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AG Balderas Calls on New Mexico Game Commission to Strengthen New Mexico's Waterway Access Rules

KRWG | November 21, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, NM -- Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas called on the New Mexico Game Commission to immediately strengthen its regulations to address waterway access in compliance with state law. The Attorney General's call for action follows a years long debate surrounding the public's right to access waterways that are adjacent to private land. Here is a statement from the AG's office:

"New Mexican families and landowners deserve access to our waterways while protecting the safety of their property, so I will be directing the commission to strengthen the process to protect private property rights and minimize trespass, while respecting access rights and outdoor activities of sports enthusiasts."

In 2015, the New Mexico Legislature passed legislation that addressed the balance between protecting private landowners’ interests in protecting their property from trespass and damage, while ensuring New Mexicans' rights of access to waterways are protected. Game Commission regulations address these matters, but the current commission leadership has raised concerns regarding the adequacy of the permitting processes these regulations create. The Office of the Attorney General will work with the commission in the coming months to strengthen the rules governing these processes and ensuring that the Legislature's intent is carried out.

Fifteen named to Outdoor Recreation Division advisory panel

By the Silver City Daily PressGVK photo
November 4, 2019

The New Mexico Economic Development Department has named 15 people to serve on the advisory panel for the Outdoor Recreation Division.

The group, which includes representatives from conservation, education, industry, and government, is charged with providing expertise and support, among other tasks, to the new office via monthly meetings and quarterly summits.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the law April 2 that made New Mexico the 15th state to create an Outdoor Recreation Division. The governor and Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes have identified outdoor business growth as an important element to diversify the state economy.

“Outdoor recreation touches every corner of the state,” Keyes said. “We are pleased outdoor advocates from throughout New Mexico, as well as tribal communities, have agreed to help us as we move forward to grow these businesses and create jobs.”

“Each member of this coalition brings some serious firepower to the outdoor-recreation table,” said Axie Navas, director of the Outdoor Recreation Division. “All told, the committee has more than a century of experience working in the nonprofit, governmental, and private sector worlds. I predict this incredible group will do amazing things for New Mexico’s outdoor recreation economy.”

The advisory panel members are:

• Marcy DeMillion, Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program, National Park Service;

• Jim Glover, Once a Day Marketing;

• Howard Gross, deputy commissioner of surface resources, State Land Office;

• Keegan King, policy and legislation bureau chief, Indian Affairs Department;

• Dustin Martin, executive director, Wings of America;

• Laura McCarthy, state forester, Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department;

• Patrick Moore, chair, history and heritage, Department of Cultural Affairs;

• Michael Slone, director, Game and Fish Department;

• Christy Tafoya, State Parks Division director, Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department;

• Mary Turner, deputy editor, Outside Magazine;

• Brian Vallo, governor, Acoma Pueblo;

• Gabe Vasquez, founder, Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project;

• Garrett VeneKlasen, northern conservation director, New Mexico Wild;

• Antoinette Vigil, deputy Cabinet secretary, Department of Tourism; and

• Kathy Whiteman, Ph.D., Outdoor Program and Center for a Sustainable Future director, Western New Mexico University.

This article originally appeared in the Silver City Daily Press.

2020 Wolf Stamp Contest

Wolf Stamp 2019 image Resized

Announcing the 2020 Wolf Stamp Contest!

New Mexico Wild invites submissions for the 2020 Mexican Gray Wolf Conservation Stamp. Artists worldwide are invited to enter two-dimensional drawings, paintings, or photographs featuring the Mexican gray wolf. The winning artwork will be featured on the 2020 stamp that will be sold to raise funds to support Mexican gray wolf conservation and education projects. All artwork must be scalable to the size of the stamp, 4.5-inches wide by 5.5-inches tall.

Please submit electronic images of original artwork to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by January 31, 2020.

Click here to purchase a previous wolf stamp.

Mining the Resistance

By Leah Cantor | Santa Fe Reporter
October 30, 2019

"The majority of the visitors we get into the Pecos area actually live in Santa Fe. Santa Fe needs to be on this and we do need more people on this, though we already have tremendous support from many," Frank Adelo, president of the Upper Pecos Watershed Association, tells SFR outside Hondo Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 on Saturday. He had just attended the most recent community meeting about a mine proposed by an Australian company, New World Cobalt, through its US-based subsidiary Comexico LLC.

The fire station sits about 11 miles from the Santa Fe city center, just past the intersection of Old Pecos Trail and Highway 285. While many of the more than 100 attendees drove from Pecos and Las Vegas, up to an hour away, organizers say part of the purpose of holding the meeting there was to make it easier for Santa Feans to attend. Getting people in Santa Fe to see the potential mine as their problem, too, is part of a grassroots strategy to oppose the development.

Comexico's original proposal speculated that the site near the Pecos Wilderness Area could potentially hold more than 5 million metric tonsof extractable ore at sites near the old Tererro mine. But the path from a proposal to full-fledged mining operation is a long one, and Comexico is still in the first stage of applying for a prospecting permit to drill for ore samples at 30 spots across the proposed site to confirm to investors and regulators that the site can bear out the claimed potential.

Even if the Forest Service approves the prospecting permit, Mike Haynes, general manager and CEO of New World Cobalt, told the Santa Fe New Mexican in August that there is only a "1 in 200 or 1 in 300 chance that there is enough mineralization there to look into a mining feasibility study," adding that residents were responding to "hysteria and misinformation."

But a vocal contingent of Pecos residents are determined to stop even the slightest chance that striking a rich mineral vein could lead to another mine there.

"Even if the chance was 1 in 1,000, we'd fight back," SFR overheard one woman tell another at Saturday's meeting. Both wore identical gray baseball caps with the words "Tererro Mine" struck through in red.

"The people who live around here, we are citizens, we are taxpayers, we are voters, many of us are property owners and business owners, we have an investment here and the executives from the mining company do not have a stake in this community," said Roy Montibom, a resident of Las Vegas who added that Hayes' comments were a "complete mischaracterization" of local concerns.

According to the company's original timeline, residents should have been able to expect public hearings on the permits to begin as early as November, but Comexico's applications to both the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division and the National Forest Service are still pending due to the company's delays in providing the required cultural and natural resource reports.

Now, grassroots organizers expect hearings might not begin until after the first of the year.

They say they plan to use the time to continue building resistance. Reaching a wider audience than the 1,300 residents of the Pecos village itself is an important part of the plan.

Already, the efforts are gaining traction. A group of students from the UNM Wilderness Alliance were among the attendees at Saturday's meeting, and opposition to the mine has attracted the support of both Santa Fe and San Miguel counties, as well as from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

"We have such small amounts of intact public land left and it's really important for us to protect what we have left for future generations," UNM student Kai Hollenberg tells SFR at the meeting.

Rachel Conn, projects director at Amigos Bravos, a Taos-based organization for the protection of New Mexico waters, tells SFR by phone that organizers are asking concerned residents to call the state agencies and request they hold upcoming public hearings in Santa Fe and Las Vegas as well as in Pecos to allow a wider swath of impacted New Mexicans to publicly raise their concerns.

Organizers have also encouraged attendees to comment on the Santa Fe National Forest's draft of a new forest management plan before the deadline for public comments on Nov. 7. The plan is a 20-year update on forest management policies that dictate everything from forest fire and prescribed burn management to roads and hard-rock mining requirements.

Forest Service spokeswoman Julie Anne Overton tells SFR the new forest management plan will likely not go into effect for at least a year and concerned residents can take more immediate action by commenting on the National Environmental Policy Act process involved in Comexico's application for a prospecting permit during the upcoming scoping period.

Several organizations are seeking signatures for petitions to federal agencies like the Forest Service in opposition to the mine. But Overton tells SFR that petitions are not an effective way to take action.

"Comments are most valuable when they are original, -substantive and include specifics … these comments very much help us define the scope and requirements of a project," Overton says. "Comments are not votes … quantity is not a determining factor. Substance is."

This article originally appeared in the Santa Fe Reporter.