- New Mexico panel OKs plan to spend $100M to fix state dams
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A plan to spend $100 million to fix dams throughout New Mexico passed its first test Tuesday amid an urgent call to improve the facilities. The New Mexico Senate Conservation Committee voted 9-0 to move along a measure that would add funding to fix the state's dam infrastructure. Democratic Sen. Pete Campos says the state had no choice but to get started soon on fixing damns or risk a tragedy in the future. New Mexico leads the nation with the highest percentage of high-hazard dams in either poor or unsatisfactory condition, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.
- Booming New Mexico oilfield to get high-speed internet soon
JAL, N.M. (AP) — Businesses and residents living in the southern end of a southeast New Mexico county likely will have high-speed internet by the end of the year. The Hobbs News-Sun reports the New Mexico Department of Information Technology on Monday announced a new public-private partnership expected to build much-needed broadband infrastructure in Lea County. Officials say the move will accommodate the current economic expansion occurring in the Permian Basin. ExxonMobil, the state of New Mexico and Plateau Telecommunications Inc. will develop a $5 million fiber network offering advanced broadband services to businesses along a 107-mile (172-kilometer) route beginning east of Carlsbad and running to Jal, New Mexico.
- Red-flag gun bill advances toward decisive House floor vote
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic legislators in New Mexico are sending a red-flag gun proposal toward a decisive House floor vote. The bill pushed forward Tuesday would allow law enforcement to petition a court for the temporary surrender of guns by people who appear to pose a danger to themselves or others. Relatives of gun owners and school administrators can request through a sworn affidavit that gun rights be suspended. Advocates for gun rights have condemned the proposal. Supporters of the bill say police need new tools to contain suicide rates and prevent gun violence in the wake of mass shootings.
- Oil from federal lands tops 1B barrels as Trump eases rules
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Oil production from federally-managed lands and waters topped a record 1 billion barrels last year. That's up more than 13% from 2018 as the Trump administration eases rules on the industry and technological advances push development into new areas. Critics charge that the gains being made by energy companies come at the expense of the environment, with fewer safeguards to protect the land and wildlife from harm. Oil production royalties collected by the government totaled $7.5 billion in 2019. That's beneath record revenues in 2013, when crude prices topped $90 a barrel.
- Carcinogen traces found in some Clovis drinking water wells
CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — Clovis' public water utility has decommissioned some drinking water wells after finding traces of a cancer-causing pollutant. According to the New Mexico Environment Department, the company in charge of Clovis' public drinking water found a known carcinogen in 10 of its 82 wells at the entry point where the water would be piped to households. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has no drinking water limit for PFAS, a group of man-made chemicals. But the agency has an established a lifetime health advisory level for two chemicals in the PFAS group — PFOA and PFOS — at 70 parts per trillion, which means there may be adverse effects if PFAS is ingested above this threshold for many years.
- Number of suspensions increase at Albuquerque Public Schools
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A school district in New Mexico has released a report that showed more than 4,000 more students were suspended last year compared to the previous year, revealing previous improper documentation. The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that there were more than 12,000 student suspensions at Albuquerque Public Schools in 2018-2019, a 51% increase compared to the more than 7,900 students suspended the year before. The state Public Education Department says the increase can be attributed to the district not previously reporting all of the suspensions to the state as required, up until last year. District spokeswoman Monica Armenta says the district believed it was reporting everything it needed to.
- Storm causes school closures, delayed openings in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A storm dropping snow and forming ice caused hazardous driving conditions across much of New Mexico Tuesday, resulting in school closures in some areas and delays of openings in others. Public schools were closed Tuesday in Santa Fe and in the eastern mountain portion of Albuquerque's public school district. Other Albuquerque public schools were on two-hour delay, as were non-essential city employees. The National Weather Service says bands of moderate to locally heavy snowfall, areas of blowing snow and colder temperatures would continue Tuesday in central and southern areas. Forecasters say snowfall Tuesday evening was expected to focus over east-central and southeastern New Mexico.
- Proposal seeks to draw tourists to historic Hispanic trail
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico proposal seeks to draw tourists to a historic Hispanic and Native American trail that once linked early Spanish settlers from Mexico City to an area just north of Santa Fe. A bill sponsored by state Rep. Andrés Romero would erect landmarks from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo to southern New Mexico connected to a route that linked the regions for hundreds of years. The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is part of the U.S. National Park Service's National Trails system. Still, it lacks many markers and infrastructure to make it a tourist attraction in New Mexico.