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Local, State, or Federal Government agencies and issues

Accords, Treaties and Resolutions

January 1 Sunset at the Hyde Park Road Overlook

Observing the news over the past year I've come to a (probably obvious) realization or two. Climate Change is rapidly growing in global awareness, importance and the discussion has become heated (pun intended). It appears that our planet is rapidly approaching a point of change (cultural, economic, environmental, etc.) driven by climate change. Change brings uncertainty, so governments, companies, and people have chosen to either fight change or promote their vision of change.

LEEDing by Example

Santa Fe Community Convention Center - architectural rendering

The Santa Fe Community Convention Center (quite a mouthful) has just earned the LEED Gold certification. This means that the new convention center 'was designed (by Santa Fe-based Spears Architects and Fentress Architects) and built using strategies aimed at improving ...

Desert Rock Air Permit Remanded

Navajo Woman in Gas Mask Banner

Good news for the Four Corners region and everyone downwind of the proposed Desert Rock Coal Power Plant. The EPA has been ordered to remand (i.e. revoke) the Air (pollution) Permit that had been granted to Desert Rock Energy Company LLC. The Environmental Appeals Board held that the permit had not properly considered the possibility of CO2 capture. Coal-fired power plants have many other dirty problems beyond CO2 emissions, including mercury and other heavy metals pollution. But perhaps most notable is the problem that Carbon-capture coal plants simply don't exist!

How Can You Stop The Sun From Shining?

NREL Solar Photovoltaic Resource Map

For a state with so much solar potential, New Mexico has realized very little actual solar power. PNM (the major electrical utility in NM) currently has about 1.4 megawatts of solar PV capacity, almost all of which is owned by individual customers. PNM owns two solar facilities, a 25kW solar PV system located in Algodones and a 5kW system in Aztec. With so little solar photovoltaic power in place, PNM's most recent proposal to limit privately-owned, grid-tied solar PV systems has the Renewable Energy Industry Association of New Mexico (REIA-NM) concerned.

Conservation Parks - No Swingset Needed

Owen Conservation Park, Madison, WI - Bumble Bees

After our tour of National Parks last fall it's good to be reminded that good things come in small packages. We visited friends and relatives in Madison, Wisconsin and among all the usual vacation fun we checked out a local conservation park. Throughout Madison are 14 conservation parks, totaling over 1600 acres, dedicated to preserving native plant and animal life in the metro area. Our 8 year old guide showed us there was plenty of fun to be had, even without a swingset.

Here are a few images from the Owen Conservation Park in Madison, WI.

High Speed Rail from Texas to Colorado

Santa Fe R.R. Freight Train

Could New Mexico be on the path of a new High-Speed Rail Corridor running from Texas to Colorado? Imagine being able to take a bullet train from El Paso, TX north to Denver, CO with stops in between at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Colorado Springs. You could catch a dedicated, high-speed passenger train instead of spending hours driving by car or trying to book a flight that doesn't connect through Phoenix, Dallas or even further away.

Roll out the Rain Barrel for Colorado

Wine Barrel to Rain Barrel

Colorado has just begun a new program to allow rainwater harvesting. Strangely enough, due to the complexities of Colorado's water laws, it had been illegal to catch and hold the rain that fell on your roof! On June 2, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed the rain water collection bill into law. While there are many restrictions as to who can harvest the rain in Colorado, it is definitely a good step towards sustainability. Congratulations Colorado, starting July 1st you will no longer have to hide your rain barrels! Next, we have to work on Utah.

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Free Water Testing for S.Fe County

Boris Karloff in the laboratory

Ever wonder what is REALLY in your water? If you drink water from a private well, you should test that water to find out. Santa Fe County, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), the City of Santa Fe, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and the Good Water Company to jointly test private domestic water wells June 23 through 25 at no charge to residents or owners. Water tests will include field and laboratory analyses for approximately 50 chemical parameters, including nitrate, fluoride, heavy metals including uranium, and organic vapor such as from gasoline and degreasing solvent.

A Bad Day for Black Rocks

Coal Miners

What a difference an administration makes! The EPA is working once again to protect the environment here in New Mexico and elsewhere. Specifically, the EPA is reconsidering the air (pollution) permit granted to the Desert Rock coal-fired power plant near Farmington, NM. This move revisits several exemptions made to existing air quality rules and allows the EPA to incorporate its new Supreme Court mandated role in regulating CO2 emissions. I don't think we can breathe easy yet, but fossil fuel air pollution just had a significant setback.

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