News Update Monday June 17th

Jun 17, 2013

NM Delegation Pushes To Improve Tribal Education - The Associated Press

New Mexico's congressional delegation has introduced a bill aimed at improving tribal education and preserving Native American language in schools.

The state's two senators and three representatives all signed on to the proposal, which they say would remove barriers that tribal leaders often encounter in teaching Native languages at school, improve on existing programs and partnerships and create new incentives and scholarship programs to encourage educational success throughout Indian Country.

Graduation rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives are less than 50 percent - lower than the graduation rates for all other ethnic groups in the United States.

Crews Set To Move Huge Transformer To Chili - The Santa Fe New Mexican

Crews on Tuesday night will begin transporting a 910,000-pound electric transformer from Kewa Pueblo to Chili.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the transformer for Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Inc. will arrive at its final destination Wednesday.

The trailer will take up two lanes along the route and travel at speeds varying from 5 to 30 mph.

The transport will begin at 9 p.m. Tuesday at the New Mexico Rail Runner's Kewa Pueblo Station and will end at the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative on U.S. 84, about seven miles north of U.S. 285.

Reports Show 236 Oil, Gas Sites Failed Inspections - The Albuquerque Journal (AP)

About 85 percent of 276 oil and gas well sites inspected in southeastern New Mexico over the past six weeks have failed to pass after-the-fact electrical safety inspections.

Correction notices were issued to those sites that received a "failed" grade. None has been ordered to stop operations.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Gov. Susana Martinez's office had called for the belated inspections after learning that the state Construction Industries Division had parked more than 500 inspection requests in a computer file because there weren't enough inspectors to do the work.

The governor's directive came after the Journal made inquiries in April about companies that were allowed by the state to skip inspections of electrical systems for oil and gas projects.

Fracking Fuels Water Fights In Nation's Dry Spots - The Associated Press

The latest domestic energy boom is sweeping through some of the nation's driest pockets, drawing millions of gallons of water to unlock oil and gas reserves.

Hydraulic fracturing, or the drilling technique commonly known as fracking, has been used for decades to blast huge volumes of water, fine sand and chemicals into the ground to crack open shale formations.

But now, as energy companies vie to exploit vast reserves, fracking's new frontier is expanding to the same lands where crops have shriveled and waterways have dried up due to severe drought.

In Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, the vast majority of the counties where fracking is occurring are also suffering from drought, according to an Associated Press analysis of fracking data and official government drought designations.

Claims Seek Payment For Damages from Las Conchas Fire - The Santa Fe New Mexican

The federal government is being asked to cough up more than $60 million for damages from the 2011 Las Conchas fire and subsequent flooding in northern New Mexico.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Forest Service faces damage claims filed Thursday by the Cochiti and Jemez pueblos and four individuals who own a ranch.

The claims allege losses due to burned timber, habitat loss and erosion and flood damage from the fire. It burned nearly 244 square miles and destroyed 63 homes.

The claims' allegations include that a dying aspen tree fell on a power line, starting the fire, and the easement that the government provided for a power cooperative wasn't wide enough.

Officials with the Santa Fe National Forest did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.