At the same time that we give thanks for this victory, we are girding up to battle the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) over the proposed “Copper Rule.” We spent much of the year working with regulators and representatives of the copper industry to draft regulations that would help protect groundwater beneath our state’s copper mines.
You can imagine we were nonplussed when NMED’s upper management grossly amended the draft…
Upper management inserted recommendations made by copper giant Freeport McMoRan that expressly allowed groundwater pollution at existing copper mines to continue unabated and that would authorize more pollution in the future. This would be the first time in its history that the Environment Department is proposing a regulation that would authorize an industry to pollute groundwater at will. If this passes, you can bet other industries will want to same favor.
In November, we were able to overcome attempts to fastrack the rulemaking process; the hearing before the Water Quality Control Commission is now set for April 9, 2013. Read press release.