New Mexico News Plus
Western wildfires still rage but some progress being made – Las Cruces Sun News
Damage assessments of active wildfire’s that's charred 28 square miles in central New Mexico are expected to start in the coming days. One of the focuses will be an area near the community of Chilili, where 24 homes and numerous other structures were destroyed. Cloud cover, high humidity and some rain have lessened fire activity in recent days. The blaze was nearly 70 percent contained. - - 6/24/2016
NMSU community continues to keep an eye on hawks – Las Cruces Sun News
A pair of hawks protected by federal laws continue to draw attention at New Mexico State University. The Swainson’s hawks have built a nest in a tree near Rentfrow Gym, and some campus birdwatchers believe they may have recently welcomed some hatchlings. The birds are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Swainson's hawk is listed as a species of concern by five states including New Mexico. - - 6/24/2016
New Mexico sues Colorado over mine spill -- Albuquerque Journal
New Mexico is suing its upstream neighbor, contending Colorado was too lax in its oversight of groundwater contaminated by decades of mining and should be held responsible for the fallout of last year’s Gold King Mine spill.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Supreme Court this week by Attorney General Hector Balderas and outside attorneys hired by the state Environment Department, seeks reimbursement for all costs – including “stigma” damages – connected to the mine spill, in which more than 3 million gallons of toxic waste was spewed into a tributary of the Animas River and flowed into New Mexico. -- 6/23/2016
A federal judge in Wyoming has struck down the Obama administration's regulations on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn't have the authority to establish rules over fracking on federal and Indian lands.
In the ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Congress had not granted the BLM that power, and had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight. -- 6/22/2016
NM DOH: We don’t have to take unnecessary risks with our lives– Las Cruces Sun News
It’s National Safety Month. Each June, the National Safety Council, the New Mexico Department of Health and partners around the country work to raise awareness on preventing the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads and in our homes and communities.
That’s a lot of ground to cover, and in a way, you can say it covers a lifetime of risk. The NTC reports preventable injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, right after heart disease, cancer and respiratory diseases. Let’s check out the top risks by age in the country. - - 6/22/2016
New Mexico Emergency Management has issued a fire warning and ordered mandatory evacuations for several communities in the East Mountains as the Dog Head Fire continues to burn in a northeasterly direction.
At 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, emergency management ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents extending from where NM 217 and NM 337 intersect, down toward the Torrance County line. The new evacuations include Ponderosa, Yrisarri, El Merced, Escabosa and areas south toward Chilili. Questions about the evacuation have been directed to BCSD, which can be reached at (505) 281-5887.
In Torrance County, voluntary evacuations have been ordered from the county line south to NM 55, and from NM 337 to the west. Information about Torrance Co. evacuations can be found at (505) 544-4900.
Governor Susana Martinez Declares State of Emergency in Response to Dog Head Wildfire -- Office of the Governor
Governor Susana Martinez declared a state of emergency in response to the Dog Head Wildfire affecting portions of Bernalillo and Torrance Counties. The Governor has also directed state agencies to offer all available resources to assist local authorities in the affected areas. -- 6/15/2016
State reports animal plague and tularemia in NM– Las Cruces Sun News
Health officials say there have been 10 cases of plague and 19 cases of tularemia in dogs and cats in New Mexico so far this year. Recent rabbit deaths from tularemia also have been confirmed in the Santa Fe and Eldorado areas of Santa Fe County. Confirmatory testing was conducted at the New Mexico Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division. -- 6/14/2016
Court Backs Rules Treating Internet as Utility, Not Luxury -- New York Times
High-speed internet service can be defined as a utility, a federal court has ruled, in a sweeping decision clearing the way for more rigorous policing of broadband providers and greater protections for web users.
The two-to-one decision from a three-judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday came in a case about rules applying to a doctrine known as net neutrality, which prohibit broadband companies from blocking or slowing the delivery of internet content to consumers. -- 6/14/2016
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 country – Las 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 Mexico– Las 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
State: Zika virus confirmed in Bernalillo County woman– Las 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