Taskforce On Reviving Uranium Mining Gets Extension, New Mexico Shares Excess Emissions Data

Oct 17, 2019

Trump Grants Extension For Nuclear Fuel RecommendationsAssociated Press

A U.S. task force has been given more time to recommend ways to revive domestic uranium mining as it lags amid low prices and global competition.

The Nuclear Fuel Working Group had been expected to deliver recommendations to President Donald Trump last week. But the Commerce Department says Trump granted a 30-day extension.

Uranium mining interests say the global market for uranium ore is vulnerable to political turmoil.

They want Trump to boost U.S. demand to help domestic suppliers. But the president rejected a requested quota during the summer and gave the task force 90 days to come up with other ideas.

One of the richest known reserves of uranium ore spans parts of northwestern New Mexico. Previous booms in what was once known as the uranium capital of the world occurred during the 1950s and again in the 1970s. Environmentalists have been fighting to prevent future mining in the region and in Arizona around the Grand Canyon.

Hundreds of uranium mines that dot the Navajo Nation, for example, have not been cleaned up. The tribe, whose reservation extends into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, banned uranium mining and transport on its lands in 2005.

Uranium is a vital component for the country's nuclear arsenal, submarines and nuclear power plants. Most of the U.S. supply comes from Canada and Australia, followed by Russia and former Soviet republics.

3 Men, 1 Boy Indicted In Slayings Of 2 Albuquerque Teenagers Associated Press

Authorities say three men and a 15-year-old boy have been indicted in the slayings of two Albuquerque teenagers near Rio Rancho last year.

Bernalillo County prosecutors announced Thursday that 43-year-old Stephen Goldman Sr., his 20-year-old son Stephen Goldman Jr., 23-year-old Jimmie Akins and the teen remain jailed.

They say Atkins, the teenager and the younger Goldman each are facing charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors say the older Goldman is accused of tampering with evidence.

Authorities say 14-year-old Ahmed Lateef and 15-year-old Collin Romero were reported missing last Dec. 16 after allegedly being kidnapped from a home in the Northeast Heights.

Their bodies were a few weeks later buried in shallow graves.

Authorities say the two teens had been shot, beaten and stabbed.

J&J Agrees To $117M Settlement Over Pelvic Mesh DevicesAssociated Press

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $117 million multistate settlement over allegations it deceptively marketed its pelvic mesh products, which support women's sagging pelvic organs.

Ohio's attorney general said an investigation found J&J, the world's biggest health products maker, violated state consumer protection laws by not fully disclosing the devices' risks.

Numerous women who had the once-popular, hammock-like devices implanted claim they caused severe pain, bleeding and infections.

The settlement, which covers 41 states and the District of Columbia, including New Mexico, requires the company to fully disclose risks and stop making inaccurate safety claims.

It comes as J&J is swamped with thousands of lawsuits claiming patients were harmed by products including baby powder, opioid painkillers and prescription drugs.

J&J said that the settlement doesn't include admission of any misconduct.

Singer Gretchen Wilson Forced To Leave New Mexico HotelLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

Country singer Gretchen Wilson was removed from a New Mexico hotel after she performed at a weekend music festival.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Wednesday that police were called to Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces around 3 a.m. Sunday after numerous noise complaints about Wilson's room.

Police spokesman Dan Trujillo says she and her team left voluntarily.

Wilson took to her Twitter account on Tuesday to criticize the hotel.

According to the "Redneck Woman" singer, she got to her room at 12:30 a.m. and was reprimanded for talking.

She says she was later kicked out "for no reason."

In a 911 call, a hotel employee said Wilson's volume level for talking was the equivalent of yelling.

A representative for Wilson did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Police Say Ex-Newspaper Carrier Stole Newspapers, Money Gallup Independent, Associated Press

A former newspaper carrier in western New Mexico is facing charges after authorities say he pocketed payments and traded newspapers for personal gain.

The Gallup Independent reports Randell Brown Jr. was arrested last week following an investigation by New Mexico State Police into alleged thefts at the Gallup newspaper.

According to a criminal complaint, the 50-year-old Brown was fired in June after reportedly not returning newspaper payments to the Gallup Independent.

The paper told authorities one customer reported that Brown traded an item from a store instead of payment for the newspapers.

The Milan, New Mexico, resident was charged with two counts of larceny.

No attorney was listed for Brown in court documents.

New Mexico Shares Excess Emissions Data Online - Associated Press

The New Mexico Environment Department is sharing emissions data with the public on its website as it works on new regulations aimed at reducing pollution.

The department says the data involves excess emissions of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants that are self-reported by oil and gas companies, pipeline and refinery operators and others.

Environment Secretary James Kenney says self-reporting is helpful in understanding air quality impacts in communities around the state and that compliance with permits and regulations is expected by those communities where the industry operates.

The department says the pollutants make up a large part of the state's greenhouse gas emissions and are contributing to ozone levels in seven New Mexico counties.

While excess emissions are not necessarily violations, officials say they present an opportunity for reductions.

Pot Legalization Plan Subsidizes Patients, Pays PoliceAssociated Press

New Mexico would use proceeds from recreational marijuana to eliminate taxes on medical cannabis and subsidize sales to low-income patients under a legalization proposal from an expert panel appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The recommendations on Tuesday from a 23-member task force sets the stage for a new push to authorize the recreational use and sale of marijuana when the Legislature convenes in January 2020.

Recreational marijuana is prohibited in New Mexico and bipartisan legalization legislation stalled in the state Senate earlier this year.

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis led efforts to outline a new regulatory framework that would not allow local governments to prohibit marijuana sales.

Taxes on marijuana would go toward local law enforcement and help provide low-interest loans to small family cannabis businesses.

Groups: Saving Mexican Gray Wolves Requires New Approach - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

Dozens of environmental groups and scientists are asking U.S. wildlife managers to rethink how they plan to ensure the survival of Mexican gray wolves in the American Southwest.

Following a loss in federal court, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on crafting a new rule to guide management of the endangered predators in New Mexico and Arizona.

The coalition says that rule should be based on "an entirely new approach" that incorporates the best science while acknowledging the recovery effort's past shortcomings.

The groups on Wednesday sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and federal wildlife managers.

They're asking that the process to revise the management rule be public and that a wide range of alternatives be considered since the program has faltered over the years.  

UFC's Jon Jones Won't Face Battery Charge In Strip Club Case - Associated Press

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will not be charged with battery for an alleged assault of a New Mexico strip club waitress.

Prosecutors in Albuquerque said Tuesday that witness statements didn't corroborate allegations that Jones placed a waitress in a chokehold and slapped her genitals.

The accuser also said she did not want to pursue a battery charge.

Jones, however, pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct in connection with the dispute when he visited the club in April.

The case will be dismissed if he goes without violating the law for the next 90 days.

Denise White, a representative for Jones, said he is looking forward to training and being with his family.

Jones has defended his title twice this year.

Chinle Airport Closed Indefinitely Due To Asphalt Problems - Associated Press

The Navajo Division of Transportation has closed Chinle Airport runway until further notice due to existing asphalt deterioration.

Authorities say the division's Road Maintenance and Airports Management departments assessed the Chinle Community Airport on Monday.

They say the assessment indicated that the south end of the runway has deteriorated significantly, large cracks exist, precipitation is leaking through the cracks into the subgrade and the existing pavement is raveling.

Authorities say the runway is closed indefinitely while the Navajo Division of Transportation determines improvement plans.

However, the airport's tarmac will remain open for helicopter medical transport.