[L]ack of specific language in the bill drew attention from both opponents to the rule and the justices themselves. Justice Barbara Vigil at several times in the hearing asked supporters of the rule, “Is this not overly broad?” To a wider degree, opponents disagree with the rule’s validity as a whole in the authority it holds beneath the umbrella of the Water Quality Act.
Meiklejohn said that the rule is counterintuitive to the act. “The Water Quality Act states that any regulations that are adopted must be adopted to prevent or abate groundwater pollution,” he said. “The New Mexico Copper Rule does not prevent or abate; it allows.” Silver City Daily Press
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The firm plans to drill 37 wells across the ranch property and pump 54,000 acre-feet of water annually — or 48 million gallons each day — which would be pumped, using hydroelectric and solar power, to areas in Catron, Santa Fe, Bernalillo, Sandoval, Socorro and Valencia counties through a 141-mile pipeline…The initial application also was met with opposition from tribal groups, local communities and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, which represented at least 80 people protesting the project.
Doug Meiklejohn, director of the nonprofit law center, told The New Mexican in August that he expects at least that many people to protest the current application. Santa Fe New Mexican
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“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.
“...the people who are going to be affected are watching, and asking, ‘when will one of these institutions protect us?’”
Roberto Roibal, Southwest Organizing Project
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Today, parties were notified that state District Court Judge Nancy Franchini ruled against Santolina developer Western Albuquerque Land Holdings (WALH) in its effort to shut down an appeal by three public-interest groups. The judge’s decision allows the public-interest groups and individuals to pursue their appeal of the Level A Master Plan and zoning change for the proposed mega-development.
The SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), Pajarito Village Association and New Mexico Health Equity Working Group appealed the decision to the Second District Court of New Mexico last year. The groups are represented by the non-profit New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC).