Conservation Beat

The Conservation Beat
5:13 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

NM Governor Declares State of Emergency Due to Drought

Governor's Susana Martinez's declaration makes it easier for communities, farmers and ranchers to secure federal funding.    It also kicks into action the New Mexico Drought Task Force headed by the State Engineer.  The panel is to make recommendations on how to mitigate problems that stem from persistent drought.

The Conservation Beat
4:08 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

State Engineer: This Drought Won't Last Forever

State officials from a variety of agencies gathered this morning to talk about New Mexico’s drought and its effect on recreation this summer.  State Engineer Scott Verhines took a moment after the conference to talk about the bigger picture with KUNM’s Sidsel Overgaard .

The Conservation Beat
5:44 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Environmental Advocates Cry Foul Before Start of Pit Rule Hearings

photo: United States Department of Labor

Next week the state Oil Conservation Commission will take up consideration of New Mexico’s pit rule, a measure governing the disposal of waste from oil and gas drilling. 

When adopted in 2008, the pit rule was hailed by environmentalists as one of the strictest standards in the nation…and condemned by the oil and gas industry as unnecessarily burdensome. 

Starting Monday, the three-member OCC will begin a week-long set of hearings to consider the industry’s administrative appeals. 

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The Conservation Beat
5:32 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

State Offers Amnesty to Cesspool Owners

photo: New Mexico Environment Department

Despite the fact that cesspools have been illegal in New Mexico for almost 40 years, thousands of homeowners still use them to dispose of raw sewage…and the state wants that to stop.

For the next five months, the New Mexico Environment Department is providing amnesty to residents who contact the agency to have their cesspools eliminated and replaced with modern septic systems.

Dennis McQuillan with the state’s Liquid Waste Program says not only do cesspools pollute the groundwater…they’re dangerous.

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The Conservation Beat
4:49 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

New Grant Aims to Bring Local Produce to Low Income New Mexicans

photo: Dries Buytaert/Creative Commons

As part of a new $4 million US Department of Agriculture initiative, New Mexico will get about $35-thousand dollars to help make farmers market produce available to food stamp recipients. 

About half of New Mexico’s 60-plus farmers markets already accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits.  But Denise Miller with the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association says the new grant will hopefully bring needed wireless technology to all the rest. 

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The Conservation Beat
4:14 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

EPA Revisits Permit for What Could Be First in New Wave of Uranium Mines

In a move environmental groups call "unprecedented," the Environmental Protection Agency is reconsidering a decades-old permit for a proposed uranium mine near Church Rock. 

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The Conservation Beat
4:33 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

100 Inspectors Responsible for 100,000 Oil and Gas Wells

photo: Antandrus/Creative Commons

The number of oil and gas wells in New Mexico is on the rise due to higher demand for domestic production, but the number of federal inspectors qualified to watch over them remains at less than 100.  

According to a report in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Bureau of Land Management and the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division oversee about 100,000 wells, each of which is inspected an average of once every three years.

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The Conservation Beat
3:52 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

State Officials Launch New Wildfire Warning System

Governor Susana Martinez flanked by State Forester Tony Delfin and Forestry Public Information Officer Dan Ware
photo: Cecilia Nowell

New Mexicans are already able to get information about wildfires on the web or via Twitter.  But State Forestry officials say they're hoping to reach a wider audience with a new email alert system.  Forestry spokesman Dan Ware says the emails will contain a host of information that can't be crammed into a 140 character tweet, including when the fire started, the cause, and a description o

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The Conservation Beat
1:43 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Report Highlights Economic Benefits of Colorado River Recreation

Bureau of Reclamation

A new report estimates recreational activity along the Colorado River and its tributaries contributes about $17 billion in direct spending per year.  According to the report:

If recreation associated with the Colorado River and it tributaries was a company, the jobs it
supports would make it the 19th largest employer on the Fortune 500.

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The Conservation Beat
9:48 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

NM Seeks Federal Waiver on Renewable Energy Transmission Line

photo: doug_wertman/ creative commons

New Mexico's largest electric utility, the state's transmission authority and Power Network New Mexico have filed a request with federal regulators that would clear the way for a new transmission line to funnel solar- and wind-generated power to western markets.

The Renewable Energy Transmission Authority and Power Network New Mexico are developing the $350 million project.

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The Conservation Beat
9:35 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

State Engineer Tells Irrigators to Heed Groundwater Limits for 2012

In a statement released Thursday, the Office of the State Engineer says it will begin sending letters to irrigators in southern New Mexico who are already in danger of using more than their share of groundwater for the year. 

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The Conservation Beat
12:52 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Citizen Group Says Fuel Spill Efforts Too Little, Too Late

Thursday morning on the KUNM Call-In Show we'll be talking about what's being done to clean up the estimated eight million gallons of fuel that leaked from an underground pipe at Kirtland Air Force Base over the course of decades.  Officials tracking the flow of the fuel and dissolved pollutants say no contamination has reached Albuquerque's drinking water wells.  And they say they are working as fast as possible to clean the spill before that happens.

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The Conservation Beat
9:21 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Guidelines Aim to Protect Animals While Promoting Wind Energy

Mark Seymour/ Creative Commons

While electric utilities look ahead to future renewable energy mandates, a coalition of wind energy companies and conservation groups has released new guidelines that should make wind development easier in New Mexico. 

The best management practices, drafted by groups like Audubon New Mexico and Interwest Energy Alliance, are designed to ensure the safety of animals like raptors, bats, and lesser prairie chickens while allowing for the growth of wind farms.

The Conservation Beat
10:04 am
Tue May 1, 2012

PNM Striving to Hit Future Targets for Renewables

Fernando Tomas

New Mexico’s largest electric utility says even though it has not yet met a two-year old renewable energy requirement…it is on track to meet future goals

Under the state’s renewable portfolio standard, investor-owned utilities were supposed to get ten percent of their electricity from clean energy sources by 2010.  Of the state’s three such utilities, PNM is the only one not currently meeting that mandate.  The target jumps to 15 percent in 2015.

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The Conservation Beat
9:48 am
Mon April 30, 2012

House Passes Bill Adding to Cibola National Forest

 The House of Representatives has passed a bill, HR 491, that would add about 900 acres to the northern end of the Cibola National Forest.  The Crest of Montezuma, which forms the backdrop to the village of Placitas, is currently controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.  The bill was sponsored by Representative Martin Heinrich, who says, aside from being visually stunning, the parcel is also an important wildlife corridor.

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The Conservation Beat
2:46 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Fire Potential Could Be Less in Parts of NM

Regional land managers look on as US Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell talks about fire readiness.

The head of the US Forest Service says land managers are ready for what’s likely to be another active fire season.  Tom Tidwell is touting the level of cooperation among federal and state agencies, while urging private landowners to play their part.

'I just can't stress that enough," he says.  "I would encourage all our private landowners to go to our Firewise website to see what you can do around your home, to make a difference, to make your home more defensible, and to make it a lot easier on our firefighters."

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The Conservation Beat
7:46 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Representatives Call for Uranium Clean Up on Navajo Nation

New Mexico Congressmen Ben Ray Luján and Martin Heinrich are calling on the federal government to take urgent action to clean up hundreds of abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.

In letters to the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and Indian Health Services, Lujan, Heinrich, Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva and four other House members say they are they deeply troubled by the federal government's failure to address the ongoing problem. They say the federal neglect is leaving future generations exposed to life-threatening radiation.

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The Conservation Beat
12:21 pm
Sun April 22, 2012

Doing the Math on Local Food

© Alan Eckert Photography

This weekend, people all over the country celebrated Earth Day by participating in The Nature Conservancy’s Picnic for the Planet, an effort to raise awareness about the sources of our food and water.

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The Conservation Beat
4:38 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

ABCWUA Says More Money Needed to Fix Infrastructure

Albuquerque water officials will likely need to raise customers’ rates in the next several years in order to pay for improvements to aging infrastructure.

At a board meeting of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, chief executive Mark Sanchez said the utility would be asking for five percent increases in 2016 and 2018.  A rate hike for 2013 has already been approved.  Each increase would raise average customer rates by about 3 dollars.

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The Conservation Beat
10:48 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Fuel Spill Burn Off To Speed Up Next Week

Officials at Kirtland Air Force Base say, starting Monday, they’ll begin burning off 400 gallons of jet fuel per day from a decades-old underground spill in Albuquerque.

For now, they’ll be using the same passive soil vapor extraction technology that’s been pulling out roughly 135 gallons a day for the last eight years.  Two new wells drilled in more concentrated areas of the spill account for the increase in efficiency.

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The Conservation Beat
7:19 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Bandelier Seeking Input on Plan for Tsankawi Sites

Officials at Bandelier National Monument in northern New Mexico are asking for the public's help in developing a management plan for dozens of archaeological sites that are separate from the main portion of the park.

The plan will focus on the Tsankawi unit, which is home to more than 150 sites that range from petroglyphs to stone pueblo structures. The plan is aimed at improving protection of the archaeological resources as well as visitor understanding of the area.

A 30-day scoping period began Monday. The public has until May 15 to submit comments.

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The Conservation Beat
7:04 am
Wed April 18, 2012

New Shrimp-Like Species Found in NM Cave

This undated photo provided by the Bureau of Land Management shows a newly discovered species of freshwater amphipod. (AP Photo/Bureau of Land Management, Randy Gibson)

Scientists have discovered a new tiny shrimp-like species in a gypsum cave in southeastern New Mexico, only a few dozen miles from the famous caves at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

check out our conservation blog: earth air waves

 

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The Conservation Beat
2:34 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

New ABQ Recycling Facility Progressing Steadily

Under a contract with the city, Friedman Recycling has until next May to complete its new 70,000 square foot recycling center at 5049 Edith NE.

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The Conservation Beat
1:50 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Evaluating Wilderness...That Isn't Quite Wilderness

A bill called the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act is inching its way through Congress, and could have serious consequences for close to two million acres of New Mexico land currently managed as wilderness.

Funding for the Conservation Beat comes from the New Mexico Community Foundation

The Conservation Beat
9:18 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Feds, Others Offer $57,000 for Info in Wolf Shooting

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a single gunshot wound is to blame for the death of a Mexican gray wolf that was found in southeastern Arizona in late March.

The agency identified the wolf as a female pup that belonged to the Hawks Nest Pack.

Agents with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department recovered the pup's carcass along Forest Road 249 west of Alpine. A necropsy determined the cause of death.

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The Conservation Beat
8:18 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Cyclists Now In Support of Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Legislation

UPDATE (2:56 PM) An email from the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society and International Mountain Bicycling Association says the bill introduced today is endorsed by all cycling groups in Northern New Mexico:

Bingaman and the Conservation Community, which includes cyclists, understand the benefits of cycling and the recreation economy it supports.  Thus, a special bill was crafted that meets everyone’s needs by designating trails and protecting land from resource extraction and motorized abuse.

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The Conservation Beat
8:00 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Petioners Say PNM Could Be Greener

UPDATE (2:33 PM) Activists have delivered their petition to PNM headquarters.  About two dozen people gathered at a rally earlier today calling on PNM to invest more in renewable energy.  The company is slated to submit its renewable energy plan to state regulators later this month.  Petitioners say they hope PNM will go beyond the minimum requirements.

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The Conservation Beat
8:32 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Support Waning for Mexican Wolf Program

For the third time in recent weeks, a partner in the troubled effort to reintroduce the Mexican gray wolf has jumped ship.

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Conservation Beat
8:23 am
Mon April 9, 2012

NM Gains Ground in Solar Rankings

A new report places New Mexico among the nation's leaders in production of electricity from solar power.

The Solar Energy Industry Association says New Mexico ranked fourth last year in photovoltaic solar system installations, up from seventh in 2010.

Only California, New Jersey and Arizona saw more installations by homeowners, businesses and utilities.

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The Conservation Beat
9:10 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

NM BLM Wins National Award for Migratory Bird Conservation

The Restore New Mexico initiative started seven years ago as a collaboration between government, the oil and natural gas industry, ranchers and environmental groups to reclaim old oil fields and restore grassland habitat in Southeastern New Mexico for the Lesser Prairie Chicken and Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, both candidates for endangered status.  

 

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