New Mexico's federal employees sidelined by the government shutdown have been assured they will receive any back pay owed them. Such an assurance can only be made by an act of Congress and New Mexico representative Michele Lujan Grisham co-sponsored such legislation that passed the House unanimously Saturday. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan also sent a letter to the Department of Energy Secretary that stresses that retroactive pay is intended for all federally-contracted workers at both the state’s two National Laboratories.
In today's feature items, we speak with PNM about the energy resources they're putting forward as replacements once they de-commission two of the San Juan Generating Station's four coal-fired units. The Santa Fe's energy specialist joins us to talk about next week's climate change presentation at Santa Fe Community College. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
Electric utility PNM appears at the Public Regulation Commission this morning to present a summary of its power planning supply. PNM is preparing ecision to de-commission two of its four coal-fired units at the San Juan Generating Station by 2018, representing 340 megawatts of power. PNM’s current analysis has them proposing a mix of energy sources; 40 megawatts derived from solar, 177 megawatts from gas and 134 megawatts of nuclear power from the Palo Verde Nuclear Facility in Arizona.
In today's features, we catch up with Congressman Ben Ray Luján as the impasse over the federal budget and the shutdown of government endures a 3rd day. We also hear about a new environmental study on the deleterious effects of fracking in New Mexico. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
A just-released federal audit of the Los Alamos Laboratory faults its radioactive waste treatment operation for cost overruns and missed deadlines. Back in 2004, the facility was to be rebuilt over a five year period. The report cites that though some 56 million-dollars has already been spent in preparation, no actual work has begun. It's now thought that the project is unlikely to be finished until 2020 at well more than double the initial cost estimates. The Department of Energy says the project is just one example among many indicating management inefficiencies at LANL.
In today's features after our local news: Downtown Santa Fe will soon have six new monitoring wells drilled to determine to what extent underground contaminants may be lurking or on the move. We also speak with our state's Tourism Secretary about Balloon Fiesta's major role in New Mexico's annual take of tourist dollars. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
New wells are to be drilled in downtown Santa Fe to check for groundwater contamination. The Journal Santa Fe says the City will work with the state Environment Department on the project with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. A decades-old underground petroleum plume was found some years ago as construction began on downtown's new county courthouse. More recently, workers at the Public Education Dept. building have complained of exposure to contaminants in basement offices.
In today's features: A conversation with Dr. JR Damron, chair of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange on this first day of enrollment. And a talk with Fred Nathan, executive director of Santa Fe-based Think New Mexico. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
Congressman Ben Ray Luján is decrying the federal government shutdown forced by Republican resistance to the nation's Affordable Care Act. Luján's statement says in part, "The longer the Tea Party shutdown lasts, the longer the people of New Mexico will pay the price." Effects of the shutdown will be felt immediately here in New Mexico with its many military installations as half of all federal civilian employees are furloughed. Kirtland Air Force Base alone has more than 37-hundred federal civilian workers.
In today's features after our local news: The state's Human Services Department is rolling out its multi-million dollar new communications system. And Albuquerque's Eclipse Aerospace, the reincarnation of the collapsed Eclipse Aviation, is enjoying good and growing success. These stories and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
Starting tomorrow, New Mexico individuals and small businesses can start shopping for health insurance using the state's new health insurance exchange that offers a variety of plans. Enrollment can be accomplished online, by telephone or in person at about 160 locations across the state. Although the uninsured are the main target of the exchange, it's available to others as well. Coverage will begin in January--in the meantime, individuals who buy their own insurance can go to the exchange to look for a range of options. The exchange's website is: NMHIX.com.
In today's features after local news: A continuation of KSFR's interview with Santa Fe County's Katherine Miller and Adam Leigland. We also hear about accreditation at UNM's Cancer Center. And the street drug Ecstasy is making a comeback in New Mexico. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
Five Santa Feans have been arrested on a 16-count federal indictment charging them with oxycodone trafficking offenses. The charges against the defendants are the result of “Operation High Desert Bash,” an investigation initiated in January 2013 by the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad in Albuquerque and the Santa Fe Police Department. If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a one-million dollar fine on each of the oxycodone charges. All five are scheduled to make their initial appearances in Albuquerque federal court this morning.
Among today's many features:A conversation about a Legislative Finance Committee audit report on the efficacy of pre-K efforts in New Mexico. A healthy flow in the Santa Fe River is the result of several factors. And Santa Fe County Manager Katherine Miller speaks to KSFR about a number of topics of local importance. Those items and more plus 60 Seconds with Christopher Hagen.
State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez is calling for Human Services Department Secretary Sidonie Squier’s resignation. Sanchez says Squier’s written response to a Draft Hunger Task Force report shows a lack of understanding of both her job and the people she serves. After reading the report, Squier wrote in an email that there has never been any significant evidence of hunger in New Mexico nor is there any at present. Squier says the focus should instead be on providing proper nutrition to citizens and that expanding government food programs is not productive.