Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
- MINE SPILL-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico and the U.S. government have reached a $32 million settlement to address claims stemming from a 2015 mine spill that polluted rivers in three western states. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other state officials announced the agreement Thursday. The spill released 3 million gallons of wastewater from the inactive Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado. The bright-yellow plume of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals flowed south to New Mexico, the Navajo Nation and Utah. Water utilities were forced to shut down intake valves and farmers stopped drawing from the rivers as the plume moved downstream. Colorado and the tribe also have reached multimillion-dollar settlements.
- NEW MEXICO ELECTION-DOMINION
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's top prosecutor is calling on a Republican-led county commission to comply with an order to certify the results of the state's primary election. It's the latest development in a case arising from far-right conspiracy theories over voting machines that have spread across the country. A spokesperson for Attorney General Hector Balderas said Thursday that the Otero County commission "must comply with the rule of law or we will take legal action." The governing commission in Otero County refused to certify the local results of the state's June 7 primary because of unspecified concerns over the equipment, even though it has identified no problems with the Dominion systems used by the county.
- TEEN KILLS FAMILY-LIFE PRISON TERM UPHELD
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has upheld the life prison sentence of a man who was convicted of fatally shot his parents and three younger siblings when he was a teenager. In a dispositional order Thursday, the state's high court rejected arguments by Nehemiah Griego that his sentence was unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment because it denied him an opportunity for treatment and rehabilitation. Griego was 15 at the time of the 2013 killings at his family's home in Albuquerque. He was convicted of intentional child abuse resulting in death and two concurrent seven-year sentences for second-degree murder for his parent's deaths. Griego was sentenced to three concurrent life sentences with the possibility of parole after serving 30 years.
- WESTERN WILDFIRES
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Crews battling a pair of wildfires in northern Arizona were expecting some growth Thursday because of warm, dry and breezy weather. Both blazes were moving through grass, brush and pine trees on the northern outskirts of Flagstaff. The larger fire has burned more than 38 square miles and was 27% contained Thursday. A smaller fire is burning in the same region. The forecast calls for chances of showers and thunderstorms starting Friday and through the weekend, which could help suppress the wildfires. Flooding and dry lightning are also concerns. The largest wildfire in the U.S. is burning in northern New Mexico.
- NEW MEXICO ELECTION-DOMINION
ATLANTA (AP) — The conspiracy theories about Dominion voting equipment that erupted during the 2020 presidential contest flared this week in a remote New Mexico county in what could be just a preview of the kind of chaos election experts fear is coming in the fall midterms and in 2024. The governing commission in Otero County refused to certify the local results of the state's June 7 primary, in another instance of how the false claims spread by former President Donald Trump and his allies have infected elections and threaten the democratic process. There is no evidence of widespread fraud or manipulation of voting equipment in the 2020 election, which Trump lost to Joe Biden. But that hasn't stopped the false claims, particularly those about Dominion machines.
- IMMIGRATION-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Democratic governor wants the Biden administration to delay planned or expanded efforts to transport migrants to her state if pandemic-related restrictions on asylum seekers are lifted. The federal government has predicted a threefold increase in border crossings if that happens. First-term Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said a migrant influx would dramatically affect the border state's capacity to provide ongoing humanitarian assistance to thousands of New Mexicans displaced by wildfires this spring. She outlined her concerns in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejando Mayorkas. Like other Democrats, the governor would be on the defensive in an already difficult midterm election year if there were an increase in illegal border crossings.
- WESTERN WILDFIRES
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — As the summer rainy season known simply as the monsoon started Wednesday, concerns grew for neighborhoods below mountains that have burned repeatedly in northern Arizona. The monsoon runs through September. It can bring relief to scorching desert cities but also carries the threat of flooding. The outlook this year calls for equal chances of below, above and normal precipitation in the Four Corners region. Climatologists say that could change when a new seasonal outlook is released Thursday. Already, conditions are setting up for moisture to move into northern Arizona later this week, which could help firefighters battling two blazes on the outskirts of Flagstaff.