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.
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 .
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.