New Mexico Mining Association – News Release (04/10/2013)
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New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission Votes Unanimously to Proceed With Proposed Copper Mining Rules Hearing
SANTA FE, NM –The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) voted unanimously Tuesday, to deny two separate motions to remand and dismiss the current hearing to update the existing rules and regulations relating to copper mining in the state of New Mexico.
“We are pleased by the decision of the Commissioners this morning to proceed with this hearing to review the proposed copper rules,” said Mike Bowen, executive director of the New Mexico Mining Association (NMMA). “The New Mexico Environment Department’s proposed copper mining rules represent an important step forward and much-needed improvement over the current ad-hoc, inconsistent permitting process to determine the measures needed to protect ground water quality.
The NMMA applauds the Commissioners for showing support for these important and necessary amendments to the State’s 50-year-old ground water quality regulations,” continued Bowen. “The new rules will provide a level of predictability, objectivity and certainty that can only help the mining industry plan for the future and prosper for years to come. This is good news for many families in New Mexico relying on the mining industry to continue employing a stable work force.”
These new rules are required because of legislative changes to the New Mexico Water Quality Act. In 2009, the New Mexico legislature amended the Water Quality Act to require the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) to adopt specific rules for the copper mining industry. The rules must specify the measures to be taken to prevent water pollution and to monitor water quality. The purpose of the rules is to provide the copper mining industry with clearly defined requirements for preventing ground water and surface water pollution and to ensure consistent regulatory compliance rather than determining requirements on a case-by-case basis.
Since January of 2012, NMED has conducted extensive technical and advisory group meetings with representatives of industry, federal and state government agencies, experts from academic institutions and environmental groups to seek input in the development and the content of the proposed copper mining rules. These meetings were conducted in accordance with a schedule approved by the WQCC and entailed extensive discussions and collaboration among a very diverse group of interests. A draft of the proposed copper mining rules recommended by the NMED was made available to the public on September 13, 2012.
About New Mexico Mining Association (NMMA)
The New Mexico Mining Association is committed to advancing the mineral resources and related industries in New Mexico and to protect New Mexico’s environment. The NMMA serves as a spokesman for the mining industry in New Mexico and works to keep the industry informed on pending legislation. For more information visit www.nmmining.org.