Sunshine on the Gila River process

Gila River, photo by Alan Stark
Allyson Siwik, Chapter Executive Committee Gila Resources Information Project As the dust settles on the 2015 legislative session, I’m heartened by many of our state senators who voted to hold the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) accountable for its misguided and wasteful plan to divert the Gila River. The ISC is spending millions of dollars planning a massive diversion project that is unlikely to ever be built and may yield little water — at a likely cost of more than a billion ...

The importance of the Pecos

Nambé Lake in the Pecos
Norma McCallan, Chapter Vice Chair The 223,637 acres of the Pecos Wilderness, which straddles the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, have long been a key destination for locals and visitors alike, to hike, backpack, birdwatch, climb, fish, ride horses, take photos, hunt, or just relax and enjoy its peace and solitude. The word “Pecos” means place where there is water. Because of its many high mountains, more than 15 lakes, and broad meadows, it has some of the lushest and greenest landscapes in our ...

Volunteers lead the way in Roundhouse, Bosque

Volunteers lead the way in Roundhouse, Bosque
We have a new media celebrity in the Rio Grande Chapter. Janie Chodosh, who was interested in lobbying on the coyote-contest bill, appeared on KNME-TV as well as KUNM radio and several newspapers in a report created the morning of Wildlands, Wildlife and Water Day at the Roundhouse. Our chapter director, Camilla Feibelman, was filmed training a big group of volunteer lobbyists and teaming them up with old hands like Melinda Smith and our Legislative Team chair, David Coss, to ...

Chaco Coalition challenges BLM

Chaco Coalition challenges BLM
By Teresa Seamster March 11, 2015, was 108 years to the day that President Theodore Roosevelt declared Chaco Canyon to be a historical monument in 1907. The threat to Chaco in that time was the looting of archaeological treasures and sacred artifacts. Today, it is ramped-up oil and gas development, especially fracking and contaminated water supply. On March 11, WildEarth Guardians, Western Environmental Law Center, Diné CARE and San Juan Citizens Alliance, all groups in the Greater Chaco Coalition, filed ...

Assault on Mining Act stalls in House

coal mine
Allyson Siwik, Chapter Executive Committee, Gila Resources Information Project Director With only 16 days left in the 60-day legislative session, mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, owner of the Chino, Cobre and Tyrone copper mines in Grant County, tried to push through a bill to roll back critical safeguards in the New Mexico Mining Act. Although a strong defense by environmental groups and legislative champions prevented HB625 from ever coming up for a vote in the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, ...

PNM’s last-ditch attempt to lock N.M. into aging coal plant

PNM's last-ditch attempt to lock N.M. into aging coal plant
ALBUQUERQUE – On May 1, the Public Service Company of New Mexico filed a draft, non-binding coal supply agreement and ownership contract for the San Juan Generating Station. As support for the San Juan Generating Station continues to plummet, PNM is trying to fill the ownership void left by groups exiting the plant, becoming the perpetual owner of last resort and jeopardizing the financial security of New Mexico families for years to come. In response, Nellis Kennedy-Howard, Senior Representative for ...
/ Climate Change, Latest News

Transition at Valles Caldera

Transition at Valles Caldera
By Tom Ribe The Valles Caldera National Preserve is beginning its Sierra Club-supported transition from experimental National Trust to the National Park Service following the December passage of Senate Bill 285. The transition will largely be complete next July, and the Park Service will manage the Valles Caldera as a preserve, with a budget close to what Congress has been appropriating to the trust. Over the last 15 years, the Valles Caldera staff has developed an outstanding science program that ...
/ Land, Latest News

N.M. citizen activism averts threatening legislation

N.M. citizen activism averts threatening legislation
By Dan Lorimier and Mona Blaber The 2015 New Mexico legislative session might have been contentious, but it was also marked by an encouraging — and successful — upswell in citizen engagement and by legislators who worked tirelessly to protect our air, land, water and wildlife. With the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives seemingly intent on expressing an industry-profits-at-all-costs agenda, there were far more threats than opportunities for the environment. Yet several positive pieces of legislation passed, ...
/ Climate Change, Land, Latest News, Water

Groups ask Game Commission to oppose cougar-trapping

Cougars, traps, Game Commission
SILVER CITY, N.M.— Eight conservation organizations in the TrapFree New Mexico coalition sent a letter on May 1 urging state game commissioners to reject the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s proposed cougar-trapping season. The coalition letter highlights the dangers traps pose to outdoor enthusiasts, nontarget animals and pets like the dog caught in a trap last month in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Owners of accidentally trapped pets can face extensive veterinary expenses and risk injury rescuing ...
/ Latest News, Wildlife

Lawmakers ask for protection against fracking in Chaco

Lawmakers ask for protection against fracking in Chaco
SANTA FE, N.M., May 18, 2015 – New Mexico’s congressional delegation is asking U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to monitor a possible escalation of fracking in an area considered sacred by many Native Americans. In a letter to Jewell, Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan stress the historic, cultural and ecological significance of Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Teresa Seamster with the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club says she is hopeful that the ...