May 17, 2019

NM Environment Review: Watching water, PFAS investigation + the militarization of climate change

Laura Paskus

Rio Grande near Escondida, N.M. in mid-May 2019.

All week, we look for stories that help New Mexicans better understand what’s happening with water, climate, energy, landscapes and communities around the region. Thursday morning, that news goes out via email. To subscribe to that weekly email, click here.

Here’s a snippet of what subscribers read this week:

• Writing for Searchlight New Mexico, April Reese took a look at health concerns from expanded drilling in the northwestern part of the state.

• investigates PFAS contamination from Cannon Air Force Base.

• Around New Mexico, we tend to think about nuclear weapons in terms of how they benefit the state’s economy. (Or, how their production has polluted the environment or affected workers.) But it’s worth putting them into geopolitical context. Annually, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists publishes information about the U.S. nuclear arsenal, even though the Pentagon says it will no longer disclose the size of its nuclear arsenal, estimated at 3,800 warheads. Read the Nuclear Notebook for 2019 here.

• Speaking of arsenals, The Guardian published Arundhati Roy’s powerful Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture. Of recent language around climate change, she writes: “And now, irony of ironies, a consensus is building that climate change is the world’s single largest security challenge. Increasingly the vocabulary around it is being militarized.” As always, Roy’s words are incisive, provocative and necessary: “…the place for literature is built by writers and readers. It’s a fragile place in some ways, but an indestructible one. When it’s broken, we rebuild it. Because we need shelter. I very much like the idea of literature that is needed. Literature that provides shelter. Shelter of all kinds.”

• Reporters in Texas and Arizona have been looking at how the Trump administration’s border wall will affect rivers—the Rio Grande in Texas, and the San Pedro River in southern Arizona.

• In the Middle Rio Grande, Julia Dendinger at the Valencia County News Bulletin, writes that officials are saying not to panic over river’s high levels. Meanwhile, in southern New Mexico and Texas, folks are still waiting for Rio Grande water. Diana Alba Soular reports for the Las Cruces Sun-News.

• If you’re on Twitter, please keep sharing your New Mexico river photos. I love seeing where you’re all hiking, peering over bridges, and watching this spring’s water wonders.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly email, so you can read all the news. Just click here.