The commission voted unanimously to approve the Dairy Rule…“This settlement is unique in that the environmental coalition we represent initiated discussions with the dairy industry,” New Mexico Environmental Law Center staff attorney Jon Block said in a statement. “We came up with a set of agreed-upon changes to the rules that they can live with and, we think, provide the New Mexico Environment Department with the means to protect groundwater. This was a win-win situation for all concerned and this time the dairy industry has real ownership of the final rule.” New Mexico Political Report
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The New Mexico Environmental Law Center’s new brief for the Gila Resources Information Project makes the argument that if the copper industry is allowed to pollute, others will also get a pass…“The thing we’re pointing out is that the rule violates the [Water Quality Act] on its face because you have to protect places of withdrawal, and they didn’t do that,” says Olson. Santa Fe Reporter
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Douglas Meiklejohn, an attorney for SWOP and others opposed to the master plan, argued otherwise, in part, because the county doesn’t make up a majority of the water board. “The developer is essentially asking you to make a commitment that the county will be bound by an agreement that’s negotiated not by the county, but by the city of Albuquerque,” Meiklejohn said. “That’s inappropriate. You shouldn’t agree to that.” Albuquerque Journal
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As the law stands, companies can allow toxic drainage to seep into the groundwater beneath their copper mines, as long as the pollution stays within a designated perimeter. But New Mexico Environmental Law Center director Douglas Meiklejohn says that’s a violation of the state’s Water Quality Act. “There’s a great deal of groundwater that’s being polluted pursuant to this rule,” he said. “And when you consider that groundwater is the source of drinking water for 9 out of 10 people in this state, it just doesn’t make any sense.” KUNM
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This was the company’s third request, which included a May 1 public hearing about the amended Second Renewal and the Updated Closeout Plan. The company defended its current compliance with environmental regulations and its economic viability analysis of the international demand for uranium ore. The mine’s owners have continued to postpone cleanup by repeatedly requesting amended Standby Status designation, according to numerous community members. Cibola Beacon
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Dormant radioactive uranium mine key to Blue brothers’ future fortune
Along with lots of military contracts, the deal came with plenty of land and uranium rights, including the sprawling Torrey Pines campus given to General Dynamics, the original owner of company, by San Diego taxpayers back in the 1950s. But the new owners also inherited the firm’s so-called zombie uranium operations, representing on paper at least, a substantial cleanup liability. For years, though, the Blues have kept regulators at bay and don’t appear likely to concede much soon. San Diego Reader
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ALBUQUERQUE — Rio Grande Resources’ underground mine in Western New Mexico contains one of the largest stashes of uranium ore in the U.S., but it’s idle and hasn’t produced anything in years. It’s one of many “zombie mines” around the West that environmentalists say need to be closed and cleaned up rather than left on standby as companies wait for uranium prices and demand to rebound so operations can resume. Santa Fe New Mexican
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COMMUNITY GROUP RECOMMENDS RECLAMATION
CIBOLA COUNTY – The uranium mine on Mount Taylor has not operated for almost 25 years, according to Susan Gordon, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment coordinator.
“Mt. Taylor is a ‘zombie’ mine,” said Gordon via email. “It’s neither producing uranium nor is it cleaning up its existing mess - it’s simply festering in the community. Pretending that it will operate in the future just prevents real cleanup in our communities. It is time for the Mining and Minerals Division to require reclamation of all uranium mine sites in New Mexico.” Cibola Beacon
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The Bernalillo County Commission voted Tuesday against pushing back a decision on the Santolina Master Plan. Commissioner Debbie O’Malley sponsored an initiative to allow an additional 90 days for more public input. The attempt failed on a 3 to 2 vote. Maggie Hart Stebbins was the only other commissioner to vote in favor of the delay…“The sheer size of something like this, I thought, required a lot of public input,” O’Malley said. New Mexico Political Report
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Also from New Mexico Political Report:
Water, ‘systems thinking’ and Santolina’s tangled history
Video: Two sides on Santolina
Thanks to Collected Works! On March 12, this wonderful bookstore began selling our Justice Bars - organic chocolate bars that benefit our work at the Law Center. You can find Collected Works at the corner of Galisteo and Water in downtown Santa Fe. Pick up some of your favorites today! Dark chocolate with red chile, pure dark chocolate and milk chocolate with pecans.
Attorney Bruce Frederick, of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center who represents approximately 80 protestants, said the letter is an improvement over the state engineer’s prior silence on the application. “But the State engineer apparently intends to allow San Augustin Ranch to speculate in water by attempting to create a new pseudo-beneficial use called ‘commercial sales,’” Frederick said. El Defensor Chieftain
After a district court judge denied the state’s Sierra Club chapter a writ requiring that hearings on dairy rules be held in Santa Fe rather than Roswell, the Sierra Club now has asked the court to reconsider its denial.
On Sept. 25, First Judicial District Judge Jennifer Attrip denied the Sierra Club’s petition, but on Sept. 26 the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, representing the Sierra Club, asked the judge in a court filing to reconsider the decision. Quay County Sun
Staff Attorney Eric Jantz discusses zombie uranium mines and human rights with the Santa Fe Radio Cafe.
Staff Attorney Jon Block discusses current and proposed dairy regulations, and their impact on New Mexico’s groundwater with the Santa Fe Radio Cafe.
Staff Attorney Bruce Frederick discusses the Copper Rule and latest win against a water grab in the East Mountains of Albuquerque, NM with the Santa Fe Radio Cafe.