Recent Supreme Court decisions and Bush Administration policies have put our state's waters at risk. Because of these decisions and policies over 90% of New Mexico's waters are at risk of not receiving Clean Water Act Protections. The Clean Water Act is the piece of federal legislation that protects our waters from unregulated dumping and pollution.
Because of the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, we have made great progress in cleaning up New Mexico's waters. However, since Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006, polluters have argued that the law no longer protects numerous wetlands, streams, rivers lakes and other waters historically covered by the Act. In 2005, the NM Water Quality Control Commission, with the support of Amigos Bravos, revised the definition of "surface waters" in order to counter the harmful impact of national decisions to curtail the CWA. Although industry groups challenged this definition in court, the New Mexico State Court of Appeals ruled to uphold the State's right to protect all of New Mexico's waters, regardless of decisions made by the federal government.
This is a wonderful accomplishment for New Mexico, but there are still numerous waterways nationwide that are at risk. The Clean Water Restoration Act of 2009 would restore longstanding Clean Water Act protections on the national level that had been in place for over 30 years. Amigos Bravos is working at the state and national level to identify the threats to New Mexico waters as well as to advocate for a restoration of historic protections. Please see the attached fact sheets for additional information. Also, read the New York Times article of 3/1/10
Click here to download the New Mexico fact sheet (324 KB pdf).
Click here to download the South West United States fact sheet (328 KB pdf).