NMELC and clients, protecting the environment.


Currently the New Mexico Environmental Law Center's cases focus on the following issues:

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is the principle that all people, regardless of socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, deserve to live in a clean, healthy environment. Unfortunately, poor communities and communities of color often bear the brunt of contamination and pollution. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center is the only not-for-profit law firm in New Mexico to focus on environmental justice issues.


Mining, long a major industry in New Mexico, has had a severe environmental impact on public and private lands and rural communities in the state. On a national level, mining generates twice as much hazardous waste as all other industries and municipal landfills combined.

Native American

There are 19 Native American pueblos as well as Navajo and Apache nations in New Mexico. Unfortunately, many of these communities are viewed as places where resources are abundant and regulation is limited; they also are often seen as areas in which there is chronic unemployment, and in which jobs can be traded for environmental degradation.


The state's surface waters have become over-appropriated, and water users have become increasingly dependent on ground water and water from projects such as dams. New supplies from water projects have become either too costly or non-feasible, and interstate stream compacts and Indian water rights impose additional constraints. To put it simply, New Mexico is running out of water.