NM High Court to Consider Water Sacrifice Zones

“As communities throughout the state are confronted by the critical impacts of long-term drought, it is irresponsible to allow mining companies to pollute groundwater that is needed by everyone.”
Allyson Siwik, GRIP Executive Director.

SANTA FE, N.M. — In a case that will set precedent for how the State of New Mexico protects water at industrial sites, the state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the “Copper Rule” case for September 28, 2016.

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.

Learn more about the Copper Rule.

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09/19/2016 • Back to top

They Keep Coming Back for the Plains of San Augustin Water

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center continues to represent the protestants, and yesterday, September 12, submitted a motion to the Catron County Seventh Judicial District Court that the Court re-open its 2012 Memorandum Decision (denying the Ranch’s appeal of the OSE’s rejection of the water transfer) so that the Court can order the OSE to reject the Ranch’s amended 2016 application, which includes the same defects that caused the OSE to deny the application in the first place. La Jicarita

Go to La Jicarita for full story

09/13/2016 • Back to top

Poisoned by Uranium, Navajo Nation Seeks Justice

In 1996 ENDAUM came to the New Mexico Environmental Law Center for legal assistance, and the HRI case has been a part of the Law Center’s docket ever since…community activism forced Navajo Nation leaders to find the strength to ban uranium mining outright in 2005.  No new uranium mining has begun in the state in the past 20 years. Impact Fund

Go to Impact Fund for full story.

08/29/2016 • Back to top

Q&A: Augustin Plains Ranch water grab case

The week of August 15, 2016, the public relations firm working for Augustin Plains Ranch announced that the Ranch’s current application to obtain the rights to 54,000 acre-feet of water is under consideration by the Office of the State Engineer. (Albuquerque-area residents used 92,940 acre-feet of water in 2015.)

Since 2008, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) has provided pro bono representation to approximately 80 individuals who live in west-central New Mexico. Together, we successfully challenged the Ranch’s first application. We intend to challenge this application as well.

We sat down with NMELC Executive Director Doug Meiklejohn to get some answers about the Ranch’s most recent application…

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08/22/2016 • Back to top

New Mexico official clears way for hearing on water proposal

Doug Meiklejohn, an attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, said the latest application by the developers does not include any specifics about who the actual water users would be and only mentions that cities such as Albuquerque and Rio Rancho are in the market for more water rights.

“It appears that the application suffers from the same lack of end user that was the basis for us getting it dismissed the first time,” he said. “You can’t speculate in water in New Mexico. It’s illegal.” Santa Fe New Mexican

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08/18/2016 • Back to top

New Mexico Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in “Copper Rule” case

The state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the New Mexico Copper Rule case for Wednesday, September 28 in Santa Fe.

The Copper Rule is a regulation adopted in October 2013 that allows the state’s copper mines to intentionally pollute groundwater. It is the first time since the New Mexico Water Quality Act was adopted that the State has exempted an entire industry from *pollution prevention requirements of the Act. KRWG

Go to KRWG for full story.

08/12/2016 • Back to top

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