Public Regulation Commission renewables rule safe for now

Solar - City of Santa Fe - Sierra Club tour 1 © DVW

By Mona Blaber, Chapter communications coordinator, 03/24/14
The yearlong saga involving the rule that enforces New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Act could conclude soon, with a happy ending.
As you know, last year the Public Regulation Commission considered rulemaking changes that would have weakened enforcement of New Mexico’s law requiring utilities to provide 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020.

What must New Mexicans give up for a CO2 pipeline?

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By Rebecca Anthony, Mountainair resident, and Teresa Seamster 03/14/14

What are New Mexicans sacrificing to global companies like Kinder-Morgan by being compelled to grant easements so hazardous materials can be piped across hundreds of miles of private, public and tribal lands?

This January, in a packed meeting hall in the Alpine Alley Café in Mountainair, residents, ranchers and surrounding landowners listened and asked questions for hours on what a proposed carbon-dioxide pipeline could do to their community.

Fate of Gila River to be determined in 2014

Gila Lower Box by Anthony Howell

By Allyson Siwik, Chapter executive committee, 03/24/14

Ten years ago, President George W. Bush signed the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) into law, and with a sweep of the pen he set into motion a process that could change the Gila River forever.

New Mexico must decide at the end of the year if it will move forward with a Gila River diversion or instead implement cost-effective non-diversion alternatives to meet southwest New Mexico’s future water-supply needs.

Water Sentinels prepare for monitoring


By Eric Patterson, Water Sentinels-Rios de Taos, 03/24/14
Water Sentinels­ is preparing for a new water-monitoring season. There will be a training session in Valdez on May 15 to prepare for our first monitoring of this season on May 19.
We will be paying more attention to the upper Rio Hondo this year because the new owners of Taos Ski Valley have quite a bit of construction planned. The effluent from Taos Ski Valley has been pristine over the last few years, and we, along with the new owners, would like to keep it that way.

Our chance to protect Four Corners

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By Norma McCallan, Northern New Mexico Group Conservation chair, 03/31/14
The BLM’s Farmington Field Office has opened a comment period that will run until May 28 in preparation for an Environmental Impact Statement on amendments to its dated 2003 Resource Management Plan.
Back then, the Mancos-Gallup shale formations in northwestern New Mexico were thought to be close to played out, but recent advances in drilling techniques have allowed their development far deeper down, and oil and gas companies are swarming in.

Community speaks out against strip mining on La Bajada

Overflow crowd at La Bajada County Development Review Committee meeting

By: Ross Lockridge and Diane Senior, Rural Conservation Alliance, 03/24/14
“There is no more important geographical landmark of our state, and none with more historical significance.” — William Baxter, historian, Sept. 4, 2005.
Fifty acres of La Bajada Mesa — a historic landmark recognized by the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance as one of New Mexico’s Most Endangered Places — is now under threat of strip mining.

Mora defends its ban on fracking

Mora Field

By Eric Jantz, New Mexico Environmental Law Center, 03/31/14
In April 2013, the Mora County Commission passed an ordinance to protect the county’s water resources and public health from the impacts of oil and gas development.
The ordinance prohibits oil and gas development within the county. In November 2013, several corporations and an individual filed a federal lawsuit that alleges the county’s ordinance violates the corporations’ civil rights.

Residents fight transportation of crude oil to Lamy

By Teresa Seamster, Tom Gorman and Norma McCallan
Northern N.M. Group
The signs along Highway 285 south to Lamy, N.M., say it all: No Crude Oil in Lamy.
With a recent track inspection conducted by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad, it looks as if transporting crude oil carries many requirements and risks that will likely make that slogan come true for residents of Lamy.
The oil proposition

Caja del Rio lead could taint wildlife, cattle, meat

Caja del Rio lead

The stock pond on BLM land on the Caja del Rio Plateau about 15 miles west of Santa Fe may not look like much. The mesa is dusty and covered with thorny cholla and tumbleweeds, but the stock pond is an oasis for waterfowl, migratory birds, including Great Blue Heron, and Gunnison’s prairie dogs live nearby and sip the water and feed on the grasses that grow on the muddy banks.

Albuquerque air-quality board refuses to hear air-quality rule

By Lora Lucero 04/06/14
On March 12, the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Board ruled against Southwest Organizing Project’s request for a public hearing.
SWOP and community members wanted the board to set a future public hearing to consider a cumulative-impacts rule.
SWOP’s draft rule would have required the air-quality board to consider the pollutants coming from all of the smokestacks in the neighborhood, not just from the applicant’s project. There are at least 84 permitted facilities polluting Albuquerque’s South Valley.

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