Eastern NM Pipeline Project Awarded $4 Million, Immigration Divides Latina Governor And Gov.-elect

Nov 10, 2018

Eastern New Mexico Pipeline Project Awarded $4 Million - Associated Press

The U.S. government is funneling another $4.3 million to a pipeline project designed to one day bring billions of gallons of drinking water annually to communities in eastern New Mexico.

The latest infusion from the Bureau of Reclamation will help with construction of a pipeline to Cannon Air Force Base and Clovis.

Members of the state's congressional delegation say the money represents the largest single-year award from the agency to the Ute pipeline project, bringing the federal contribution so far to more than $20 million.

Decades in the making, the project aims to ease the strain on the Ogallala aquifer along the Texas-New Mexico border by tapping into Ute Reservoir.

Critics say the cost will outweigh the benefits as runoff that feeds the reservoir could be uncertain as drought persists.

Immigration Divides Latina Governor And Governor-elect - Associated Press

New Mexico's Democratic governor-elect signaled a new approach to border security and immigration that emphasizes humanitarian concerns and skepticism of the White House, as the reins of state government pass from one Latina governor to another.

U.S. Congresswoman and Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham said Friday that she is worried about the well-being of women and children in migrant caravans approaching the U.S. from Mexico and may reconsider the state's decision to deploy local National Guard troops to the border.

"I worry about the women and children in that caravan," said Lujan Grisham, who won Tuesday's election in a landslide against GOP U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez in April deployed fewer than 200 troops to the state's border with Mexico at President Donald Trump's request. That was before concerns about the migrant caravan prompted a new federal deployment of more than 5,000 troops.

The Trump administration is warning that the caravans will further overwhelm asylum systems. On Friday, the president ordered that anyone who enters the U.S. illegally from Mexico by going around official border crossings is ineligible for asylum.

Lujan Grisham, who will become one of four border governors come Jan. 1, suggested the U.S. should be prepared to offer humanitarian support and asylum application services for migrants, regardless of where they arrive.

New Mexico Land Office Settles Trespass Claim For $3.2 Million - Associated Press

The New Mexico State Land Office has settled a trespassing claim against a Texas-based oil and gas company for $3.2 million.

The Land Office accused Salt Creek Midstream, LLC of doing construction work on state trust lands in Lea County without securing rights-of-way easements. The unauthorized disturbance was discovered in September.

The company said Friday that it began an investigation after being notified by the state and learned that its contractor had made a mistake. The company says it worked with the state to address the problem.

As part of the settlement, the company must reclaim all disturbed areas and provide a $250,000 reclamation bond.

Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says staffing shortages have made it difficult to keep up with challenges created by the oil boom in southeastern New Mexico.