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September 22, 2014

"Quakes, methane production linked" -- Albuquerque Journal

The injection of huge amounts of wastewater – a byproduct of methane gas production – deep underground has led to a dramatic increase in the number of earthquakes in the Raton Basin since 2001, according to a study published recently in a scientific journal.

In the 30 years leading up to the wastewater injection, the basin straddling the border of Colfax County in New Mexico and Colorado was seismically quiet, with just one significant earthquake. But since energy companies expanded coal-bed methane operations in 1999, seismic activity has gone way up, according to the study. -- 9/21/2014


"Prescription drug drop-offs not limited to yearly events" – Las Cruces Sun News

In the past, those with unused prescription drugs would need to wait for Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) take-back events to properly dispose of them, but now those unused prescription drugs can be dropped off throughout the year at specific facilities. Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new regulation that would allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and other collectors to serve as authorized drop-off sites for unused prescription drugs. -- 9-22-14

September 18, 2014

"Before Bataan: Photo exhibit captures soldiers unaware of their fate in Philippines" -- The Santa Fe New Mexican

The young men photographed during military drills or waiting in line for food at Camp Luna near Las Vegas, N.M., had no idea that hundreds of them would die defending the Bataan Peninsula, walking in the Bataan Death March or during imprisonment by the Japanese under brutal conditions.

In August 1940, members of the 200th Coast Artillery Regiment, which included more than 1,800 New Mexicans, had gathered to train for the last time on home soil. A year later, their units were deployed to the Philippines. The 10 black-and-white images in a new photo exhibit at the Jean Cocteau Cinema capture the soldiers’ blissful ignorance. -- 9/18/2014


"LANL’s burst barrel has sister drum at WIPP" -- The Santa Fe New Mexican

A second drum of nuclear waste contains the same volatile mix of ingredients from Los Alamos National Laboratory that is suspected of causing a radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, lawmakers learned Tuesday. -- 9/18/2014


"Census data shows poverty rate rises in New Mexico" – Las Cruces Sun News

New U.S. Census Bureau numbers show New Mexico has the nation's second-highest percentage of people living in poverty. Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that 21.9 percent of New Mexico residents lived in poverty last year, roughly 22,000 more people than in 2012. The national rate was 15.8 percent in 2013 compared to 15.9 percent the year before.-- 9/18/2014


"More rain expected in Las Cruces as Odile remnants pass through"- Las Cruces Sun News

One more day of potentially heavy rain is anticipated Thursday as what remains of now-tropical depression Odile passes through Las Cruces and southern New Mexico. National Weather Servicemeteorologists believe as much as two more inches of rain could fall in Las Cruces. When the storm arrives and how much rain it could bring are uncertain. -- 9/17/2014

September 16, 2014

"Gas Production Blamed For Rise in Colorado & New Mexico Earthquakes" -- Business Insider (Reuters)

The deep injection of wastewater underground by energy companies during methane gas extraction has caused a dramatic rise in the number of earthquakes in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001, U.S. government scientists said in a study released on Monday.

The study by U.S. Geological Survey researchers is the latest to link energy production methods to an increase in quakes in regions where those techniques are used.

Energy companies began producing coal-bed methane in Colorado in 1994, then in New Mexico five years later. The process creates large amounts of wastewater, which is pumped into sub-surface disposal wells.

Scientists have long linked some small earthquakes to work carried out below ground for oil and gas extraction, which they say can alter pressure points and cause shifts in the earth.

The new study focused on the Raton Basin, which stretches from southern Colorado into northern New Mexico.  -- 9/15/2014

September 11, 2014

"Five new cases of West Nile recorded in El Paso area" – El Paso Times

According to the El Paso Health Department, five new cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in the El Paso area in the past week bringing the total number of cases for this year up to 11. The five new cases involve three men and two women with all the victims being older than 50, officials said. -- 9/11/2014

September 8, 2014

"New Mexico nuclear waste site may be hobbled for years" -- The Washington Post

The Washington Post reports that it may be years before an underground nuclear waste dump in New Mexico shuttered by a radiation leak is fully operational, and costs for decontamination and other activities to restore the facility are not yet clear, Energy Department officials said. -- 9/7/2014

The U.S. Department of Energy and the New Mexico Environment Department are posting updates on the situation and efforts to remedy the situation.


"Interior Offers Nearly $100 Million to More Than 4,000 Landowners with Interests at Gila River and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations to Reduce Fractionation of Tribal Lands" -- Department of Interior

The Department of the Interior announced that purchase offers have been sent to more than 4,000 individual landowners with fractional interests at the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana. These offers, totaling nearly $100 million, will give eligible landowners with interests in tribal priority tracts the opportunity to voluntarily sell their land to be held in trust for each tribe.

The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers at fair market value within a 10-year period. Individuals who choose to sell their interests will receive payments directly into their IIM accounts. Consolidated interests are immediately restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members.


September 5, 2014

"Clinics to help parents with child safety seats"– Las Cruces Sun News

A state agency is sponsoring free clinics in five communities to educate parents about the proper use of child safety seats in vehicles. The NM Department of Transportation and the nonprofit group Safer New Mexico Now will conduct the clinics Sept. 20 in Albuquerque, Alamogordo, Las Cruces, Las Vegas and Santa Fe. -- 9/3/2014


"Kirtland Wants To Yank Reports On Fuel Spill" - KUNM News Roundup

Kirtland Air Force Base's commander says reports on contamination of the aquifer in Albuquerque are flawed and incomplete and that more time is needed to come up with a final plan to clean up a long-ago spill of jet fuel.

Col. Tom Miller told state environmental regulators in an Aug. 27 letter that the Air Force wants to formally withdraw thousands of pages of reports submitted in March. He cites data gaps, clerical errors and other circumstances.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the depth and spread of the fuel contamination has yet to be determined.-- 9/3/2014

August 28, 2014

"4 new confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in El Paso" – Las Cruces Sun-News

According to the El Paso Public Health Department, four new cases of the West Nile virus have been confirmed, bringing this year's total to six cases.  Earlier this month, the health department reported that two other men had contracted the disease, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. – 8/28/2014