An environmental law firm is opposition to the rule regulating the groundwater at copper mines to the state Supreme Court. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center announced Monday afternoon that they filed a brief with the New Mexico Supreme Court calling on the court to set aside the controversial rule. The NMELC filed the brief on behalf of Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP), Amigos Bravos and Turner Ranch Properties, L.P. The brief says that the Copper Rule adopted by the Water Quality Control Commission is in violation of state law, something the New Mexico Environment Department has denied. “The Rule violates the Water Quality Act because it imposes no limit on the magnitude, extent, or duration of the pollution discharged by copper mines,” says, NMELC Executive Director and lead attorney on the case. “The Act mandates that New Mexico’s ground water be protected.
The Water Quality Control Commission approved of a compromise on water quality controls that groups agreed to last month. The commission voted unanimously to approve the Dairy Rule. “Today’s landmark agreement is critical to southern New Mexico’s economy and water quality, but also to the state as a whole given the dairy industry’s $1.4 billion economic impact,” state Attorney General Hector Balderas said. “This agreement — among the Office of the Attorney General, environmentalists, industry, and the executive branch — is a model of how different partners in our state can work together to find tangible solutions for the people of New Mexico. I applaud the efforts of all parties in reaching this agreement that protects our environment, human health and supports a critical industry in New Mexico.”
A dispute between the Susana Martinez administration and environmental groups looks to be nearing a conclusion after more than four years of dispute. Environmental groups, citizens and dairies came to an agreement on Monday on rules governing protection of water. The agreement came just hours into hearings that were scheduled to last through the end of the week. The agreement is between the Citizens Dairy Coalition, which includes environmental groups and citizens who live near dairies, the Dairy Industry Group for a Clean Environment, which represents the dairy industry, the Attorney General and the state Environment Department. The Water Quality Control Commission will consider the agreement at its May meeting.