SAT: New Mexico Land Office Considers Emergency Oil And Gas Rule, + More

Apr 4, 2020

New Mexico Land Office Considers Emergency Oil And Gas Rule -Associated Press

Land managers in New Mexico are considering an emergency rule that would allow oil and gas companies that lease state trust land to temporarily stop producing without penalty for at least 30 days, with a possible extension of up to 120 days.

State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard on Friday pointed to the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic as well as the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

She says it's in the best interest of public schools and other trust land beneficiaries if her agency allows companies to apply for temporary well shut-ins.

A public hearing is planned for April 17.

Albuquerque Retirement Facility Has 18 Coronavirus Cases -Associated Press

A city health official says 18 residents of a retirement facility in Albuquerque have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Albuquerque Environmental Health Deputy Director Mark DiMenna confirmed Friday the positive tests for COVID-19 at La Vida Llena as statewide infection rose to nearly 500.

New Mexico health officials are pushing to reinforce hospital supplies and personnel in anticipation of a surge in infected patients that has already begun in northwestern New Mexico.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the state has 495 cases and that 10 people have died.

State health officials said that hospitals need roughly 1,000 more ventilator breathing machines.

Cleanup Of US Nuclear Waste Takes Back Seat As Virus Spreads -Associated Press

The U.S. government's efforts to clean up Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has lumbered along for decades, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment.

Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as the nation's only underground repository for nuclear waste finished ramping down operations Wednesday to keep workers safe.

Shipments to the desert outpost will be limited for the foreseeable future while national laboratories and defense sites around the country have shifted to only those operations considered "mission critical."

Police: Man Tried To Set Wife On Fire Over Stimulus Check -Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A New Mexico man is facing charges after police say he became enraged he didn't qualify for a COVID-19-related stimulus check and tried to set his wife on fire.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Joe Macias was arrested Wednesday shortly following an argument with his disabled wife, where he allegedly doused her with gasoline.

According to police, the 63-year-old Macias pulled out a cigarette and attempted to light it several times, but was unsuccessful due to the lighter getting gasoline on it.

Macias charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, and aggravated battery against a household member.

New Mexico City Mayor Sworn In After Predecessor Indicted -Las Vegas Optic, Associated Press

The northern New Mexico city of Las Vegas has officially sworn in a new mayor whose predecessor resigned amid bribery charges.

The Las Vegas Optic reports Louie Trujillo took the oath of office Wednesday during a special ceremony that was live-streamed to the public.

The ceremony was limited to five people due to order restrictions over the spread of COVID-19.

Trujillo was elected during the March municipal election, when he received 57.4% of the votes. He replaces Tonita Gurule-Giron, who resigned in January two weeks after she was indicted on charges of bribery and accepting kickbacks.

Police: Husband Captured, Charged In Wife's Disappearance - Palm Beach Post, Associated Press

Authorities say the husband of a missing Florida woman was arrested in New Mexico in connection to her disappearance.

Jupiter Police say 43-year-old David E. Anthony was charged Tuesday with the second-degree murder and kidnapping of Gretchen Anthony. Police say she was last seen March 20.

Police haven't elaborated on the evidence that led them to his arrest.

The Palm Beach Post reports the Anthonys have an open divorce case that was filed in late February. Police say David Anthony was also arrested five days before his wife's disappearance for violently resisting arrest.

He is awaiting extradition back to Palm Beach County.

Man Faces Prison Sentence In Attempt To Arrange Killing -Associated Press

A southwestern New Mexico man faces nine years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court in Las Cruces to crimes stemming from a 2019 attempt to arrange a murder-for-hire.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 30-year-old Jacob Grijalva of Silver City pleaded guilty Wednesday to using a cellphone to try to arrange a killing and to obstruction of justice.

The office says Grijalva wanted to avoid prosecution for a weapons offense and has now admitted he called a person whom he mistakenly thought was a hitman. The person called by Grijalva was actually an undercover federal agent.

The office says Grijalva's plea agreement calls for him to be sentenced to nine years in prison.

New Mexico Sees Another Huge Spike In Unemployment Claims -Associated Press

More than 28,000 New Mexico residents have applied for unemployment benefits — over 50% more than the amount filed the previous week.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 28,182 people in the state applied for unemployment benefits last week compared to a record-setting 18,105 the week before. Filings for unemployment aid generally reflect the pace of layoffs.

The numbers show the widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus continues to inflict damage to the nation's economy.

The Labor Department said more than 6.6 million Americans applied for benefits last week _ doubling a record set just a week earlier.