News Update Thursday June 20th
Residents: Action Needed On NM Mine Due To Cancer - The Albuquerque Journal (AP)
Western New Mexico residents say federal officials need to either move the tailings from an abandoned uranium mill near Milan or relocate the owners of about 75 nearby homes.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that residents told a top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official Tuesday that a cluster of cancer cases in subdivisions near the Homestake Mining Co. uranium mill show a need for immediate action by the agency.
They pointed to a draft EPA report published this month showing that residents near the mill face a cancer risk 18 times higher than that considered acceptable by the EPA.
More than a decade has passed since uranium ore was mined in New Mexico, but a Canada-based company and a Japanese partner proposed this year reopening a mine near Grants.
NM Agencies, Nonprofit Team Up To Provide Water - The Associated Press
State wildlife and agriculture officials are teaming up with a nonprofit group to help New Mexico ranchers defray the extra cost of hauling and pumping water during the drought.
The Department of Game and Fish has made a one-time allotment of $40,000 to the Department of Agriculture as part of an effort to provide the state's wildlife with water.
The money will pass through the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, where ranchers can apply for up to $350 to pay for things such as fuel to haul or pump water.
Game and Fish Director Jim Lane says anytime a rancher provides water for cattle, wildlife will also benefit from that water.
New Mexico is in its third year of extreme drought, and recent thunderstorms have brought little relief.
Audit Questions $6M In Labor Charges By NM Agency - The Associated Press
Federal auditors are recommending that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recover more than $6 million in grant funding from New Mexico.
The EPA's Office of Inspector General says three bureaus within the New Mexico Environment Department did not always comply with federal requirements when it came to charging labor, fringe benefits and indirect costs to federal grants.
The auditors say the Air Quality Bureau and Drinking Water Bureau charged the costs based on budget allocations instead of actual activities performed by workers. The Surface Water Quality Bureau submitted personnel reports that didn't meet requirements.
The department acknowledged Tuesday that some work wasn't sufficiently documented.
However, agency officials say the problem has been corrected and all activities required by the grants were completed and that no funding was misused by the department.