Sen. Martin Heinrich gains support in effort to reinstate federal oil and gas methane rules

By Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus

April 23, 2021

Oil and gas companies and Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Main joined U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich’s (D-NM) efforts to restore federal controls on methane emissions from oil and gas operations, a reversal of multiple regulatory rollbacks enacted by former-President Donald Trump.

Heinrich and a group of Senate Democrats previously introduced a resolution under the Congressional Review Act, seeking to rescind the Trump administration’s cancellation of policies of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that saw it regulating methane released from multiple sectors of the oil and gas supply chain….

Kirtland AFB to hold virtual meeting on jet fuel spill cleanup

By Alyssa Bitsie, KRQE

April 22, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Air Force will give another update on the jet fuel spill at Kirtland Air Force Base. The leak, first detected more than 20 years ago, contaminated both soil and groundwater. The base has been working for decades to clean it up but it’s been an extremely slow process. Thursday night’s meeting will be held virtually starting at 6 p.m.

According to a news release from the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, between five million and 24 million gallons of jet fuel remain underneath the ground in Albuquerque’s aquifer in a giant plume discovered in 1999. …

SWOP & NM Voices for Children Vow to Keep Up the Pressure on Kirtland Air Force to Clean Up Jet Fuel Spill

Between 5 million and 24 million gallons of jet fuel remain underneath the ground in Albuquerque’s precious aquifer in a giant plume that Kirtland Air Force Base discovered in 1999. Clean-up of the so-called spill has been moving very slowly for more than twenty years. The Air Force has not even fully characterized the spill, and now a judge has dismissed a case (SWOP et al., vs. US Air Force) that would have tried to get the Air Force to speed up the clean up of the contamination.

The EDB (ethylene dibromide) plume’s leading edge has been pulled back, but the main bulk of the plume has not yet been addressed, according to Charles de Saillan, staff attorney at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, who is representing various clients on this important case.

“We are very disappointed in the decision,” said de Saillan, “and we are considering our options. The Air Force needs to be subject to an enforceable schedule for completing the investigation and cleanup of the plume.”

Lujan Grisham Signs Bill to Allow State to Get Tougher than Feds on Environmental Policy

By Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current Argus

April 12, 2021

A bill New Mexico Democrats pushed as allowing for greater state control of environmental regulations was signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham following the 2021 Legislative Session.

Senate Bill 8 allowed the State to set environmental standards “more stringent” than federal law, a change from how the law is currently written to allow state regulations by “no more stringent” than policies enacted at the federal level.

Can a Wildlife Refuge Help a Community’s Fight for Environmental Justice?

By Jessica Kutz, High Country News

April 9, 2021

Albuquerque’s South Valley was once a thriving oasis of food production watered by a network of historic irrigation canals, or acequias. Today it’s home to several historic neighborhoods along the Rio Grande including Mountain View.

After much of the area was rezoned in the 1960s, the residents, who are mainly Chicanos as well as recent immigrants, came under siege by the structural forces of environmental racism that dictate who lives near polluters and who doesn’t. Mountain View was soon enveloped by industry — auto recyclers, Albuquerque’s sewage plant, paint facilities, and fertilizer suppliers — that left a legacy of contaminated groundwater, two Superfund sites and high levels of air pollution. 

Now, six decades later, Mountain View is facing yet another transformation….