Bernalillo County to look at next step in Santolina development

Bernalillo County Commissioners will be looking at approving the next step in getting the controversial Santolina development started on Albuquerque’s Westside…The biggest concern by opponents from the beginning has been water. An appeal by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center has been filed an appeal on behalf of opposing organizations. KRQE.com

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Posted by Juana Colon on 03/14/2017 • PermalinkBack to top

Magdalena school board amends water grab protest

“Mr. Chambers had signed the petition in the name of Magdalena Schools and the problem is only the board can enter into a lawsuit for the school, not the superintendent. And this is a lawsuit,” Jaramillo said. “The concern by the school board at the time on Monday was is this going to cost us something…so we felt like it was OK to withdraw and instructed (Superintendent) Dr. (Vannetta) Perry to go ahead and write the letter to withdraw the [protest] on the petition.”

However, in a telephone interview, Meiklejohn told El Defensor Chieftain there was, in fact, no lawsuit and that the normal application process was on schedule. El Defensor Chieftain

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Posted by Juana Colon on 03/09/2017 • PermalinkBack to top

Bill to bring back oil and gas pollution penalty moves forward

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can authorize states to take over certain regulatory duties. Under that program, states must be able to assess penalties against companies that pollute water. But in New Mexico, the state’s Oil Conservation Division (OCD) hasn’t been able to do that for years. New Mexico Political Report

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Posted by Juana Colon on 02/23/2017 • PermalinkBack to top

Top 10 Environmental Issues to Watch in 2017

Trump and Martínez: A Double Whammy for New Mexico’s Environment and Communities

Environmentally hostile administrations will be making decisions about New Mexico’s communities and resources this year. Coming to the White House is a president who likely will set back federal environmental protections by years, if not decades…Yet these problems will likely mobilize even more New Mexicans to protect the air, water and lands that are so important to us. Together with the state’s advocacy organizations and public-interest attorneys, we can defend the state we love. But we’ll need to work together to make it happen. Green Fire Times

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Posted by Juana Colon on 01/30/2017 • PermalinkBack to top

Questions remain as company seeks to re-open long-defunct copper mine

Now, New Mexico Copper Corporation, a subsidiary of THEMAC Resources Group, is trying to reopen a copper mine that ran for just a few months in the early 1980s. And some residents say they don’t want that to happen…NMELC attorney Jaimie Park said the draft study didn’t include adequate baseline data for wildlife and endangered species or the area’s groundwater resources. NM Political Report

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Posted by Juana Colon on 01/24/2017 • PermalinkBack to top

Ex-N.M. official given second ‘Toxic Turkey’ award

Lawyer Ryan Flynn got his first “Toxic Turkey” award in 2013 while head of the New Mexico Environment Department. He got his second award Sunday, four months after leaving government to become president of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center bestowed the “Toxic Turkey” at its annual donor dinner. The award comes in the form of a skinned cartoon turkey on a platter. Santa Fe New Mexican

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Posted by Juana Colon on 12/06/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

Reader View: Martinez’s record: On the environment, it’s bad

Recently, it was quietly announced that Ryan Flynn, who quit his position as state environment secretary in August, would be heading the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Flynn — then a tax lawyer — as New Mexico Environment Department general counsel in 2011 and elevated him to secretary in 2013…Gov. Susana Martinez has said that she is proud of her environmental record with Flynn at the helm, but their approach has been only to protect polluters and sue the EPA. Santa Fe New Mexican

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Posted by Juana Colon on 11/05/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

Copper Rule in hands of Supreme Court

[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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Posted by Juana Colon on 10/01/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

Environmental group ask state to deny firm’s request for water permit

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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Posted by Juana Colon on 09/30/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

State proposes changes be made to groundwater rules; Revisions would be first in 20 years

State officials say that the first proposed changes in groundwater quality regulations in more than 20 years will streamline processes and bring New Mexico into alignment with stricter federal standards, but groups opposing some of the changes have said that the new rules would shut down public discussion and lower New Mexico water quality standards…“Why is New Mexico taking a step back?” asked Jaimie Park, staff attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. “We used to have standards more stringent than the federal standards.” Roswell Daily Record

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Posted by Juana Colon on 09/29/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

Copper mining regulation goes before state Supreme Court

But opponents argue the rule is overly broad, relaxing regulations and enabling wide-scale pollution. They argue that the rule is the first time in the state’s history that an industry has been given a license to pollute and that the rule poses a substantial threat to the state’s aquifers — which provide 90 percent of the water that flows to New Mexicans’ taps. Santa Fe New Mexican

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Posted by Juana Colon on 09/29/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

New Mexico high court to settle dispute over pollution rules

The state Water Quality Act requires regulations that prevent or abate pollution, but the rules in place specifically allow the copper mining industry to pollute groundwater, said Doug Meiklejohn, an attorney and executive director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. Albuquerque Journal

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Posted by Juana Colon on 09/29/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

Copper Rule faces Supreme Court

The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear arguments today regarding the controversial Copper Rule, which regulates the state’s copper mines and the amount of pollution they are permitted to release in their operations. This is the third time the rule has faced opposition from environmental interest groups and government officials. Silver City Daily Press

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Posted by Juana Colon on 09/28/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

They Keep Coming Back for the Plains of San Augustin Water

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center continues to represent the protestants, and yesterday, September 12, submitted a motion to the Catron County Seventh Judicial District Court that the Court re-open its 2012 Memorandum Decision (denying the Ranch’s appeal of the OSE’s rejection of the water transfer) so that the Court can order the OSE to reject the Ranch’s amended 2016 application, which includes the same defects that caused the OSE to deny the application in the first place. La Jicarita

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Posted by Juana Colon on 09/13/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

Poisoned by Uranium, Navajo Nation Seeks Justice

In 1996 ENDAUM came to the New Mexico Environmental Law Center for legal assistance, and the HRI case has been a part of the Law Center’s docket ever since…community activism forced Navajo Nation leaders to find the strength to ban uranium mining outright in 2005.  No new uranium mining has begun in the state in the past 20 years. Impact Fund

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Posted by Juana Colon on 08/29/2016 • PermalinkBack to top

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