NMELC PRESS RELEASES

CURRENT PRESS RELEASE

ENDAUM v. US Case Reaches Important Milestone with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

October 20, 2021

ENDAUM v. United States Government Case Reaches Important Milestone with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, USA—Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) announced today it will file its Additional Observations on the Merits including written and video testimony and other exhibits to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) based in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Oct. 21.

ENDAUM’s petition states that when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensed Hydro Resources, Inc. (HRI) (now known as NuFuels, a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company Laramide Resources) to operate uranium mining in the two Diné (Navajo) communities of Crownpoint and Churchrock it violated human rights guaranteed in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, including the rights to life, health, benefits of culture, fair trial, and property.

The U.S. NRC licensed an ISL uranium mine it knows will contaminate groundwater that is an important resource of drinking water and cultural identity to communities that suffer increased risk of death and disease from historic uranium mining and milling the United States government not only tolerated but promoted.

ENDAUM and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) will be holding a Gathering over zoom on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21 AT 12:30PM MDT to Celebrate the filing and to be available to members of the media to answer any questions about this unprecedented reckoning for the U.S. government and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for past and future uranium mining and milling activities on Indigenous lands.

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What: ENDAUM v. US Govt. Filing Day Celebration & Media Event

When: Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 12:30pm to 1:15pm MDT (2:30pm-3:15pm EDT)

Who: ENDAUM members and NMELC Senior Staff Attorney Eric Jantz, plus supporters and allies

Why: To celebrate the filing of additional observations/evidence to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, that the US govt violated the human rights of Indigenous communities by licensing uranium mining in Crownpoint and Churchrock

Where: This event will be held online over zoom due to COVID restrictions. Please find the Zoom link below.

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Past Press Releases

Bernalillo County Commission to Rehear Appeal of Zone Map Amendment for Santolina Development Project

August 23, 2021

Bernalillo County Commission to Rehear Appeal of Zone Map Amendment for Santolina Development Project

Albuquerque, NM – An appeal of the controversial Santolina Development Project will be heard a second time in front of the Bernalillo County Commission this week. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 3pm. Detailed information on how to view the hearing and the agenda at the end of this release.

The first appeal of the Bernalillo County Planning Commission’s recommendation to change the zoning from Agricultural to Planned Communities was back in 2014….

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City Environmental Health Department Withdraws Motions to Disqualify Air Quality Control Board Members

July 9, 2021

City Environmental Health Department Withdraws Motions to Disqualify Air Quality Control Board Members

July 14 Hearing Cancelled

Mountain View Coalition Credits Community Mobilization Efforts for Raising Voices Against Environmental Injustice

 ALBUQUERQUE, NM—The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department (EHD) abruptly withdrew four motions to disqualify Air Quality Control Board (AQCB) members from a case by Mountain View residents to reverse the air pollution permit for a hot mix asphalt batch plant proposed by New Mexico Terminal Services (NMTS).

Attorneys for the EHD had requested three members of the AQCB to be disqualified for bias; attorneys for the groups making up the Mountain View coalition—Mountain View Neighborhood Association, Mountain View Community Action, and Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge—were prepared to argue in the July 14th hearing next week in front of the AQCB that the bias claims were baseless and that there is no evidence to support the city’s disqualification requests.

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Community Opposition to Proposed Santolina Development Continues to Grow

Albuquerque, NM – Dozens of grassroots community residents, small farmers and people concerned about dwindling water supplies gathered last week to become more informed and strategize about how to continue the fight against the proposed mega housing development project Santolina. 

The Contra Santolina Working Group, along with the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), co-hosted an event over Zoom that featured a detailed history of the movement since 2013 presented by Dr. Virginia Necochea; updates about the future of water in the Middle Rio Grande Valley from Santiago Maestas, President of the South Valley Regional Association of Acequias; how the Development project would impact irrigation from small farmer Marcia Fernandez; legal updates from NMELC attorney Douglas Meiklejohn; and inspirational encouragement from Alejandría Lyons, Environmental Justice organizer at SWOP.

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NM Supreme Court Refuses to Review State Court of Appeals Ruling that Invalidated Zoning Change for Proposed Santolina Development

Santa Fe, NM – On April 16th, the New Mexico Supreme Court refused to review a ruling by the State Court of Appeals addressing the Santolina development that is proposed for Albuquerque’s West Mesa. 

According to New Mexico Environmental Law Center staff attorney Douglas Meiklejohn, the Supreme Court’s ruling means that the decisions by the Court of Appeals concerning Santolina remain in effect.

“The Court of Appeals ruling means that the land in question remains zoned Rural Agricultural and that it cannot be used for a planned community such as Santolina,” said Meiklejohn.

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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.”

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Southside Community Comes out in Full Force against the Proposed Asphalt Plant Permit in Spite of Systemic Barriers to Participation

Santa Fe, NM—More than 100 community members attended the three-day hearing on the proposed Air Quality Permit for Associated Asphalt & Material’s plant consolidation which was held before the NM Environmental Department and took place Monday, March 22 through Wednesday, March 25. Participants ranged in age from elementary school students at El Camino Real and Cesar Chavez, to seniors living in the impacted area. Every single member of the public who provided comment during the Public Hearing spoke against the permit except one.

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Earth Care Leads Community Resistance to Asphalt Plant Expansion in Santa Fe’s Southside Neighborhood

WHAT: Associated Asphalt and Materials LLC’s application to New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau for an Air Quality Permit

WHEN: Public Hearing on the Application is scheduled for March 22, 2021 at 4 p.m. 

WHERE: The Public Hearing will take place virtually and will be presided over by Hearing Officer Gregory Chakalian.

WRITTEN & ORAL COMMENTS: The public may submit written comments by email or post to Pamela Jones, Hearing Clerk, at: Pamela.Jones@state.nm.us or mail them to Pam Jones, Hearing Clerk, New Mexico Environment Department, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505. 

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New Mexico Groups Appeal EPA’s Dirty Water Rule

On Tuesday June 23, 2020 Today three New Mexico based organizations - Amigos Bravos, the New Mexico Acequia Association, and Gila Resources Information Project - joined together to appeal the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers so...

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Copper Flat Mine Rescission of Notice

On March 31, 2020, the Mining and Minerals Division (MMD) of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, rescinded its prior determination that the permit application for the Copper Flat Mine is technically complete. According to the MMD’s order, the mining...

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Leadership Change at the Law Center

Today, January 14, 2020, we are announcing a change in leadership at the Law Center. The announcement from Douglas Meiklejohn provides details about this transition. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Doug, Board member Susanne Hoffman-Dooley...

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