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New Mexico Telegram » Environment

Senators Heinrich, Udall, Rep. Pearce respond to WIPP report

Senators Heinrich, Udall, Rep. Pearce respond to WIPP report

Three members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation responded to a report on an underground fire at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant on February 5, 2014. This is separate from the later radiation leak that has shut down WIPP operations. The Department of Energy issued a report that blamed bad maintenance and outdated equipment for the fire. A copy of the report is embedded at the bottom of this post. “I applaud the Department of Energy for producing a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Delegation, Environment, Featured, National News

Senate confirms Flynn for Environmental Department

Senate confirms Flynn for Environmental Department

The Senate voted to easily confirm Ryan Flynn as the Secretary of the Department of the Environment after nearly 45 minutes of debate. Environmental groups opposed Flynn’s nomination for what they see has being too close to the industry and allowing the Copper Rule to have too much influence from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. The vote was 30-11 to confirm Flynn’s nomination. All those who voted against Flynn were Democrats. A number of Democratic Senators stood up … Read entire article »

Filed under: Environment, Featured, New Mexico Senate

Environmental groups challenge construction code changes

Environmental groups challenge construction code changes

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) filed an appeal in a state court challenging changes to the state construction code. The changes to the code have been in dispute since they first occurred near the beginning of the Susana Martinez administration. Those changes were successfully challenged but new changes occurred in July of 2013. This appeal says the state Construction Industry Commission violated several laws when it made changes that weakened energy efficient building rules put … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Energy, Environment, Featured

AG sues to stop horse slaughter plant

AG sues to stop horse slaughter plant

Attorney General King announced a lawsuit for a temporary restraining order to stop the opening of a horse slaughter plant in Roswell. King made the announcement at a news conference Thursday morning. King’s office then sent out a release announcing the lawsuit. The plant is gearing up to start production in two weeks. “I took this action because horse slaughter presents a genuine risk to New Mexicans’ health and to our natural resources,” King said in the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Environment, Featured

Report: Thousands of violations, no fines for oil and gas companies

Report: Thousands of violations, no fines for oil and gas companies

oilA report by EnergyWire, part of Environment & Energy Publishing, found that despite 3,600 violations by oil and gas companies, there have been no fines for companies in years. This is because the Oil Conservation Division no longer has the authority to levy fines against those who violate New Mexico regulations and laws pertaining to oil and gas drilling. And there hasn’t been any movement to give the OCD the authority. In 2009, the state Supreme Court … Read entire article »

Filed under: Environment

Leith leaving political director spot at CVNM

Leith leaving political director spot at CVNM

After nine years as political director of Conservation Voters New Mexico, Leanne Leith announced that she is leaving the position. Lelith made the announcement in an email to CVNM supporters. “The work we do is hard. Each day involves uphill battles, and CVNM needs someone with fresh energy and perspective in this position to continue to thrive and grow,” Leith wrote. The group’s board and executive director, Demis Foster, will begin a search for a replacement “soon” according … Read entire article »

Filed under: Environment, Featured, Roundhouse

Lesser prairie chicken plan welcomed by Udall, Pearce; condemned by enviro group

Lesser prairie chicken plan welcomed by Udall, Pearce; condemned by enviro group

The controversial saga of protection of the lesser prairie chicken took another step forward today, when the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies released a conservation plan for the lesser prairie chicken. “The unprecedented collaborative efforts of WAFWA and the five state wildlife agencies have produced a sound conservation plan for the lesser prairie-chicken,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “We applaud the states’ commitment to lead conservation actions across the bird’s range.” The plan avoids listing … Read entire article »

Filed under: Delegation, Environment, Featured

AG, enviro groups appeal copper rule decision

AG, enviro groups appeal copper rule decision

Attorney General Gary King and environmental groups are appealing a decision by the Water Quality Control Commission to weaken groundwater rules for copper mines in the state. 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 … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Environment, Featured

Weekly Word: Laura Paskus

Weekly Word: Laura Paskus

The Weekly Word is back after a scrapped episode due to technical failures. Laura Paskus was good enough to come in on Memorial Day to record the podcast and talk about her feature story for the Santa Fe Reporter “The Canary in the Copper Mine (Is Dead).” The story recounts the changes to groundwater contamination rules as they relate to copper mines. Paskus goes through the process and how some career staffers objected to how it … Read entire article »

Filed under: Environment, Featured, Podcast

NM delegation works to rescind mineral payment sequestration cuts

NM delegation works to rescind mineral payment sequestration cuts

The congressional delegation is going hard after a specific cut because of sequestration: the Department of the Interior (DOI) withholding royalties from mining done in the states. The states receive 50 percent of the revenues resulting from the leasing of mineral resources on federal public domain lands within their borders according to the Mineral Leasing Act. The DOI has said the state’s share is subject to sequestration. New Mexico lost $25 million in funding because of the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Featured