November, 2015

Rachel Conn
Rachel Conn, 
Interim Executive Director 

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Cisco Guevara, 2015
Cisco Guevara, 
President of the Board of Directors

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Casa Baca
Amigos Bravos' Office

Contact Info

Amigos Bravos
P. O. Box 238
105-A Quesnel St.
Taos, NM 87571


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Shannon Romeling, Projects and Foundation Coordinator

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We value your
regarding all aspects
of our work !

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Snowflower Romero
Snowflower Romero, Membership Assistant

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Would you like to
support the 
of the cultural and
ecological richness
New Mexico's

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Peggy Nelson
Peggy Nelson,
Vice President of the Board of Directors

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Christian LeJeune
Christian LeJeune, 
Urban Waters Coordinator

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Join our efforts
by becoming a
or making a
contribution to
Amigos Bravos

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New Mexico Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards - Hearings Complete
The Clean Water Act requires that states hold a public hearing every three years to review and modify its Surface Water Quality Standards. Amigos Bravos fully participated in this lengthy process and performed outreach to support public participation in the 2015 New Mexico Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards.
We completed our preparation work for the Triennial Review and fully participated in the Hearings that took place from October 13-16th, 2015. 

One of eight Communities for Clean Water Youth Council Members who provided public comments at the Triennial Review Hearing. A total of 28 people provided their comments as a result of our outreach efforts.

Amigos Bravos, through the preparation and presentation of our pro-clean water technical case, our cross examination the other parties dirty water proposals and public testimony generated through our outreach and trainings, ensured that a proceeding, which would have been otherwise completely dominated by industry interests, had a strong public interest voice. 
Continued work will involve reviewing the transcript of the proceeding and submitting our closing arguments and final statement of basis to support our pro clean water proposals and counter the dirty water proposals from the various industry groups. We will know the results of the Triennial Review process in the Spring of 2016.

Carson National Forest Plan - Comments Submitted for Nov. 20 Deadline

The Carson National Forest is developing a new Forest Plan, the guiding document for managing the forest's water, wildlife habitat, and wildlands for the next 15 -20 years. The plan also guides where energy development, mining, and logging will be allowed. Almost 30 years old, the Carson's current management plan is inadequate in terms of addressing today's environmental stresses, like climate change. Amigos Bravos has been working to ensure that the Forest Service hear from people who believe conserving and protecting the Forest water resources is a priority in this planning process. The plan revision process is expected to take a couple of years, and include many steps with the goal of a final plan being released in September 2017. 

One of the first phases of the Forest Plan development process is the scoping period. While the recommended deadline for submitting scoping comments has passed, the Forest Service will still accept comments for several more weeks. Please click here http://amigosbravos.org/take_action/letter/26 to send in a comment of your own. Make sure to add a personalized message or story about how you use and love the Carson Forest before you hit send! 

Amigos Bravos joined with Western Environmental Law Center to submit detailed scoping comments. To read our comments please click HERE.

A key component of Amigos Bravos' comments focused on the importance of wetlands to downstream ecosystems and communities. Wetlands are the sponges of our watersheds. They soak up flood waters and snow melt and then release these waters over time, providing crucial flow during dry times of the year. They also serve to stabilize water supplies, lessening the extreme effects of floods, drought and fire. Wetlands are critical to the food chain and biodiversity - a significant percentage of terrestrial animals use wetlands for a portion of their lifecycle. 

Unfortunately, many wetlands on the Forest are suffering. Impacts from climate change, roads, off road vehicle use, and ungulate grazing (cows, deer and elk) all contribute to wetland degradation. These stressors cause erosion in the form of headcuts and channelization that result in the draining of wetland systems. As a result, many of the Forest wetlands are drying up and are being encroached upon by dry land woody species. As wetlands dry up, they lose their ability to act as sponges and no longer provide ecosystems functions like wildlife habitat, stream flow maintenance and flood control. 

Amigos Bravos, working with Western Environmental Law Center and GIS and wetland consultants, analyzed, prioritized, and mapped wetlands in the Carson National Forest. Wetlands in Forest were ranked based on nine priority wetland conditions that were chosen to highlight wetlands that serve important functions for creating and maintaining ecosystem resiliency. Examples of priority conditions include ability to maintain coldwater stream flow, provide flood control, and serve as carbon sequestration sinks were prioritized. After all wetlands in the forest were ranked based on these priority attributes, eight "Wetland Gems" were identified for protection and restoration priority. We are asking the Forest Service to designate these Wetland Gems as Special Designated Areas in the new Carson Forest Plan. To view our Wetland Gem proposal click here http://amigosbravos.org/on-the-ground-restoration

The Rise of the Zombie Mine - Public Hearing Set for Mt Taylor Uranium Mine 

On December 4th, the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division will hold a public hearing to hear input about whether Rio Grande Resources' (RGR) Mt. Taylor Uranium Mine can move from "standby" to "active" status. The mine has been closed since 1992 and has had four standby permits. During this time RGR has not been required to reclaim the area or protect our ground water. Now RGR has submitted a request to restart this Zombie Mine. Amigos Bravos and our partners contend that this request is simply a ploy to get around the New Mexico Mining Law that doesn't require reclamation until the mine closes. 

The Public Hearing will be held on Friday December 4th at 10am at the Cibola County Offices, 515 West High Street, Grants, New Mexico. Please attend if you are able! If you are not able to attend, but would like to send a written comment, please click here: http://amigosbravos.org/take_action/letter/27 

Amigos Bravos and the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) will present testimony at the hearing on the impacts from pollution to our communities from the Mt. Taylor Mine and the fact that the price of uranium is currently insufficient (by RGR's own admission) to sustain operations. There will be an opportunity for public testimony as well. 

A subsidiary of General Atomics, RGR's Mt. Taylor Mine has not produced an ounce of uranium since 1990. The operator has repeatedly received standby permits since the passage of New Mexico's Mining Act. During this time the infrastructure and waste piles have gone unreclaimed. Despite documented groundwater contamination at the mine, and no prospects for renewed production, the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division has continued to grant the mine "standby" status thus allowing RGR to avoid reclamation requirements. Amigos Bravos and MASE have pushed back both before the New Mexico Mining Commission and in the New Mexico courts against this continued granting of standby status. It now appears RGR is trying another avenue to avoid cleaning up their mess by applying for active status despite there being no real possibility for active mining. Every credible source indicates that current uranium production will satisfy demand for years to come and that there is not a market for Mt. Taylor uranium. Amigos Bravos and our partners are calling on the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division to require RGR to start cleaning up their mess and start creating real jobs right now by immediately initiating reclamation activities.