In a statement sent to media, King said that the copper rules violate the state’s Water Quality Act by allowing the water under copper mines to be contaminated at levels higher than allowed by the law.
“Ninety percent of New Mexicans rely on groundwater for drinking water and this new rule, if allowed to be implemented, could render our water undrinkable for hundreds of years,” King said.
King has asked the New Mexico Court of Appeals to stop the implementation of the new rule.
Separately, the Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP) and Turner Ranch Properties, L.P., represented by New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC), and Amigos Bravos represented by High Desert Energy + Environment Law Partners, filed an appeal against the rule.
“At the request of Freeport McMoRan, the Commission adopted a regulation that allows extensive and permanent groundwater pollution at all copper mines,” says Bruce Frederick, NMELC Staff Attorney. “We are appealing the rule because we think it’s unconstitutional and diametrically opposed to the Commission’s express statutory mandate, which is to prevent water pollution.”
“As communities throughout the state discuss ways to deal with future water needs against the specter of long-term drought, it is irresponsible to allow mining companies to pollute thousands of acre-feet of groundwater that could be used in the future by municipalities, industry or agriculture,” Allyson Siwik, GRIP Executive Director, said in a statement.
The Reporter story highlighted the opposition to the copper rule changes throughout the process from both environmental groups and the office of the Attorney General.
The copper rule was approved on a near-unanimous vote by the WQCC. Only Doug Bland voted against the rule — and Bland recently resigned from the commission.
Filed under: Courts, Environment, Featured · Tags: Amigos Bravos, Doug Bland, Gary King, Gila Resources Information Project, High Desrt Energy + Environment Law Partners, New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Turner Ranch Properties L.P., Water Quality Control Commission