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New Mexico News Plus

June 9, 2016

State: LANL violations warrant civil penalties -- Santa Fe New Mexican

The state has issued a notice of violation to Los Alamos National Laboratory that it has violated its hazardous waste permit and should expect to face civil penalties for failing to properly handle a number of hazardous waste drums or correct issues.

The 12 violations were discovered as a result of a June 13, 2015, inspection by the New Mexico Environment Department that found open waste containers, including three holding ethyl acetate and acetonitrile, odorless and translucent chemicals. Other violations included failure to label containers as hazardous waste, failure to note the type of contaminant within certain drums and failure to properly package waste drums containing free liquids. The report also notes improperly set up waste receptacles for newly generated waste that were often too far from the waste-generating location. -- 6/9/2016



NM has highest rate of pedestrian deaths in countryLas Cruces Sun News

Federal data shows New Mexico has the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the U.S.

According to a report issued in May by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, New Mexico had 74 pedestrian fatalities in 2014, or a rate of 3.55 per 100,000 residents. The average U.S. rate was 1.53 per 100,000 that same year, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

The next highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in 2014 was 2.96 per 100,000 in Florida.

Data shows that alcohol contributed to the high rate, with 57 percent of the fatal pedestrian crashes involving alcohol in New Mexico. -- 6/9/2016


State confirms 3rd case of Zika virus in New MexicoLas Cruces Sun News

State health officials say there’s a third confirmed travel-related case of Zika virus in New Mexico. They say a 41-year-old Chaves County man acquired the virus while traveling to Central America. The New Mexico Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division recently began Zika testing and confirmed the case. One of the mosquito species that can transmit the Zika virus has been found in Chaves County in the summer and fall. -- 6/9/2016

June 2, 2016

State: Zika virus confirmed in Bernalillo County womanLas Cruces Sun News

State health officials say a 40-year-old Bernalillo County woman is the second person in New Mexico to contract the Zika virus while traveling. The New Mexico Department of Health announced Wednesday that the woman contracted the virus while traveling in the Caribbean. The woman’s name hasn’t been released. -- 6/2/2016


Regulator warns of long, costly cleanup at Los Alamos lab -- Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico’s top environmental regulator says it could take the federal government another decade and more than $4 billion to clean up the hazardous waste and contamination remaining at one of the nation’s premier nuclear weapons laboratories.

Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn provided the estimate Wednesday to state lawmakers as he outlined proposed changes to a consent order that guides cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory. -- 6/1/2016


April 28, 2016

Wildlife agency agrees to deadline for wolf recovery plan -- Las Cruces Sun News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to a deadline to craft a recovery plan for the endangered Mexican gray wolf after the agency was accused in federal court of dragging its feet for decades.

The settlement filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Arizona still needs to be approved by a judge, and it's expected to be challenged by farm bureaus in three states. It would require a recovery plan to be complete by November 2017 with periodic status updates provided to parties in a lawsuit filed against the Fish and Wildlife Service. -- 4/28/2016

May 4, 2016

NM DOH: Keeping on the move saves you from pain laterLas Cruces Sun News

The New Mexico Department of Health reports arthritis affects an estimated 26 percent of New Mexico residents. May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. It affects the young and old, with age being the leading factor in diagnosis. It’s a problem sure to affect more New Mexicans because our aging population is growing rapidly. By the year 2030, New Mexico will rank third in the nation in percentage of population ages 60 and older; currently it ranks 10th according the New Mexico Department of Aging and Long-Term Services. -- 5/4/2016


New Mexico senator defends wilderness designationLas Cruces Sun News

Democratic U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich on Thursday defended a proposal to create two federal wilderness areas in northern New Mexico in response to criticism that the legislation could limit state revenues from timber and mining operations.

New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has strongly objected to wilderness designations at the Rio Grande del Norte Monument that encompass 1,280 acres of state trust land that might otherwise generate state revenues from timber sales and the mining of pumice and molybdenum. Trust lands span 9 million acres in New Mexico and generate funding mainly through oil and natural gas production for public schools, universities and hospitals. -- 5/4/2016

April 21, 2016

New Mexico to sue to block release of wolves -- Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico officials notified the federal government Wednesday they will sue to block the planned release of more Mexican gray wolves without the state’s OK.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s release plan “unpermitted and illegal” and said it will go to court unless the federal agency backs down.

The state department last year denied the federal agency’s application to release wolves into the wild. But the Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced it planned to release a pack of wolves this year and also could place some captive-born pups into wild packs, in a bid to improve genetic diversity. -- 4/21/2016