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News & Views

from the

S u s t ai n ab l e S o u t h w e s t

H ot E nvironmental I ssues in N ew M exico P rotecting C ommunities ’ Q uality of L ife E arth D ay 44: H onoring O ur A ncestors

April 2014

Northern New Mexico’s Largest Circulation Newspaper

Vol. 6 No. 4


Green Fire Times • April 2014

Green Fire Times • April 2014



Green Fire Times • April 2014

Vol. 6, No. 4 • April 2014 Issue No. 60 Publisher Green Fire Publishing, LLC

Skip Whitson

Associate Publisher

Barbara E. Brown

Editor-in-chief Seth Roffman Art Director Anna C. Hansen, Dakini Design Copy Editors Stephen Klinger Susan Clair Webmaster: Karen Shepherd Contributing Writers

Michael Aune, Barbara Basler, Joan Brown, Susan Gordon, Jana Hughes, Earl James, Michael Jensen, Shelbie Knox, Griet Laga, Jack Loeffler, Dan Lorimier, Maceo Carillo Martinet, Marti Niman, Nadine Padilla, Juan Reynosa, Seth Roffman, Dutch Salmon, Laura Watchempino

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News & Views

from the

Sustainable Southwest

Winner of the Sustainable Santa Fe Award for Outstanding Educational Project


Fighting Goliaths in the Land of Enchantment: The New Mexico Environmental Law Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Snapshots from Around New Mexico: Hot Environmental Issues in 2014. . . . . . . 7-26 New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 10 Water, Air and Land: A Sacred Trust Map . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 11 The New Mexico Mining Act . . .. . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 13 Cleanup of Toxic Uranium Legacy Taking Decades. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 16 Roca Honda Uranium Mine. . . . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 16 Stormwater in New Mexico. . . . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 18 New Mexico Legislative Review of the Water Trust Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Living in Industrial Dairy Country . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 22 State Considering Weakening Dairy Discharge Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Defending the Peoples’ Commons . . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 24 The Southwest Organizing Project . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 25 Year of Decision Confronts the Gila River . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 27 State Land Office Works to Restore La Plata River Habitat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Honoring Our Ancestors this Earth Day 44. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. 29 HOME: Earth Day Community Celebration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Newsbites . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 35 Earth Day Events . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 37 What’s Going On . . .. . .. . .. . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 38


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c/o The Sun Companies PO Box 5588 Santa Fe, NM 87502-5588 505.471.5177 • © 2014 Green Fire Publishing, LLC Green Fire Times provides useful information for anyone—community members, business people, students, visitors—interested in discovering the wealth of opportunities and resources available in our region. Knowledgeable writers provide articles on subjects ranging from green businesses, products, services, entrepreneurship, jobs, design, building, energy and investing—to sustainable agriculture, arts & culture, ecotourism, education, regional food, water, the healing arts, local heroes, native perspectives and more. Sun Companies publications seek to provide our readers with informative articles that support a more sustainable planet. To our publisher this means maximizing personal as well as environmental health by minimizing consumption of meat and alcohol. GFT is widely distributed throughout northcentral New Mexico. Feedback, announcements, event listings, advertising and article submissions to be considered for publication are welcome. .

Green Fire Times – 60 Months


his is the 60th monthly edition of Green Fire Times. Though GFT has been pigeonholed by some as an “environmental” publication, this edition is actually the first time we have focused almost entirely on current environmental issues at play in New Mexico. When I use terms like “environment” or “bioregional sustainability,” I include people as part of that. Throughout the past five years, GFT has sought to present a mix of articles that reflects our region’s communities, cultures, economy and the environment in ways that show how interdependent all of those elements are. In time for Earth Day and related events throughout the month, at a time when our ecosystem is disintegrating and 40 percent of the public does not believe that humans are changing the planet (according to a Pew poll), this edition of GFT highlights some of the key contentious environmental issues in the state and some of the dedicated organizations engaged with the impacts of energy production, industrial agriculture, waste management, pollution of water, air and land; and the fight for wilderness preservation and biodiversity. As we said in the first issue of GFT, our intention is to provide useful information, along with a timely and inspired vision of our region’s transformation to a diverse and sustainable green economy. Deterioration of our environment, health, relationships and established economic policies compel us to come up with solutions that we couldn’t even conceive of 25 years ago. Sustainable practices and techniques, some age-old and some new and innovative, can provide reliable long-term solutions that support and replenish our environment and our communities for future generations.

– Seth Roffman, Editor-in-Chief

COVER: T  he Gila River • Photo by Robert Boherz Green Fire Times is not to be confused with the Green Fire Report, an in-house quarterly publication of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. The NMELC can be accessed online at:

Green Fire Times • April 2014



Green Fire Times • April 2014

Fighting Goliaths in the Land of Enchantment The New Mexico Environmental Law Center

Barbara Basler


Bruce Frederick, one of four lawyers at the center, says many of the state’s environmental laws were “written entirely for the other side—for businesses, for corporations. They’re not written for people.” Giving people a say in environmental decisions that affect their lives and health is at the heart of the

Courtesy of NMELC

ts law office, in a small adobe building that is also home to two beauty shops, is a warren of tiny rooms filled with sagging bookshelves, mismatched furniture and sleeping dogs. The slightly shabby Santa Fe office of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center doesn’t look like it houses a formidable legal force. But it does.

Diné Against Uranium Mining, a group that has fought uranium mining on its land for years.

The biggest environmental issue in New Mexico is water.

Law Center lawyers helped the Navajos win a ban on conventional uranium mining many years ago. But Crownpoint continues to be threatened by uranium mining because of the efforts of Uranium Resources, Inc., which was granted permits to mine uranium using an alternate method of extraction. Now the Law Center is waging a legal battle against those permits. With the alternative method, uranium is separated from the earth by injecting chemicals into

the groundwater aquifer. Critics say this method not only subjects residents to the traditional hazards of radiation leaks, it also endangers their precious water supply, perhaps permanently. Smith says she and her neighbors will continue to fight uranium mining. And with a flinty resolve, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center is fighting with her, continuing its 18-year battle that has, so far, prevented uranium mining in that corner of the state. Says Eric Jantz, a Law Center attorney working on the case,“We’re not just a lawyer, we’re part of the resistance, part of the movement.” Barbara Basler is a freelance writer based in Santa Fe.

Hot Environmental Issues in 2014 Snapshots from Around New Mexico New Mexico Environmental Law Center attorneys (l-r): Bruce Frederick, executive director Douglas Meiklejohn, Eric Jantz and Jonathan Block

“The Law Center is the most important environmental organization in New Mexico today,” says Antonio Luján, a former state representative. “It has credibility with the Legislature, credibility with communities, and it takes on the right issues.” For more than two decades, this smart, feisty little group—funded by grants from private foundations and contributions from donors—has been helping communities defend their land, air and water against big polluters, from copper and uranium mining companies to sprawling dairy farms. The Law Center also parries other kinds of attacks. Recently, its lawyers, representing residents in the Datil area, blocked a bid by a wealthy Italian speculator who tried to buy up huge supplies of scarce groundwater to sell for his own profit. “The biggest environmental issue in New Mexico is water,” says Douglas Meiklejohn, the center’s executive director. “New Mexico doesn’t have enough water, so how can we allow our water to be polluted or sold? It makes no sense. About nine out of 10 New Mexicans get their drinking water from groundwater. ”

Law Center’s mission, says Meiklejohn. “Our clients are involved in strategy, in meetings with regulators. We regard our role as working with the clients, not just working for them.” In its 26 years, the Law Center has represented 150 groups in 175 communities across the state. While clients include some major organizations, such as the Sierra Club and Turner Enterprises (billionaire Ted Turner owns vast tracts of land in New Mexico), about 40 percent are from Native American or Hispanic communities, many of which are predominantly low-income. Often, when the people in these neighborhoods and pueblos find they have an ally armed with the legal and scientific expertise necessary to take on the giants of industry, they are galvanized. They find their collective voice and rally for their cause. They educate their communities, protest in marches with hand-lettered signs and fill town hall environmental hearings. “If the Law Center had never come into our lives, I don’t think we would have ever all come together as a group… or had an impact,” says Christine Smith, of Crownpoint, NM, a member of the Eastern Navajo

The following are a sampling of responses from a wide range of environmental organizations in response to being asked to briefly identify what they consider to be the most pressing environmental issues facing New Mexico. Taken together, one cannot help being moved by the clearly heartfelt commitment of these advocates as they go all-in to protect our land, air, water and interdependence with the rest of nature. Contact information is provided, and we encourage you to dig deeper and find a way to support your chosen issue and organization. We must all be involved in shaping our own destiny. – Earl James, environmental activist and author,


Conservation Voters New Mexico: Electrical Costs Should Not Be Discounted to New Big Businesses by Raising Rates on Working Families and Small Businesses We successfully defeated that bill during the recent legislative session, but we know it will be discussed by interim committees this summer, and possibly reintroduced next year. This legislation also allows this to happen without oversight of the Public Regulation Commission, and promotes “excess capacity” instead of energy conservation. Energy efficiency helps protect our environment. Low energy rates to a few chosen heavy users can encourage waste. 505.992.8683, Environment New Mexico: I ncrease S olar E nergy in N ew M exico With more than 310 days of sunshine a year, New Mexico is the second-sunniest state in the country, yet we get almost 90 percent of our energy from dirty and dangerous sources. We have great potential to get more of our energy from renewable sources, but the oil and coal industries want to keep us hooked on the past instead of moving forward. ENM has set a goal to get at least 10 percent of NM’s total energy, the equivalent of 100,000 solar roofs, from the sun by 2020. 505.254.4819, continued on page 9

Green Fire Times • April 2014



Green Fire Times • April 2014

hot Environmental Issues New Energy Economy: PNM’s Future Energy Portfolio After forcing PNM to retire San Juan coal plant units 2 and 3 and install pollution controls on units 1 and 4, New Energy Economy and allies must fight PNM’s proposal to replace that energy with less than 10 percent from renewable sources, relying instead upon more coal, nuclear and gas. And this is in one of North America’s most bountiful solar locations that could create clean, affordable distributed energy and jobs for New Mexicans. 505.989.72726,


Audubon New Mexico: Protecting the Gila River New Mexico’s last major free-flowing river is threatened from a proposed large-scale diversion and pipeline over the Continental Divide to Deming or Las Cruces. What’s at stake is the largest stretch of cottonwood-willow riparian forest remaining in NM, one of the highest concentrations of breeding birds in North America, and a living river supporting outdoor recreation and tourism. The Interstate Stream Commission will decide this year whether to divert the Gila or implement conservation measures to secure the future water supply for southwestern NM. You can help protect the river by joining Audubon’s Western Rivers Action Network: Gila Conservation Coalition (GCC): Prevent an Unnecessary and Costly Diversion of the Gila River Under the Arizona Water Settlements Act A partnership of local environmental and conservation groups and concerned individuals that promotes conservation of the Upper Gila River Basin and surrounding lands, the GCC was instrumental in stopping the Hooker and Conner Dam proposals in the 1980s and protected the East Fork of the Gila River from road building and partial closure of the wild San Francisco River to off-road-vehicle use. 575.538.8078, info@, Río Grande Restoration: Environmental Flow Policy A greater emphasis on conservation, watershed and statewide environmental-flow programs (like those enacted in neighboring states) is needed to provide adequate magnitude, seasonality and quality of water flows for our rivers. Economic development has altered the natural flow regime of NM’s rivers, with the Río Grande and Pecos rivers almost depleted at various times and places, while the Gila and Río Chama are threatened by drought, climate change and increasing water-supply demands. Río Grande Return: The Need to Protect and Enhance Additional Wetlands along the Río Grande The competition for control and development of the Río Grande and its natural resources has been ongoing for over 300 years and has contributed to the loss of 90 percent of its wetlands. The degradation of these riverine habitats has recently been exacerbated by the severe drought. Building partnerships based on a shared vision of preserving the ecological health of the Rio Grande, a vision that necessarily crosses cultural, jurisdictional, and geographic barriers, has been the key to the successes that Río Grande Return and its many allies have had. State, federal and private funds are needed. Santa Fe Watershed Association: Reviving the Santa Fe River The SFWA’s Adopt-the-River program choreographs partnerships among the business and nonprofit communities and civic volunteers. Volunteers are matched with an area along the Santa Fe River in need of care and become the monitors of that particular reach. Teams remove debris and recommend measures to improve the overall health of the river.The SFWA provides training, education, support and supplies. 505.820.1696, www.

continued on page 12

Green Fire Times • April 2014


New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light


Joan Brown

hat do Methodists, Mormons, Mennonites, Jews, Buddhists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Bahá’ís, Muslims, Catholics, Presbyterians, Quakers and Unitarians have in common? All these faith communities care for creation and work to address climate change through New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light (NMIPL). Established as a nonprofit in 2006, NMIPL is one of 40 state affiliates of the national organization Interfaith Power and Light (IPL). Episcopal priest Sally Bingham conceived the idea of IPL 13 years ago when she realized faith communities have an incredible role to play in addressing the spiritual and ethical implications of climate change by motivating their congregants to actions of love and compassion. NMIPL engages faith communities in an active response to creation care and climate change through: • education and inspiration • energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and local food • public policy advocacy at local, state and federal levels Buddhist teacher and board member Kathryn Turnipseed became involved because, “Today’s ecological crises—including climate change—are, at root, a spiritual or ethical problem stemming from the institutionalization of greed, ill will and delusion. Advocacy and litigation will help stem the tide, but we can only restore balance to the Earth with a transformation in consciousness. People of all faiths have a critical role to play in the care and protection of all living beings.” There are about 70 NMIPL member faith communities and more than 250 partner communities around the state, as well as hundreds of individuals. Faith communities and individuals are invited to help grow a movement of conscience and faith to address climate change and sustainable living rooted in spiritual and ethical values within in each unique tradition. Each year, NMIPL sponsors and offers resources to people of faith to engage them in educational and inspirational experiences through presentations, films and an annual Climate Change Preach-In, beginning Valentine’s Day weekend through Earth Day.This year, some 40 faith communities are offering programs, sermons and postcard signing in support of proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulings to lower carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants. Reducing energy consumption and carbon footprints through energy upgrades, installation of solar panels, water conservation and growing food is a second area that NMIPL promotes. Increasingly, congregations are replacing lighting and old furnaces and appliances, as well as installing solar panels as ways to care for creation and the future while increasing revenues for ministry. Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Albuquerque, for example, installed 234 solar panels, with a projected energy savings of $18,000 each year and payback within 10 years. Payback is without tax-rebate incentives received by businesses and individuals because houses of worship are nonprofits. St.Theresa Catholic School is the most recent “solar witness,” completing its panel installations in April. First Unitarian Church, Albuquerque, is another of many examples of faith in action, with the recent dedication of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design


Green Fire Times • April 2014

“People of Faith Caring for Land, Water, Air and Community” at the state capitol

(LEED) Platinum-certified sanctuary. Several years ago, the church installed solar panels and, in 2012, was the winner of the national IPL sustainability award for its educational and energy work. Its Earth Web green team gratefully accepted the $1,000 in prize money to advance the church’s work. Tom Stark, a member of First Unitarian and president-elect of NMIPL, says he is part of this work because, “I believe climate change is the most important moral issues we face today. By educating people of all faiths across New Mexico on this issue, NMIPL provides an avenue for faith communities to become part of the solution, to become better stewards of our Earth, and to leave a more sustainable life for future generations.”

Faith communities have a role to play in addressing implications of climate change.

Public policy advocacy at the state, local and national levels is the third element of NMIPL’s ministry. NMIPL currently works with people of faith to address carbon emissions through coal-fired power plants, water use and pollution through extractive industries and the call for climate-change adaptation. Water As Sacred Trust is an educational program in support of policy advocacy related to climate-change and water issues in the state. Albuquerque Mennonite Church adds to this work with a Watershed Discipleship program April 3-4. First Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe, is sponsoring a series on water and climate this spring, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Santa Fe is also planning educational programs leading to action around water and climate. People of faith are making plans to be part of the Great Climate March in New Mexico in May and are sponsoring numerous programs by Michael Dowd and scientist Connie Barlow, who will be raising awareness prior to the march. For information about these efforts, educational programs, energy and policy work and more, contact joan@nm-ipl. org or visit Joan Brown, OSF, is executive director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light and a Franciscan Sister.

Water, Air and Land: A Sacred Trust Map

Green Fire Times • April 2014


hot Environmental Issues WildEarth Guardians: The Río Grande Needs a Right to Its OwnWater Over the past century, demands for water from agriculture and sprawling cities have severely diminished flows essential to support life along the Río Grande. We are pursuing litigation under the Endangered Species Act, crafting federal legislation to support conservation and environmental values, and creating economic incentives to allow for the reallocation of water from certain traditional uses—like flood irrigating alfalfa in the desert—back to the Río Grande to keep it alive and flowing. 303.884.2702,,


Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS): We Need An Independent Review Board To Investigate The Ongoing Releases From Waste Isolation Pilot Plant -WIPP For the past 26 years, CCNS has worked to protect the air, water, land and public health through successful lawsuits against the Department of Energy, grassroots organizing, working with whistleblowers, and production of the weekly broadcast of the CCNS News Update. ). 505.986.1973, ccns@, Honor our Pueblo Existence (HOPE): Seismic Issues at Los Alamos National Laboratory The geological location of LANL is not safe for weapons production, processing or storage of toxic wastes because of the many faults within the sacred Jémez Mountains and Pajarito Plateau, a major watershed in which contaminates can reach the Río Grande and our sole-source aquifer for future generations’ use. With Robert Gilkeson, independent registered geologist, we have been addressing this issue with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Department of Energy, Congressional Delegation, and tribes. 505.747.4652, or Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE): Prevent New Uranium Mining and Cleanup Abandoned Mines on the Navajo Nation and Elsewhere in New Mexico The proposed new Roca Honda uranium mine we oppose is located on Mt. Taylor, an area considered sacred by the Navajo and Pueblo peoples. (MASE: Bluewater Valley Downstream Alliance, Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining, Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment, Post 71 Uranium Workers Committee, and Red Water Pond Road Community Association.) 505.577.8438,, Nuclear Watch New Mexico: Comprehensive Cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory Comprehensive cleanup of Area G will permanently protect the environment while creating hundreds of high-paying jobs. We oppose LANL’s plan to “cap and cover” an estimated one million cubic meters of radioactive and toxic wastes in its largest unlined dump, Area G. This will create a permanent nuclear waste dump three miles uphill from the Río Grande, above groundwater supplies for 270,000 people. 505.989.7342, info@nukewatch. org, Southwest Research and Information Center: WIPP – Nuclear Waste With the underground fire on Feb. 5 and radiation leak that began on Feb. 14, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation’s only deep geologic nuclear-waste site, is again in the news. We have followed WIPP for more than 35 years and will continue to help people understand what’s wrong with WIPP and what decontamination and operational changes are necessary when the site reopens. Also, there are numerous proposals to expand WIPP for more nuclear waste and to store the nation’s commercial spent fuel in southeastern NM. New Mexicans can and should be involved in those decisions. 505.262.1862,, continued on page 15


Green Fire Times • April 2014

The New Mexico Mining Act A Landmark New Mexico Law Comes of Age Shelbie Knox

ome of the biggest mines in the United States operate in New Mexico. The Chino and Tyrone copper mines, the fourth- and fifth-largest open-pit mines in the United States, flank Silver City in the southwestern corner of the state. From the Highway 152 overlook that skirts the edge of the Chino pit, the three-story-tall dumptrucks that haul copper ore up haulage roads look like so many scurrying ants.

resources to the world. But it has not come without costs. Hard-rock mining is the most toxic industry in the world. Mining and refining processes can involve the use of toxic chemicals like cyanide, which is particularly useful in leaching metals from rock. The very act of moving earth—even in an arid state like New Mexico—can have significant impacts on water near the mines. Near Questa, centuries of mining at the Molycorp/ Chevron mine and small mines along its banks killed off miles of the Red River. No bugs. No fish. None but the heartiest acid-tolerant plants. The Chino copper mine near Silver City. Now operated by Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, the Chino mine is the fourth-largest open-pit mine in the United States. The Gila Beneath hard-rock mines, the damage Resources Information Project is working to protect water that is impacted by these mines. In the north, near Questa, the Molycorp is even more widespread: plumes of molybdenum mine (now owned and contamination that spread through Chevron was the first test of the “In Santa Fe County, the Cunningham operated by Chevron Mining Inc.) groundwater for centuries or, more Mining Act. Amigos Bravos and its Hill mine was leaking cyanide into may not be so large, but it nonetheless likely, millennia. attorney, the NMELC, participated the Río Galisteo,” recalls Meiklejohn. makes an impression. Although much in the years-long permitting process. “It helped galvanize the effort by of the mine is underground, surface Until 1993, there were few laws The result: the company now has elected officials and public-interest operations have peeled away the top regulating the pollution released by more environmentally sound operating groups to fix what had become a of an entire Sangre de Cristo mountain New Mexico’s mines and no laws practices, a reclamation plan and a major environmental problem for peak in search of molybdenum. requiring reclamation. But that year, financial assurance of $157 million. New Mexico.” Implemented in July, our state passed a landmark law to These mines, and their smaller brethren In 2003, it was the largest financial 1993, the New Mexico Mining Act change the way that mining is done that dot the landscape of our state, assurance for a mine anywhere in the significantly changed the mining here. It was a massive effort, recalls have contributed significant mineral world. business in our state. Now, hard-rock Douglas Meiklejohn, mines—new mines, old mines, big executive director “The Mining Act put into place safeguards mines, small mines—are required to of the nonprofit that say, ‘You can mine, but we need to be more environmentally responsible New Mexico make sure that the mine doesn’t destroy and to develop reclamation plans that Environmental Law our natural resources,’” says Shields. will restore the environment to a “selfCenter (NMELC), The process that now is in place takes sustaining ecosystem” after mining who helped draf t a more holistic view of permitting: operations cease. Mining companies what became the regulators now look at environmental must secure financial assurance, which, New Mexico Mining and public health impacts along with in simple terms, guarantees that, if a Act. Many of the mine design and safety. Twenty-one company goes bankrupt or otherwise state’s environmental years after its implementation, the law walks away f rom environmental groups, including the is resulting in a more sustainable future liabilities, there will be funds available Río Grande chapter for the state. for cleanup. of the Sierra Club Harry Browne, who worked as director and Amigos Bravos, Both literally and figuratively, the of the Gila Resources Information sat at the table. So Mining Act was a watershed law. Project (GRIP) when the Chino and did lobbyists f rom Tyrone mines were going through their Phelps Dodge, flown “What we had before—the federal initial permitting phases under the Act, in f rom P hoenix. 1872 Mining Law—put handcuffs agrees. He says that citizens were not able Then-State Rep. Gary on all of the regulating agencies. It to hold Phelps Dodge (now Freeport King spearheaded the declared mining as the best use of McMoRan) totally accountable, “but legislative process. the land and gave miners free reign without the Mining Act it would have Governor Bruce to do whatever they wanted to do,” been far, far worse.” Browne points out King threatened to says Brian Shields, executive director that the Act not only makes sense for of Amigos Bravos, who also helped The Molycorp mine, now owned and operated by Chevron call a special session Mining, is both an open-pit and an underground mine if a mining bill wasn’t protecting critical water resources, but it draft the Act. He explains that, at the near Questa in the Sangre de Cristo range. Under the New delivered to his desk in is an incredible safeguard for taxpayers, Molycorp/Chevron mine, that meant Mexico Mining Act, public-interest group Amigos Bravos has who often have to foot the bill for mine March, 1993. putting 360 million tons of waste rock advocated for better mining practices at the mine in order next to the Red River. Molycorp/ to help restore the Red River and groundwater. continued on page 33

Courtesy of Lighthawk

Hard-rock mining is the most toxic industry in the world.

Green Fire Times • April 2014


Courtesy of NMELC



Green Fire Times • April 2014

hot Environmental Issues CONSERVATION POLICY

Bold Visions Conservation: Reform of NM’s Game and Fish Department At the heart of true conservation is the reform of NM’s Game and Fish Department, which has control over the fate of predator species such as Mexican wolves, coyotes and bears. Long controlled by livestock interests, they are destroying the balance of nature without using any peerreviewed science. Bold Visions Conservation is working to reform this rogue agency and restore the true wildness that nature has beautifully created. 505.252.0705,


New Mexico Land Conservancy: Protection and Long-Term Stewardship of Productive Working Lands We work with private landowners, community groups, nonprofits and public agencies to protect private lands— farms, ranches, forest lands, and other high-conservation-value private lands—with demonstrated conservation, natural and cultural resources, and/or agricultural values at community, watershed or landscape scales from inappropriate development, energy production and other incompatible uses through the use of conservation easements. 505.986.3801,, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance: Rallying Support for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in Southern New Mexico Please join this historic opportunity to protect nearly 500,000 acres of important ecological resources, worldclass historical and cultural sites, and incredible iconic vistas. Show your support at, and learn more about our campaigns including Mexican gray wolves, Río Grande del Norte, Chaco Canyon, and Columbine Hondo at Rural Conservation Alliance: Prevent a Gravel Strip-Mine on Top of La Bajada Mesa This stunning and historically important landmark will be desecrated by this planned mine and use up to three-quarter million gallons of scarce, Countyprovided, potable water annually for dust control and gravel washing. The NM Heritage Alliance in 2003 listed La Bajada as an endangered site, describing it as: “…a key landscape demarcation between what the Spanish colonial world termed the Río Abajo and Río Arriba regions of New Mexico—the lower and upper lands with their distinct ecologies and climates.”, Santa Fe Conservation Trust: Preserving Open Spaces and Promoting Healthy Outdoor Activity SFCT continues on its mission to help preserve our area’s open space, trails and night skies. This year, through the support of the city of Santa Fe, SFCT is launching a new trails program to help maintain our city’s natural-surface trails and to promote their use by residents and visitors. For information on trails in our area and how you can help by serving as a trail volunteer, contact Tim Rogers: 505.989.7019,,


New Mexico Recycling Coalition: Reaching a 50 Percent Recycling Rate We are working in partnership with the NM Environment Department to host a stakeholder meeting on June 11 in Albuquerque to respond to a 2014 House Memorial requesting strategies and policy to meet the state recycling-rate goal of 50 percent, as outlined in the NM Solid Waste Management Act. The state currently has a 16 percent recycling rate. Interested people are welcome to attend. continued on page 19

Green Fire Times • April 2014


Cleanup of Toxic Uranium Legacy Taking Decades NMED to allow discharge of 5,500 gallons per minute of contaminated groundwater directly onto the land


he New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) released a draft permit for public review in December, 2013 on groundwater discharges at the Homestake Mine near Milan and finished collecting comments in February.

Public hearing on April 29 in Grants

cleanup of the groundwater it polluted during 30 years of uranium mill operations. Residents of five subdivisions located next to the Superfund site have pointed out that public review and input were never solicited for the alternative

contaminant levels adopted by the regulatory agencies. “Nearby area residents have been involuntarily subjected to unacceptable radon exposures in ambient air, soil and water in the aquifers beneath their homes,” said Candace Head-Dylla. “For at least 40 years now, long-


The Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) and its member groups submitted technical comments on Discharge Permit 200, stating that the permit as drafted will not ensure protection of the public’s health or future water supplies. One major flaw in the permit is that pre-uranium development background values were never established at the Homestake Superfund site. The result is that state and federal regulators have agreed to a permanent level of “acceptable pollution” for four regional aquifers in the San Mateo Creek watershed west of Mt. Taylor. This means that Homestake Mining Company, now owned by Barrick Gold Corporation, does not have to conduct a full-scale

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF HOMESTAKE MINING COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA FOR MODIFICATION AND RENEWAL OF GROUND WATER DISCHARGE PERMIT DP-200, MILAN, NEW MEXICO Application and Facility Description: In the Discharge Permit DP-200 modification and renewal application for the HMC uranium mill site, HMC proposes to modify the existing Discharge Permit to authorize the treatment and/or discharge of up to 5,500 gallons per minute of groundwater that has been contaminated by seepage from former uranium milling operations. Contaminated groundwater that is collected from wells is currently treated primarily by reverse osmosis, or is discharged to three synthetically lined evaporation ponds. The Discharge Permit would authorize land application of contaminated ground water subject to water quality limitations for a maximum of two years, and implementation of additional reverse osmosis and evaporative capacity. Additionally, this modification and renewal of Discharge Permit DP-200 would authorize implementation of alternative treatment methods that HMC currently is pilot-testing, which would be subject to NMED approval before full-scale use. Water contaminants associated with this discharge include nitrate, selenium, uranium, combined radium-226 plus radium-228, chloride, sulfate, total dissolved solids, and molybdenum. Alluvial groundwater below the tailings impoundments ranges from approximately 25 to 50 feet below ground surface.

Courtesy of NMELC

Laura Watchempino and Susan Gordon

A sign in English and Navajo warns residents of dangerous levels of radiation.

term residents have been exposed to five times what the EPA says is an acceptable cancer risk from the radon in the air we breathe.” Head-Dylla continued, “People we know have battled and, in some cases, died from cancer while the NMED, EPA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allow Homestake-Barrick Gold Corp. to try experimental remedial systems that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has deemed inadequate.” In 2009, NMED warned subdivision homeowners not to use the water in their private wells, but none of the wellheads have been systematically tested or shut down. Homestake originally told area residents that pollution f rom its mill was confined to the shallow alluvial aquifer beneath the site. In

continued on page 30

Roca Honda Uranium Mine: A Bad Idea

Nadine Padilla


Courtesy of NMELC

ommunities of northwestern New Mexico are still struggling to clean up contaminated lands resulting from the last uranium mine boom of the 1940s–1980s. During that time, our area, the Grants Mineral Belt,

produced more uranium than any other place in the world and accounted for almost half of all the uranium produced in the United States. This production was laxly regulated for the workers, the environment and the general community. Contamination of our water and land and exposure to radiation have taken a toll. Cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, birth defects, miscarriages and other health problems plague our rural communities.

Students at the appellate court in Denver. They were attending oral arguments in a case brought by the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining against the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, seeking to overturn a license for mining in Churchrock and Crownpoint.


Green Fire Times • April 2014

In addition to the health problems and environmental contamination, the booma n d - b u s t c yc l e o f t h e uranium industry left our communities largely in poverty. Many people are

still without access to running water or electricity. When the mines closed in the late 1980s, towns like Grants earned the nickname “Repo City” because people lost their jobs and could no longer afford their car payments. The water was contaminated, so traditional forms of economic development, such as farming and ranching, were ruined.

Promises of economic development must be tempered by the reality that tens of millions of gallons of water will be polluted and wasted.

Today, our communities are still recovering from the last boom-andbust cycle of uranium mining. Uranium contamination is only beginning to be reclaimed. The full extent of water contamination and health problems are not yet known because there are no comprehensive water or health studies. But, with what data are available, it is clear there is a connection between health problems and living near abandoned mines. It is also clear that

continued on page 33

there are contaminated groundwater systems and that the contamination continues to spread without reclamation. The Environmental Protection Agency ’s most recent study shows that communities outside of Milan, NM, are being exposed to radon from the Homestake/Barrick Superfund site, which is more than 5.5 times the EPA’s acceptable exposure limit, resulting in an increased cancer risk of 18 times.

Green Fire Times • April 2014


Stormwater in New Mexico

Michael Jensen


tormwater happens when rain or snowmelt runs along the ground, often picking up sediment and other forms of pollutants, and into rivers, streams and lakes.

Stormwater and snowmelt pick up contaminants as diverse as leaked motor oil and antifreeze from parking lots, fertilizers, household chemicals, animal waste and hazardous substances from illegal dumping, and carry all that waste into arroyos, rivers and lakes. Many rivers and streams in New Mexico are impaired (polluted) and cannot support some or all of the uses of those waters such as by wildlife, grazing, drinking or human contact (boating or swimming). In the Albuquerque reach of the Río Grande, for example, stormwater contributes several billion gallons to the Río Grande and is the major source of E. coli and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the river.

Stormwater that has plagued the South Valley for decades will support the creation of wetlands and meadows.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) became law in 1973, with extremely optimistic goals: to have all waters “fishable and swimmable” by 1983 and to eliminate all discharges of pollutants into the water by 1985. While the CWA has substantially improved water quality, it had a major flaw: it was focused on controlling “point sources” of pollutants— typically, industrial sites and wastewater pipes.The CWA historically ignored nonpoint sources such as runoff from agricultural fields and urban areas, except for encouraging the use of “best management practices” (BMPs) to minimize the quantity and quality of runoff. More recently, a small portion of this runoff has been regulated by the CWA through stormwater permits, which, instead of encouraging BMPs, requires their use. Most effective BMPs rely on what are called “green infrastructure” and “low-impact development” (GI/LID) solutions to control stormwater runoff. These management approaches and technologies generally require that post-development hydrology be as close as possible to pre-development hydrology through the use of practices that mimic natural processes, with a focus on maximizing infiltration, evapotranspiration, and capture and reuse of stormwater. In addition, GI/LID practices seek to accomplish these objectives: • Protect areas with natural ecological functions • Remove impervious cover and use permeable pavements • Increase bioretention • Utilize green roofs and walls, cisterns, and rain barrels • Create green buffers There are a growing number of innovative GI/LID projects in New Mexico. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has had a serious stormwater-contamination problem since it began operations nearly 70 years ago. After years of data collection and

© Anna C. Hansen

Despite the arid climate in much of New Mexico, there can be very large amounts of rain in a short period of time. In addition, New Mexico landscapes often have sparse vegetation and steep topography, and land development creates large areas of impermeable cover from parking lots, streets and sidewalks. All of these factors lead to increased velocity of runoff during storm events, which, in turn, leads to more pollution being picked up by the runoff and discharged into our rivers and streams.

Stormwater structure in Los Alamos Canyon, downstream from LANL

independent analysis, Amigos Bravos and its community allies sued LANL over its stormwater management. A negotiated settlement led to a fund for technical experts to work with LANL’s environmental-management staff to rethink how the Lab manages stormwater, shifting from simplistic small-scale solutions to a more holistic and sustainable approach. If LANL’s environmental budget is kept at an adequate level, these new approaches could become a model for remediating toxic sites across the arid West. In Taos County, there is significant contamination of the rivers in the watershed, in large part because of stormwater runoff from both urban and heavily grazed areas. After years of discussions, the county now has a proposal to create buffers where construction and storage of hazardous materials are restricted along all rivers and streams in the county. In addition, a watershed plan for the Río Pueblo de Taos has been drafted that encourages GI/LID practices in road maintenance and construction. In the Middle Río Grande, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been developing a pilot watershed-based, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) stormwater permit. While each of the entities in the Middle Río Grande will still have its own stormwater permit, the watershed-based MS4 permit is meant to encourage larger-scale solutions, collaborations and cost-savings for water-quality monitoring and public education and outreach. While seeking to adjust permit requirements to encourage innovation, the permit targets the primary sources of E. coli and PCBs with more aggressive deadlines and goals. In 2012, the first urban national wildlife refuge in the Southwest was dedicated at the site of the old Price’s Dairy in the far South Valley of Albuquerque. The Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge has a novel component: the inclusion of a major stormwater facility running across the site. AMAFCA, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area Flood Control Authority, will collect stormwater that has plagued the South Valley for decades and use it to support creation of wetlands and wet meadows in the refuge, which will help improve water quality and realize a refuge goal of restoring the site to something more closely resembling the mosaic landscape that existed prior to all the engineering on the river. These four examples of communities taking steps to protect their waters from runoff pollution provide important models for other communities throughout the state. All climate-change predictions for New Mexico warn of an increase in large and, in some cases, catastrophic storm events. In the face of these predictions, implementation of LID/GI practices provides the most effective way to protect human health and the environment from toxic stormwater runoff. i Michael Jensen is Amigos Bravos’ Middle Río Grande projects director. Since 2005 he has been representing AB on issues related to water quality in the Middle Río Grande. He works on projects that address stormwater discharges, impacts from dairies on water quality, and efforts to improve water quality monitoring.


Green Fire Times • April 2014

Amigos Bravos

Amigos Bravos is a statewide conservation and environmental-justice advocacy organization, the mission of which is to protect and restore the waters of New Mexico. The organization’s capacity has been built over a 26-year history. Headquartered in Taos, Amigos Bravos has a strong presence in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, a staff of six, over 2,000 members, and a cadre of over 50 dedicated volunteers. The mission and practice of Amigos Bravos is to ensure that environmental protection is linked to social-justice principles. The organization is recognized for being an inclusive, multicultural, culturally competent advocacy organization and for its success in building strategic alliances with a broad and diverse range of allies. Amigos Bravos staff are experts in water-quality protection and the implementation of the Clean Water Act. They hold polluters accountable by bringing strong science to regulatory decision-making. They provide technical assistance to groups and individuals wishing to protect waters in their communities. Moreover, regulators, industry and the media often seek their advice regarding water-quality concerns and related human health impacts. Amigos Bravos has won numerous awards and is recognized nationally for its capacity to affect change through community organizing, legislative and regulatory initiatives, media and public education and outreach, building coalitions and networks and taking legal action, when necessary. Amigos Bravos’ work has resulted in significant improvement of New Mexico’s rivers, streams and wetlands. Major victories include the Superfund cleanup of the Red River from impacts of the Chevron/Molycorp mine; permanent congressional protection for the Valle Vidal from oil and gas development; forcing cleanup of the stormwater runoff from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) into the Río Grande; and the reintroduction of river otters to New Mexico’s rivers. Main priorities for Amigos Bravos in 2014 are ensuring timely cleanup of waste at LANL and at the Chevron mine in Questa; participation in New Mexico’s Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards; promoting local stormwater-control policies that use low-impact development and green infrastructure solutions; defending water-protection policy at the state Legislature; implementing the Río Pueblo de Taos Watershed Restoration Plan (with the goal of reducing temperature and sediment loading in the river); and addressing illegal trash dumping through the “Beautiful Midden” project, which is a model for other art-based, environmental restoration projects. For more information, visit or AmigosBravos

hot Environmental Issues Pajarito Environmental Education Center: Nature Deficit Disorder in Children Can you tell a story about what made you want to become a person who protects our natural world? If you’re like most of us, that story will involve playing outside— discovering something you felt like no one had ever seen before. Kids today don’t often get to make those kinds of memories. Unstructured play in the outdoors is critical to protecting our environment because, without these kinds of experiences, kids grow up not caring about nature. The PEEC in Los Alamos provides nurturing nature play for children in our Nature Play Area. 505.662.0460, director@, Earth Care NM: Increasing Food Security through Local Youth Leadership; Sustainable Food Economy New Mexico currently ranks 50th in the country for childhood nutrition and food security. The impacts of climate change threaten local food production. Earth Care’s AmeriCorps Food Justice project trains and engages young people to bolster sustainable farming, sustainable food, and nutrition. Earth Care focuses its efforts on neighborhoods and schools that have high rates of poverty, food insecurity, health issues, and a lack of services for youth., 505.983.6896


City of Santa Fe Water Conservation Office: Drought On. Water Off. Since the City implemented its “lead-by-example” program in 1997, Santa Feans have reduced water consumption by more than 39 percent. But now that we are in our fourth year of significant drought—and who knows what the future holds—we’re asking Santa Feans to do more: plant drought-tolerant gardens, drive unwashed cars, take short showers, install water-efficient appliances, wash only full loads of dishes and laundry. Find conservation tips and rewards for saving water at, 505.955.4225, Water Waste Hotline: 505.955.4222 Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP): Appeal the Copper Rules that Allow Pollution of Groundwater GRI P ’s R e s p o n s i b l e Mining program facilitates strong enforcement of NM’s environmental laws to protect our land, air, water, and environmental health from mining operations at three Freeport-McMoRan copper mines in Grant Co. 575.538.8078,, No Crude Oil in Lamy: Preventing Crude Oil Transfers from Truck to Rail in the Heart of Lamy Santa Fe Southern Railway has forged a deal to ship and transfer crude oil in the small town of Lamy. The dangers are immense. This small village, nestled in a quiet valley, with one road in and out, is peaceful, historic and beautiful. Plans are already underway to ship and transfer volatile, toxic, foul crude oil only 109 feet from the community well. In a July accident in Quebec, tankers carrying light crude oil derailed and killed 47 people. continued on page 26

505–888–2699 • Green Fire Times • April 2014


NM Legislative Review of the Water Trust Board A Constructive Tool to Protect Watersheds

Michael Aune


he state of New Mexico appears to place a greater emphasis on the infrastructure and storage for the delivery of water than on the preservation and protection of the water supply, such as headwaters and aquifers. Of the $89 million in the state’s capital outlay bill designated for water projects signed by Gov. Martínez in mid-March, only $6 million is designated for watershed restoration and forest thinning. That is less than 7 percent for efforts to protect and preserve the sources of water. During the 2014 New Mexico Legislative Session, the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) provided an analysis of the Water Trust Board. The LFC’s program evaluator, Jeff Canney, discussed Report #13-12, before the Senate Finance Committee and Chairman John Arthur Smith on Jan. 23. The LFC has statutory responsibility to examine laws governing financial operations of the state and its political subdivisions, including policies and costs related to the proper functioning of such government entities. The LFC is

authorized to suggest changes to the Legislature.

responsibility for water adjudication and allocation issues within New Mexico.

This report quotes from the NM State Water Plan of 2003, stipulating that “The State will plan and prioritize water infrastructure improvements to get supplies to where they will serve the greatest good in facilitating economic development and in serving existing and future populations.” Questions remain though about the functional “supply,” which, in my view, is underfunded in this budget despite other requirements enacted in previous legislative sessions.

On page 13 of the LFC report, types of projects are listed for funding eligibility established by the WPFA. Of significance is that this includes funding eligibility for “the restoration and management of watersheds,” and “flood prevention.” It appears, however, that 93 percent of the budget funding just signed by the governor is mostly for “storage and conveyance of water to end users,” and “conservation, recycling, treatment or reuse of water,” which are indeed important.

In 2001, the Water Project Finance Act (WPFA) created the Water Trust Board (WTB). Its purpose is to “provide funding for water-use efficiency, resource conservation and protection, and fair distribution and allocation of water.”The NM Finance Authority was designated as the administrator. In 2013, Scott Verhines, the state engineer, became chairman of the WTB. The Office of the State Engineer (OSE) has major

In previous articles (Green Fire Times, July and September, 2013), wildfires and their destructive impact on headwaters were discussed, including how catastrophic flooding impacted some of the water sources that would supply the proposed projects. During the 2013 legislative session, HJM24 and HM65 were unanimously passed, and as a result, two letters were sent to each of the five members of our New Mexico US congressional delegation. Rep. Carl Trujillo’s effort with HJM24 directly addressed the water supply at its origin, though it was amended at the request of the OSE. State Engineer Verhines’ view has changed since then, in part because Rep. Yvette Herrell’s HM65 then restored those same headwaters issues, and sought “to integrate local, state and tribal watershed plans…” with those of the federal lands where the headwaters originate. In his Nov. 15, 2013, letter to Canney, Verhines wrote, “The OSE suggests the report indicate that… regional water plan… updates will reflect the region’s unique needs as identified and prioritized by local representatives. A paradigm shift to regionally driven initiatives will engender greater natural resource management, decrease duplication of efforts and will promote capital-outlay reform.” This opens the door for us “local representatives”to continue the “paradigm shift” so we can “engender greater natural resource management.” Other related key points brought out in the LFC report include:


Green Fire Times • April 2014

Page 22: “The supply of water provided by the Canadian River is one risk variable….” The San Juan-Chama Project, which supplies a significant source of water to New Mexico, was not addressed in Canney’s report.

The WTB should place an emphasis on the supply and source of water resources equal to the emphasis on infrastructure.

Page 23: “In 2006, the Water Trust Fund was constitutionally established… for the purpose of securing a supply of clean and safe water…”., and Page 26: The WTB and regional water plans “…mandate f rom the 2003 Legislature… to increase the supply of water.” The precedent has been established regarding water supply as a priority, though that has not seen major funding. Therefore, I’ve submitted to LFC two items to be added under “Recommendations” in Report #13-12. First, on page 27,“The WTB should place an emphasis on the supply and source of water resources (headwaters, watersheds, aquifers) that is equal to the emphasis on infrastructure that stores and delivers that water supply.” Secondly, on page 10, “The Legislature should require that the supply and source of water, including the headwaters of watersheds, and the preservation and restoration of same, is an equal priority to the capital funding programs for other water infrastructure projects.” These are included for consideration and your support to address this important issue of water supply from its point of origin. Spending and prioritization on infrastructure as discussed in LFC Report #13-12 and the recently signed capital outlay budget is moot if there is no water to supply said systems. Michael Aune explored the headwaters of Western watersheds for over 40 years and began studying wildfire’s destructive impact on watersheds after living through the 1988 Wyoming wildfires. He has testified before legislative committees and recently served on the PRC Wildfire Task Force.

Green Fire Times • April 2014


Living in Industrial Dairy Country

Jana Hughes


s a rural resident living in an agricultural area for most of my life, I have spent many years living near a large-scale, industrial dairy operation located in the southeastern quadrant of New Mexico. Industrial confinement dairies produce massive amounts of manure because they confine thousands of animals on too little land.The untreated waste often migrates off-site and into the groundwater and the air I breathe. Land surrounding my home is used to dispose of the manure, bringing the untreated waste even closer to my home.

Many of NM’s industrial dairies are polluting our waters beyond EPA standards.

Because of their unmanageable uncontained waste, these facilities produce plague-like swarms of flies, including those that can carry disease and bite, tormenting my neighbors and me many months of the year. They leave a huge amount of fly feces behind, damaging my property. I have fly feces on my windows no matter how often I clean them. The odors emanating from these industrial dairies are unimaginable. The stench can be nauseating, rancid and relentless. On many days I have to pull my clothing up over my nose and mouth while walking to the mailbox to try to keep from breathing these odors. I cannot plan outside events or cook outside because of the spontaneous odors, flies and waste dust. Hanging my clothes out to dry in the sun or opening my windows is not an option. The factory dairy confinement industry relies heavily on our political system, using its profits to buy political influence to allow it to maintain “business as usual,” which means continuing to pollute and deplete our finite water supply. They befriend politicians and distort the issues to manipulate the system and distract the public from what is really going on. What they don’t want the public to know is that many of New Mexico’s industrial dairies are illegally discharging and polluting our waters beyond standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These are the same standards that our state government is supposed to enforce.The dairies also don’t


want the public to know that they cannot appropriately manage the amount of waste they produce, and, as a result, they are polluting New Mexico’s water and air, our environment and our rural quality of life—not to mention our homes and property values. New Mexico dairies have the highest average number of animals per dairy in the United States, and the conditions here favor a higher average number of milkings, all of which means more waste production. According to 2009 data from the NM Environment Department, prepared for use during the initial stakeholder discussions for a new dairy pollution control rule, nearly two-thirds of all dairies in the state had exceeded groundwater standards for nitrates. About 10 percent of dairies in the state were in abatement status, requiring special measures to remediate their pollution because it was especially bad. I have a right to a quality of life and to use and enjoy my property. I have a right to clean air and drinking water and a safe and clean environment. It seems the dairy industry and politicians disagree with me. Why are politicians not listening to the public? Why do we not have a say? We should play a part in making improvements to the system that are needed to remove abuse and injustice. As concerned citizens, we feel our involvement with these issues is important for the future of our community, our state and our country. Politicians have stated that the dairies were here first. In many cases they weren’t. Does the placement of dairies here first expunge my rights to a quality of life and the use and enjoyment of my home? At what point did our country’s legal and political system transform into a system where justice and human rights aren’t afforded to those impacted by polluters? Being first in line or last in line shouldn’t matter. What should matter is doing the right thing and ensuring justice for all. i Jana Hughes lives north of Hobbs, where five generations of her family have lived and four generations still live and plan to stay. Hughes has become involved with groundwater issues knowing that whatever happens now will impact future generations of her family and her community.

Green Fire Times • April 2014

State Considering Weakening Dairy Discharge Rules

Dan Lorimier and Michael Jensen


ast year, the Martínez administration’s Environment Department discarded its own advisory committee’s proposal for a rule that was supposed to protect New Mexico’s groundwater from copper-mining pollution. Instead, Ryan Flynn, now the department’s secretary, submitted a rule that was essentially the wish list of FreeportMcMoRan copper-mining company. As the Citizens Coalition (made up of individuals and environmental organizations) predicted during the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) hearings that ended with approval of the new Copper Rule in September, 2013, it not only compromised water under copper mines, it created an alarming precedent for all of New Mexico’s scarce and fragile waters. The dairy industry has jumped on the chance for similarly favorable treatment, petitioning the WQCC to gut rules to protect groundwater from dairy discharges, which have already contributed nitrates and other contaminants exceeding state standards at two-thirds of all dairies in the state. The dairy and copper rules have been connected since 2009, when the Legislature—responding to those industries’ dislike of efforts by the New Mexico Environment (NMED) to enforce existing rules—ordered the NMED to develop industry-specific rules for these two industries. Dairy went first, and the industry fought the rule it had asked for, from the first public meetings through months of stakeholder meetings and a long WQCC process. One of the first actions by the Martínez administration in Jan. 2011 was to try to cancel the new Dairy Rule, but several environmental organizations won a state Supreme Court case, and the rule went into effect.The industry then appealed the rule, which led to another long negotiation process and a new WQCC hearing. The WQCC insisted that the various parties—the state, the industry, and the Citizen Coalition—stipulate that they agreed with the new rule, which all the parties did. The new Dairy Rule went into effect in January, 2012, but, less than three months later, dairy industry representatives were in private discussions with NMED senior management to get changes to the rules. After the fact, they notified the Citizens Coalition that they were asking for changes, then announced that they were going to seek a new WQCC process to fundamentally alter the rule they had agreed to just months earlier. While the industry says that it is problems with the Dairy Rule that led them to seek the changes, clearly, the new copper-mining rule also influenced the decision. Under the new Copper Rule, mining companies will be allowed to contaminate the water under their property beyond state standards and not be required to deal with the problem until monitoring wells detect the pollution moving beyond the property boundary. Aside from the fact that monitoring wells are notorious for being in the wrong places or not being installed or maintained properly, the permission to pollute is a fundamental violation of the state Water Quality Act and common sense. The NMED, anticipating the dismantling of the Dairy Rule, has suspended enforcement of the current rules and issuance of dairy pollution-control permits until after the WQCC’s rule-making hearing, which was scheduled for March but is now postponed until November, after the elections. The industry has already enjoyed five years of little or no permitting and enforcement since the Dairy Rule-making process began in 2009.

The dairy industry’s petition seeks to change or remove much of the language stakeholders spent three years crafting and would return it to the less-protective rules of 20 years ago, which led to widespread groundwater contamination. Placement of pollution-monitoring wells, requirements for stronger protective liners in wastecontainment facilities, waste backflow prevention, and waste-management plans for fields used to dispose of untreated waste are all under attack. The Citizen Coalition worked diligently for years and agreed to significant compromises to the industry in order to make sure that a new Dairy Rule with the most important protections would be put in place. Together, we will continue that effort and fight to protect our groundwater and the requirements contained in the current rule in the face of these cynical efforts by the industry and our “all-about-business” New Mexico Environment Department. The NMED is not a division of the Economic Development Department. Throwing groundwater protections out the window based on unproven and dubious claims of “regulatory burden” is bad for New Mexico businesses and for all New Mexicans who want to know that their water is clean. All the Martínez administration has to show for more than three years of a no-holds-barred approach to corporate giveaways is the worst state economy in the West. The Martínez administration should leave the corporate focus to the Economic Development Department and recommit to the vision of the NMED’s thoughtful and protective oversight of our precious natural resources. i Dan Lorimier is the Sierra Club’s Río Grande Chapter conservation coordinator. Michael Jensen is Amigos Bravos’ Middle Río Grande projects director. For more information on issues concerning New Mexico’s dairies, call 505.715.8388 or email

Green Fire Times • April 2014


Defending the Peoples’ Commons

Maceo Carillo Martinet


ecently, I was traveling in northern New Mexico with two other environmental scientists who work on restoring the land’s health. After passing miles of eroded land with barely any vegetation, one of the scientists lamented, “It’s sad to see the land so scarred and damaged like this.” The other scientist responded confidently, saying, “Yeah, it’s just another example of the tragedy of the commons. It’s the same old story throughout the Southwest.”His colleague seemed to agree.

Are humans truly capable of taking care of the land in a sustainable way, or are we destined to destroy the land due to our selfcentered tendencies?

“Another example of the tragedy of the commons”? The expression “tragedy of the commons” is used to describe the destruction of nature (pasture land, forests, coastal land, etc.) when humans manage nature as a common-use resource, open to any community member to use. According to Garret Hardin, the sociologist who coined the term in 1968, the reason nature is destined to be destroyed by man is because humans are fundamentally self-serving and greedy. The only way to avoid this tragedy, according to Dr. Hardin, is to manage nature not as common-use lands or common-use waters but as a system of private property. If this sounds familiar, it should. The “tragedy of the commons” is one piece of the neoconservative belief system, a belief system bent on defunding public schools because a privatized system would be better, or that screams


“freedom!” when you argue for the merits of a healthcare system, the bottom-line of which is the common good, not profit margins for a select few. Not convinced that the degraded landscape we were passing near the town of Cuba was due to local indigenous communities’ use of the land, I did a little research. According to a survey done in 1877, that land was actually very healthy and productive grassland. At the time, it was managed under the Mexican ejido system, the Spanish word meaning communal-use lands, a system of land management very important to both Native American and Hispanic/ Chicano communities. This land near Cuba had been used in various ways by the Navajo, Apache, Pueblo and Hispanic communities that made up the Ramón Vigil Land Grant; however, the lush green grassland there came to a crashing end by 1913. During the time leading up to its deterioration, the rights to access these grazing lands by the local ranching (agro-pastoral) communities were being stripped and given to wealthy private companies, primarily a few large cattle operators from Texas bent on making short-term profit by supplying meat to growing cities back east. According to Hal Rothman, who documented the cultural and environmental changes of the area, these industrial cattle operators wreaked havoc on the environment, bringing in herds 10 times the size that the land could support. And because it is a desert, this environment is slower to recover. Although this is just the history of a small piece of land, it is emblematic of the whole southwestern United States during the late 19th- and early 20th centuries.

Green Fire Times • April 2014

An over-grazed allotment near Cuba, in northern New Mexico

The real cause of the scarred land we drove through that day was not due to common people managing the land as the ejido; it was actually due to the tragedy of greed, privatization and impacts of capitalism, combined with a huge dosage of ecological ignorance. Since the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, there has been a flood of land privatization, speculation and outright theft in New Mexico. This was all facilitated by the US colonial/ territorial government, at the time made up of unelected lawmakers and scheming entrepreneurs who cared little for the local cultures and economy or traditional land-use ethics. This is the true tragedy that helps explain why both the land and its people are deeply scarred. The “tragedy of the commons” is not only used to belittle the common person and justify privatization but, as the story above illustrates, it also brings into question one’s faith in humanity. Ask yourself: Are humans truly capable of taking care of the land in a sustainable way, or are we destined to destroy the land due to our self-centered tendencies? It seems to me that, in order for people to make this world a better place, we need to believe

in the common good. We have to believe that we can work together and share equitably in nature without killing each other and the land. In short, we have to believe in a world different than what we are accustomed to. While I agree that there are many greedy people in the world, I do not believe that people are inherently greedy. In fact, the long history of humanity and recent research shows us that the opposite of the tragedy of the commons is true: that the best way to reach both ecological sustainability and social equality is to relate to nature very much like an ejido, where control and management of the common-use lands are in the hands of the local community that truly depends on it. This drive toward the well-being of everyone in the commons, including the commons itself, is our natural state and helps to explain why humanity is even still here. i Maceo Carrillo Martinet, Ph.D., is an ecologist and educator. He works on environmental restoration, water conser vation, and community-based education projects throughout New Mexico.

The SouthWest Organizing Project Protecting Communities’ Quality of Life Juan Reynosa


hen an industrial operation begins in a New Mexico community, local governments work to make sure the operation is effective, that all of the proper permits are issued, and that the wheels of commerce are well greased. Unfortunately, this often leaves the job of protecting the community’s quality of life to the people who live there. While regulators and elected officials debate policies that could protect people, community organizations concerned with environmental issues face the daily reality of dense industrial presence right in their backyards. This intersection of industrial impact and political inaction is often where strong community leaders emerge.

The intersection of industrial impact and political inaction is where strong community leaders emerge.

The Albuquerque-based SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) defines “the environment ” as where a community lives, works and plays. Communities often don’t enjoy the same legal protection as natural habitats, and so, industrial operations often can have negative health impacts for entire neighborhoods. This can include cumulative impacts where multiple polluting entities are located in close proximity.

SWOP has been fortunate to work with community leaders over the past year and a half to do a citizen-based, data-collection campaign to evaluate air quality ( The participating communities include Mesquite, in southern New Mexico, the San José community in Albuquerque, and the area around the Navajo Mine in the Four Corners region. The data SWOP has collected allows the organization to push for policy and regulatory changes to improve air quality in impacted communities. Over a year of data collection, they have found strong, sustained levels of chlorobenzene in San José, as well as high levels of particulate crystalline silica in another community. Heightened exposure to these volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is known to cause a host of medical problems. San José is already home to two Superfund sites, which contaminated drinking water many years ago. Along with the neighboring Mountain View community, San José has the highest instances of heart disease, cancer and asthma in Bernalillo County. This data comes from a healthimpact assessment done in 2011. Stark data like this provides added incentive for community members to change these statistics. D uring the 2012 New Mexico L egislative S ession, SWOP reintroduced the Consolidated Environmental Review Act, which sought to add an environmental

Data from SWOP’s Air-Quality Data Collection analysis from mark chernaik of science for citizens Air samples collected from southwest Albuquerque were remarkable in that each sample contained detectable and significantly elevated levels of chlorobenzene. The average concentration found in all seven samples is 23.6 µg/m3, ranging from a low of 8.5 µg/m3 to a high of 50 µg/m3. These levels are roughly 10 times higher than concentrations of chlorobenzene commonly found in urban ambient air.

According to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: Air samples at 56 localities in the US in 1982 had mean chlorobenzene concentrations of about 3.0 µg/m3, the highest concentrations in urban and suburban areas, much lower levels at the sites of production, but not detectable in rural and remote areas (Brodzinsky and Singh 1983). This suggests a substantial contribution to urban air levels by small industry and consumer products but also a short residence time in the air. A study of New Jersey waste sites found similar air levels of chlorobenzene [2.5 µg/m3] (Harkov et al. 1985).   These consistently elevated levels of chlorobenzene in southwest Albuquerque may also be of significance to public health in that levels are averaging higher than the USEPA’s provisional Reference Concentration (RfC) for chlorobenzene.

Kids often ride their bikes through areas where freight trains idle.

Coreslab does precast, pre-stress concrete and hollow-core plank construction.

assessment during the permitting process for industry. That policy was met with very strong industry opposition and was ultimately killed in committee. Undeterred, SWOP shifted its focus locally and introduced an air-quality ordinance to the Albuquerque Air Quality Control Board. Working with Western Refining – A refinery adjacent to a neighborhood with polic y work in order for the NM Environmental Law Center, communities to create the change they SWOP drafted a strong ordinance that need to improve their quality of life. aims to insert a cumulative-impact The work of these community leaders analysis into the air-permitting process is a great example of how communities for Albuquerque. If enacted, this are working hard to protect themselves ordinance will expose the potential and the ones they love. i pollution impacts of a proposed facility along with all other facilities nearby, Juan Reynosa, a field organizer with SWOP, and it will provide data on potential grew up in Hobbs, NM. Reynosa was the New environmental impacts and community Mexico Beyond Coal organizer for Sierra health. This data will provide advocates Club, an organizer in San José—and Albuquerque as a with New Mexico whole—with another tool to push back Youth Organized, and a on polluting industries that want to Green for All fellow. He locate in their area. has a bachelor’s degree in This ordinance is just one piece of the puzzle. There is still a need for community organizing coordinated

Environmental Science from UNM. 505.2478832, ext. 115, juan@

Green Fire Times • April 2014


hot Environmental Issues Sierra Club Río Grande Chapter: Upholding NM Strong Groundwater Safeguards from a Challenge by the Dairy Industry to WeakenThem Dairies want to use cheaper, less-protective liners on vast, untreated waste lagoons, and the Environment Department and Water Quality Control Commission have been willing to bow to industry wishes and dismantle recently passed dairy rules. Also, it is important to protect NM’s renewable energy laws from amendments proposed by industrial energy lobbyists. camilla.feibelman@, 505.715.8388,


Citizens Climate Lobby: Passing Carbon Fee and Dividend Legislation With groups in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, as well as around the country and globe, we are creating the political will for a livable world. A fee-and-dividend program would place a steadily rising fee on big fossil-fuel polluters at points where the carbon enters the market: the wellhead, the coal mine, and the border. This money would then be returned to Americans to help them make lifestyle changes that are less carbon-intensive., www. Climate Change Leadership Institute (CCLI): Energy and Water Conservation CCLI’s Santa Fe Carbon Offset project helps offset the externalized cost of greenhouse gas emissions by supporting energy- and water-saving installations at low-income, trailer-home communities and plants prairie grass for land restoration and to create carbon sinks. CCLI has provided airflow testing, duct work, low-flow water heads, and carbon monoxide detectors. CCLI’s Business Climate Leadership Pledge honors NM businesses, calling for a nationwide revenue-neutral, carbon fee and dividend, so that we as a society pay the true price of energy. 505.988.3364,, The Great March for Climate Action: Calling for Action on Climate Change Starting in California, hundreds of marchers are retracing the steps of our pioneer ancestors in reverse, marching out of the West to Washington, D.C., to demand a redress of grievances from our political leaders who have been captured by the lobbyists of the carbon industry and have refused to act on the climate crisis that threatens our homes, livelihoods and families. The Great March enters NM in late April around Zuni Pueblo and exits in late May near Questa. Volunteers are needed to support these brave people, and to march with them., The Life Cairn Project: Raising Consciousness about Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity Our mission is to promote and catalyze the creation of Life Cairns as memorials to species that have become extinct due to human impacts on the environment and to sound urgent alerts about critically endangered species, cultures and island nations. The North American launch of the Life Cairn project will take place on Endangered Species Day, May 16th, in Santa Fe’s Railyard Park.,, Western Environmental Law Center: Methane Leaking from Sloppy Oil and Gas Drilling Practices T his unnecessar y waste of methane—a greenhouse gas (GHG) more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide— from drilling on public lands alone contributes the equivalent of up to 34 coal-fired power plants’ GHG emissions. WELC is helping lead the campaign to make the use of modern, economical pollution controls mandatory for companies drilling on public lands to prevent waste and to better safeguard the climate. 575.751.0351, info@westernlaw. org,



Green Fire Times • April 2014


Dutch Salmon

Decision Confronts


s an icon of wildness, freedom of flow, sport and recreation, the Gila River knows no superiors in the Southwest, albeit its modest current averages less than 100 cubic feet per second year-round, and agricultural diversions sometimes take even that for “beneficial use.” By the time the Gila, headed west from its source high in New Mexico’s Mogollón Range, is some 80 miles into Arizona, most of its story is told, its course a dry wash, its riparian zone scoured and stripped. It’s a great story, though, that first 200 miles. At the end of this year the river’s final denouement will be signed, sealed and delivered with no yellow ribbon to mark its demise; or, should reason and fiscal responsibility prevail, it could receive a lifetime reprieve. People have been gunning for the Gila River’s water for a very long time. Arizona, with its senior water claims, succeeded in getting its share early on; agri-business irrigation diversions were constructed and are still in use, and a holding dam with a real reservoir behind it (Coolidge Dam/San Carlos Reservoir) left some in New Mexico thinking they got cheated at the trough.


Gila River

per year of Gila River water with cheap loans to finance the deal. Subsequent proposed water projects in the 1970s (Hooker Dam) and 1980s (Conner Dam and the Mangas Diversion Dam) fell prey to reality, lack of funding or an unwillingness to finance, and/or environmental problems. In the early 1990s, the Bureau of Reclamation went back to Washington and Phoenix. Locally, we thought the legacy of Aldo Leopold, who spoke as eloquently of the Gila Wilderness and its running waters as he did of the green fire in a dying wolf ’s eyes, was now safe from an outdated industry called dam-building. But we were wrong.

Will the ISC divert the Gila or pursue cost-effective conservation alternatives to meet future water needs? In 2004, Arizona settled Native American water rights claims through the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA). In return for New Mexico’s vote of support, the act provided New Mexico with

© Dennis O’Keefe


unnecessary project up for review with some rough engineering plans. ISC contractor Bohannon Huston came up with a recommended alternative costing $350 million, well above the AWSA subsidy, leaving New Mexico taxpayers and water users to cover more than $200 million in construction costs and millions more every year in operation and maintenance. An independent engineer and former ISC director, Norman Gaume, testified before a New Mexico Senate Conservation Committee in February that the ISC’s Gila River diversion project is “fatally flawed” by a failure to account for the sediment that comes from high flows: “Will the river obliterate the dam before it buries it, or will it get buried first?”Gaume said, “Either way, it will not survive.” The pipeline, too, will get plugged up from sediment, Gaume said, and the final project cost could be two-to-three times the current estimate. Moreover, at least 6,000 acre-feet will be lost to evaporation from the proposed off-stream reservoirs. Combined with seepage losses, this project could lose more water than its annual yield.

© Mike Fugagli

Neither farm nor town nor industry nor government entity has shown a willingness to contract for the water, perhaps because they can’t claim a need: the Gila Basin has 4,000 acre-feet of New Mexico’s first major bid for more water from the Gila came in 1968 with Arizona’s grab of Colorado River water under the Central Arizona Project. Arizona knew it would need the votes from New Mexico’s most powerful politicians and bureaucrats to complete what turned out to be a roughly $4 billion project. New Mexico knew it, too, and held firm. When Arizona caved, it gave New Mexico a chance—not a guarantee—to develop 18,000 acre-feet

$66 million in nonreimbursable funds for any water development that meets a “water supply demand” in southwest New Mexico and up to $128 million should a New Mexico diversion “unit” be constructed. Ten years later, and only months before New Mexico must notify the Secretary of Interior about its decision, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) has finally put this harmful and

water rights lying fallow, and the nearby Mimbres Basin, which supplies Silver City and Deming, has a supply sufficient to meet municipal and agricultural needs well into the future. The fiscally responsible solution lies in the alternatives to diversion. Sustainable groundwater management, conservation, watershed restoration, water reuse proposed by stakeholders throughout southwest New Mexico can be easily funded with the AWSA subsidy and would yield more water (about 22,000 acre-feet per year) for less money (about $82 million per year). In August, the ISC will make its preliminary decision: will it divert the Gila or pursue cost-effective conservation alternatives to meet future water needs? In November, its final decision will be heard. After many more days than we could ever recall, this “year of decision”has us counting the days on the fingers of our hands. i M.H. “D utch” Salmon, chairman and founder of the Gila Conservation Coalition, is a writer, avid f isherman and outdoorsman, former NM Game commissioner, and former NM Interstate Stream commissioner.

The Gila Conservation Coalition

The Gila Conservation Coalition was organized in 1984 to protect the free flow of the Gila and San Francisco rivers and the wilderness characteristics of the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness areas. The GCC is a partnership of three organizations—Gila Resources Information Project, Upper Gila Watershed Alliance and Center for Biological Diversity—that promote conservation of the Upper Gila River Basin and surrounding lands. The GCC was instrumental in stopping the Hooker and Conner Dam proposals in the 1980s. The group also achieved protection of the East Fork of the Gila River from road building and partial closure of the wild San Francisco River to off-road vehicle use.

Green Fire Times • April 2014


State Land Office Works to Restore La Plata River Habitat

Story and photos by Marti Niman


t first glance, the Jackson Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) outside of Farmington seems an unlikely site for wildlife habitat or even for a river. Tucked between a stretch of warehouses, gas stations and fast-food strip malls, the dirt road into the area winds through dune-like stretches of sand before veering under a small canopy of cottonwoods clustered along the sandy banks of the La Plata River. Much of the river is eroded, undercut, clogged by sediment and overgrown with invasive plant species such as salt cedar, Russian olive and kochia. Both the State Land Office (SLO) and the Department of Game and Fish are conducting separate but cooperative projects to restore native habitat along the La Plata. “These kinds of collaborative projects are the most effective way to address many of our ecological concerns in New Mexico,” State Land Commissioner Ray Powell said. “We are able to optimize expertise, revenue and staffing for the greatest impact.”

Rehabilitating the integrity of New Mexico’s river ecosystems The SLO leases 400 acres of trust land to the Game and Fish Commission as part of the 1,500-acre Jackson Lake WMA. The SLO received a $65,000 grant from the River Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (RERI) in 2011 to restore the native ecosystem along the roughly one-mile stretch of river bisecting trust land. Managed by the New Mexico Environment Department’s Surface Water Quality Bureau, the RERI is designed to rehabilitate the integrity of New Mexico’s river ecosystems. The SLO initiated the project to amend the river’s flow and replace invasive plants with those native to the area. “The La Plata is impaired by excess sediment, which impacts oxygen levels for fish and invertebrates,” said Clay Bowers, conservation biologist for the SLO. “We diverted a major tributary


that carried sediment in a sheet flow from the uplands so it would place the sediment on the flood plain rather than in the river.” By sleuthing satellite imagery, SLO biologists discovered a 1950s-era historic oxbow, lush with cattails and other native wetland species that thrived from the intermittent flooding. They reconnected the oxbow so it would overflood the banks, and reconnected with another side channel. “We created five depressions through the side channels to create open water sources for bats,” Bowers said. “They need an area where they can swoop down and drink while flying. If it’s in a tight space, they can’t use it.” The depressions also provide more nesting habitat for waterfowl. Post vane structures were installed to create a more fluid and softly meandering river, reducing sediment loading during high-flow events. “As it stands now, the river makes aggressive dogleg turns, and the impact of the water against the stream channel takes sediment with it,” Bowers said. “The structures smooth out those bends, so it’s less violent, with less undercutting.” The posts are made of 8- to 10-foot-long juniper posts shoved into one side of the channel to direct the river flow away from the shore before it hits the vanes. “During a big pulse, the vanes catch sediment and push the river away,” he said. Cottonwood and coyote willow harvested on site are two wetland species that were planted alongside the channels, while upland forage for deer include New Mexico olive, golden currant, Torrey’s wolfberry, antelope bitterbrush and false indigo. “We’re doing what is called deep pole planting, getting the roots into the water table with a 6–foot auger,” Bowers said. “It looks like a pitiful stream, but the groundwater seems pretty reliable. We were hitting the water table when we were planting.”The SLO crew put down

Green Fire Times • April 2014

Top: One of the floodwater depressions designed to create water habitat, filled with water after a flood. Center (l): Albuquerque district resource manager Andrew Price drills a deep hole for conservation biologist Clay Bowers to plant a native willow cutting; Bowers holds a sheath of willows for pole plantings along the La Plata River; Price and Bowers wrestle a tub of freshly-cut willows to plant along the La Plata.

native seed forbs and shrubs to help stabilize the riverbank and also provide an important part of the diet for deer, Gambel’s quail and small mammals. The area sits in a major migration corridor, primarily for deer traveling f rom Colorado to their wintering ground in New Mexico. These projects will help conserve water that flows

from Snow Storm Peak in the La Plata Mountains of Colorado. Contributing agencies are optimistic that the peak will live up to its name and deliver the much-needed snowmelt to help these projects thrive in the spring. i Marti Niman is the New Mexico State Land Off ice’s public information off icer. www.

Honoring Our Ancestors This Earth Day 44

Jack Loeffler


t isn’t as though we haven’t heard powerful voices through time, extolling both the wonders of nature and the importance of preserving those wonders. Although Henry David Thoreau lived but 44 years (1817–1862), his abundant writings reveal his depth of concern for the natural history of the landscape around Concord, Mass., and for the need for civil disobedience when the governing body governs awry. Thoreau steeped himself in the countryside around Concord. When he entered the path through the woods, he endeavored to be in the woods wholemindedly, savoring the flavor of nature, working assiduously to leave his concerns with the civilized world behind. Walking was a sacred act—“I have met but one or two persons in the course of my life, who understood the art of walking...” He immersed himself in the flow of nature, returning to the affairs of the day to write down his realizations for posterity and to craft some pencils to subsist. Indeed, he lived a handcrafted life, living his dreams as best he could. He lived consciously and simply. He took great umbrage at a society and a government that condoned slavery. “If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice, then I say Break the Law.” Thoreau’s love of nature and his ethical standards are well-revealed in his collected writings. He penned many an apothegm; he was the master of the one-liner. To my way of thinking, he was America’s greatest 19th-century philosopher. He was fiercely opinionated, both condoning and practicing civil disobedience. He was loyal to his precepts. “Be true to your work, your word and your friend.” He died during the second year of the Civil War, never knowing its outcome. His influence extends deep into the present, having planted seeds long ago whose perennial yields are still being harvested a century-and-a-half after his death. The lives of Thoreau and John Wesley Powell (1834–1902) overlapped in time for 28 years. Powell fought for the North during the Civil War and lost his right arm from the elbow down to a Minié-ball wound at the Battle of Shiloh. Like Thoreau, Powell was something of a loner who loved the natural world. Unlike Thoreau, Powell was also a capable bureaucrat. After the Civil War, he headed west, traveling through the arid landscape west of the 100th meridian. He descended the steep canyon walls of the Colorado River, his party of stalwarts the first non-Natives to have done so, as far as is known. He recognized that Manifest Destiny had cleared the way for westward expansion after having rid the landscape of Indians hostile to interlopers from the East intent on carving fame and fortune by turning the habitat of the American West into money. Powell, himself, traveled unarmed among Indians regarded by others as hostile, riding his horse, looking into the vast and varied beauty of the American West. He explored watersheds, and, as the second director of the U.S. Geological Survey, valiantly lobbied the U.S. Congress to recognize the West, divided watershed by watershed, each a commonwealth owing fealty to the U.S. Government but otherwise being largely governed from within by each watershed’s human inhabitants. His plea was disregarded, and the West was organized geopolitically by the arbitrary state boundaries that continue to uphold. Had Powell’s proposal been accepted, the American West would be populated with folks who might well have had a much broader understanding of nature’s flow. But Powell was too late. American culture had opted vigorously in favor of economics as its guiding principle. Still, Powell’s reach continues to extend at least into the present day. John Muir (1838–1914) was yet another great pioneer whose life overlapped with the lives of Thoreau and Powell. Muir was born in Scotland but migrated with his family to a farm in Wisconsin when he was 11 years old. His family members were deeply religious, and indeed Muir himself was a spiritual being. But his original Christian persuasion seems to have been

subsumed by the spirit of nature. In 1867, two years after the end of the Civil War, Muir took his “thousand mile walk” from Indiana to Florida, following “the wildest, leafiest and least trodden way I could find.” Muir arrived in California in 1868 and soon discovered the splendor of Yosemite. He hiked around the Sierra Nevada, absorbing the flow of nature and aligning himself with nature’s mystique, and gradually became one of America’s all-time most powerful advocates for wilderness preservation for its own sake. Today, he is regarded by many as the “father of our National Parks.” Indeed, he worked closely with Gifford Pinchot, who was director of the National Forest Service. Muir and Pinchot bitterly disagreed over the fate of Hetch Hetchy Valley. Pinchot strongly favored the damming of the Tuolumne River that drains Hetch Hetchy Valley in the northern part of Yosemite to provide water to San Francisco. Muir countered by saying, “Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water tanks the people’s cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has been consecrated by the heart of man.” Muir, then leader of the Sierra Club, fought for seven years and lost the battle to save Hetch Hetchy. Within a half-century, another sacred canyon would be drowned to serve human interests. The Glen Canyon Dam would stopper the Colorado River and flood Glen Canyon, yet another of nature’s marvels. If we continue in this trend, it won’t be long until we will have lost all our marvels to the insanity of elevating presumed human needs above the needs of natural ecosystems. Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) was born when John Wesley Powell was 53 and John Muir was 49. Thoreau had been dead for 15 years when Leopold first peeked into the light of day. Young Leopold wanted nothing more than to be a forester. He spent as much time as he could outdoors, observing, hiking, listening to the sounds of nature, boating on the river near his home in Burlington, Iowa. The aforementioned Gifford Pinchot had donated money to Yale University to fund a graduate school of forestry, and young Leopold attended that school and was awarded an advanced degree in forestry. After graduation, he was assigned first to the Apache National Forest in Arizona and, later, to the Carson National Forest in New Mexico, where he soon became forest supervisor, thus achieving his life goal by the age of 25. It was here that he observed human impact on natural habitats and soil erosion due to the presence of cattle and sheep.

It won’t be long until we will have lost all our marvels to the insanity of elevating presumed human needs above the needs of natural ecosystems.

He was riding his horse from Durango, Colo., to Tres Piedras, New Mexico, where he lived in the cabin that he, together with his newlywed wife, Estella, constructed as both supervisor’s headquarters and their first home. Leopold was caught in a storm, and barely got home before he came down with a malaise that nearly carried him away and kept him from his work for two years. After he had sufficiently recuperated, he took the paid position of secretary to the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. He met a young insurance agent by the name of Clinton Anderson. Leopold convinced Anderson that certain areas of National Forest should be designated wilderness areas, forever off limits to roads, structures, logging and mining. Anderson became a U.S. senator from New Mexico, and, through Leopold’s guidance and Anderson’s political skill, the Gila Wilderness was established as America’s first preserved wilderness in 1924. Forty years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law on the watch of then-Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. continued on page 30

Green Fire Times • April 2014


Honoring Our Ancestors continued from page 29

Leopold’s original role with the U.S. Forest Service included the killing of bears, wolves and mountain lions. He came to realize that this incurred enormous damage to the overall ecosystems, depriving habitats of their natural predators. Thus, in his mind’s eye, he came to perceive wilderness areas as biotic communities that must remain intact in order to preserve their integrity. He authored many publications including his magnum opus, A Sand County Almanac. The final essay in this classic work is entitled “A Land Ethic,” wherein he wrote, “...quit thinking about decent land-use as solely an economic problem. Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and esthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Aldo Leopold died 22 years and one day before our first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. From where I sit in the high country of northern New Mexico, looking out my western window over 10,000 square miles of piñón-juniper grassland verging into ponderosa pine forest, where coyotes serenade each night sky, where bobcats and myriad other wild creatures pass through our little preserve in safety, I think of these four great men—Henry David Thoreau, John Wesley Powell, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold—and I doff my hat to them and silently give profound thanks to their memories for having sewn their perspectives into the commons of human consciousness. Collectively, they provided great insight, each proceeding with the courage of hearty pioneers, thus leaving four powerful buttresses to stabilize a foundation from which the modern environmental movement could proceed. It was from that milieu that Ed Abbey, Gary Snyder, Dave Foreman and many others have taken much of their intellectual and spiritual cues to work as activists on behalf of our planet Earth. May we all take courage to proceed relentlessly and ethically to thwart human legislation, governance and practices that violate the laws of nature by turning habitat into money for the sake of power and growth. Onward, compañeros...! i

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Green Fire Times • April 2014

Author and bioregional aural historian Jack Loeffler is project director and moderator of Thinking Like a Watershed, a series of monthly panel discussions on the preservation of endangered ecosystems, through June, 2014 at the KiMo Theater in Albuquerque. 505.768.3522

Uranium Legacy continued from page 16

subsequent years, Homestake reported that groundwater pollution had, in fact, spread first to the Upper Chinle aquifer, then to the Middle Chinle and Lower Chinle aquifers. Homestake is currently operating a groundwater “pump-andtreat” program, which residents and MASE contend is merely flushing and diluting the pollution with clean water from the San Andrés/Glorieta aquifer. In February, 2012, State Engineer Scott Verhines approved Homestake’s application for 839 supplemental wells into the alluvial and Chinle aquifers, and for five replacement wells in the San Andrés formation “in the event that existing wells fail.” MASE is recommending that the NMED monitor the San Andrés aquifer subcrop, approximately twoand-a-half miles southwest of the Superfund site, for any evidence that its alluvial groundwater contaminant plume has reached the San Andrés. The San Andrés aquifer is the last

remaining clean drinking-water source for residents of Bluewater and Milan villages and the city of Grants. That aquifer is also a primary source of recharge for the Río San José at Acoma, approximately 20 miles downstream of the Superfund site. The state engineer has directed Homestake to use the best technology available to ensure the conservation of water to the maximum extent practicable. The next step in challenging the permit is a hearing open to the public on April 29 that will be held at the Cíbola County Government Building in Grants. There will be no opportunity for public comments, but written comments can be submitted for the record prior to the hearing. For more information, contact MASE at 505.577.8438 or i Laura Watchempino is with the Laguna Acoma Alliance for a Safe Environment. Susan Gordon is with MASE. susangordon@

HOME: Earth Day Community Celebration Saturday April 26, 12 - 4 pm, Railyard Park, Santa Fe Griet Laga

our visions for caring for our home, Earth,” says Amy Christian, Wise Fool NM’s artistic director. “Come dressed in a costume, bring a puppet, sign or instrument, or just show up and help bring to life the giant puppets.” The parade will weave its way through the farmers’ market, attracting locals and visitors alike to Railyard Park.

HOME: Earth Day at the Railyard, on April 26, will be a colorful, village-style community festival in celebration of our interconnectedness with each other and the natural world. More than 30 local groups and community leaders involved in education, restoration, the arts, social and environmental justice and creative community engagement are coming together to create a large-scale event accessible to people of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds. By encouraging yearround stewardship of the Earth, they hope to inspire a deeper sense of place in festival participants.

Young artists from local organizations, including music groups f rom the Academy for Technology and the Classics, 3HC B-Boys and teen artists f rom YouthxYouthFest and Wise Fool NM will provide entertainment throughout the park. There will also be a poetry reading, storytelling and plenty of hands-on activities, as well as demonstrations of sustainable practices that can be implemented at home. Presentations will include goats, chickens and beekeeping (with live animals), water conservation, water harvesting, plastic reduction, adobe building, bicycle repair, solar-oven cooking, repurposing and recycling, children’s toy making, gardening, composting, homemade soap and lotion making, use of biochar and rocket stoves, and more. Local experts, including Amanda Bramble, Mark Chalom and Richard Jennings, will present hour-long workshops.

Wise Fool NM will kick off the festival with a vibrant procession, leaving from the Jean Cocteau Theatre on Montezuma Street at 11:30 am, with music, giant puppets, stilters, costumed characters, banners and boisterous fun. “Everyone is invited to join in this celebratory event that will pump up the visual volume of the voice of our community and express

Winners of the 2014 Sustainable Santa

Earth Day Santa Fe Bike-a-Thon and Southside Celebration—April 26

This Earth Day, you are invited to take action. Join Youth Allies’ Bike-a-Thon from 2:30-3:30 pm starting at Railyard Park, continuing down the river trail and Agua Fría Rd. to the Southside of town, where there will be a celebration from 3:30-5:30 pm at Earth Care/Zona Del Sol, 6601 Jaguar Drive. By participating you will help support one of the first solar projects on the Southside, organized by local youth in Earth Care’s Youth Allies program. Youth Allies leaders won a competition, created by Positive Energy, that will provide a full solar array and its installation for Zona Del Sol, which, in addition to housing Earth Care, is home to other organizations and programs that serve thousands of Southside youth and families. The event is being staged in partnership with New Energy Economy to raise the $5,000 match requirement for the grant. The ride’s theme is climate-change mitigation, alternative transportation and healthy lifestyles for all Santa Feans. “First and foremost, we want to do something about climate change,” said Gerardo Pineda, one the Allies’ lead organizers. “We are also raising the issue of green lifestyle access and changing things up a bit by doing an Earth Day action and community-wide engagement event that’s on the Southside. Residents there should have the same opportunities for alternative transportation, renewable energy and green living as other Santa Feans.” The celebration will include food, music, a ribbon-cutting for the solar system, an art installation and performances. To register, sign up to volunteer, or for more information, call at 505.699.1025 or visit

Fe Awards will showcase their work at information tables. The SSF Awards highlight innovative projects, programs and organizations that have accomplished initiatives that align with the goals of the city’s Sustainable Santa Fe Plan. Midafternoon, a Bike-a-Thon organized by Earthcare Youth Allies’ will depart from the Railyard Park and head to Zona del Sol Youth and Family Center on the Southside, where they will have a solar system ribbon cutting and community celebration. A coalition of local groups will be led by Arts of Nature, Wise Fool NM and Kingston Residence of Santa Fe. Partner organizations are Gaia Gardens, Rivers Run through Us, SeedBroadcast Collective, Railyard Stewards, city of Santa Fe, Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center,Earthcare Youth Allies,Sustainable Santa Fe, Radical Homemakers of NM, YouthxYouthFest, Warehouse 21, Youth Media Project, Story of Place Institute, SF Botanical Gardens, Academy for Technology and Classics Music Program, Farmers’ Market Institute, ARTsmart, Randall Davey Audubon Center, Earth’s Birthday Project, NM Academy of International Studies, Cornerstones, Master Gardeners, Keep Santa Fe Beautiful, Jean Cocteau Theatre, NM Health Equity Partnership, and others.

© Seth Roffman


his place is home. I feel at home.” What does that really mean? Does the sense of home require a particular connection? Do certain smells, tastes, memories, feelings or people bring us closer into this feeling? How about being at home in ourselves? What are the connections between home, Earth and ourselves?

Color Wheel of Fun Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences Kindergarten, first and second grade students discussed how to make the world a more beautiful place through recycling. They collected unused and broken toys, sorted them by color and then worked together attaching them to a recycled spray painted board to fill in colors like a puzzle.

The whole month of April is devoted to Earth Day satellite events that will be held at locations in and around Santa Fe. Visit to see the listings. i Griet Laga is the program director of Arts of Nature, a nonprofit that works to re-establish a balanced interchange with the natural world, both in individuals and communities.

Santa Fe One of Six Spotlight Green US Cities of the Earth Day Network Community Conversation: April 22, 5:30 pm, Southside Library

More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. The Earth Day Network works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. The Green Cities campaign ( is working to recognize outstanding sustainability programs and policies that can be replicated around the world. Santa Fe, NM has been selected by the Earth Day Network as one of six spotlight Green Cities in the US. Over the next two years, Santa Fe will work with the Network to bring together stakeholders in the community, organize dialogues about how to make Santa Fe more sustainable, and implement on-the-ground projects to green the city’s building, energy and transportation infrastructure. “Santa Fe has set its sights on becoming a model green city,” said Franklin Russell, Director of Earth Day at Earth Day Network. “Santa Fe’s commitment to improving its sustainability will improve the quality of life of its citizens, save taxpayer money and energy, and help ensure a healthier future for the city.” “We are thrilled that Santa Fe has been selected,” said Katherine Mortimer, Sustainable Santa Fe Programs Manager. “We work hard to make Santa Fe a model sustainable city and this recognition both validates our work and provides us with technical assistance to do even more.” On April 22, at 5:30 pm at the Southside Library, 6599 Jaguar Drive, community members can learn about the Sustainable Santa Fe Plan and join a conversation to discuss their priorities in the plan’s implementation. The city’s government wants to know how they can support improving the quality of life in the south side.

Green Fire Times • April 2014



Call Skip: 505.471.5177 or Anna: 505.982.0155


Green Fire Times • April 2014

Mining Act

continued from page 13

reclamation in our country. If Freeport McMoRan were to walk away from its New Mexico mines today, it would leave $550 million in financial assurance for cleanup.That figure won’t cover complete reclamation, but it is $550 million more than was available before the Mining Act.

Some of the biggest mines in the US operate in New Mexico.

“This is an extraordinarily insightful law. It seems rare that our legislators think 100 years in the future, but that’s what the people who passed this law did,” says

Roca Honda

Browne. “We should all be extremely grateful that we have the Mining Act because we care about future generations in New Mexico. They’re the main beneficiaries of the act.” i Shelbie Knox is a development officer at the NMELC. For more information on the Mining Act, see a fact sheet at www.nmelc. org. Find out more about environmental issues at New Mexico’s major minesites at www.amigosbravos. org or www.

continued from page 16

Even while our communities struggle with the contamination from the past, uranium companies are aggressively trying to open new mines in New Mexico. One of the projects, the Roca Honda mine, is touted as what would be the largest underground mine in the country. The proposed project is on Mt. Taylor, a mountain sacred to the Native Americans in the area. It is a place of great cultural and spiritual significance. It is central to oral histories and ceremonies and plays a vital role in cosmology and religious practices. Shrines, pilgrimage trails, traditional medicines, and springs are all at risk of being destroyed by the Roca Honda project. Mining on Mt. Taylor not only jeopardizes the spiritual harmony and balance of our communities but also our very sense of self as individuals and communities that are inextricably tied to the mountain. N e a r by c o m m u n i t i e s a r e a l s o very concerned about impacts to groundwater and natural springs. Despite repeated industry promises, uranium mining continues to pollute air and water wherever it occurs. Conventional uranium mines currently operating in Utah have repeatedly been cited and fined for environmental law violations. The Schwartzwalder mine in Colorado, operated as recently as 2000, has left groundwater contaminated with uranium levels 1,000 times higher than EPA’s health-based standards. The mine operator has repeatedly defied orders from state regulatory agencies to clean up its mess. This is the reality of contemporary uranium mining.

Given that uranium mines invariably pollute, promises of jobs and economic development—promises that rely on studies that have been discredited— must be tempered by the reality that tens of millions of gallons of water will be polluted and wasted. Without the facts, communities slated to host uranium mines cannot make informed decisions about short-term, modest economic gains that might come versus long-term losses of drinking water and irrigation sources. The mines’ profits will likely not even be kept in New Mexico or in the United States. The 1872 Mining Act allows foreign companies like Strathmore, from Canada, and its Japanese partner, Sumitomo, to mine public lands without paying any rent or royalties to the American people.

Supporting Local  Business  in  Southern   New  Mexico     221  N.  Main  Street,  Las  Cruces.  575-­‐323-­‐1575      


Once again, our communities are being forced to choose between the health of our families and the environment and economic development and jobs. Our communities deserve sustainable, longterm and healthy economic solutions. We will not support any economic options—like uranium mining—that will sacrifice our health, water, air and our future generations. i Nadine Padilla is a member of the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE). MASE is a nonprofit coalition of organizations from uranium-impacted communities f ighting for cleanup of uranium mining and milling waste and ensuring that no future contamination occurs. www.

Green Fire Times • April 2014


* Foreclosure defense


Green Fire Times • April 2014

NEWSBITEs Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Lobbies NM Congressional Delegation

The Regional Coalition of Los Alamos National Laboratory Communities, a member of the Washington, DC-based Energy Communities Alliance, was formed in 2011, and plays a role in protecting and promoting communities of northern NM. The coalition is comprised of eight cities, counties and pueblos surrounding the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Members of the coalition traveled to Washington D.C. in February to advocate for $255 million in support of environmental remediation at LANL, the minimum amount needed to meet the cleanup agreement negotiated between the NM Environment Department and the US Department of Energy. The coalition met with US Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, Acting Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration Bruce Held, other DOE and NSA staff and key members of Congressional committees. The coalition also discussed its federal legislative priorities, which include engaging local and government officials in all aspects of DOE cleanup, having DOE and NMED identify their cleanup priorities for LANL, and fostering transparent communication between local governments, states, tribes and DOE. The coalition, which successfully helped secure an additional $40 million for cleanup at LANL last year, also supports diversification of LANL’s missions and regional economic development. The coalition’s meetings were overshadowed by a truck fire and radiation release at WIPP, the only site in the US licensed for transuranic nuclear waste. The issues at WIPP underscored the need for local governments and communities to be involved in environmental remediation decision-making at our nation’s nuclear labs.

City Council Resolution Opposes PNM’s Replacement Power Plan

After two public hearings where they heard testimony from public health advocates, doctors, local business owners, teachers and students, and after receiving over 600 letters from the public, on March 26, Santa Fe’s governing body voted unanimously to oppose a proposal by PNM to replace two of the coal-fired units at the San Juan Generating Plant with more coal, nuclear power and natural gas. The city plans to take this position as an intervener in the case pending before the NM Public Regulation Commission. A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 19-29. The City Council’s resolution declares that: “The closure of San Juan Units 2 and 3 presents a critical opportunity to rapidly deploy renewable energy technologies to meet NM’s energy demands.” It also says: “PNM’s replacement power plan fails to meet the City’s CO2 reduction goals, energy efficiency goals, isn’t the lowest cost solution, is not the best environmental outcome, does not provide the best employment opportunities, and doesn’t recognize the external costs to human health.” The resolution also opposes PNM’s request to raise customer rates to recoup the investment it made in the two units it is decommissioning upon formal approval from the EPA and the NM PRC.

2014 Sustainable SF Award Winners and Gala

Santa Fe Mayor Pro Tem Peter Ives and other elected officials will present this year’s Sustainable Santa Fe Awards during “Green Drinks,” the monthly event hosted by the Santa Fe Green Chamber. The free event is open to the public, April 2, 5:30-7 pm at the Eldorado Hotel. The award winners will be on hand to share their projects and answer questions. The partners who have made this awards event possible are the Santa Fe Sustainability Commission and Youth Allies Board, the Green Chamber of Commerce, Green Fire Times and the Eldorado Hotel and Spa. The 2014 Sustainable Santa Fe Awards winners are: · Desert Academy Outdoor / Sustainability Club—Community Outreach · Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute—Environmental Advocacy · Santa Fe Community College Culinary Arts Garden—Food Systems · The Raincatcher for Climate Adaptation—Water · Surroundings Studio for Climate Adaptation—Ecosystem · Consolidated Solar Technologies—Renewable Energy · Aerolenz—Green Building Systems · Solar Logic—Green Economic Development · Santa Fe County—Low Carbon Transportation · Santa Fe Public Schools and EcoVim—Waste Reduction · Global Warming Express—Youth-Led · Reflective Images and Marc Choyt­—Triple-Bottom-Line · US Geological Survey—Innovative Sustainability Research

New Website Provides Cities with Sustainability Tools

The National League of Cities’ (NLC) Sustainable Cities Institute has launched a new website ( to provide information, tools and resources to local governments and professionals who want to develop sustainability in their cities and communities. The website provides a toolkit that features best practices, case studies, model policies and communication tools that can be used to build strong and healthy communities. A number of cities are profiled, providing information about their commitments to sustainability, internal operations and accomplishments. “Cities across America understand the vital importance of incorporating sustainability into everything we do—our transportation systems, new projects and redevelopment, water infrastructure and waste management, to name a few,” said NLC President Chris Coleman, mayor, Saint Paul, Minn. Topics on the website include a variety of subjects and detailed resources for how cities can be sustainable in their operations and projects. Topics include: Land Use & Planning, Water & Green Infrastructure, Buildings & Energy Efficiency, Equity & Engagement, Transportation, Climate Adaptation & Resilience, Materials Management, Urban Agriculture and Food System.

Plastic Bag Ban Instituted in Santa Fe

The city of Santa Fe’s plastic bag ban began to be enforced on March 27. To counter the environmental damage that single-use plastic bags have caused, grocery stores and other retail outlets have stopped providing customers with plastic carryout bags that are less than 2.5 mils thick. Restaurants and nonprofits that serve the needy are exempt. Stores will still be able to provide smaller bags for bulk items such as meat, produce and baked goods. A requirement that retailers charge a 10-cent fee for paper shopping bags has, for now, been dropped. The fee was intended as an incentive for shoppers to get into the habit of bringing their own reusable, washable bags and to reimburse businesses for the higher cost of paper bags. City lawyers claimed the fee was an impermissible tax. Litigation over the issue has arisen in other states, and is pending in Colorado. The city of Santa Fe is distributing free reusable bags. More information is available at:

Great March for Climate Action coming through New Mexico

On March 1, 1,000 climate action activists set out from Los Angeles, Calif. to walk nearly 3,000 miles to Washington, DC. The mobile community of environmentalists and educators is walking to raise awareness and to educate people and legislators about the effects of climate disruption and how to address it. In New Mexico, the approximate route goes through Zuni, Black Rock, Ramah, Grants, Acoma, Laguna, Albuquerque, Río Rancho, Santa Ana Pueblo, Bernalillo, San Felipe Pueblo, Kewa (Santa Domingo) Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, Santa Fe, Tesuque, Pojoaque, Nambé, Picurís Pueblo, Taos, San Cristóbal, Questa and Costilla, beginning in late April through May. To volunteer or join the march, contact:,

NM Voters Support Preserving Public Lands

A according to a recent survey conducted by bipartisan pollsters for Colorado College, about 78 percent of voters polled in New Mexico said they disagree with selling public lands to pay down the federal budget deficit. Another 82 percent said funding shouldn’t be cut for public lands. Sixty-eight percent say they are more likely to support congressional candidates who protect public lands and conservation issues. Similar results occurred in the other states. Last fall’s public lands closures triggered by the federal government shutdown may have influenced the results. Fully 85 percent of Western voters say that the closing of national parks and public lands to visitors and recreation hurt small businesses and the economy of communities in their state. The 2014 Conservation in the West poll was conducted in January of 2,400 voters in six Western states. A total of 400 voters were polled in New Mexico. The statewide margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 4.9 percent, according to the pollsters. Visit to read the full report.

Green Fire Times • April 2014



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Green Fire Times • April 2014

2014 EARTH DAY EVENTs ALBUQUERQUE April 20, 10 am-2 pm BioPark Party for the Planet The Aquarium, Botanic Garden, Tingley Beach and the Zoo

What can you do to protect the planet and its animals and plants? Hands-on activities, discovery stations, talks and demonstrations. Children’s Seed Festival. Activities free with admission. 505.764.6214

April 20, 10 am-3 pm Petroglyph National Monument

Activities including safe solar viewing, live raptor presentation, Wild Wolf Sanctuary and hands-on activities. Free. http://www.

April 21, 10 am-6 pm Celebrate the Earth Festival La Montañita Co-op, 3500 Central SE

Info booths, music, dance, face painting, kids’ activities. Kids’ Bike Rodeo and education. 505.217.2027

April 21, 11 am-1 pm Junkado Parade Silver Ave. beginning at Yale, moving east to Tulane

25 groups and community organizations with kinetic bikes and human-powered sculpture derby. Sculptures and costumes made of recycled materials. 505.217.2027

April 22, 10 am-1 pm ABQ Earth Day Event Hotel Andaluz, 125 2nd St. NW

“Promoting Resource Conservation & Management” with the NM Green Chamber, the Nature Conservancy, city of ABQ, Sierra Club, Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary (who will bring a wolf ), Avian Ambassadors (who will bring raptors), Bosque School, alternative energy companies, and special guests including Congresswoman Michelle Luján Grisham and State Land Commissioner Ray Powell. 505.923.9013,

April 22, 10 am-2 pm 6th Annual Sustainability Expo and Lobo Growers’ Market Cornell Mall east of Student Union, UNM

Food, displays and activities, including an alternative transportation exhibition and bicycle auction.

April 26, 10 am-2 pm Earth Day Celebration ABQ BioPark, 903 10th St. SW

Hands-on activities, keeper talks and demos. Children’s Seed Festival at the Botanic Garden. Adults: $12.50, kids: $4, seniors: $5.50. 505.768.2000,

April 27, 10 am-6 pm Nob Hill Celebrate the Earth Festival La Montañita Co-op Silver & Carlisle

Come get your garden starts, listen to local bands and enjoy craft and food vendors. 505.217.2027,

April 27-28, 10 am-4 pm City of ABQ Open Space Recycled Art Fair Open Space Visitor Center 6500 Coors Blvd. NW

Make and craft projects, kids’ activities, music, food and more. Learn about the Bosque conservation project. 505.897.8831


April 12, 12-4 pm Family Day Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, 108 Cathedral Place

Families are invited to participate in activities that highlight contemporary Native arts. Noon-2 programs are geared toward K-5. Join Nani Chacon and Heidi Brandow in a community mural workshop from 2-3. There will be chalk Street Art Under the Portal and sing-along and storytelling with Shkeme García from 3-4. Free. 888.922.4242

Tour of Biofuels Lab SFCC School of Trades, Technology and Professional Studies April 26, 12-4 pm HOME: Earth Day at the Railyard

April 20, 10 am Earth Day Hike Jémez Historic Site

Strenuous hike over rough terrain up Oak Canyon led by Jémez Rangers. Free. 575.829.3530,

April 21, 1-4 pm Bring Earth Day Home SF Children’s Museum

April 20-28 National Parks Week NM National Parks and Monuments

Inspiration, information and community. Family-friendly demonstrations and hands-on activities of sustainable practices to be implemented at home. Food & music. $2 admission for NM residents. 505.989.8359,

April 22, 10 am-2 pm Earth Day Resource Fair, Tours SF Community College

Community and campus resources. 11:30 am12 pm: Presentation of Bioenergy and tour of Biofuels Lab; 2-3:30 pm: Green Building presentation and tour of Energy Efficiency Lab. 505.428.1000,

April 22, 5:30 pm Earth Day Community Conversation on Sustainability in the Southside Southside Library, 6599 Jaguar Drive

Learn about the Sustainable SF Plan and join a community conversation. This event is supported by Earth Day Network, a national organization seeking to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. SF has been selected to become one of six spotlight Green Cities in the US. See newsbite, page 31.

April 22, 6 pm Earth Day Labyrinth Walk Frenchie’s Park

The Gathering of Waters. A deep examination of our relationship to water. Ritual & ceremony will engage body, mind and spirit. 505.685.1000,


A class on native plant identification, medicinal uses and natural history. $10 suggested donation. Kids free.

SFCC School of Trades, Technology and Professional Studies

April 4-6 Earth Day Symposium Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center, Abiquiú, NM

April 19, 10 am Earth Day Celebration Coronado Historic Site

April 19, 2-4 pm Native Plant Walk Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center, Cerrillos, NM

April 21, 2-2:30 pm SF Community College Tour of Aquaponic and Hydroponic Geodesic Dome Greenhouse


National Parks suspend entry fees.

April 22, 5:30-7 pm “Adventures with Ed” Bradbury Science Museum, 1350 Central, Los Alamos, NM

Railyard Park

Large-scale collaboration of local groups involved in education, conservation, multiarts, environmental and social justice, and creative community engagement. Procession, music, poetry, visual arts, storytelling, performances, community participation. (See story, page 31)

April 26, 2:30-3:30 Ride; 3:30-5:30 Celebration Bike-a-Thon / southside Celebration Railyard Park to Zona del Sol

Jack Loeffler will give a talk about his good friend, author Edward Abbey. Presented by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center and the NM Humanities Council. 505.662.0460, Programs@

April 22, 9 pm (check local lisings) American Masters: A Fierce Green Fire PBS-TV The battle for a living planet. National premiere.

Support one of the first solar projects on the Southside, organized and led by local youth. The ride’s theme is climate-change mitigation, alternative transportation and healthy lifestyles. Upon arrival there will be a ribbon cutting for the solar system, performances and art installation. See newsbite, page 31. Registration/information: 505.699.1025,

April 26, 1-4 pm Wild-Harvested Fermented Foods OCHO, Questa, NM

Delicious and informative workshop taught by educator/herbalist Cathy Hope of Iris Herbal. Pricing, reservations and directions: 575 586.1802,

April 27, 9 am-5 pm Community Day/Earth Day SF Botanical Garden, 715 Cam. Lejo

Origami making. Free to NM residents/students. 505.471.9103,

Celebrate 15 years of “Earth Prayer for World Peace.” 505.954.4495, earthprayers@

April 23, 12-1 pm Free Money – Simple, Sustainable Tips for your Life SFCC Jémez Rooms 505.428.1000,

April 26, 9 am-5 pm Solar Fiesta 2014 SF Community College

Exhibits, demonstrations, tours, films, workshops. Free. 505.246.2400,,

April 26, 11:30-12 pm and 1-1:30 pm Bioenergy Presentation and

Green Fire Times • April 2014


What's Going On! Events / Announcements Earth Day Events: See page 37 April 9-10 Shared Knowledge Conference UNM Student Union Building, 3rd Floor

ALBUQUERQUE April 2, 5:30-7:30 pm Green Drinks Hotel Andaluz, 125 2nd St.

Network and mingle with people interested in local business, clean energy and other green issues. Featured speaker: Will Lana, CFA, on Sustainable Investing. 505.244.3700, Lindsay@

April 3, 10:30 am-2 pm NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council Meeting NMSU Campus, 4501 Indian School NE

Discussion of legislative session outcomes, innovative legislation in other states connecting food, farming and health initiatives, local food policy councils’ work around the state. RSVP: 505.660.8403

April 3-4 NM Solar Companies Meet German Solar Delegation UNM Science Park Rotunda Room 801 University SE

Discussion sessions and opportunities for NM solar companies to meet reps from 8 German solar companies and the NM Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Dept., NM Economic Development Dept. Intl. Trade Div., NM Partnership, NMPRC, Sandia Natl. Labs, PNM, the city of ABQ and ABQ Economic Development Dept. 505.239.0008, honoraryconsul@

April 3, 5:30-8 pm USGBCNM 12th Anniversary Party Goodmans Interior Structures 2860 Pan American Freeway NE

The US Green Building Council New Mexico supports the responsible evolution of a sustainable environment with education, advocacy and community engagement; and through verifiable, documentable results. $10/$5., 505.203.2323,

April 6, 9-11 am Guided Hike through Cottonwood Forest Open Space Visitor Center 6500 Coors NW

Free. Reservations recommended. 505.897.8831,

April 7-9 10th International Conference on Concentrator Photovoltaic Systems Hyatt Regency Albuquerque

An opportunity for suppliers of components and services to the PV and CPV industry to connect with experts and potential customers from all over the world; 400 people from more than 25 countries, including many corporate executives from global companies are expected to participate. Host committee: CFV Solar Test Laboratory, Fraunhofer USA, Sandia National Laboratories.


Regional event planned and hosted by students and partners of UNM. Presentations on a range of topics. Students from a variety of academic institutions and disciplines will share their scholarship, gain access to new ideas and develop professional leadership skills. Free.

April 11-12 Water Harvesting Catchments for Wildlife 4/11, 5:30-8 pm: James McGrane Jr. Public Safety Complex 48 Public School Rd., Tijeras, NM 4/12, 8 am-2 pm: Sabino Canyon Open Space, 34 Forest Rd. 252, Tijeras, NM

Landowners can attend a free training on constructing water catchments for wildlife. Participants will qualify to apply for funding to install a catchment on their own East Mountain property. 505.314.0398, www.

April 15-16, 8:30 am-5 pm Town Hall on Water Planning, Development and Use Marriott Pyramid North 5151 San Francisco Rd. NE

People from around NM including former State Engineer John D’Antonio will create a concrete, actionable platform of water policy recommendations. Key issues: Meaningful long-range and crisis water planning, NM’s aging water infrastructure, Conservation and reuse, Water development including desalination. Convened by NM First, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy organization. 505.241.4817,,

April 19, 26, May 3, 9 am-4 pm Renewable Energy Development Course UNM Anderson School of Management, 1924 Las Lomas NE

This course for owners or employees of for-profit small businesses will introduce key concepts of wind and solar energy. Attendees will learn to utilize and effectively communicate technical information to developers, state agencies and other market players. Presented by LANL, NMRETA, NM Small Business Assistance Program, UNM and the NM Green Chamber of Commerce. 505.667.4391, 505.667.1719,

May 3, 10 am-3 pm RAICES Community Education of Traditional Medicine Raymond G. Sánchez Community Center

Learn about medicinal plants and their uses. Remembering Ancestors Inspiring Culture Establishing Self. Free. 505.375.0155,

May 3, 1-3:30 pm: Opening El Agua es Vida: Acequias in Northern NM Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, UNM

Based on NSF-funded research by scientists and scholars across several disciplines and institutions, including UNM, NMSU, NM Tech and the NM Acequia Association, this exhibit will tell the story of how acequias operate as part of whole watershed systems, how and why they persist, as well as the challenges they face today. 505.995.9644, quita@

Green Fire Times • April 2014

May 4, 1-4 pm Opening SW Herbalism & Curanderismo: Healing and Ritual Exhibition Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, UNM

Traditional and contemporary Southwest herbalism will be explored at the 5th annual Food and Life series, featuring herbalist Dr. Tomás Enos, permaculturalist/chef Trish Cyman, Sophia Rose of La Abeja Herbs and curandera Tonita Gonzales. 505.277.1400,

May 10-Aug. 9 (Saturdays) 9:30 am-3 pm Certified Beekeepers Program Open Space Visitors Center

Learn backyard beekeeping in the context of responsible urban farming. Supervised, hands-on lessons using top-bar and Langstroth honeybee hives. Includes handbook. Offered through the NM Beekeepers Assn. in cooperation with the city of Albuquerque. $250. Application: http://www.nmbeekeepers. org, Info: 505.281.9888,

Oct. 15-19 National Wilderness Conference Hyatt Regency ABQ, ABQ Convention Center, Civic Plaza

Presentations, panels, exhibits, field trips and skill development workshops focusing on recent advances and emerging issues in wilderness stewardship, culminating in the public Wilderness50 ‘Get Wild’ Festival. The companion Wilderness Celebration Exhibition will showcase organizational booths for grade- and middle-school students. Conference registration: $350/$200. Scholarships.

Daily Degrees of Change: NM’s Climate Forecast NM Museum of Natural History & Science, 1801 Mountain Rd. NW

With a focus on NM and the SW, this exhibit reveals current and predicted impacts on humans, landscapes and ecosystems. Tickets: $7, $6, $4. Info: 505.841.2800,

April 2, 6-8:30, Weds. Through May 21 Business Development Series

Thinking of starting a business? Learn business basics to avoid costly time and money mistakes. Ongoing bonus sessions offered upon course completion. $159. Presented by WESST. 505.474.6556, rperea@wesst.ofg

April 4-5, 10-am-5 pm Santa Fe Home Show SF Convention Center

Innovative solutions for better living. Remodelers’ showcase, SFCC Design Competition. Tickets: $5. 505.982.1774, santafe

April 4, 5:30-7:30 pm April 5, 9:30 am-3:30 pm Storyshards

“Sustainability: It’s an Inside Job.” Artvideo with Lisl Dennis related to women’s personal sustainability. $75 includes lunch. 505.986.1106,

April 4, 7 pm Nuestra Música The Lensic

Songs, stories and a short film screening celebrating NM’s diverse musical heritage. Los Hermanos Martínez, Cipriano Vigil y la Familia, David F. García, Roberto Mondragón, El Trio Jalapeño, others. $10/seniors free. 505.988.1234,

April 4-6, 11-13 When the Stars Trembled in Río Puerco Teatro Paraguas Studio

Teatro Paraguas and Recuerdos Vivos NM present an oral history play from Nasario García’s writings. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 4 pm. $15/$12. Reservations: 505.424.1601 or recuerdosvivosnm@,

April 5, 12, 19, 12-4 pm Community Puppet and Street Art Creation Wise Fool Studio


Artistic creations to be used during the procession and Community Pageant on 4/26. Open to all ages. 505.992.2588, www.wise

250-hour program. Registration: 505.820 .6321,

April 6, 11 am-2 pm Community Homestead Day Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center, Cerrillos, NM

April 1 Program Begins Herbal Medicine Intensive Milagro School of Herbal Medicine April 2, 5:30-7 pm Sustainable Santa Fe Awards Green Drinks Eldorado Hotel

Celebrates community leadership in building a greener, more resilient SF. Light refreshments. Presented by the SF Green Chamber of Commerce and the city of Santa Fe. Free. 505.955.2262

April 2, 5:30-7:30 pm Feeding Frenzy Screening and Panel SF Community College Jémez Rooms

SF Community Foundation community discussion on food industry marketing and the created health crisis with Andrea Quijada, Dr. Sut Jhally, Tomás Rivera and Deborah Tuck. 505.988.91715,

Earth building and solar cooking for people of all ages. Free.

April 6 Family Wilderness Adventure

An afternoon filled with learning and play for all ages: short hike, nature awareness, short workshops on wilderness skills. www.

April 10, 10 am-4 pm 11th Annual Business Expo and Job Fair DeVargas Mall, 500 N. Guadalupe

Showcasing the region’s business. Presented by the SF Chamber of Commerce. 505.988.3279,,

April 11, 10 am-12 pm Intro to the National Economic Development Summit Eldorado Hotel Sunset Room

The annual summit will take place in SF in the fall. On 4/11 a brainstorming session will be held to introduce the summit and economic development resources from around the country that come with it. An action plan will be created to benefit the UEDA and NM. Registration: Rally.UEDAAnnualSummit. org. Presented by University Economic Dev. Assn. and Regional Development Corp.

April 12 Acequia Cleaning Randall Davey Audubon Center end of Upper Canyon Road

Volunteers wanted. 505.983.4609, ext. 30,, http://nm.audubon. org/volunteer-2

April 12, 5:30-10:30 pm Santa Fe Girls’ School Benefit Dinner/Auction Inn and Spa at Loretto, 211 Old SF Tr.

“River Voices” will feature silent and live auctions including ecological items, trips and backyard garden packages. Live music and family-style dinner by Chef Bret Sparman of Luminaria. Tickets: $75. Benefits outdoor classroom and river restoration program. 505.820.3188,

April 13, 2-5 pm Watershed Restoration Project Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center, Cerrillos, NM

Education on erosion control structures made with rock. 5 pm on: music & potluck. Free.

April 16: Registration Deadline Qualified Water-Efficient Landscaper Training

QWEL training/certification gives landscape professionals up-to-date knowledge in sustainable landscape practices, including design, maintenance and operation of “smart” irrigation systems. Class dates: 4/23, 24, 29, 30. Exam: 5/1. $75. 505.955.4225,, http://www.

April 19, 1-2 pm Home Water Auditing Workshop Railyard Stewards Office 805 Early St., Ste. 204B

A discussion of water usage in homes and businesses presented by Railyard Stewards and the city of SF. Learn to save money and find common leaks in your water system. Free. RSVP: 505.316.3596,

April 20-May 18 (Sundays) Beginning Beekeeping Plants of the Southwest

5-week course taught by Melanie Kirby and Mark Spitzig of Zia Queenbees. Over 20 hours of class and field instruction. $450 includes starter bee colony.

April 24-27 Spiritual Directors International Conference Santa Fe Convention Center

The theme: “Emerging Wisdom.” Contemplative leaders from around the world, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, Eve Ilsen, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and many others come together to teach and learn from

each other. Free community event on 4/24, 7-9 pm. Info/Registration: 425.455.1565,

and hydrologic conditions in the Española Basin. $20. Registration: ebtag/workshop/registration/home.cfml

April 26, 9 am-5 pm Solar Fiesta 2014 SF Community College

May 15-18 Soul Renewal Wilderness Retreats SF National Forest Lands

Exhibits, demonstrations, tours, films, workshops. Free. 505.246.2400,,

April 30, 9 am-12 pm Santa Fe Forest Plan Technical Workshop SF Natl. Forest Office, 11 Forest Ln.

Presentation by SFNF about the Forest Plan Revision and assessment for agencies, groups or individuals who have specific info to contribute. Pre-registration requested: 505.438.5442, SantaFeForestPlan@fs.fed. us,

April 30, 7 pm GMO OMG Film Screening SF Farmers’ Market Pavillion

Presented by the SF Farmers’ Market Institute. $12/$10/under 18 free. 505.983.7726,

May 1, 10 am-5 pm Celebrate SF Tourism Expo SF Convention Center

Showcases businesses and organizations that bring visitors to SF. Presented by the SF Chamber of Commerce and the SF Convention and Visitors Bureau.

May 1-4 Santa Fe Film Festival Hotel SF, Jean Cocteau Cinema, CCA

A celebration of the best in cinematic arts. Over 60 films, panels, juried awards, workshops and parties. Producers and filmmakers will be in attendance. Line-up of films and details:

May 2, 1-2 pm Tree Planting Workshop Railyard Park Community Room

Free. RSVP: 505.316.3596,

May 9-11 Seeding the Dream Retreat Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center, Cerrillos, NM

Living close to the earth, reading the land, building with earth, cooking with the sun, gardening, collaborative art, vocal work with Madi Sato, Qigong. $275. 505.780.0535,, ampersand

May 9, 6-11 pm FantaSe Dome Fest DeVargas Park

Multimedia interactive light festival featuring 4 geodesic domes, art projections and bands. Second annual public collaborative community event. Presented by Creative Santa Fe, NM Arts and a variety of partners.

May 10, 9am-12:30 pm Build a Rain Barrel La Tienda at Eldorado, 7 Caliente Rd.

Workshop taught by Doug Pushard. Free. Registration: 512.698.8763,

May 13 13th Annual Española Basin Technical Advisory Group Workshop SF Community College Jémez Rooms

Workshop for technical people from government and academic organizations. An overview of the geologic, hydrogeologic, geochemical

Time for you! Unplug so you can plug into nature as a teacher and nurturer. Tools and skills for living a more beautiful world into being. Hosted by and Larry Glover, permitted with the USFS since 1989. 505.690.5939,

May 17, 8 am-4 pm Santa Fe Green Festival El Museo Cultural

In conjunction with the SF Farmers’ Market, festival goers can experience businesses and organizations exhibiting renewable energy technologies, electric vehicles, organic food, water harvesting, interactive exhibits for kids and much more. 505.428.9123, glenn@

First Saturday of Each Month, 10 am-12 pm SF Citizens’ Climate Lobby Natural Grocers, Community Room 3328 Cerrillos Road

“Creating political will for a livable world.”

Santa Fe Recycling

Make 2014 the year to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can. City residential curbside customers can recycle at no additional cost and drop by 1142 Siler Road, Building A to pick up free recycling bins. At least 50 percent of curbside residential customers recycle now. Let’s take that number to 100 percent. For more information, visit trash_and_recycling or call 505.955.2200 (city); 505.992.3010 (county); 505.424.1850 (SF Solid Waste Management Agency).


April 5, 3-6 pm Río Grande del Norte National Monument Designation Anniversary Party Taos Mesa Brewing 20 ABC Mesa Rd., El Prado, NM Honoring local folks, learning more about the National Monument and celebrating with friends. Info: 575.770.2991, erin@

April 4-27, 10 am-5 pm Santeros and Traditional New Mexico Arts Show Tomé Art Gallery, 2930 Hwy. 47 Los Lunas, NM

4/13, 2-4 pm reception. 505.565.0556, www.

April 14-17 2nd Annual Native Food Sovereignty Summit Green Bay, Wisconsin

Collaboration for sustainability. Presented by the Oneida Nation, First Nations Development Institute, Intertribal Agriculture Council and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

April 15-18 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Austin, Texas

“Powering Up” Three days of inspiring field trips, workshops, speakers and networking.

April 18-19 Santo Niño Festival of the Artists Northern NM Regional Art Center Española Plaza, Española, NM

Benefit performances. 4/18: Opening reception in the Convento Gallery with a free showing of a film about the arts to follow in the Misión. 4/19: artists’ booths, food, dance and music on the Plaza. 2 pm ticketed performance of Española High School Children’s Choir. 505.500.7126,

April 25-27 Ecological Restoration Volunteer Project El Malpaís National Conservation Area near Grants, NM

Join the ABQ Wildlife Federation for a weekend at Cebolla Canyon working with riparian restoration expert Bill Zeedyk to hand-build structures and plant native vegetation to restore a wetland area as part of a comprehensive ecosystem restoration effort. rioscial@,

April 26, 10 am-3 pm Stream Team Tree Planting Jémez Mountains

Renew habitat for species. $10. Organized by Wild Earth Guardians. RSVP: 505.988.9126, ext. 0 or cnickel@wildearth,

April 25-27 Health & Wellness Retreat El Monte Sagrado Resort/Spa

Author/surgeon/speaker Dr. Christine Horner is featured as part of this retreat to revitalize the body, mind and spirit. $1,295. 850.668.2222,,

May 10 Start (Saturdays) Charm School for Beekeepers El Prado, north side of Taos

Workshops for enhancing one’s apiary management.


April 4-6 A Gathering of Waters: Human Relationship with Water Ghost Ranch, Abiquiú, NM

Symposium with Steve Harris, Basia Irland, David Groenfeldt, Max Yeh, José Rivera and others. Medicine water wheel dedication with Flordemayo. 877.804.4678, www.

May 6 Give Grande New Mexico

A 24-hour effort led by a coalition of community foundations to raise money for nonprofits across the state. To sign up your nonprofit or get information, email info@givegrandenm. org or visit

May 16-18 Ecological Restoration Volunteer Project Zuni Mountains near Gallup, NM

Join the ABQ Wildlife Federation for a weekend partnering with the US Forest Service to build rock structures designed to protect and restore critical habitat for the endangered Zuni Bluehead Sucker. rioscial@,

May 31 Spring Open House Arboretum Tomé, Los Lunas, NM

Talks in the morning, live music in the afternoon. 505.866.7645, http://treesthatplease. org/arboretum-tome/

Green Fire Times • April 2014



Green Fire Times • April 2014

April 2014 Green Fire Times  

Featuring: Fighting Goliaths in the Land of Enchantment: The New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Snapshots from Around New Mexico: Hot Env...

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