Environment Department

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For years, dairymen, the state and environmental watchdogs have been trying to reach an agreement about how to deal with the waste that comes from hundreds of thousands of cows in New Mexico. The Water Quality Control Commission held a hearing Monday afternoon to consider proposed amendments to the Dairy Rule. But that’s not what they ended up talking about.

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New Mexico is fining the U.S. Department of Energy $54 million for incidents at the nation’s only underground nuclear waste storage facility.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant stores nuclear weapons waste deep in underground salt caverns. There was an underground fire in February, followed by a release of radioactivity that contaminated 22 workers and shuttered the facility.

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It will come as no surprise that we don’t always know what is going on behind closed doors in government. KUNM’s Elaine Baumgartel chatted with reporter Laura Paskus about what public records have revealed about New Mexico’s top environmental regulator.

Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn was appointed by Republican Governor Susana Martinez. Lawmakers confirmed his nomination earlier this year, but even before his cabinet tenure he presided over reductions in the regulation of polluting industries here in New Mexico.

NMED, not to scale

 

On Monday a legislative committee heard updates from stakeholders about progress on the fuel spill cleanup at Kirtland Air Force Base.  

At the end of the day lawmakers said it's important to focus on the present moment and look at what's being accomplished, instead of lamenting mistakes from the past.

In the 90's the Air Force acknowledged that millions of gallons of carcinogenic aviation fuel had been leaking underground for decades, oozing into Albuquerque's aquifer.

Rita Daniels

Kirtland Air Force Base held their quarterly Citizen Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday to talk about cleaning up the fuel spill threatening Albuquerque's drinking water supply. People learned they may see more action in the coming months than they have over the past 15 years.

The evening kicked off with a brief power point presentation as one of Kirtland’s project managers went over various clean up efforts.  Then the public was allowed to ask questions.

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  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico environmental regulators are criticizing Kirtland Air Force Base's proposal for cleaning up a massive underground fuel leak, saying it would threaten Albuquerque's water supply.

Kirtland's plan centers on using a Kirtland water well to remove fuel-contaminated groundwater to keep it away from a neighborhood where municipal drinking wells are located. The contaminated water then would be treated to meet drinking water standards.