Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
AIR FORCE CONTAMINATION-FARMERS
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Dairy farmers can seek reimbursement from the federal government for cows contaminated by chemicals that have leached into the groundwater around an Air Force base in eastern New Mexico. U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján on Friday commended a recent rule change by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that created a pathway for farmers to receive payments through the Dairy Indemnity Payment Program. Previously, farmers were able to get payments for lost milk production but not for cows. The Air Force is installing monitoring wells to determine the extent of so-called forever chemicals known as PFAS in groundwater in and around Cannon Air Force Base.
- States with some of the nation's strictest abortion laws are also some of the hardest places to have and raise a healthy child, especially for the poor. An analysis of federal data by The Associated Press raises questions about the strength of the social safety net as up to half the states are poised to ban or greatly restrict access to abortion following an expected U.S. Supreme Court decision later this year. The burden is likely to fall heaviest on those with low incomes, who also are the least able to seek an abortion in other states where the procedure remains widely available.
NEW MEXICO COMPOUND
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A second defendant is invoking the right to a speedy trial in the 2018 raid on a squalid family compound in northern New Mexico that uncovered the remains of a 3-year-old boy and led to charges of kidnapping, firearms and terrorism charges. Defense attorneys confirmed the court filing Thursday. Subhanah Wahhaj, who denies the charges against her, this week notified federal prosecutors and a judge in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque of her right to a trial within a reasonable amount of time after arrest. The father of the deceased boy also has protested trial delays that are linked to mental competency evaluations of other defendants.
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say officers fatally shot a carjacking suspect who had fired at least one shot at officers. Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said no officers were injured in the incident that occurred Wednesday evening after police spotted and followed a vehicle stolen from a man. Gallegos said multiple officers returned fire when the suspect shot at police after getting out of the car and running down a path while being pursued by officers. The officers involved in the shooting were placed on leave pending an investigation.
EAGLES KILLED-WIND TURBINES
- BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A subsidiary of one of the largest U.S. wind energy companies has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay over $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles were killed at its wind farms in eight states. NextEra Energy subsidiary ESI Energy pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Cheyenne, Wyoming, court to three misdemeanor counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Prosecutors say the company was warned its wind farms would kill birds but proceeded without a required permit. They say the company also ignored advice on minimizing the deaths. NextEra President Rebecca Kujawa says collisions of birds with wind turbines are unavoidable. It's illegal to harm eagles under federal law.
- WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has acquitted a New Mexico man of charges that he illegally entered the U.S. Capitol riot and engaged in disorderly conduct after walking into the building during last year's riot. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden issued the verdict from the bench Wednesday after hearing testimony without a jury in the case against Matthew Martin. McFadden acquitted Martin of all four counts for which he was charged. Martin is the third Capitol riot defendant whose case has been resolved by a trial. He is the first of the three to be acquitted of all charges that he faced.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS-RECORDS LAWSUIT
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A watchdog group is suing the National Nuclear Security Administration over its failure to release public records related to the U.S. government's plans to manufacture key components for the nation's nuclear arsenal. The complaint filed Wednesday in federal court covers more than a dozen records requests made since 2017 by the Los Alamos Study Group. The nonprofit is seeking transparency about one the largest warhead-related programs since the end of the Cold War. The group believes money is being wasted. The National Nuclear Security Administration did not immediately respond to questions about the complaint or the records requests.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
- WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has loosened coronavirus pandemic restrictions to allow more people into businesses and to gather socially and for outdoor events. The tribe has been more cautious in reopening than the states that surround it. Residents and visitors on the Navajo Nation are still required to wear a mask when in public. Tribal President Jonathan Nez says the new guidelines for businesses, schools and gatherings are based on a consistent decline in daily coronavirus cases since a large spike in January after the holidays. Businesses, including the tribe's four casinos, now can operate at 75% capacity, up from 50%.