“We’re protecting our water,” say two Mora County commissioners who support the ordinance…[Marino] Rivera said those supporting the ordinance knew Mora County would get sued, but he felt it was worth the fight. “The ban is unconstitutional. I think we all knew that going in. CELDF was very upfront about that,” he said. “But we all felt that we were going to get the raw end of the stick anyway. We’re going to get screwed anyway, so let’s at least make a statement.” The Santa Fe New Mexican
The first county in the country to issue an outright ban against oil and gas hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, has been challenged by a lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M…Mora is not alone, however, in its concerns about fracking. The Los Angeles Times reports that the county has joined a “groundswell of civic opposition” begun in the upper Midwest, New York and Pennsylvania were a fracking boom has brought wealth and environmental anxiety. Pittsburgh was the first U.S. city to ban the process three years ago, and a dozen cities in the East have followed suit. Fronteras
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SANTA FE, N.M.— The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) announces the “winner” of the Toxic Turkey Award for 2013 is Ryan Flynn, Secretary-Designate of the New Mexico Environment Department. The NMELC’s Toxic Turkey Award is given to a person or group that has shown extraordinary disregard for New Mexico’s environment.
The newly appointed Secretary-Designate has made every effort to offer up New Mexico’s public health and natural resources to irresponsible polluting industries including copper mining and industrial dairies.
SANTA FE, N.M.— Today an appeal of the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission’s (WQCC) adoption of copper mining groundwater regulations was filed by Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP) and Turner Ranch Properties, L.P., represented by New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), and Amigos Bravos represented by High Desert Energy + Environment Law Partners. The groups are challenging the adopted copper mining rules because they expressly allow water pollution rather than prevent it. Proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department and the global copper mining company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, the rules mark the first time in 36 years that the WQCC has set aside its mandate to protect the quality of the state’s scarce groundwater resources.
“At the request of Freeport McMoRan, the Commission adopted a regulation that allows extensive and permanent groundwater pollution at all copper mines,” says Bruce Frederick, NMELC Staff Attorney. “We are appealing the rule because we think it’s unconstitutional and diametrically opposed to the Commission’s express statutory mandate, which is to prevent water pollution.”