Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT

Jun 9, 2021
  • OIL AND GAS-NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some New Mexico lawmakers are supporting the Biden administration's pause and review of federal oil and gas lease sales. Two dozen Democrats sent a letter Tuesday to the president and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. They said they are committed to moving away from the state's over-dependence on fossil fuels. However, Democratic legislative leaders were not among those who signed the letter.  Most New Mexico lawmakers are walking a more conservative line given the industry's significant role in funding state government. House Minority Leader Rep. Jim Townsend called the letter irresponsible, saying it failed to offer any concrete plans for protecting workers and the state's economy. 

  • AIR QUALITY-WILDFIRE SMOKE

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Residents of western and central New Mexico are being warned that air quality is being diminished by large amounts of smoke from wildfires in Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. An air quality alert issued Wednesday by the National Weather Service said the reduced air quality likely would continue through the day and redevelop overnight into Thursday morning. Cities in the alert area include Albuquerque and Gallup. The alert said people who should stay indoors include those with conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease as well as people over age 65, young children and pregnant women, the advisory said.  

  • AIRLINER DIVERTED

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 43-year-old California man accused of trying to break into the cockpit of a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Nashville, causing its diversion Friday to Albuquerque, New Mexico, will remain in custody pending further hearings. Asiel Christian Norton of Venice made an initial appearance in court Tuesday on a charge of interference with flight crew and attendants. A complaint said Norton pounded on the cockpit door and said "we need to land this plane." before being restrained and carried to the rear of the plane. A defense lawyer for Norton did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

  • ARIZONA WILDFIRES

GLOBE, Ariz. (AP) — Firefighters have gained a toehold on a massive wildfire in Arizona, one of several burning across the Southwest in states facing dry heat and drought conditions. Fire officials said Wednesday the so-called Telegraph Fire burning south of Superior, about 60 miles east of Phoenix, went overnight from no containment to 21% contained. Residents of smaller communities have been in various stages of the evacuation process. Smoke from some of the fires has led to residents in New Mexico, which is battling its own fires, to wake up shrouded in smoke. Multiple wildfires are also burning in Utah, which is facing its worst drought in decades.

  • AP-US-GEORGIA-O'KEEFFE-MUSEUM-EXPANSION

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Officials at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe have announced plans to build a facility large enough to fill an entire city block. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the new 54,000-square-foot museum will be built on the site of a former Safeway grocery store, which is currently occupied by the museum's Education Center and Prima Title. It is estimated to cost $60 million. Museum Director Cody Hartley says the existing museum will become an annex, but officials could later decide to not use the current building. Hartley said he hopes to finalize the design phase in 2022 with construction beginning shortly after.

  • HOT NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is in for a stretch of hot weather. Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque say a heat advisory may be needed for parts of eastern New Mexico from Roswell up to Clovis and Tucumcari later this week. Temperatures across the region are expected to reach the triple digits while parts of the Rio Grande Valley will see highs well into the 90s. An upper level pressure system is to blame, but forecasters say a front that is expected to push into eastern New Mexico could bring with it thunderstorms and moisture for this weekend.

  • AP-US-NEW-MEXICO-STREAM-ACCESS

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich is weighing in on a long-running dispute in New Mexico over public access to rivers and streams that flow through private property. The Democratic lawmaker is urging a panel of state officials to deny pending applications from landowners seeking certifications that would allow them to prohibit access. In a letter to the state Game Commission, Heinrich wrote that granting the applications would open the door to giving wealthy private landowners control over every waterway in New Mexico and would violate state law. The commission is set to consider the applications at a special meeting June 18.

  • IMMIGRATION-SEPARATED FAMILIES

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Biden administration says it has identified more than 3,900 children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under former President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy on illegal crossings. The Family Reunification Task Force report issued Tuesday provides one of the more detailed accounts of a chapter in U.S. immigration history that drew widespread condemnation. The Biden administration is reviewing additional cases, which means the final count may be higher. Its report provides data that hasn't been previously released. Nearly 60% of children separated under the zero-tolerance policy were Guatemalan. The Border Patrol's Yuma, Arizona, sector recorded the highest number of separations.