The Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) is considering how to move forward on several water infrastructure projects — and future coordination with the New Mexico Central Arizona (NM CAP) Entity — now that the Gila River diversion project is no longer viable.
Rolf Schmidt-Petersen, director of the Interstate Stream Commission, provided state lawmakers with an update on the Gila River diversion project last week after the New Mexico Central Arizona Project (NM CAP) Entity lost access to key funding. After the project fell more than a year behind schedule, the U.S. Department of Interior dealt a major blow to the project in December 2019 when it denied the NM CAP Entity’s request for an extension on the deadline for filing documents to support its application for up to $56 million in construction funding for the project that’s available under the Arizona Water Settlement Act of 2004 (AWSA). The NM CAP Entity had until the end of December 2019 to complete the necessary environment impact statements and receive a federal Record of Decision. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Interstate Stream Commission finally released a draft environmental impact statement for the project in April 2020, after a series of revisions to its scope.
RELATED: After a long battle, the Gila River Diversion project comes to an end
The draft EIS carried a price tag of $3.7 million.
On Tuesday, the state Department of Health announced 202 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and three additional deaths related to the disease. The new cases were largely driven by cases in southern and eastern portions of the state, including 50 new cases in Doña Ana County, and 33 new cases in Lea County. Other counties in the area included 14 new cases in Eddy County and 13 in Chaves County.
The number in Eddy County represented a new one-day high for the county, while the 33 cases in Lea County were the second-highest after the 35 cases reported on July 19. Bernalillo County also had 36 new cases, while the northwestern counties of McKinley (10) and San Juan (17) also contributed double-digit numbers to the state’s total.
The 202 new cases represent 2.75 percent of the 7,340 newly reported tests. The state seeks to keep the positivity rate below 5 percent on a seven-day rolling average.
On Monday, the state Department of Health announced 132 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths. This came as the state had a lower-than-usual number of tests in a single day, just 5,370 since Sunday’s total.
The 132 tests represent 2.46 percent of the tests. The state aims to keep the positivity rate under 5 percent of total tests, though the governor has stated a goal of dropping this even further. The 132 new cases represent the lowest one-day total for a day with full results since July 1. On August 3, the state reported 113 tests, but also reported the results of only some of the cases because of a technical error.
It’s been nearly two months since Albuquerque police arrested Steven Baca and charged him with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after a protest in Albuquerque. The protest began with a group of activists who called for the removal of a statue of 16th century conquistador Juan de Oñate, who is infamous for his brutal treatment of Indigenous people in what is now New Mexico. Baca, who was seemingly at the event as a counterprotestor, at one point got into a physical altercation with a number of protesters. Accounts of what happened on the evening of June 15 vary. Some videos shared on social media appear to show Baca grabbing and throwing protesters to the ground.
New Mexico health officials announced Sunday an additional 205 cases of COVID-19 and four deaths related to the disease. That brings the state totals to 22,315 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 685 deaths.
The state announced 7,139 more tests than they did Saturday. The 205 new COVID-19 cases represent 2.87 percent of the newly reported tests.
Officials reported 121 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, a decrease of eleven since Saturday, and 9,319 people have been deemed recovered from the disease, an increase of 57 since Saturday.
When Michelle Lujan Grisham was a representative in Congress, she often shared a commute with Beto O’Rourke. They met up on connecting flights to D.C., sometimes in the Dallas airport, sometimes in Chicago.
O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, recently recalled the conversations with his “good friend” Michelle, describing her “singular skill in getting you to laugh or take a step back from a really intensive conversation and remember that, hey, we’re all in the same boat here…I just found that to be so effective in building trust with people from both sides of the aisle.”
This story originally appeared at Searchlight New Mexico and is republished with permission. Today, Lujan Grisham once again finds herself within arm’s reach of the national stage — this time as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s possible running mate. Biden is vetting her alongside such high-profile figures as U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Lujan Grisham’s place on the list is a testament to the political savvy and policy chops of the country’s first Democratic Latina governor.