Sandoval Signpost
An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

Governor Martinez seeks Federal disaster declaration and gets it

—Signpost Staff

On November 11, Governor Susana Martinez announced that her Administration issued a letter to the Obama Administration requesting a federal disaster declaration in Sandoval and Cibola Counties, including the Pueblo of Acoma and the Pueblo of Santa Clara, for flooding that occurred between August 19 and August 24. A Presidentially Declared Disaster makes federal funds available to offset damages incurred to the state and local communities as a result of the flooding.

Federal laws require a governor to seek a presidential disaster declaration in order to receive these funds by submitting a written request through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Before flooding even began, we took the unprecedented action of issuing a statewide state of emergency in order to protect lives and prepare for the aftermath of this summer’s devastating fires,” said Governor Martinez. “These measures helped to prevent any loss of life and now our priority lies with recovering from infrastructure damage caused by flood waters. This administration has worked closely with FEMA and local officials to complete necessary assessments.”

On July 8, Governor Martinez signed Executive Order 2011–063, declaring a statewide state of emergency in anticipation of destructive flooding and providing $750,000 to local and tribal governments for emergency flood mitigation efforts. On August 30, Governor Martinez requested a joint Federal, State, and local survey of the damaged areas following flooding that occurred that month. Preliminary assessments indicated the most severe impacts were to roads and bridges on both the Santa Clara and Acoma Pueblos. In addition to addressing this damage, the Presidentially Declared Disaster will assist in paying for the removal of debris that currently pose an immediate threat to lives, public health, and safety.

On September 1, Governor Martinez issued State Executive Order 2011-075 authorizing $300,000 for Sandoval County repairs due to the August 19-24 flood event.

On November 23, the President declared disaster for New Mexico. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of New Mexico and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by flooding during the period of August 19-24, 2011.

Federal funding is now available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the flooding in Cibola and Sandoval Counties and in the Pueblo of Acoma and the Pueblo of Santa Clara.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties and tribes within the state.

Placitas Recycling Center

Open: Saturdays, 8–11 a.m.
The Center accepts: corrugated cardboard, brown paper bags, newspaper,
mixed paper, polystyrene peanuts (double bagged), white office paper,
aluminum, no. 1 & 2 plastic

Sign-up at the Center to volunteer
or call Max at 877-7745 or Chris at 867-4494
or email:

The Placitas Recycling Center is located on the north side
of Highway 165, one-half mile east of I-25.

Environmental groups act to protect the air

—David Van Winkle

In a push for healthier air across New Mexico and the Southwest, a coalition of environmental groups filed a motion in federal court, approved on October 18, to block an effort by New Mexico power company PNM to evade requirements of the Clean Air Act. In August the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the installation of adequate pollution controls at the company’s San Juan Generating Station. PNM is appealing the EPA ruling, even though the company had years of warning that changes were needed to bring the coal-fired plant into legal compliance.

The Coalition will support EPA’s goal of greatly reducing the pollution the plant sends into the air each day. Those toxins find their way into the skies over national parks and into the lungs of residents in the Four Corners area.

“All the people of New Mexico deserve clean air and a healthy environment,” said Earthjustice attorney Suma Peesapati. “It’s high time to update the old, highly polluting coal-burning power plant at issue here. The EPA rule we are supporting is based on years of sound scientific and economic data.”

Commissioned in 1973, PNM’s San Juan power plant is one of America’s largest single sources of harmful air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Each year, this inefficient, antiquated facility emits more than 8.5 million tons of carbon pollution and consumes more than 9.3 billion gallons of clean water. EPA is requiring selective catalytic reduction at the plant, a proven, cost-effective technology designed to reduce emissions of NOx by more than ninety percent. This process is already in use at more than 208 coal-burning plants nationwide.

Through its appeal, PNM now seeks to use less efficient and less cost-effective pollution controls than those mandated by EPA. If allowed to bypass clean air laws, the plant would continue clouding the skies and harming public health.

“The air pollution coming out of PNM’s San Juan coal plant is known to cause increased rates of asthma, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, birth defects, and infant mortality,” said Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy. “This pollution also worsens climate change and the dire economic consequences we are already seeing here in the Southwest with record-setting droughts, wild fires, and tree loss.”

Western Environmental Law Center and Earthjustice filed the motion on behalf of New Energy Economy, San Juan Citizens Alliance, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, and the Sierra Club.

“Defending EPA’s ability to implement clean air rules will set the stage for nationwide action to reduce dangerous air pollution from antiquated, inefficient coal plants,” said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Climate and Energy Program Director at Western Environmental Law Center. “Where it is more economical to invest in clean energy than these coal plants, we can and should accelerate our transition to life-affirming clean energy.”

“The people and parks of New Mexico deserve better than the dirty pollution the San Juan Generating Station keeps blowing in the air,” said NPCA Clean Air Counsel Stephanie Kodish. “In addition to widely-known health risks associated with the poisons emitted by this site, these pollutants damage New Mexico and the surrounding states’ proudest heritage, their iconic national parks, natural lands and historic sites. Visitors to places like Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon national parks are subjected to unhealthy air and hazy views, which greatly decreases the likelihood that they will make return visits, killing jobs and hurting local businesses.”

December 2 marks last day to purchase Albuquerque area BLM fuelwood permits

—Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management’s Albuquerque District Office will stop selling fuelwood permits for the 2011 season after December 2. Sales will commence again on April 1, 2012. Up until December 2, the public can purchase fuelwood permits by visiting the Rio Puerco or Socorro Field Offices between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

All permits expire fourteen days after their effective date. Wood cutting activity is allowed only with a valid permit and in designated fuelwood areas. The cutting of green trees is allowed only with a green fuelwood permit. All fuelwood areas will be closed from December 17 to March 31.

The Rio Puerco Field Office is located at 435 Montaño Road, NE, Albuquerque (505-761-8700), and the Socorro Field Office is located at 901 S. Highway 85, Socorro (575-835-0412).

For questions or additional information, contact Jack River at 505-761-8755.





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