Contrary to the assertions of state officials, the ruling does not determine the merits of the appeal. We requested the Court to delay implementing the rule until it determined whether the rule violated state law.”

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05/11/2014 • Back to top

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