Wednesday Morning Roundup

Jul 17, 2013

Feds Eye 'Tip Line' In NM Drug Trafficking Fight - Associated Press

Authorities are scheduled to announce a new push to encourage anonymous reporting of suspected drug trafficking around northern New Mexico.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and local officials are slated to unveil Wednesday in Pojoaque a new project to give authorities intelligence through a new federal tip line.

Billboards about the tip line will go up in the area to get residents familiar with the new service.

The move comes as federal authorities say drug traffickers are using isolated areas in northern New Mexico to transport illegal drugs.

Espanola also is suffering high rates of heroin abuse.

NM Lieutenant Governor To Attend Oklahoma Meeting - Associated Press

Lt. Gov. John Sanchez plans to attend a meeting in Oklahoma of the National Lieutenant Governors Association.

The meeting runs from Wednesday to Friday in Oklahoma City.

Sanchez's office said there will be policy discussions about health care, immigration, federal farm programs and energy issues such as the oil and natural gas industry practice of hydraulic fracturing.

The event also includes a visit to the community of Moore, which was hit by a tornado in May that killed 24 people, including 10 children.

NM Reaches $920K Settlement With Gas Processor - Associated Press

State environment officials have reached a settlement with the operator of a natural gas processing plant in southeastern New Mexico over alleged pollution violations.

The Environment Department says the settlement with Occidental Permian Limited Partnership is worth more than $920,000. Most of the money will go toward installing pollution controls at the company's plant near Hobbs.

The department alleges the plant in 2010 failed to fully report emissions from flaring events that exceeded permit limits for carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants.

Under the settlement, Occidental denies violating any regulations but agreed to pay a $95,000 penalty and will spend at least $825,482 to install the new equipment.

Occidental says the total cost of the equipment could be more than $2 million.

NM Governor Proposes More Veterans Cemeteries - Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez is proposing that New Mexico establish several veterans cemeteries in rural areas of the state.

Martinez outlined her plan on Tuesday for providing more burial options for veterans and their spouses than the national cemeteries in Santa Fe and at Fort Bayard in New Mexico and the Fort Bliss National Cemetery in Texas outside of El Paso.

The governor said many families have to travel long distances for a burial at a national cemetery.

Martinez said the state will prepare a plan for initially creating three to four smaller cemeteries and will apply for a federal grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The governor estimated at least $390,000 in state start-up money will be needed and her administration plans to ask the Legislature for the funding.