Residents Fight Water Speculation in East Mountains

“Water is life, especially here in the high desert country, and allowing water speculators to grab our precious resources is something we all must work hard to prevent.” Jonathan Block, NMELC

SANTA FE, N.M. – Residents of the communities in the East Mountains of Albuquerque, NM, have asked a judge to throw out an appeal filed by Aquifer Science, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of water development company PICO Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PICO) that seeks to obtain water rights in the East Mountains.

A motion for summary judgment filed by the non-profit New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) for its clients—Deep Well Protest, San Pedro Creek Estates, and North 14—asserts that the application should be thrown out on the grounds that PICO and its shell companies Vidler New Mexico and Campbell Farming Corporation (the owners of Aquifer Science) are merely water speculators with no real a plan to put the water to beneficial use.

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04/18/2017 • Back to top

Albuquerque Air Quality Board Upholds Polluting Permit

…should the Air Quality Act be interpreted in order to protect the people who live around these facilities or should the act be interpreted as a way to issue air pollution permits as quickly as possible?” Eric Jantz, Staff Attorney

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Yesterday, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Air Quality Board unanimously voted to deny an appeal of an air pollution permit issued to Honstein Oil & Distributing, LLC. The Honstein facility is located near homes in the San Jose neighborhood in the South Valley of Albuquerque and holds a 6,000 gallon gasoline storage tank. The facility is one of many polluting facilities found in the South Valley, a community recognized by the US EPA as an “Environmental Justice community”.

The appeal was brought by the public-interest law firm New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) for Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) and San Jose residents Esther and Steven Abeyta. The appeal stated the Air Quality Board had failed to assess actual, cumulative air pollution impacts upon the people who live in San Jose neighborhood when it granted the air pollution permit. It also failed to uphold its mandate under the New Mexico Air Quality Control Act to “prevent or abate air pollution.”

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04/13/2017 • Back to top

Sprawling Santolina, Chapter 2

With your support, Law Center Attorneys Jaimie Park and Doug Meiklejohn and our clients have begun a new fight in the case to protect water and taxpayer dollars from the proposed 90,000-person Santolina mega-development slated for the west side of Albuquerque.

Santolina Level B.1 Master Plan Public Hearing:

When: April 4 at 5 PM
Where: Vincent Griego Room, Bottom level City/County Administration Bldg,
1 Civic Plaza NW, Albuquerque, 87102-9854 (map)
*Sign up online before 3 PM on April 4 to speak.*

As you may have predicted, the system is once again breaking down.

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04/03/2017 • Back to top

Keeping Residents Safe from Uranium

McKinley County Residents Advocate for protections from uranium

As a result of dogged persistence on the part of uranium-impacted residents, the McKinley County Commission promised to create a blue ribbon task force to examine how the County should address possible uranium mining in the future.

The meeting where the task force was promised almost didn’t happen. 

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04/03/2017 • Back to top

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

Go to KRQE.com for full story.

03/14/2017 • Back 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

Go to El Defensor Chieftain for full story.

03/09/2017 • Back to top

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