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Today's News

  • Garcia Richard to end all on new oil and gas leasing on state land in Greater Chaco Region

    Staff and Wire Report

    State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard will sign an executive order Saturday to place a moratorium on new oil and gas development on state trust land in a buffer zone around the Greater Chaco Region.

    The executive order will protect 72,776 acres of mineral estate near the renowned World Heritage site.

    The announcement, made late Thursday, comes one week after Democratic lawmakers convened a congressional hearing in the area to explore the possible impacts of air pollution on sacred sites.

    The state’s all-Democratic House delegation is seeking to halt new oil and natural gas lease sales on federal holdings within a 10-mile buffer zone around Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

    Four members of New Mexico's all-Democratic congressional delegation has also introduced legislation to prohibit the expansion of mineral development on federal inholdings within a roughly 10-mile radius surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

    The future of that legislation is uncertain in a GOP-controlled Senate.

  • Lujan Grisham earns lukewarm approval rating

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s popularity with New Mexico voters is off to a lukewarm start, according to a poll released Thursday.

    The new governor came out near the bottom in a national ranking with a 41% approval rating. About 33 percent of voters disapproved of her performance. The remaining did not have an opinion or were undecided.

    The poll shows Lujan Grisham as the as the 44th most popular governor.

    Republican Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky took the last spot with a 33% approval rating. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Barker, also a Republican, came out on top with a 73% approval rating. Only 14% of voters in that state disapproved of his job.

    GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland came in second with a 71% approval rating.

    All 10 of the most popular governors in the country are Republican, according to the poll and the average GOP governor has a net approval that is 14 points higher than the average Democratic governor.

    The poll also reported Sen. Tom Udall’s (D-NM) popularity among voters has dropped to 39%. He had 53% popularity among voters at this time 2017 and 44% this time last year.

    Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) has gone from 48% popularity to 41% in 2018 to 39% this year.

    Morning Consult surveyed over 5,000 registered voters across the U.S. for the poll.

  • New Mexico regulators make emissions sweep in Permian Basin

    CARLSBAD (AP) — New Mexico regulators are looking to crack down on air quality violations by energy companies operating in one of the nation's most productive oil and gas basins.

    The state environment department announced Wednesday that its staff recently conducted nearly 100 inspections across New Mexico's portion of the Permian Basin.

    They were checking compliance with air quality regulations and permits.

    Agency spokeswoman Maddy Hayden says it will take the department at least several weeks — and possibly months — to review and determine what enforcement cases should be pursued.

    The inspectors used infrared cameras to detect emissions that are invisible to the naked eye.

    Five New Mexico Environment Department staff were involved in the effort for five business days. At an average of $27.00 per hour for a total of 40 hours each, the department’s air quality bureau chief estimated the inspections cost $5,400.

    “These types of evaluations are consistent with the work that is already being performed by the Department and, thus, is in line with the resources allocated for that work. No additional equipment was required for these inspections,” Hayden told the Los Alamos Monitor.

  • No fatalities in multiple vehicle rollover accident

    A rollover accident that involved multiple vehicles near the Rio Grande River on N.M. 502 Monday resulted in no fatalities, according to Santa Fe County Sheriff Spokesman Juan Rios.

    However, those involved suffered multiple injuries, Rios said.

    The crash, which occurred around 6:15 p.m., is still under investigation.

    "The investigators at this point do not believe that any of the parties involved in the accident were impaired by alcohol," Rios Said.

    The crash happened around Rio Grande Bridge near Bundy Road. The crash involved four vehicles, one of which rolled over. 

    Injuries sustained by motorists and passengers in the crash were not life threatening, according to Rios. All of the injured were transported to CHRISTUS St. Vincent Medical Center. 

    Rios could not say to what the extent of those injuries were.

    The names of the victims have not been released.

    Shortly after the crash, several motorists rushed in to help the drivers and passengers as commuters drove around the accident.

  • New Mexico to market 'green bonds' for energy conservation

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico plans to issue specialized green bonds as it borrows roughly $12 million to complete efficiency and renewable energy upgrades on a fleet of state buildings in the capital.

    The board of the New Mexico Finance Authority approved the additional borrowing Thursday to help fund improvements to about 30 state agency buildings in Santa Fe. The project upgrades or adds new solar panels, companion battery storage, electrical transformers, doors, windows, and heating and cooling systems.

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Legislature already approved direct state spending of $20 million on the project in efforts to reduce energy costs and limit contributions to climate change.

    The General Services Department expects to reduce its utility costs for the affected buildings by 50%, mainly on electricity, with annual guaranteed savings of $1.1 million written into an agreement with Trane U.S. Inc., a subsidiary of multinational Ingersoll Rand.

    Thursday's decision marks the state's likely entry into a green bond market that can attract socially conscious investors including nonprofits and certain pension funds.

  • County passes $199M budget

    Los Alamos County Council Monday passed a $199 million budget for fiscal year 2020.

    The budget included $10 million in add-ons for many county departments and an annual 3% raise for county employees. 

    Los Alamos County Chair Sara Scott said this was a budget meant to drive infrastructure repair and growth and spur economic development. She said it was a budget that works with the lab to promote housing and recreation opportunities for employees and residents of the county. 

    “These investments also address growth of non-LANL private sector businesses which can supply some support and services to the laboratory, and can continue to provide some level of diversification to the county’s tax base,” Scott said. “It also supports partnering with our neighbors to find mutual, additional and beneficial initiatives that further support the laboratory and the region.” 

  • Jobless rate holds at 5.1%

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico officials say the state’s seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment held steady at 5.1% in March.

    The Workforce Solutions Department said Friday that the unemployment rate remained unchanged from February, while the national unemployment rate fell to 3.9% for March.

    Only Alaska and the District of Columbia have higher unemployment rates .

    During a year ending in March, payroll employment across New Mexico grew by 10,300 jobs or 1.3%. That doesn’t include agricultural work.

  • Pothole project to start

    Weather permitting, Los Alamos County’s Public Works Traffic and Streets Division plans to begin a project to fill in potholes on Trinity Drive next to the Los Alamos Medical Center at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, which will take about one hour to complete. 

    The left turn lane (eastbound turn lane) on Diamond Drive that takes drivers on to Trinity Drive next to the hospital will be closed for one hour at 9:30 a.m. while crews repair potholes. Call Traffic and Streets Division with questions at 662-8113 or email us at LACPW@lacnm.us.

  • Community Winds to perform ‘Flemenco Ole!’ Saturday

    For “ Flemenco Ole! its April concert, the Los Alamos Community Winds dropped a little spice into the repertoire as it features, for at least one tune, a very talented flamenco guitarist from Los Alamos, Marcos Cavalcante. 

    “He’s a virtuoso musician, but he’s a particularly good flamenco guitarist,” Community Winds’ artistic director and conductor Ted Vives said. 

    Calvacante will be featured in Concierto de Aranjuez, by Joachín Rodrigo. 

    “That is a quintessential piece that every guitarist wants to perform,” Vives said. 

    It’s also a piece that many concertgoers will be familiar with  as Concierto de Aranjuez, especially its middle passage, has been featured in a few movies audience members may be familiar with. 

    “It’s an exciting piece if you ask anybody on the street, but they may not know it by name,” Vives said. 

  • Last week to apply for probate judge vacancy

    Applicants interested in filling the probate judge vacancy created by the resignation of Anne Nobile last month are reminded to submit their letter of interest to the county manager’s office no later than 5 p.m. the April 30. 

    The successful applicant will finish Nobile’s term, which will end Dec. 31, 2022. 

    Interested applicants are asked to submit a one- or two-page letter indicating why they would be interested in serving as probate judge. Under State law, any qualified person over the age of 18 who is a resident of Los Alamos County may serve. 

    Letters of interest should be mailed or hand-delivered to County Manager Harry Burgess, Los Alamos County Municipal Building, 1000 Central Ave., Suite 350, Los Alamos, NM 87544 by the deadline.