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
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