Wednesday News Roundup: NM Regulators Approve Water Protection Rules

Sep 11, 2013

NM Regulators Approve Water Protection Rules - Associated Press

New Mexico regulators have approved a proposed set of rules aimed at protecting groundwater at copper mines despite claims by the attorney general's office that the proposal contradicts existing state law.

Tuesday's hearing before the state Water Quality Control Commission marked the culmination of months of wrangling over how best to deal with potential contamination at mining sites.

The commission heard days of testimony, held public meetings and reviewed volumes of information related to the so-called "copper rule" before voting 9-1 to approve modifications.

The state Environment Department has said the proposal would be the most stringent of any copper producing state in the West, but critics contend that it would give mining companies a license to pollute and could open the door to other industries to seek similar regulations.

Albuquerque May See Record Rainfall This Week - Associated Press

Parts of drought-stricken central New Mexico are expected to see record rainfall this week.

The National Weather Service says Albuquerque could experience heavy rain through Thursday thanks to showers and thunderstorms.

By the end of the week meteorologists say the city may get close to two inches of rain for September — way more than the average for the month.

Socorro also is expected to see wet weather.

Heavy rain is expected in the region through Thursday evening.

Ridership On NM Rail Runner Falls In 2012 - Associated Press

Ridership on New Mexico's commuter rail system dropped last year, and officials attribute part of that to the weak economy and job losses reducing the pool of passengers.

Rio Metro Regional Transit District Director Terrence Doyle told a legislative panel Tuesday that Rail Runner Express ridership declined by about 9 percent in 2012, but fare revenues grew 10 percent because of higher ticket prices.

He said lower gasoline prices and the higher fares contributed to the ridership decline.

About 1.1 million riders boarded the train last year and 734,000 through August of this year.

Rail Runner officials said they're looking for ways to boost ridership, such as shortening travel times between Albuquerque and Santa Fe to make the train more attractive to government workers who commute.

Udall, Heinrich On Opposite Sides On Syria - Associated Press

New Mexico's senior senator, Democrat Tom Udall, and Republican Rep. Steve Pearce say they're opposed to a U.S. military strike against Syria over its use of chemical weapons.

Udall said Tuesday he's gravely concerned the U.S. will get further embroiled in a Middle East civil war if there's military action against Syria.

President Barack Obama is seeking congressional approval of legislation authorizing a military strike.

Pearce said "America cannot fight every battle" and he's backing a proposal to block funding for any use of force against Syria.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich says he'll vote for a Senate resolution authorizing U.S. military action in Syria.

The first-term Democrat doesn't support sending U.S. troops into Syria but says America must deter Bashar al-Assad's regime from again using poison gas.