Laura Paskus/KUNM

The New Mexico Environment Department released a new rule protecting groundwater from copper mining three years ago. The copper rule was one that state officials, mining companies, and environmentalists had spent more than six months writing. When released by the state, though, key provisions had been changed.

U.S. Army

Los Alamos National Laboratory has been one of the country’s foremost nuclear research centers ever since the atomic bomb was developed there in the 1940s. Weapons and engineering programs continue there today, but the U.S. Department of Energy is still cleaning up contamination left over from World War II.

Ed Williams

When toxic chemicals are released into the environment, figuring out whether they’re making people sick can be a major challenge. It’s a problem the state is trying to solve now in the Sawmill and Wells Park neighborhoods near downtown Albuquerque, where an underground plume of dangerous dry cleaning solvents is flowing just beneath people’s homes and businesses. 

Wikimedia Commons

The New Mexico Environment Department is rewriting the state’s rules on water pollution. 

The state’s water quality rules regulate everything from groundwater pollution from abandoned wells to sewer discharge into rivers. But some of those rules are outdated.

The Environment Department kicked off a review process last week to study them, and see which ones need to be updated.

Kirtland Shows Off Spill Cleanup System

Oct 29, 2015
Rita Daniels

Kirtland Air Force Base has faced a lot of criticism for how it has handled a decades old fuel spill that threatens Albuquerque’s drinking water supply. The base is now showing off what officials there are calling a monumental pump and treat system that’s cleaning the groundwater.

State: EPA Misled On Spill Data

Sep 25, 2015
Courtesy Josh Stephenson, Durango Herald

The state’s top environmental regulator testified at a joint congressional hearing recently, criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency for withholding information about the Gold King Mine spill. 

Biologists: Animas River Fish And Bugs Ok, So Far

Aug 18, 2015
Rita Daniels

Farmers and livestock owners are free to draw water from the San Juan and Animas rivers again after 3 million gallons of mine waste spilled into the watershed. No one knows what the long-term effects of the contamination will be on wildlife in the rivers, but biologists are tracking the spill’s impact.

Rita Daniels / KUNM

State officials met with the Navajo Nation Council on Monday, Aug. 10, to talk about mine waste contamination of the San Juan River flowing through tribal land. New Mexico's top environment official had harsh words about the EPA’s lack of transparency and support. 

SCOTUS Emission Ruling Will Not Affect NM Plant

Jun 30, 2015
via Engaging Peace

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week on a law limiting mercury and other emissions from power plants will not affect a coal-fired plant in northwestern New Mexico.

WIPP Leak Seal Criticized

Jun 2, 2015

Underground rooms at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant where radiation leaked in 2014 have been sealed off, but nuclear watchdogs are not satisfied.

When the container of nuclear waste burst at WIPP last year, the state environment department ordered the plant to close off the area as quickly as possible.

Rita Daniels

Kirtland Air Force Base missed another deadline for cleaning up some of a decades-old jet fuel spill. The New Mexico Environment Department has granted them 45 days to comply.

Feds Not Surprised By Nuclear Fines

Dec 8, 2014

The Department of Energy wasn’t surprised when they were hit with tens of millions of dollars in fines by the state environment department for mishandling of nuclear waste.

A spokesperson for the federal agency said they self-disclosed that both Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant were in violation of their hazardous waste permits.

Back in February a container of nuclear waste from LANL that was being stored at WIPP ruptured and at least 20 workers were exposed to radiation.

ENERGY.GOV via Wikimedia Commons / public domain

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.

Deborah Martinez

Thousands of people with developmental disabilities in New Mexico have been waiting to receive the full spectrum of services available through a government program, some for more than 10 years.  The Tatz family is inching towards that benchmark, as they and their kids grow older.   

“I had back surgery," Lesly Tatz announced. Lesly's mom, Jill Tatz, explained, "She has had medical issues, and had open heart surgery at 18 months.” Her daughter has had numerous surgeries.

What Is Public Health?

Feb 20, 2014
cdc.gov / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/20 8a:  What is public health?  Maybe the term makes you think of vaccinations or controlling and preventing diseases like diabetes and influenza.  But the field is much larger than that.  

Call 277-5866 in Albuquerque or toll-free 1-877-899-5866.