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
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“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
In its appeal, the NMELC argues that the commission did not adequately explain the reasons for its decision, and did not base its decision on the record that was created in 2011. The NMELC also argues that the commission didn’t comply with requirements that provide opportunities for members of the public to be involved in the process by which the commission adopts building codes. Albuquerque Business First
Listen below to Staff Attorney, Bruce Frederick discussing the shenanigans around the NM Copper Rule and the Toxic Turkey Award. Recorded live on December 19th from KVSF 101.5.
“The single biggest problem environmentally is the water situation,” said Eric Jantz, an attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. “In order to start mining, the company is going to have to de-water the mine, which means they’re going to have to pump out millions of gallons of groundwater from the mine area.”
Pumping out groundwater could result in drawdowns of local springs and surface water, and Jantz contends that the in-situ mining process also has the potential to introduce heavy metal waste into ground and surface water.Al Jazeera America
The nonprofit New Mexico Environmental Law Center has accused a state regulatory board of bias and of conducting an illegal closed-door meeting with a state Environment Department attorney about a controversial new copper mining rule…“Freeport’s been fighting this battle for a decade, basically to convince the [Water Quality Control Commission] that it has the right to pollute the groundwater under its operations,” Frederick said. The Santa Fe New Mexican
“We’re protecting our water,” say two Mora County commissioners who support the ordinance…[Marino] Rivera said those supporting the ordinance knew Mora County would get sued, but he felt it was worth the fight. “The ban is unconstitutional. I think we all knew that going in. CELDF was very upfront about that,” he said. “But we all felt that we were going to get the raw end of the stick anyway. We’re going to get screwed anyway, so let’s at least make a statement.” The Santa Fe New Mexican
The first county in the country to issue an outright ban against oil and gas hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, has been challenged by a lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M…Mora is not alone, however, in its concerns about fracking. The Los Angeles Times reports that the county has joined a “groundswell of civic opposition” begun in the upper Midwest, New York and Pennsylvania were a fracking boom has brought wealth and environmental anxiety. Pittsburgh was the first U.S. city to ban the process three years ago, and a dozen cities in the East have followed suit. Fronteras
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As a regulator, Olson sought the middle ground between business and environmentalists. The copper rule ultimately proposed by the state was unquestionably good for the mines. But Olson believed last-minute changes made by the Environment Department’s top brass upended New Mexico’s Water Quality Act by giving mines a free pass to sully groundwater. The rulemaking had become political. To Olson, it was jeopardizing one of the public’s most precious resources. High Country News
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Attorney General Gary King and environmental groups are appealing a decision by the Water Quality Control Commission to weaken groundwater rules for copper mines in the state…Separately, the Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP) and Turner Ranch Properties, L.P., represented by New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), and Amigos Bravos represented by High Desert Energy + Environment Law Partners, filed an appeal against the rule. New Mexico Telegram
Go to the New Mexico Telegram for full story.
They felt their input wasn’t heard before, but earlier this week the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission voted to set a hearing in March 2014 to give a platform for dairymen to voice their concerns regarding groundwater discharge rules that affect them…“Our clients are cautiously optimistic about the Environment Department’s decision to advocate for conducting a stakeholder advisory process,” said Jon Block, NMELC staff attorney, in the press release. “Now it’s at least possible to work toward changes to the regulations so that our scarce and precious water resources will be protected from pollution by these mega dairies.” Clovis News Journal
The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission voted 9-1 Tuesday to approve new rules altering the way in which groundwater contamination is dealt with…The commission also voted to set a March 2014 meeting to hear the dairy industry’s petition to alter groundwater discharge rules that are applied to farms. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) with support and assistance from Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP) represents clients, the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club and Amigos Bravos, who are opposed to the changes. Albuquerque Business First