NMELC in the News

Sunland Park, Santa Teresa Community Deserve Clean and Safe Drinking Water

Las Cruces Sun News
July 17, 2024
by Vivian Fuller, Daisy Maldonado, Mark Alonzo and Lia Rasberry

Residents of Sunland Park and Santa Teresa are deeply troubled by the ongoing issues with the Camino Real Regional Utility Authority (CRRUA) water supply. Despite repeated assurances from CRRUA, community members continue to face problems with arsenic contamination, discolored water, health concerns and escalating water rates.

For years, many CRRUA customers have experienced yellow and brown water flowing from our taps, raising concerns about the safety of our drinking water. We have experienced persistent rashes, hair loss, and dry skin; our water is discolored and smells of sulfur. The presence of inorganic arsenic compounds in the water is particularly alarming, given their highly toxic nature and potential for causing both acute and long-term health issues, including cancer.  …

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Downwinders continue to seek justice 79 years after the Trinity Test

New Mexico Political Report
July 17, 2024
by Hannah Grover

For most of his life, Paul Pino believed his community had dodged the bullet when it came to nuclear fallout. It wasn’t until he’d retired from teaching high school history that he learned that his home, Carrizozo, had in fact experienced radiation fallout on a July morning in 1945.

Then the pieces started coming together. He’d seen family members die of illnesses that can be linked to radiation exposure.  …

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Gathering Will Mark 45 Years Since the Largest Radioactive Release in U.S. History Hit New Mexico

July 11, 2024
by Jeanette DeDios

It’s been 45 years since the largest radioactive release in U.S. history occurred at Church Rock New Mexico. Members of the Navajo Nation will gather on Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of the uranium spill.

On July 16th, 1979, a dam ruptured and released more than a thousand tons of radioactive waste and nearly 95 million gallons of toxic radioactive wastewater spilled into the nearby Rio Puerco and surrounding Navajo Nation lands. …

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Mountain View Residents Allege City of Albuquerque Has Violated Their Civil Rights

June 6, 2024
New Mexico Political Report
by Hannah Grover

Residents of the Mountain View neighborhood in the South Valley of Albuquerque have filed a complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding environmental justice and air pollution in minority and low-income communities. The South Valley of Albuquerque is in an unincorporated area of Bernalillo County, but abuts the city and is heavily impacted by city decisions.  …

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EPA Finally Doing the Right Thing with Uranium Waste in Red Water Pond Road Community

Albuquerque Journal

June 2, 2024

By Teracita Keyanna and Edith Hood / Red Water Pond Road Community Association

Uranium waste is a problem with no easy solutions. A proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to remove uranium mine waste from our community, the Red Water Pond Road community 11 miles north of Church Rock, to the Red Rock landfill property 5 miles east of Thoreau, has generated some disagreements among members of the Navajo Nation. …

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Clearing the Air: Why We Support Moving Uranium Mine Waste to the Red Rock Landfill

Navajo Times

By Edith Hood and Teracita Keyanna

May 16, 2024

Editor’s note: Teracita Keyanna and Edith Hood are members of the Red Water Pond Road Community Association. The community is 11 miles northeast of Churchrock, New Mexico.

A proposal to remove uranium mine waste from our community, the Red Water Pond Road community, 11 miles north of Churchrock in the Eastern Agency, to the Red Rock Landfill property five miles east of Thoreau, has generated some disagreements among members of the Navajo Nation. We are writing to give our community’s perspective and to help base the conversation on accurate information. We want to work together as one people to collaborate and figure out a plan to protect ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren….

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Communities of Color Suffer the Most from BernCo’s Air Pollution

By Lauro Silva

Albuquerque Journal

May 12, 2024

In April, the American Lung Association released its annual State of the Air report, grading metropolitan areas and counties across the country on their air quality.

Unsurprisingly to working class communities of color in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, Bernalillo County received failing grades for ozone and fine particulate matter. This most recent State of the Air report cemented the Albuquerque metropolitan area’s place as one of the most polluted medium-sized cities in the nation. …

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Majority Latino City Endures Years of Toxic Water in Health ‘Crisis’

By Silvia Foster-Frau

Washington Post

After repeated violations, the state of New Mexico has stepped in — but problems are a reminder that safe water is not available to all Americans

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. — Rosana Monge clutched her husband’s death certificate and an envelope of his medical records as she approached the microphone and faced members of the water utility board on a recent Monday in this city in southeast New Mexico. …

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Sunland Park Déjà Vu: Water, Management Crisis and Community Protest

April 15, 2024

By Kent Paterson

El Chuqueño

Momentous days riveted April in the southern New Mexico border communities of Sunland Park and neighboring Santa Teresa, where renewed controversy over water quality grips the public stage..

Dozens of people jammed the small Sunland Park City Council chambers April 5 in a town hall convened by City Councilor Alberto Jaramillo. Billed as the “Let’s Celebrate Our Hispano Heritage” event, the gathering heard city and utility company officials report on different municipal initiatives. …

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Woods: Potential Buyers are Not Admissible Evidence

April 11, 2024

By Jessica Carranza

El Defensor Chieftain

RESERVE – Judge Roscoe Woods of the Seventh Judicial District Court, granted the State Engineer’s motion for summary judgement thereby upholding the State Engineer’s denial of Augustin Plains Ranch LLC’s application to pump 54,000-acre feet of water a year from the San Agustin Plains basin at the Catron County Court house on April 5….

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Speaking with One Voice

April 7, 2024

By Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear International

Tribes call for cleanup, remediation and an end to uranium mining and milling

They were there to tell their stories. The contamination of air, land and water. The sicknesses. The displacement. The loss of community, culture and language. The deprivation of fundamental human rights. And they spoke with one voice in their plea for justice, the voice of Indigenous peoples in the United States and their lived experience of uranium mines and mills. …

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Judge Denies Pumping of Water from the San Agustin Basin

April 5, 2024 

by Jessica Carranza Pino

El Defensor Chieftain

Judge Roscoe Woods, Seventh Judicial District Court Judge, denied the application from the Augustin Plains Ranch LLC to pump 54,000 acre feet of water a year from the San Agustin Plains basin at the Catron County Court house this morning, April 5, in Reserve, New Mexico.

There was standing room only with over one hundred people present at the hearing in protest as lawyers shared their arguments for almost five hours. …

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A Nuclear Power Revival Is Sparking a Surge in Uranium Mining

April 4, 2024

A push for nuclear power is fueling demand for uranium, spurring the opening of new mines. The industry says new technologies will eliminate pollution from uranium mining, but its toxic legacy, particularly in the U.S. Southwest, leaves many wary of an incipient mining boom. …

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Federal Government Must Halt New Uranium Mining and Clean up the 500-plus Abandoned Mines

March 24, 2024

By Eric Jantz, Allbuquerque resident and Teracita Keyanna, Gallup resident

They look like small mesas — indistinguishable, really, from the buttes and juniper-dotted hills that are common features on New Mexico’s landscape.

Rather than being part of a landscape that reflects the ebb and flow that millennia of seasons have sculpted into the Earth, however, these mounds of uranium mining waste are obelisks memorializing the point at which humanity completely divested itself of its moral compass and put its faith in the destructive power of the atom. …

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MacKenzie Scott Donates $20 Million to New Mexico Nonprofits

March 21, 2024

By Griffin Rushton, KOB TV 4

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has awarded 10 New Mexico organizations a total of $20 million through her Yield Giving foundation. …

For the folks at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, $2 million is keeping their fight alive.

“I literally was just in disbelief, and in tears, or just feeling some of that weight being lifted off my shoulders,” said Virginia Necochea, executive director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. …

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