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June 30, 2017

 
On Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft revision to its Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, which guides plans to remove the wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act.
 
Under the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez, New Mexico has opposed wolf reintroductions, and in 2011, the Game Commission ended the state’s participation in the program. The commission also voted to stop the federal government from releasing any new captive-raised wolves in the state and sued. A federal judge then blocked any new releases.
 
The Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan is available for public comment until August 29, and there will be four public meetings this summer in New Mexico and Arizona:
 
-July 18, 6-9 p.m. Northern Arizona University, Prochnow Auditorium, South Knowles Drive, Flagstaff, AZ
-July 19, 6-9 p.m.. Hon-Dah Resort, Casino Banquet Hall, 777 AZ–260, Pinetop, AZ
-July 20, 6-9 p.m. Ralph Edwards Auditorium, Civic Center, 400 West Fourth, Truth or Consequences, NM
-July 22, 2-5 p.m. Crowne Plaza Albuquerque, 1901 University Boulevard NE,
Albuquerque, NM
 
 
 
This week the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. It found a number of impacts for older Americans. Those changes could be felt particularly hard in New Mexico.
 
With an aging population, advocates and policy analysts say New Mexico could face significant challenges if the health care bill passes the Senate.
 
"There is a greying of America, but there’s a disproportionate greying of New Mexico," said DeAnza Valencia with the New Mexico chapter of the American Association of Retired People. "That makes us even more at risk for changes that will hurt people over 50 with this bill. We are really bracing for impact should this bill become law." -- 6/28/2017

June 20, 2017

Clean air shelter opened due to Bonita Fire smoke -- KOB

Forest Service officials said that Rio Arriba County will open a clean air shelter Tuesday because of continued smoke impacts from the Bonita Fire.

 The shelter will be set up at the Rural Events Center, on Highway 554 one-half mile north of its junction with Highway 84.  The shelter will be staffed by the American Red Cross and will be open 24 hours a day, starting at 7 p.m.  Beds will be provided for people who want to stay overnight.  For more information call the Rio Arriba County Emergency Management Office at 505-747-1941.  After hours, call the Española/Rio Arriba Regional Communications Center, 505-753-5555. -- 6/20/2017

June 15, 2017

Fire Restrictions implemented on three Cibola Forest districts -- KOB

The U.S. Forest Service is implementing Stage I fire restrictions on three New Mexico districts in the Cibola Forest, officials said Thursday.

Officials said record warm temperatures and exceptionally dry fuel moisture levels are expected to increase the fire danger level significantly this week, causing  Stage I fire restrictions to be implemented in parts of the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands.

The fire restrictions will be effective on the following dates:

  • Mt. Taylor Ranger District – June 16, 2017
  • Mountainair Ranger District – June 15, 2017
  • Sandia Ranger District – June 23, 2017

 

Feds put brakes on methane regulation -- Santa Fe New Mexican

The Trump administration has dealt its largest blow yet to Obama-era oil and gas drilling regulations, announcing one rule requiring operators to curb methane pollution won’t take effect until at least 2019 and that another methane rule is being suspended indefinitely.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Land Management, published notice Wednesday that a methane rule for drilling on federal and tribal land will be put on hold until litigation challenging the regulation has been resolved in court.

The notice came less than 24 hours after the Environmental Protection Agency announced that its implementation of a methane rule for operators on private land will be stayed for two years to give the agency time to reconsider the regulation and solicit additional public comment. The EPA had issued a 90-day hold in June.

June 14, 2017

‘An Attack on One Monument Is an Attack on Them All’ -- The Daily Yonder

Native Americans, hunting groups, Utah Republicans, and others respond to a Trump Administration recommendation that the U.S. remove protections from parts of Bears Ears National Historic Monument. Utah Senator Orin Hatch calls the proposal a “balanced” approach, while a Native American conservation group calls the recommendation “an illegal move to turn back the clock 100 years on tribal relations and Utah’s economy.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Department of Interior report that was released yesterday contains an historic rollback of a previously designated National Monument. This reversal of public land policy is the first in a series of reviews and “recommendations” to be issued on 27 monuments created by presidential authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The review process affects 11.3 million acres of public land, all located in rural communities, and 218 million acres of publicly owned marine waterways. Secretary Zinke’s decision has prompted a series of press releases, position statements, and announcements related to the Trump Administration’s approach to managing public land resources. Selected responses, both pro and con, are included below. More detailed information regarding the National Monument review process is available from the Department of Interior. Specific information related to the Bears Ear Proposal is available from the Washington Post.-- 6/13/2017

 

Communities Take the Search for Broadband Into Their Own Hands -- The Daily Yonder

More and more small communities are coming together to explore ways to access high-speed broadband, even if that means changing some existing laws.  -- 6/12/2017

 

 

 

 

June 13, 2017

Analysis: Tax overhaul would slash revenue -- Albuquerque Journal

A new analysis of a proposal to reshape New Mexico’s tax code suggests bill – as written – would have cost the state $30 million to $44 million in basic operating revenue next year.

But a few wording fixes could have brought the proposal much closer to breaking even, with just $3 million to $16 million in lost revenue, according to a new legislative report. -- 6/13/2017

 

Zinke Recommends Reducing Bears Ears National Monument -- Outside Magazine

On Monday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended that President Trump reduce the size of the controversial Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah, which Barack Obama created in December during the final days of his presidency. If Trump acts on the recommendation, the move to reduce the monument will almost certainly end up in court.

According to a memorandum released June 12, Secretary Zinke’s review “shows that rather than designating an area encompassing almost 1.5 million acres as a national monument, it would have been more appropriate to identify and separate the areas that have significant objects to be protected to meet the purposes of the Act, including that the area reserved be limited to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects.” -- 6/13/2017

June 6, 2017

Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election -- The Intercept

Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept.

The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light. -- 6/5/2017

 

Trump Backs Air Traffic Control Privatization -- The New York Times

President Trump endorsed a proposal on Monday to privatize air traffic control, seizing on a decades-old idea as proof that he is advancing the ambitious infrastructure rebuilding plan he promised during his campaign but is still months from delivering.

At an East Room event that was choreographed like the elaborate ceremonies for enacting major legislation, Mr. Trump signed a memo and letter to Congress outlining his principles for overhauling the nation’s air traffic control system. He handed out pens to lawmakers who had been invited to attend, and reveled in several rounds of applause. -- 6/5/2017

 

May 30, 2017

NMSU research reveals best mosquito repellentsLas Cruces Sun News

Just as the first mosquitoes of the season are making an appearance, New Mexico State University researchers are sharing results of six months of testing on 11 different mosquito repellent products.

The New Mexico Department of Health announced on May 17 that the yellow fever mosquitoes already have been identified in Doña Ana County. Last summer, this type of mosquito, which can carry Zika and other viruses, was found in Doña Ana, Eddy, Sierra, Lea, Chaves and Roosevelt counties. - - 05/30/2017

 

Martinez signs bill restoring university funds, vetoes taxes- Las Cruces Sun News

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on Friday vetoed a string of tax increases proposed by the Democratic-led Legislature and also signed legislation that restores funding to all state colleges and universities.

The spending bill reinstates $745 million in general fund dollars to institutions of higher education including university hospitals, medical research facilities, agricultural programs and schools for the blind and deaf.

The bill also restores funding for the upcoming fiscal year for the Legislature that the two-term Republican governor had vetoed earlier amid a standoff with lawmakers over how to resolve the state’s budget crisis. -- 05/30/2017