Wednesday News Roundup: Feds To Hold Public Hearing On Wolf Proposals

Nov 20, 2013

Feds To Hold Public Hearing On Wolf Proposals - Associated Press

Future management of the federal government's troubled effort to return Mexican gray wolves to the Southwest will be the focus of a public hearing Wednesday in Albuquerque.

Environmentalists, landowners and others are expected to pack the meeting. They'll be commenting on a pair of proposals that will determine how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moves forward with the program.

One proposal calls for listing Mexican wolves as an endangered subspecies and delisting gray wolves elsewhere. The other proposal would revise a rule that classifies Mexican wolves as an experimental population.

Wolf supporters say wildlife managers haven't done enough to help the wolves repopulate parts of Arizona and New Mexico. But ranchers oppose any plans that would expand the program and where the wolves could be released.

NM Teachers Plan Protests Over Evaluation System - Associated Press

Unions representing teachers and other educational employees are planning rallies to protest a teacher evaluation system by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration that heavily bases ratings on student performance on standardized tests.

New Mexico officials of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are encouraging teachers to wear black on Wednesday and participate in rallies in a number of communities, including Carlsbad, Hobbs, Roswell, Santa Fe and Las Cruces.

The state presidents of the educational unions said on Tuesday that a heavy reliance on student testing is hurting educators rather than helping students.

The Martinez administration implemented a performance-based evaluation system in the current school year after failing to win approval of its proposals in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

NM Utility Unveils Newest Solar Energy Center - Associated Press

New Mexico's largest electric utility has unveiled its newest solar power plant.

PNM says the Manzano Solar Energy Center in Los Lunas spans 60 acres and consists of 108,000 panels that are capable of producing enough electricity for about 2,600 homes. A ceremony was held Tuesday.

Between 2011 and 2012, PNM brought online five utility-scale solar power plants. In addition to the new Valencia County project this year, PNM also plans a solar array near Tularosa.

Construction of the plants is part of the utility's efforts to comply with New Mexico's renewable energy portfolio standards.

The state currently requires 10 percent of electricity produced for customers to come from renewable energy sources. That requirement will jump to 15 percent in 2015 and 20 percent in 2020.