Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is easing its self-quarantine requirements for some interstate travelers in advance of the Labor Day holiday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday that the state will waive quarantine restrictions on travel from more than a dozen states. The 14-day self-quarantine requirement still will apply to people returning or arriving from "high-risk" states based on coronavirus positivity rates and and per-capita infections such as Texas, Arizona, Utah and California. All out-of-state travelers still are encouraged to self-isolate and undergo testing for COVID-19 within five to seven days of arrival in New Mexico.
- SELF-DRIVING TRUCKS-TEST CENTER
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Daimler Trucks and allied vehicle software company Torc Robotics are expanding their testing of self-driving trucks to public roads in New Mexico along major long-haul freight routes. The companies have established a new testing center in Albuquerque, as they begin automated runs for 18-wheel vehicles with autonomous diving technology on Southwest highways — supported by a human driver and a safety conductor. Daimler's Autonomous Technology Group has taken aim at commercializing self-driving trucks within a decade, and the new testing location complements ongoing research on roadways in Virginia with milder weather and fewer steep hills.
- NUCLEAR WEAPONS-LOS ALAMOS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The National Nuclear Security Administration says it doesn't need to do an additional environmental review for Los Alamos National Laboratory before it begins producing key components for the nation's nuclear arsenal. The agency says it already has sufficient information. Watchdog groups are concerned about Tuesday's announcement, saying the plutonium pit production work will amount to a vast expansion of the lab's nuclear mission and that more analysis should be done. The government has set a deadline to produce 80 plutonium pits per year by 2030. The work will be shared between Los Alamos and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
- STATE LAND-HUNTING ACCESS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico land and wildlife managers say they have finished work that will result in more access to state trust land for licensed hunters. The Land Office and the Game and Fish Department made the announcement in time for the start of the deer and elk hunting season, which kicked off this week. The Game and Fish Department paid the State Land Office $800,000 for an easement that allows access to 8.8 million acres of trust land. The agreement also included $200,000 worth of projects that ranged from installing signs to road work and construction of a new campsite on Chupadera Mesa in Socorro County.
- SPACEPORT AMERICA-INVESTIGATION
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The interim leader of Spaceport America says an investigation into the conduct of the organization's chief executive officer is ongoing and that initial findings are expected in the coming weeks. Scott McLaughlin testified Wednesday before a New Mexico legislative panel, saying the recent shakeup stemming from a whistleblower complaint filed in June has left the spaceport in a difficult situation. Dan Hicks was placed on administrative leave after being accused of circumventing internal financial controls and accounting procedures. State auditors are reviewing the spaceport's finances, and McLaughlin said all capital projects also are being assessed because of the open investigation.
- FOOD TAX-NEW MEXICO
SANTA, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico state taxation authorities on Wednesday urged grocery stores to stop unnecessarily collecting sales taxes on groceries that are delivered during the coronavirus pandemic. The state remained under a stay-at-home order Thursday that discourages unnecessary outings and public gatherings. At the same time, online shoppers have discovered gross receipts tax charges on home-delivered groceries that are tax free when purchased in stores, undercutting the incentive to stay home. The Taxation and Revenue Department published a guidance memo that outlines exact circumstances for waiving taxes on food. State law provides for a tax deduction for sales at retail food establishments.
- DRONE ACCIDENT-NEW MEXICO
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. military says an Air Force attack drone was damaged Wednesday when it went off a runway during takeoff at Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico. Base officials said in a statement that the remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper assigned to the 49th Wing was the only aircraft involved. The statement said a board of Air Force officers will investigate the accident to determine the cause. The base is 79 miles north of El Paso, Texas.
- AIR POLLUTION-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico environmental regulators have issued citations against natural gas processing plants on allegations they vastly exceeded permitted air pollution limits while burning off excess natural gas. The New Mexico Environment Department on Tuesday announced compliance orders against plant operators DCP Operating Company and Energy Transfer Partners with potential fines in excess of $7 million. The agency said the excess pollutants may contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and other hazardous air-quality conditions.