Trump Rolls Back Rules On Methane Releases, State Reports First Flu Cases Of Season

Sep 18, 2018

Trump Rolls Back Pollution Rules For Drilling On US LandsAssociated Press

The Trump administration has rolled back an Obama-era rule meant to curb climate-changing pollution caused by huge volumes of natural gas that escapes after being drilled from U.S. lands.

The move Tuesday the U.S. Interior Department replaces a 2016 rule adopted under President Barack Obama that forced energy companies to capture methane, a key contributor to climate change.

It comes a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed weakening a similar rule aimed at reducing emissions from public and private lands.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, is frequently wasted through leaks or intentional releases during oil and gas drilling.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico criticized the rollback as a "giveaway" to companies that pollute.

The Obama rule had been tied up with lawsuits since its adoption.             

New Mexico Soccer Team Raped Player, Abused Others – Hobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

A federal lawsuit says members of a southeastern New Mexico high school soccer team repeatedly sexually assaulted teammates while coaches looked the other way.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque by a parent of a player alleges her son was raped by Hobbs High School soccer teammates shortly after another player was sexually assaulted on a bus.

The lawsuit alleges a video showed soccer players sexually assaulting a boy two years ago and that a coach told players to delete the cellphone video.

Hobbs Municipal Schools Superintendent T.J. Parks declined to comment on the lawsuit. But he said this month the district was investigating player misconduct within the boys' soccer program.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages from each defendant.

Albuquerque Company Announces Expansion And 80 New JobsAlbuquerque Journal

A technology startup company has announced plans to expand with 80 additional jobs in downtown Albuquerque and is seeking $800,000 in funding from the state.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Resilient Solutions 21 LLC, known as RS21, develops data analytics and visualization tools and is looking to expand its headquarters in the Occidental Life Building for $2 million.

RS21’s clients include private corporations and government agencies. The company says it plans to hire data scientists, developers and designers and has already hired several former New Mexicans who had moved out of state. The new jobs would bring its workforce to 100 employees.

The $800,000 would come from the Local Economic Development Act Fund and Bernalillo County would act as the fiscal agent for the money. County commissioners will vote on the incentives on Oct. 23.

First Flu Cases Of The Season ConfirmedKOB-TV

Three children from Quay County in eastern New Mexico have been diagnosed with flu, making them the first laboratory-confirmed flu cases of the season.

KOB-TV reports the New Mexico Department of Health announced the findings and urged residents to get a seasonal flu vaccination soon. DOH recommends everyone six months and older get a flu shot annually.

Symptoms of flu may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches and fatigue. In some cases it can also include vomiting and diarrhea.

New Mexico Gov. Martinez Attends White House Hispanic EventAssociated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez traveled to Washington to attend a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration hosted by President Donald Trump.

The nation's only Latina governor attended the event Monday, days after Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of Albuquerque strongly rejected Trump's invitation over his policies and his previous comments about Latinos.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who is running for New Mexico governor to replace Martinez, cited Trump's previous comments about Latinos during the 2016 presidential campaign. She also cited Trump's denial about lives lost in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria last year.

Martinez, a once a rising star within the Republican Party, has criticized Trump's campaign rhetoric about Mexican immigrants but has warmed up to him in recent months.

Consumer Group Fights New Mexico Nuclear Waste ProjectRoswell Daily Record, Associated Press

A national consumer advocacy group is joining the fight against a proposed nuclear waste storage site in southeastern New Mexico.

The Roswell Daily Record reports the Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen announced last week it had filed to intervene in the license application submitted by Holtec International to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The New Jersey-based company specializes in nuclear storage, and has applied for a license to construct a nuclear waste storage facility about 35 miles east of Carlsbad.

The facility could eventually store up to 10,000 shipments of spent nuclear fuel in western Lea County.

If Public Citizen's petition is accepted by the commission, it would able to participate in hearings. The group says the radioactive waste poses health risks.


University Of New Mexico President Vows More Transparency - Russell Contreras, Associated Press

The president of the University of New Mexico promised Monday to adopt further reforms amid an investigation into the school's athletic program and criticism over how regents voted to cut some sports.

In her first annual state of the university address, President Garnett Stokes said she would work to make the school more transparent and pointed out that she has created a search committee to make hires for key administrative positions.

Stokes avoided directly mentioning the state Attorney General Office's investigation into the school's athletic program or the contentious sports decision.

Earlier this month, the AG’s office said that UNM sought to actively hide information from journalists seeking information about questionable athletics spending.

Las Cruces Priest Accused Of Sexual Misconduct On LeaveAssociated Press

The Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces has placed a priest on leave following allegations of sexual misconduct with adults.

Bishop Oscar Cantu said in a news release Monday that the Rev. Rogelio Martinez, a pastor at St. Genevieve Parish, is on administrative leave with pay while multiple allegations are investigated.

Cantu said the allegations are serious in nature and may involve clergy or church personnel.

Diocese officials are launching an internal probe. They say a review board will look at the results. If they are found to be credible, Martinez could receive sanctions.

The diocese has also reported the allegations to the office of District Attorney Mark D'Antonio for a possible criminal investigation.

There was no answer Monday when a call was made to a number listed for Martinez.

Troubled New Mexico City Finally Gets Police Chief, AttorneyLas Vegas Optic, Associated Press

A northern New Mexico city plagued by lawsuits from former workers and infighting finally has hired a police chief and city attorney.

The Las Vegas Optic reports the city council of Las Vegas recently voted to confirm Jerry Delgado as police chief and Esther Garduno Montoya as city attorney.

Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron announced last week she was appointing both.

The positions have not had permanent appointees on duty since December.

The hiring delays came as Gurule-Giron clashed with city councilors over hires.

Three former city workers, are suing Las Vegas over their terminations.