News & Events
NEW MEXICO SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS WATER QUALITY PROTECTIONS
The New Mexico Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association to reverse historic water quality protections put in place by the state Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) in December of 2010. The ruling puts to rest an extended legal battle over the WQCC’s decision to designate rivers and streams located in Wilderness Areas as Outstanding National Resource Waters (ONRWs). In their unanimous decision the court “quashed” the Cattle Growers last ditch legal maneuver to reverse the protections. The Court found that the cattle growers did not demonstrate “adverse harm” by the protections and thus did not have the standing to challenge the designation. For more information, please see the Press Release.
New Mexico’s Drinking Water Under Attack:
Help Us Defeat Proposed Water Quality Rules for the Copper Mining Industry
On October 10th, 2013, an appeal of the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission’s (WQCC) adoption of copper mining groundwater regulations was filed by 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. The groups are challenging the adopted copper mining rules because they expressly allow water pollution rather than prevent it. Proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department and the global copper mining company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, the rules mark the first time in 36 years that the WQCC has set aside its mandate to protect the quality of the state's scarce groundwater resources. For more information on this development, please see the Press Release.
On September 10, 2013, the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) voted 9-1 to adopt the proposed water quality rules for the copper mining industry. Click here for the press release with more information. After an 8-month stakeholder process to develop a draft rule that would be protective of groundwater at copper mine sites and provide regulatory certainty to industry, NMED upper-level managers ignored the recommendations of their technical staff and NMED Advisory Committee and rewrote the proposed rule.
If allowed, the rule would:
- Would give the mining industry the right to pollute.
- Is in direct conflict with the State Water Quality Act that requires polluters to prevent groundwater contamination during their operations.
- Would give the mining industry the right to pollute future drinking water supplies and impact the health of people and communities.
- Could pave the way for other polluters to demand similar rollbacks in water quality safeguards. This would lower the cost of doing business for the polluter while transferring the cost of clean up and the cost to address public health outcomes to New Mexico taxpayers.
The Martinez Administration Weakens Environmental Protections in Mining Rules
On September 17th, 2013, the New Mexico Mining Commission voted to change mining regulations to allow larger humate mines without comprehensive environmental review. Amigos Bravos, represented by New Mexico Environmental Law Center, opposed the rule change and presented testimony in opposition to the change. For more information on this issue, please see thePress Release.
Amigos Bravos Celebrates 25 Years
For 25 years, Amigos Bravos has acted in the belief that our communities should have the technical knowledge and organizational skills to protect and preserve their own local rivers and water. We work hard to provide that knowledge and those skills to communities across the state. In return, we depend on your support so that we can be as quick to respond as possible when threats to our rivers arise. When you support Amigos Bravos through donations or by volunteering, you ensure that all of us – working together – can protect and restore the rivers and waters that sustain us.
The Río Grande del Norte National Monument – established on March 25, 2013 by Presidential Proclamation.
For more information, visit the BLM website