State Explores Reusing Oil And Gas Wastewater, Dem Wins Could Bring Action On Health Care and Guns

Nov 12, 2018

New Mexico Weighs Options For Reusing Oil And Gas Wastewater - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

State and federal officials are warning that because drought is no stranger to New Mexico, decisions about water are growing ever more complicated.

The state, with the help of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has drafted a document that outlines areas where regulations can be streamlined to encourage the treatment and reuse of wastewater that comes from oil and natural gas operations.

The white paper released late last week says oil and gas production in New Mexico generated nearly 38 billion gallons of wastewater in 2017. As the energy sector grows, particularly in the Permian Basin along the Texas-New Mexico border, officials say so will the amount of wastewater.

State energy secretary Ken McQueen says the effort could help relieve the growing demand on the state's water resources.

Doña Ana County Finishes Tally Of Provisional BallotsAssociated Press

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office says Doña Ana County has finished processing about 1,100 provisional and other ballots that needed to be tallied by hand.

The process wrapped up Sunday, nearly a week after the general election. The county's canvassing board plans to meet Tuesday to review the returns and certify the results.

The spotlight was on the county as it took nearly 24 hours after the polls closed last week to count thousands of absentee ballots that ended up deciding the race for southern New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District.

The Associated Press called the race for Democrat Xochitl Torres Small after the absentee ballots put her over the top. The unofficial results updated Monday expanded her lead.

Republican Yvette Herrell has not conceded. Her campaign did not immediately return messages left Monday.

Snow And Ice Lead To Cancellation Of Classes In Santa FeAssociated Press

An intense winter storm has forced the closure of schools in Santa Fe.

Officials at Santa Fe Public Schools said schools districtwide would be close Monday because of the weather.

They say the low temperatures and icy road conditions make it unsafe to dispatch school buses.

The district is also canceling after-school and evening activities.

As expected, a snowstorm hit central and eastern New Mexico late Sunday and overnight Monday.

Santa Fe is predicted to get as much as 4 inches of snow.

Forecasters say the snowy conditions should depart the region by late Monday.

New Mexico Businesses Learn To Grow On Government Dollars - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The U.S. government is spending billions of dollars in New Mexico on a wide variety of goods and services and local business owners are building and boosting their bottom line by tapping into the federal procurement progress.

Some sell only a portion of their products to federal agencies. Others devote much of their efforts to seeking and maintaining a mostly federal workload.

The Albuquerque Journal reports some others have been so successful, they're transitioning more to the private sector.

John Garcia of the U.S. Small Business Administration in New Mexico says about $2.1 billion in federal contracting dollars went to statewide small businesses in fiscal 2017.

That spending flows through two national laboratories; Kirtland, Cannon and Holloman air force bases and numerous other federal agencies that operate in New Mexico.


Democratic Wins Could Mean State Action On Health Care, Guns - By David A. Lieb And Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press

Democratic gains in the 2018 elections could lead to a push for expanded health coverage, gun control and recreational marijuana in some states.

Democrats won complete control of the governor's office and both legislative chambers in six new states — New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Nevada and New York. Leaders there already are making plans for an aggressive leftward agenda.

All told, Democrats gained seats in 62 of the 99 partisan state legislative chambers and also picked up seven governors' seats.

Yet the overall outcome of the election was a continued trend toward unified control of state governments. Republicans could hold trifecta control in as many as 22 states. Democrats will have unified control in 14.

The number of politically divided state governments is near its 60-year low point.

Navajo Nation Allows Members To Vote After Ballot Shortage - By Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press

The Navajo Nation is offering would-be voters another chance to cast a ballot after many tribal precincts ran out on Election Day.

The late votes are unlikely to impact the tribe's presidential race. Vice President Jonathan Nez won by a wide margin. But they could factor into at least one close Navajo Nation Council race.

The ballot shortage was traced to a two-part referendum that asked whether Navajos wanted to increase the salaries of top elected leaders. Voting machines rejected overmarked ballots, and second ballots were issued, resulting in a shortage.

The tribe's Board of Election Supervisors said it's working to ensure registered voters who showed up to the polls can vote.

They said those people have a week to cast a late ballot at a handful of election offices across the reservation, starting Tuesday.

New Mexico Sect Co-Leader Pleads No Contest To Abuse Charges – Associated Press

A co-leader of a rural New Mexico paramilitary religious sect has pleaded no contest to child abuse charges.

The Gallup Independent reports that James Green entered his pleas Friday to charges stemming from abuse of a Ugandan child brought to the United States illegally in 1997 and from a 13-year-old boy's death at the sect's commune in 2014 from a probable infectious disease.

Green and Deborah Green, his wife and also a sect co-leader, were arrested in 2017 after authorities raided the sect's secluded compound after a two-year investigation.

James Green will be sentenced in December under a plea agreement to 10 years in prison with credit for time served.

Deborah Green was sentenced in September to 72 years in prison after being convicted of child abuse and other charges.

Actor-Comedian George Lopez Faces Misdemeanor Battery Charge - Las Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

Actor-comedian George Lopez reportedly is facing a misdemeanor count of battery after a scuffle with a man last month at a New Mexico restaurant.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Lopez will be receiving a criminal summons to the city's municipal court.

According to the newspaper, Lopez was in Las Cruces filming a movie and the alleged victim recorded the Oct. 14 incident on his cellphone.

The video reportedly shows the alleged victim waiting for Lopez to walk by him inside a Hooters restaurant.

The unidentified victim is heard calling Lopez "Jorge" before Lopez tries to snatch the phone and grab the back of the man's neck.

The men were quickly separated and Lopez left the restaurant.

Lopez later told Las Cruces police that he was baited into the altercation.

19-Year-Old Tanner Gray Becomes Youngest NHRA Season Champ – Associated Press

Tanner Gray became the youngest N-H-R-A Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season champion Saturday by qualifying at the season-ending Auto Club N-H-R-A Finals.

The 19-year-old Pro Stock driver from Artesia, New Mexico, has seven victories this season. In the Countdown to the Championship, he has two wins and has topped the points throughout the playoffs.

"It has been a heck of a year," Gray said. "It started out pretty slow and I wasn't quite sure it would end up here. About midseason we were able to find something, and everything seemed like it started clicking from there. We did so much testing at the beginning of the season and it really paid off. It was like a light flipped and everything started coming together. We had a strong running going there for a little bit and came into the Countdown and executed on race day really well."