County Delays Vote on Massive Development

The Bernalillo County Commission voted on March 26th to resume its hearing on the proposed Santolina development in May. The city-sized Santolina development, slated for the west mesa overlooking Albuquerque, is promising 75,000 permanent jobs and housing for 90,000 residents.

NMELC Executive Director Douglas Meiklejohn is lead counsel on the case for the SouthWest Organizing Project, the NM Health Equity Partnership, and the Pajarito Village Association. Doug filed two motions for this hearing: a Request for Recusal and Alternative Motion for Dismissal of Bernalillo County Commissioner Art de la Cruz and a Motion to Postpone the Bernalillo County Board of County Commissioners Hearings on Appeals Concerning the Proposed Santolina Development Hearing

You can find out more about the Santolina Project at Contra Santolina’s Facebook page, or see the Albuquerque Journal’s coverage of the hearing.

03/27/2015 • Back to top

Collected Works now carrying Justice Bars

Thanks to Collected Works! On March 12, this wonderful bookstore began selling our Justice Bars - organic chocolate bars that benefit our work at the Law Center. You can find Collected Works at the corner of Galisteo and Water in downtown Santa Fe. Pick up some of your favorites today! Dark chocolate with red chile, pure dark chocolate and milk chocolate with pecans.

03/13/2015 • Back to top

HB625: Sneak Attack on NM Mining Act at Roundhouse

UPDATE: Thank you! HB625 died in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee!

The New Mexico Mining Act is one of New Mexico’s most effective and revered environmental laws – and now it’s under attack. For 25 years, the Mining Act has ensured that mining corporations protect our water, clean up messes they create, and don’t foot taxpayers with billions of dollars of reclamation costs. But that may change, if the mining industry gets its way with HB 625.

Representative John Zimmerman (R-Dona Ana, Grant & Sierra) is sponsoring House Bill 625 to rollback critical safeguards in the New Mexico Mining Act that would allow mining operations to pollute our valuable groundwater. 

Key provisions of the bill:

• Remove the existing Mining Act requirement that reclamation be self sustaining and not reliant on perpetual care by mining companies.

• Allow unlimited expansion of some open pits or waste units.

• Relax “standby” requirements that could allow operators to circumvent reclamation at mining sites.

• Weaken financial assurance requirements.

HB625 is being heard by the NM House Energy Environment and Natural Resources Committee on the morning of Friday March 6 at 8:30 am in Room 309.

Download the bill:

03/05/2015 • Back to top

Groups to EPA: Act Now to Control New Mexico’s Dairy Pollution Problem

SANTA FE, NM––MARCH 5, 2015 ––A coalition of eight local, state and national organizations are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6, Water Quality Protection Division (EPA) to increase its involvement in controlling the environmental and community health impacts of New Mexico’s dairy industry. Led by Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP), the groups have submitted scientific, technical and legal comments on the EPA’s proposed federal Clean Water Act General Permit for New Mexico’s concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to encourage direct action for improving regulation of the industry. Link to the filed comments.NM_CAFO_Comments_To_EPA_3.15.pdf

Read entire article >

03/05/2015 • Back to top

Help protect the NM Mining Act! Vote NO on HB 190.

Action Alert!
HB 190 provides an exception in the New Mexico Mining Act to the definition for certain “small” mining operations that do not use chemical means for extraction.

House Bill 190 will be heard on Friday, February 13th at 1:30 PM in Room 315.

Contact your Representative NOW.

HB 190 should not be enacted because it would mean that there will be no oversight to ensure that these mines:

- Comply with all applicable air and water quality standards;
- Prevent erosion;
- Provide financial assurances to achieve reclamation if the mine operator is unable or unwilling to do so;
- Prevent nuisance impacts from noise and dust; or
- Prevent damage to cultural resources, cemeteries, or burial grounds.

02/13/2015 • Back to top

Farewell Bruce

Bruce Frederick
Staff Attorney Bruce Frederick has taken a new job and will be leaving the Law Center at the end of January. Returning to government service, where he invested 17 years before joining the Law Center in 2007, Bruce will be working for Santa Fe County on public utility and natural resource issues.

In his 7 years with the Law Center, Bruce has been instrumental in earning some important successes for our clients. He leaves a legacy of highly effective representation for communities whose health and natural resources are at risk, and a strong foundation for his successor to build upon going forward.

During the transition Bruce will continue to advise the Law Center on his active cases, including the San Augustin water grab, the Aquifer Science residential development project in the East Mountains, and the ongoing challenge to the Copper Rule.

We wish him well on his new adventure. (See job announcement)

01/27/2015 • Back to top

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