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May 4, 2015

State approves two solar arrays in southern NMLas Cruces Sun News

Southern New Mexico is moving closer to being a renewable-energy powerhouse.

In late April, Aubrey Dunn, the NM state's land commissioner, announced that NextEra Energy Resources, a Florida-based company heavily invested in renewable energy, has been awarded a bid to develop solar power array projects on state trust lands in Doña Ana and Otero counties.

The two projects include a 50-megawatt solar array located on 640 acres of state trust land in Doña Ana County, some 6.4 miles west of Santa Teresa. A second array, expected to be the largest in the state, will generate 150 megawatts of electricity on 2,770 acres in Otero County. The Otero County solar power array is expected to be three times larger than the largest existing solar array at Macho Springs in Luna County, also located on state trust land. - - 5/4/15

May 1, 2015

Feds reach $73 million settlement with New Mexico over radiation leakLas Cruces Sun News

The Energy Department will funnel more than $73 million toward road and water projects around New Mexico as part of a settlement over a radiation leak that forced the indefinite closure of a troubled nuclear waste dump.

The agreement, announced by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and state Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn, follows months of tense and slow negotiations.

The settlement is the largest ever reached between a state and the department, Flynn said, noting that the agency needed to be held accountable for putting people at risk. - - 5/1/15


President Obama Announces New Library Initiatives -- Library Journal

At a visit to Washington, DC’s Anacostia Neighborhood Library on April 30, President Barack Obama announced two new initiatives that promise to rally America’s libraries, publishers, and nonprofit organizations to strengthen learning opportunities for all children, particularly in low-income communities. The plan, dubbed the ConnectED Library Challenge, will engage civic leaders, libraries, and schools to work together to ensure that all school students receive public library cards. Commitments from 30 library systems are already in place.

As part of an effort to provide broad access to digital content, the Open eBooks Initiative has secured a promise from the “Big Five” publishers and a number of independent presses to provide $250 million in free ebooks to low-income students. Some 10,000 popular titles will be made available over the next three years, and libraries have joined forces with nonprofits to create an app to deliver the content, as well as material from the public domain.

The new programs are an outgrowth of the president’s original ConnectED initiative, announced two years ago with the goal of transforming teaching and learning through digital connectivity and content. The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is investing $5 million in support of the ereader app, as well as tools and services to help the public more easily access ebooks and other digital content.

April 24, 2015

New Mexico to spend record $2.75B on public education– Las Cruces Sun News

Spending on early childhood programs and public schools in New Mexico will top $2.75 billion in the coming budget year. That's the largest amount in state history. It will include funding to implement several new initiatives by the state Public Education Department.

According to the Executive Budget Recommendation of the State of New Mexico, the majority of the budget, $2.5 billion, goes to the schools based on a formula that takes into account student body size, school size and special education needs. The rest of the budget is allocated for specific initiatives. -- 4/23/15


Authorities rescue missing hiker in NM, arrest wanted criminal– Las Cruces Sun News

After a multi-agency search, a missing hiker was rescued Tuesday near the Continental Divide in Hidalgo County, according to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

A coordinator for the Continental Divide Trail reported the missing hiker to U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Deming station. The release says the hiker was lost in the Boot heel of New Mexico. – 4/24/15

April 27, 2015

New Mexico leaders push for high-level nuclear wasteSanta Fe New Mexican

Since 2012, the city of Carlsbad has spent about $260,000 on lobbyists to try to persuade members of Congress to consider the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance’s parcel as a waste storage site, according to analysis of lobbyist records by the Center for Responsive Politics.

At first glance, the barren stretch of desert between Carlsbad and Hobbs in southeastern New Mexico seems unfit for any kind of industry. But this rugged, nondescript patch of land is poised to be the focus of the next national conversation about how to dispose of the country’s most dangerous nuclear waste.

The state took a crucial step this month toward accepting such waste, which other Western states have shunned, when Gov. Susana Martinez quietly signaled to the Obama administration that New Mexico would welcome it. – 4/25/2015


New Report: Preparing the Workforce for Digital Curation -- National Academies Press

The massive increase in digital information in the last decade has created new requirements for institutional and technological structures and workforce skills. Preparing the Workforce for Digital Curation focuses on education and training needs to meet the demands for access to and meaningful use of digital information, now and in the future. This study identifies the various practices and spectrum of skill sets that comprise digital curation, looking in particular at human versus automated tasks. Additionally, the report examines the possible career path demands and options for professionals working in digital curation activities, and analyzes the economic benefits and societal importance of digital curation for competitiveness, innovation, and scientific advancement. Preparing the Workforce for Digital Curation considers the evolving roles and models of digital curation functions in research organizations, and their effects on employment opportunities and requirements. The recommendations of this report will help to advance digital curation and meet the demand for a trained workforce. Authors include: Committee on Future Career Opportunities and Educational Requirements for Digital Curation; Board on Research Data and Information; Policy and Global Affairs; National Research Council. -- 4/26/2015

April 23, 2015

U.S. Maps Areas of Increased Earthquakes From Human Activity -- The New York Times


In its first comprehensive assessment of earthquakes believed to be caused by human activity, the United States Geological Survey released a map on Thursday identifying 17 regions with significant levels of seismic movement triggered mostly from oil and gas operations.

By far the hardest-hit state, the report says, is Oklahoma, where earthquakes are hundreds of times more common than they were until a few years ago.

“Oklahoma used to experience one or two earthquakes per year of magnitude 3 or greater, and now they’re experiencing one or two a day,” Mark Petersen, chief author of the report, said. “Oklahoma now has more earthquakes of that magnitude than California.” – 4/23/2015


PRC votes in new rules and regs for Lyft, Uber -- Albuquerque Business First

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission voted Wednesday to issue new rules that regulate companies like Uber and Lyft. The PRC has struggled for more than a year to figure out how to regulate Uber and Lyft.

The implications of the new rules, which have not been posted yet on the PRC site, are unclear. The commissioners at the hearing "red lined" copies of the rules. Though they have not been posted, the transportation act can require that motor carriers set minimum prices and issue other tariffs. -- 4/22/2015