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.
- CLOVIS DRINKING WATER-CARCINOGEN
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.
- SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS INCREASE
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.
- NEW MEXICO WEATHER
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.
- 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.
- WNMU-TAX HELP
SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) — Western New Mexico University students are set to offer tax help to seniors and low-income families in the southwest corner of the state. The school announced the students this week will begin the local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. The free service is for people whose household income is $56,000 or less and for those who are 65 years or older. The volunteers — university business and accounting students by day — are certified by the Internal Revenue Service and are trained to help taxpayers identify tax credits.
- IMPERSONATING DEPUTY TO OFFICER
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after authorities say he tried to impersonate a sheriff's deputy to an undercover police officer. A criminal complaint said Daniel Mitchem was arrested Saturday following a high-speed chase in Albuquerque. According to police, the 46-year-old Mitchem had approached an undercover detective during an auto theft operation and told the officer he was a sheriff's deputy and showed a gun. The complaint said that when the detective said he was an officer, Mitchem fled in his Chevy Tahoe. Police say he was eventually arrested and charged with impersonating a peace officer and felon in possession of a firearm.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is fully embracing the mantle of gun rights champion as he makes his pitch for reelection. In a campaign appearance Monday night in New Hampshire, Trump framed the right to bear arms as being as precious as the rights to privacy, free speech and religious freedom. It's a stark turn from earlier moments in his presidency when he toyed with pushing Congress to enact stricter gun laws after mass shootings. Trump's campaign advisers believe the Republican president can draw a sharp contrast on gun rights with the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.