Thursday Morning Roundup

Jun 27, 2013

Item That Exploded On FedEx Truck In NM Was A Tire - Associated Press

Authorities say an item that exploded on a parked FedEx truck in Albuquerque was a tire.

There are no reported injuries.

Albuquerque police say the explosion was reported just before 7 p.m. Wednesday.

A police bomb squad was called to the scene to assess the situation along with an Albuquerque Fire Department hazmat crew.

Authorities say the driver of the FedEx truck lives in the area and typically parks his vehicle at the location of the explosion.

Police say residents in the vicinity of the truck were briefly evacuated until authorities determined what had exploded.

Santa Fe Rejects Ammo Restrictions Proposal - Associated Press

Santa Fe city councilors voted against a proposal that would have imposed strict regulations on the number of bullets in gun magazines allowed in the city limits.

The city says that the proposal — which would have prohibited possession and sales of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and other gun accessories in Santa Fe — failed on a 6-2 vote.

The city says in a news release that more than 165 people attended the session and 70 of them spoke, with the majority voicing opposition to the ordinance by about 2-1.

The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action had urged supporters to show up to speak against the measure.

Media reports said earlier that the measure also faced opposition from the Republican Party of New Mexico, while a city attorney warned that it might have put the city at risk of lawsuits.

Feds Postpone Decision On Lesser Prairie Chicken - Associated Press

Federal wildlife officials have agreed to postpone making a final decision on whether to list the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species.

The six-month extension comes after a bipartisan group of lawmakers called for a delay. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, and New Mexico Republican Congressman Steve Pearce were among those who asked for more time.

Pearce says listing the bird could have massive consequences for landowners in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. He says the extension gives stakeholders more time to implement voluntary conservation efforts.

Udall says the extra time will enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to study the science and comments it has received.

The agency said Wednesday that it is reviewing a conservation plan drafted by wildlife officials from the five states.

Land Commissioner Supports More Chimp Protections - Associated Press

State Land Commissioner Ray Powell says he's supporting a proposal to expand federal protections for chimpanzees in captivity by declaring them an endangered species.

Powell, who is a veterinarian, said Wednesday that he had written a letter to federal officials in support of the proposal announced earlier this month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Primatologist Jane Goodall advocated the change.

Chimpanzees in the wild are listed as endangered species but those in captivity are considered threatened, which offers less protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

About 2,000 chimps are held in captivity in the United States, including for medical research.

If the proposal is approved, a special permit would be required to sell chimps interstate or use them in medical research.

2 Stubborn NM Wildfires Continue To Grow - Associated Press

Two raging wildfires on opposite ends of New Mexico continue to grow amid dangerously dry conditions.

Fire officials say the Silver Fire, the blaze racing through parts of southern New Mexico's Gila National Forest, expanded Wednesday to more than 134 square miles.

Meanwhile, officials say the lightning-sparked Jaroso Fire has burned about 15 square miles in the rugged, steep canyons of the Pecos Wilderness.

The Silver Fire was 20 percent contained, while the Jaroso Fire remained unchecked.

In all, wildfires have burned more than 200 square miles around New Mexico over the last month.

Managers assigned to the Silver Fire expected that blaze — the largest currently burning in the state — to keep marching north and west. More firefighters arrived Wednesday to help on the western flank.

Pearce: White Sands Range Plays Important Role - Associated Press

U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce says White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico plays an important role in national defense and needs to have adequate staff and resources to carry on with its mission.

Pearce's comments come a day after the U.S. Army announced it would eliminate at least 12 combat brigades, relocate thousands of soldiers and cancel $400 million in construction projects as the first wave of budget cuts.

The New Mexico Republican says the plan calls for the inactivation of the 2nd Engineering Battalion at the missile range. That means a decrease of 535 soldiers.

Despite the planned reduction, Pearce's office says early assessments show White Sands' current role is not expected to change.

Pearce says the changes could potentially result in expanding the mission of the missile range.