KUNM Call In Show 12/11 8a: The New Mexico Environment Department has fined the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and Los Alamos National Laboratory a total of $54 million related to two incidents at the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository earlier this year. An underground fire and a release of radiation in February contaminated 22 workers and shuttered the facility.
What are the fines for? And what must WIPP and LANL do to come into compliance with hazardous waste permits? Are the fines enough?
Senators Welcome Fines For Nuke Repository Mishaps – The Associated Press
New Mexico's two U.S. senators are welcoming more than $54 million in penalties being levied against the U.S. Department of Energy for numerous violations that resulted in the indefinite closure of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository.
The state Environment Department on Saturday announced it was imposing the penalties for 30 state-permit violations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico and at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant stores nuclear weapons waste deep in underground salt caverns. There was an underground fire in February, followed by a release of radioactivity that contaminated 22 workers and shuttered the facility.
The US Department of Justice announced today Friday that it is opening an investigation into the University of New Mexico’s policies on dealing with sexual assaults on campus. It’s the latest in a number of DOJ investigations into university sexual assault policies nationwide.
The Justice Department review is a first for the university, and administrators say they still don’t know the details of the student accusations or the planned investigation.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is considering a proposal to build a pipeline that would move oil to markets from northwestern New Mexico. The agency hosted a public meeting on the plan Thursday night in the town of Lybrook, south of Farmington.
Monday was World AIDS Day and Planned Parenthood offered free and confidential HIV screenings at the Santa Fe Health Center.
In case you missed it, it’s important to know that free testing doesn’t only take place on World AIDS Day. There are organizations all across New Mexico that give tests throughout the year. Planned Parenthood gave over a thousand HIV tests here over the past year.
New Mexico health officials are reporting the first confirmed case of measles in the state since 2012. The one-year-old victim was released from the hospital yesterday, but health officials are taking the opportunity to remind residents to get vaccinated.
The Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment period is underway, and officials are reporting positive developments in early enrollment numbers.
What has your experience with the health care law been? Do you have questions about coverage? We'll be talking about the progress and process of the enrollment period in New Mexico with experts from the state insurance exchange and local outreach workers.
Albuquerque Hires NAACP Leader On Police Reform – The Associated Press
The city of Albuquerque has hired a local NAACP leader to help with upcoming changes into the city's troubled police.
But some advocates are criticizing the move.
The city announced this week NAACP Albuquerque president Harold Bailey will be paid $20,000 as a consultant for a team that will oversee changes. Bailey says he will help the team with community engagement.
On Wednesday the Bernalillo County Planning Commission voted to recommend a development plan for almost 40,000 new homes and commercial spaces on Albuquerque’s West Mesa. The vote occurred despite some 75 people who spoke out in opposition citing concerns over the economic and environmental impacts.
Project Protects NM Forested Land From Development – The Associated Press
More than 11,000 acres that adjoin the Carson National Forest have been permanently protected from development through a conservation easement.
A conservation effort on the Upper Rio Chama River property in northern New Mexico began in 2009. The final and largest piece of the nearly 12-thousand-acre property became part of the easement Monday.
New Mexico Senate Has Backlog Of Confirmations – The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal
The Democratic-led New Mexico Senate will convene in January with a backlog of pending confirmation decisions on dozens of appointees of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Martinez's office says the 85 first-term appointees awaiting confirmation votes include numerous members of state boards and commissions as well as three Cabinet secretaries.
The Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period is entering its third week, and so far over a million Americans have applied for health insurance on the federal exchange.
Officials in New Mexico are also reporting progress in enrollment, after a problematic rollout last year.
Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and one of President Obama’s senior advisors on health care, says the problems that besieged consumers in 2013 seem to have been resolved.
Over the years, thousands of young men and boys in New Mexico, ages 6 to 18, have benefited from the musical training and comradeship offered by the Albuquerque Boy Choir. Founded in 1937, the Choir is one of the state's longest-running arts organizations. The current director of the Concert Choir, Kent Wall, talks about the 2014 winter concert, taking place on December 7 at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque. For information, visit, a
Regulators Approve PNM Solar Plan - The Associated Press
PNM's plan to build four more solar-powered generating stations has been approved by state regulators.
The Public Regulation Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the utility's renewable energy procurement plan for next year. The solar arrays will represent a more than $79 million-dollar investment.
The City of Albuquerque released an environmental monitoring report for a section of the bosque they hope to develop between Central Avenue and Montaño, but advocates are focused on protecting the wildness in the area.
The public has until November 30, 2014, to comment on the report that was supposed establish baseline data about the environmental health of the bosque that runs through the heart of Albuquerque and is important habitat for animals.
Residents of the Navajo Nation will now be paying more for junk food. Last week Navajo President Ben Shelly signed the Healthy Dine' Nation Act into law, adding a tax on unhealthy food sold anywhere on Navajo land. Deswood Tome is Special Advisor to President Shelly. He spoke to KUNM about the law's implications.
"The law imposes a tax on junk food as a deterrent, so when people go to the store they'll make a conscious decision to buy nutritious food," Tome said.