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September 15, 2015

Governor Susana Martinez Unveils New State Energy Plan -- New Mexico Governor's Office Press Release

Governor Susana Martinez unveiled a sweeping new energy policy and implementation plan for the State of New Mexico, entitled: “Seizing our Energy Potential: Creating a More Diverse Economy in New Mexico.” Among other things, the blueprint calls for an “all of the above” approach to energy development that promotes the production of all sources of energy as a means of creating jobs, diversifying a key sector of our economy, and supporting our nation's efforts to achieve energy independence.

“New Mexico is one of the most energy-rich and energy-diverse states in the nation, and we have an excellent opportunity to utilize this position to grow our economy and create more jobs,” said Governor Martinez. “Improving our energy infrastructure, responsibly developing and producing energy of all types, and better preparing our workforce for the needs of our energy sector are all critical components not only of a strong economic future, but of helping lead America to energy independence.”

New Mexico’s 2015 Energy Policy and Implementation Plan is the first comprehensive energy policy for the state in nearly 25 years. -- 9/14/2015

September 11, 2015

Important Land And Water Conservation Funding Act Set To Expire -- KSFR

Conservationists and state representatives gathered earlier this week at the Valles Caldera – a sprawling 89-thousand acre preserve in northern New Mexico- to discuss the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. This fund, which has preserved land in every state funding more than 40000 state and local conservation projects, is set to expire at the end of the month. Senator Tom Udall was among those gathered. -- 9/11/2015


Basin Study Projects Shortfall in Future Water Supply for Santa Fe Basin in New Mexico  -- Globe NewsWire

The Bureau of Reclamation released a study of the Santa Fe Basin that found that the water supply for Santa Fe, absent implementation of new strategies, is not adequate to meet future demands even without the influence of climate change. 

The Santa Fe Basin Study identifies shortages in the water supply and potential adaptation strategies to meet the water needs described in the basin's 40-year water demand projections. The area's population is expected to increase about 80 percent by 2055 and, unless action is taken, would be expected to result in a shortfall of about 5,155 acre-feet of water per year, the amount of water that provides for more than 20,000 people. When different climate change scenarios were incorporated into the study, water shortfalls of between 6,342 acre-feet to 9,323 acre-feet per year were projected.  -- 9/10/2015

September 3, 2015

Auditor: New Mexico had $100M special education shortfallLas Cruces Sun News

New Mexico saw a shortfall of more than $100 million in special education funding for three years, and that shortfall put the state at risk of losing important federal funding, the New Mexico State Auditor's office announced Wednesday.

An independent accounting firm found the shortfall in special education funding from July 2009 to June 2012 during the audit, according to the office. Those numbers were based on New Mexico Public Education Department's calculations, the office said.

The announcement was just the latest in the long dispute over special education funding in New Mexico, and it comes at a time when Republican Gov. Susana Martinez pushes through record education spending this year. The state's Public Education Department is currently in a legal dispute with the U.S. Department of Education over to how to calculate New Mexico's special education funding.  - - 9/3/15


Court strips lesser prairie chicken of federal protection -- Santa Fe New Mexican/Associated Press

A federal court in Texas has stripped the lesser prairie chicken of Endangered Species Act protections, a victory for oil and gas companies that argued conservation efforts are working.

District Judge Robert Junell ruled Tuesday in Midland that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to make a proper evaluation of the states’ conservation plan when it listed the lesser prairie chicken — a species of grouse with feathered feet and striped plumage — as threatened.



September 8, 2015

Congress wades into toxic mine spill caused by EPA crewLas Cruces Sun News

The focus on a toxic mine spill that fouled rivers in three Western states shifts to Congress this week as lawmakers kick off a series of hearings into how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accidentally unleashed the deluge of poisoned water.

Republican committee leaders in the House and Senate said EPA officials were frustrating their attempts to investigate the spill by withholding documents that could explain what went wrong when a cleanup team doing excavation work triggered the release of 3 million gallons of rust-colored sludge from the inactive Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. -- 9/8/15

September 1, 2015

Aerospace company chooses New Mexico spaceport for testing -- KRQE/Associated Press

An aerospace company based in southern New Mexico plans to begin testing its aircraft and space launch vehicles at Spaceport America beginning next year.

Officials with the New Mexico Spaceport Authority announced Tuesday that ARCA Space Corp. has selected Spaceport America as the site for its testing. -- 9/1/2015