Environment

County delays decision on mine opposed by New Mexico tribes






A view of La Bajada Mesa in New Mexico. Photo from Save La Bajada Mesa

Commissioners in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, once again delayed a decision on a controversial mine opposed by tribes.

Despite holding two lengthy public hearings -- one in June and another one yesterday morning -- followed by a long executive session, commissioners said they will make a decision sometime in the future. The delay drew fire from opponents, who noted that almost no one has spoken in favor of the 50-acre mine atop La Bajada Mesa.

“It’s pretty surprising,” Matthew McQueen, an attorney who represents some of the opponents, told The Albuquerque Journal. “I was expecting a decision in June when they had a hearing that lasted seven hours. I think that’s enough.”

“I am shocked and I am horrified," area resident Diane Senior told The Santa Fe New Mexican. “We deserve a vote. This should not have been taken into a private meeting to discuss. They’ve had two months to consider this.”

Leaders of Cochiti Pueblo, Kewa Pueblo and Tesuque Pueblo spoke against the project. The mine site is closest to Cochiti and Kewa and could impact sacred and sensitive sites.

“To allow something that would benefit so few while scorching Mother Earth is just not acceptable,” Cochiti Pueblo Gov. Joseph Suina said at yesterday's hearing, the Journal reported.

The mine proponents are being represented by attorney Pete Domenici Jr., the son of former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico).

Get the Story:
Still no La Bajada gravel mine decision (The Albuquerque Journal 8/13)
County again tables decision on La Bajada mesa mine (The Santa Fe New Mexican 8/13)