The Law Center represents residents in their battle to fend off polluting industry and preserve their right to clean air.
The Law Center serves communities fighting to keep dangerous pollutants away from their land and clean up areas already contaminated.
In the face of the added urgent threat from climate change, protecting both access to water and quality of water is a critical priority for the Law Center.
Congratulations to our Executive Director!
Congratulations to all the awardees of the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award, including our very own Executive Director, Dr. Virginia Necochea!
This award honors women leaders of color for their commitment to a healthy planet and, according to Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard, “This year’s awardees and finalists demonstrate that women of color are catalyzing change across our field, from environmental justice and energy equity to marine science and health. Their leadership is transforming our world for the better.”
Rachel’s Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit named in honor of Rachel Carson, is a community of women at the intersection of environment, philanthropy, and women’s leadership who exchange ideas and take action on our planet’s urgent challenges.
Congrats Dr. Necochea!
Many people understand the environment as a force of nature that cannot favor or disfavor different populations. However, similar to all things on Earth, the environment is subject to human influences. Unfortunately, these influences often tend to lower their hands to the worsts of our society including racism and classism. This can ultimately create environmental racism…
REJECT HIDDEN MINING APPROVALS IN COVID-19 RELIEF LEGISLATION
Hard rock mining is considered to be the most toxic industry in the US. That’s why a nationwide coalition of environmental & public health advocates are calling on Congress to reject hidden industry handouts in the COVID-19 relief package…
NEW MEXICO RULES ON FRACKING
Environmentalists leveled sharp criticisms at rules dealing with recycled water produced during oil and gas extraction in New Mexico. Environmentalists also criticized regulators for offering a rule they claim is too narrow to address environmental and public health concerns and abdicates responsibility to other state personnel who also don’t have a rule that addresses their worries…
WHY WE SUPPORT THE CLIMATE EQUITY ACT
Since 1987, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center has worked alongside communities in our state in the name of environmental justice. Our staff and attorneys pursue legislation and court battles on behalf of clients, working on cases that often take years of court filings and appeals to wind their way through the legal system.
In Solidarity with Protestors…
The events of the last weeks – which have their origins in the very beginning of our nation’s history – have laid bare the inequities that are the mainstay of America. The state sponsored violence is vicious and jarring and has resulted in widespread popular resistance. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center unequivocally condemns police violence and stands in solidarity with the communities impacted by police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The massive protest against police violence and systemic racism also provides a glimpse into the more mundane, but equally caustic, day to day violence that existing racist structures perpetuate. The daily machinery of oppression includes the wide array of environmental and public health laws that mediate how each of us relates to the larger global ecosystem.
While our nation’s environmental laws are held up as a bastion of progressivism, they do not serve everyone equally. The environmental movement is rooted in the privilege of affluence and whiteness that has historically excluded communities of color.
We in the environmental movement are often the beneficiaries of the privileges that at the same time oppress our neighbors and allies. It would be easy for the Law Center to retweet a statement from a frontline organization or post something on our website expressing outrage at the latest incidents of state violence and then go about our lives. It’s much more difficult and important to engage in meaningful and thoughtful evaluation of our place in the framework that perpetuates violence and oppression.
We believe, however, that only with a hard look at ourselves and the system we work in can we begin to really understand and resist the systemic racist structures that dictate who has clean water, air and land and who must pay the price for industrial “progress” that ostensibly benefits us all, but in reality only serves a few. At the Law Center, we acknowledge that we have benefited from the status quo and have begun the difficult and essential process necessary to become a more equitable and inclusive organization. We are having conversations both internally and with community partners to identify ways in which we may have perpetuated oppressive structures and find ways to address our shortcomings to become better partners with communities.
We also call on our white friends and colleagues to reject the easy tropes that “environmental laws protect everyone” or “governments are well meaning” and to truly examine our system of environmental law and policy and ask whether it also contributes to the day to day violence that communities of color live with. We call on our friends and colleagues to consider that environmentalism is more than protecting a scenic area for recreation or aesthetic beauty, but is also a fundamental struggle to ensure human and civil rights to the basic conditions necessary for survival and human dignity. We call on our white friends and colleagues to listen deeply to communities of color; to step up when called to, to step back when asked and to stand in solidarity no matter what.
Law Center Client
Red Water Pond Community
As World War Two was ending, the growing nuclear arms race put the US in need of uranium. It turned to Navajo Nation, where the uranium mining industry thrived for four decades — but left disease, pollution and the biggest radioactive spill in US history. That spill in Church Rock, New Mexico upended the lives of nearby residents, who had to grapple with toxic water, livestock and a lifetime of illnesses. Now, they are still waiting for it to be cleaned up.
August 31, 2023
Commissioners See First-Hand Impacts from Uranium Mining & Milling to Pueblo and Diné Communities
Churchrock, NM—Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) and Red Water Pond Road Community Association, with support from NMELC, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) and Southwest Research & Information Center (SRIC), hosted a four-person delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) during the last week of July at the Pueblo of Laguna, Churchrock and Crownpoint chapters of the Navajo Nation, and in Gallup, New Mexico.
August 17, 2023
By Austin Fisher, Source NM
Massive, toxic fire comes as grassroots community groups push for historic air regulation
Richard Moore started getting phone calls from his neighbors in the South Valley on Aug. 6.
He followed the path of the smoke, and decided to go up to Mesa del Sol where the Atkore United Poly Systems fire was still burning.
Ten days after the plastic fire, there has still been no official report to residents on the health impacts of the smoke created by burning plastic.
August 14, 2023
By Maddie Pukite, Daily Lobo
Passed unanimously, University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes presented the Legislative Research and Public Service Projects Funding requests for FY 2024 – 2025 to the Board of Regents at their meeting on Thursday, Aug. 10.
The largest RPSP request for 2025 was $11,941,700 for athletics to improve student-athlete welfare, recruitment and “enhancing the university’s brand”; it was $3.5 million more than last year’s request.
The athletics request is one of two categorical requests, which are approved for a purpose, rather than a specific project. The other is a $1,097,900 request for educational television like New Mexico PBS.
Categorical requests are alongside 23 new requests and 29 expansion requests. A new request of $997,946 would support the Accelerating Resilience Innovations in Drylands Institute for education and research on how to preserve the people’s economy and the ecosystem of New Mexico.
Environmental concerns were also brought up during the public comment. Several spoke about the Board of Regents filing to require “review and consideration” of the Health Equity and Environmental Impacts regulation. …
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