Case Work: Water

LANL Discharge Permit Public Hearing

LOCATION: Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
CLIENTS/PARTNERS: Communities for Clean Water
OPPOSING PARTIES: NM Environment Department
STATUS: Closed


NM Environment Department (NMED) Secretary Ryan Flynn denied a public hearing to several groups who had requested – three times – that NMED hold a hearing on the substantial issues they had raised regarding a proposed Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) discharge permit. The Water Quality Control Commission upheld the denial of a hearing.  It’s just one way in which the Martinez Administration has worked to limit public participation in environmental decisions, which is why we took the matter to the state Court of Appeals.  The Court’s decision was a strong rebuke of NMED and the WQCC and a strong argument for the critical importance of public participation through hearings on permits


12/27/2017 – New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled in favor of CCW, stating that both NMED and the WQCC were in error in denying a public hearing on discharge permit DP-1793 (which deals with handling of water produced while monitoring the chromium plume in the groundwater below LANL). This important decision makes it clear that the Water Quality Act expects public participation and puts the burden on the Environment Department to show why a hearing should not be granted during permit processes.  Read the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
08/15/2016 – NMELC files Reply Briefs to LANS and WQCC Answer Briefs
06/10/2016 – NMELC files Brief in Chief in the NM Court of Appeals
02/03/2016 – NMELC files docketing statement in NM Court of Appeals