NMELC PRESS RELEASES

CURRENT PRESS RELEASE

McKinley Uranium Working Group Gains/Loses County Commission Support

On July 30, Percy Anderson and Janene Yazzie of the McKinley County Uranium Working Group, which has been seeking County Commission support for a Blue Ribbon Task Force to study the impacts of uranium mining in the County, appeared to get support from two of the three commissioners during their presentation to the Commission. But in an article in the Gallup Independent, positive comments made by the two commissioners at the meeting were not quoted, only statements  that were skeptical of the Task Force and of the Working Group. Community members will continue to try to work with the Commissioners and the County Manager and decide on a strategy moving forward. Representative Patricia Lundstrom (District 9, McKinley & San Juan) had sent a letter to the Commissioners supporting creation of the Task Force. Read our Press Release

Past Press Releases

Public-Interest Law Firm to Bolster Enviro Health for Vulnerable NM Families

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), a Santa Fe-based non-profit law firm, has been awarded a two-year, $300,000 grant towards Healthy Environment, Healthy Families. The project uses public-interest law to safeguard public health and the well-being of New Mexico’s under served families. The grant was made by the W.K. Kellogg […]

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Santolina’s Request to Strip Water Requirements Challenged

Today community groups and residents of the South Valley appealed a decision from the Bernalillo County Planning Commission in the Santolina mega-development case. The Planning Commission recommends stripping key provisions that require the Santolina developers to prove that its project has water. The appeal was filed with the Bernalillo County Commission (BCC), […]

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East Mountain Residents Battle Water Speculator in Court

Oral arguments will be held tomorrow in the Aquifer Science water grab case. Residents are challenging developers’ attempts to resuscitate a failed water appropriation in a thinly veiled water speculation attempt. This case is an appeal of the 2014 decision by the Office of the State Engineer (OSE) denying Aquifer Science’s application […]

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Judge Rules 2015 Hearing on Santolina “UNFAIR”

Today, the Honorable Judge Nancy Franchini of the New Mexico Second Judicial District Court, ruled that the Bernalillo County Commission did not grant community advocates a fair hearing when it approved the “Zone Map Amendment” (ZMA) for the proposed Santolina mega-development.

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Residents Expand Fight Against Water Speculation in East Mountains

Residents of the communities in the East Mountains of Albuquerque, NM, have asked a judge to compel disclosure of the attorneys’ fees and costs of Aquifer Science, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of water development company PICO Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PICO) that seeks to obtain water rights in the East Mountains. […]

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Residents Fight Water Speculation in East Mountains

Residents of the communities in the East Mountains of Albuquerque, NM, have asked a judge to throw out an appeal filed by Aquifer Science, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of water development company PICO Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PICO) that seeks to obtain water rights in the East Mountains.

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Albuquerque Air Quality Board Upholds Polluting Permit

Yesterday, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Air Quality Board unanimously voted to deny an appeal of an air pollution permit issued to Honstein Oil & Distributing, LLC. The Honstein facility is located near homes in the San Jose neighborhood in the South Valley of Albuquerque and holds a 6,000 gallon gasoline storage tank. The facility is one of many polluting facilities found in the South Valley, a community recognized by the US EPA as an “Environmental Justice community”.

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McKinley County Gets Notified Over Open Meetings Act Violations

On behalf of two community groups, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center submitted a Notice of Intent to Sue today to the McKinley County Commission identifying a possible Open Meetings Act Violation related to a meeting held in January 2017. Groups signing onto the letter include Red Water Pond Road and Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining. The letter outlines that the county failed to give proper notice about the meeting to the public, and didn’t publish the agenda in advance of the meeting.

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NM High Court to Consider Water Sacrifice Zones

The Copper Rule is a regulation adopted by the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) to regulate groundwater contamination by the copper mining industry. It is the first regulation since the state’s adoption of its Water Quality Act in 1967 that allows an entire industry to intentionally pollute groundwater. The Copper Rule was largely written by mining giant Freeport McMoRan, and adopted in October 2013. The state’s high court has been asked to set aside the Rule and require the WQCC to adopt a regulation that protects groundwater quality from copper mine contamination.

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Judge Says Appeal against Santolina Development Can Move Forward

Today, parties were notified that state District Court Judge Nancy Franchini ruled against Santolina developer Western Albuquerque Land Holdings (WALH) in its effort to shut down an appeal by three public-interest groups. The judge’s decision allows the public-interest groups and individuals to pursue their appeal of the Level A Master Plan and zoning change for the proposed mega-development.

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Supreme Court gets one step closer to Copper Rule decision

With your support, we filed our Reply Brief in the Copper Rule challenge before the state Supreme Court on March 7th. It’s one of our last steps before the state’s high court hands down a ruling in a case that could decide how groundwater is protected – or sacrificed – at industrial sites in New Mexico for years to come.

The Law Center and its clients, Amigos Bravos, the Gila Resources Information Project and Turner Ranch Properties, continue to hammer away at the Copper Rule. The Rule allows – for the first in New Mexico’s regulatory history – the intentional contamination of groundwater by an entire industry.

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Burqueños Challenge Discriminatory Air Pollution Practices

Albuquerque, NM – Yesterday, the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) filed a complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County under Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint, submitted by the non-profit New Mexico Environmental Law Center, asserts that local decision-makers “have demonstrated […]

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