“The commission has not shown any legitimate reason for weakening the rule,” said Eric Jantz, the NMELC’s attorney. “The state testified it had no problems implementing the 2008 pit rule, and during the time that rule was in effect, there were no recorded instances of groundwater contamination from waste pits. The 2008 pit rule worked, so why was it changed?” Albuquerque Business First
New Mexico’s dairies are not small, mom-and-pop operations producing milk from a modest number of cows grazing on pastureland. Instead, the state’s approximately 150 dairies have a total of about 350,000 cows, with an average herd size just over 2,000 cows…there’s no pastureland to be had. Santa Fe Reporter
In April 2013, Olívas – modest and soft-spoken but ready for a fight – led the charge to make his county the first in the U.S. to permanently ban corporations from fracking or otherwise developing oil and gas within its borders. “A lot of people asked, ‘Who in the heck is this small community up in northern New Mexico that’s picking a fight with oil and gas?’ ” he says. As a matter of survival, local people have always prioritized conservation, and they resent outside corporations making money at their expense, he notes. High Country News
The first county in the United States to outlaw fracking has an idea that could give environmentalists the upper hand—and deliver a major setback to big oil.
The likely outcome? Busy lawyers. But the suits could also set a nationwide precedent by settling an interesting argument: Does a community’s right to self-governance trump the rights of corporations? The county ordinance’s basic aim is to protect the water supply in a parched region of a drought-stricken state, but it also contains a bill of rights for the environment, which argues that natural ecosystems “possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist.” Outside Magazine
According to this source, the Martinez administration is “very friendly to the copper, dairy, and oil and gas industries,” and said that state workers working to safeguard groundwater quality were pushed out, “the industry basically stepped in and could do anything they wanted, and basically wrote the rules for themselves,” and that this is “still going on today.” thruthout
Go to thruthout for full story.
The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) filed a Brief-in-Chief April 9 with the New Mexico Court of Appeals asking the Court to set the Copper Rule aside, according to legal documents released by law center…“This is going to be impossible to clean up,” Frederick said. “They’re polluting a huge source of potential drinking water that could be used for agriculture or domestic use.” Silver City Sun-News
The New Mexico Environmental Law Center has filed its brief in a challenge of the state’s Copper Rule, which oversees the handling of mining wastes.
The center’s brief argues that the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) violated the state’s Water Quality Act when it adopted the Copper Rule, and asks the Court of Appeals to set the rule aside. Albuquerque Business First
By Douglas Meiklejohn / Executive Director, New Mexico Environmental Law Center
Printed in the Albuquerque Journal on March 27, 2014
Groundwater provides the drinking water for 90 percent of the people in New Mexico. For that reason, whether the recently adopted regulation that addresses groundwater pollution by copper mines (commonly referred to as “the Copper Rule”) adequately protects New Mexico’s groundwater is a very significant issue.
Officials of the New Mexico Environment Department, including its new Secretary, Ryan Flynn, have attempted to defend the Copper Rule by asserting that it is the most protective regulation in the country.
That assertion is not accurate.
The slightly shabby Santa Fe office of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center doesn’t look like it houses a formidable legal force. But it does. “The Law Center is the most important environmental organization in New Mexico today,” says Antonio Luján, a former state representative. “It has credibility with the Legislature, credibility with communities, and it takes on the right issues.” Green Fire Times
Citizens’ Coalition Statement on Postponement of Hearing on Dairy Groundwater Protections and Lack of Enforcement by NMED
In a statement released on March 18, 2014, a coalition of New Mexicans who live near industrial dairies and public-interest groups released the following statement:
Following New Mexico’s adoption of the polluting Copper Rule, the dairy industry was quick to jump at the chance for similar favorable treatment. In 2013, it petitioned the State to gut the recently enacted Dairy Rule after less than a year of implementation. Meanwhile, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has suspended enforcement of the Dairy Rule and issuance of dairy pollution-control permits until after the rulemaking hearing.
Jantz gives fair warning to those who believe that simply because they do not reside near an old uranium mine or mill they need not worry about these issues. “The nuclear power chain is slung across the world, so folks who may not live near a mine or mill may not be getting those direct effects,” he said. “But you may live near a fabrication plant or a nuclear power plant. And if you are one of those people, you are going to be dealing with the radiological effects on that end of the power chain. So the folks in New Mexico and the Southwest are the just first people exposed to the problem.” Truthout.org
go to Truthout.org for full story.
“If developed, Roca Honda will be a huge underground mine with tremendous impacts,” said environmental attorney Eric Jantz. “This mine could destroy people’s water, land, their places of worship - all for the purposes of funnelling profits to a Canadian company that is in turn selling it to Korea.” Al Jazeera English
Opponents of the resolution have expressed concern with its wording, too. Eric Jantz, a New Mexico Environmental Law Center staff attorney, has said he thinks the document supports bills that would allow the state to cut royalties to counties that create any oil and gas regulations. Jantz is representing Mora County in federal court. Daily Times Four Corners News
The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) Wednesday voted 10-0 to reject a request to delay implementing the state’s revised Copper Mine Rule…“We’re not surprised by the WQCC’s decision,” Bruce Frederick, NMELC staff lawyer said in a statement. “We anticipated that this Commission would deny our Motion, but the law requires us to go to the WQCC before we can ask the Court of Appeals to stay the Copper Rule pending appeal.” Albuquerque Business First
This appeal says the state Construction Industry Commission violated several laws when it made changes that weakened energy efficient building rules put into place during the Bill Richardson administration. Among these are not adequately explaining the reasons for the changes and not allowing public involvement in the changes. New Mexico Telegram