Sept. 17 First News: EPA Chief On Senate Committee Hot Seat For Colorado Toxic Mine Spill-Listen

Sep 17, 2015

In Washington, some senators are calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to quickly fire or otherwise punish the employees responsible for last month’s mine waste spill in Colorado. The lawmakers were shocked that more than a month after the disaster at the Gold King Mine that leaked three-million gallons of sludge with heavy metals into the Animas River, no one had been punished and no heads had rolled.  ‘The Hill-dot-com’ reports that at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Arizona Senator John McCain asked EPA head Gina McCarthy if anyone has been fired for the spill…. the response to it or the slow notifications of downstream communities and tribes. McCarthy said no one had been fired. McCain, a Republican, showed deep frustration that, although McCarthy took responsibility for the spill on behalf of the EPA, she refused to hold any individual employees accountable. Also, at a meeting of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich expressed concerns about the future. Heinrich says there are hundreds of thousands of other similarly contaminated mines that “literally litter the west and that are leaking toxins into our watersheds.” *****  091615-Heinrich-4 :19***** The Democrat telling the Senate panel that water is the Southwest’s most precious resource. And Heinrich’s New Mexico Senate colleague Tom Udall, told the panel that it’s time for Congress to address the inequities contained in the 1872 Mining Act. *****091615-Udall-2 :18***** Senator Tom Udall.

In Las Cruces this morning, Governor Susana Martinez will address the Domenici Public Policy Conference. Martinez will discuss her administration’s latest efforts to diversify the economy through the state’s first comprehensive energy policy in nearly 25-years and her vision to create a more cohesive higher education system.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary and rising Democratic star Julian Castro will headline a fundraiser for the New Mexico Democratic Party. The party announcing Wednesday that Castro will speak at an Albuquerque dinner event on October 16th. A former San Antonio mayor, Castro is frequently discussed as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2016. President Obama raised Castro's national profile in 2012 when he chose him as the keynote speaker for the Democratic National Convention. Since then, Castro has been a popular speaker at national conferences focusing on minority issues.

A Democratic New Mexico lawmaker who's the latest to be questioned about campaign spending is calling for a review of all finance records filed by elected officials and candidates. Representative James Roger Madalena made the statement Wednesday after it was confirmed that the secretary of state's office was looking into his filings. The veteran legislator from Jemez Pueblo reported spending campaign money on surgery expenses, attire from a Nike factory store and satellite TV service.

A coalition of religious groups and immigrant organizations is holding a vigil in Albuquerque tonight to honor the women walking 100 miles to see Pope Francis. The "Interfaith Vigil for Immigrant Justice and Dignity" will take place in Albuquerque's Barelas neighborhood. The vigil will serve as a "send-off" for four Albuquerque women who will join the Women's Pilgrimage for Migrant Justice. The 100-mile march involving 100 women will walk from the York County Detention Center in Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C., later this month. Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with President Obama and address Congress at the same time and he is expected to bring up the topic of immigration.

The New Mexico Film Office says the digital series "t@gged"—And that’s tagged with an ‘at-sign’ for its letter-A— will be filmed in Santa Fe and Albuquerque from the end of this month through mid-October. The series is the story of three teenage girls who must figure out who tagged them in a disturbing online video of a stranger being shot before the killer comes after them. Film Office officials say that the production will employ at least 60 New Mexico crew members and about 250 local background talent.

Santa Fe’s Youth Works program will be on the receiving end of a more-than one million dollar grant targeting 16-to-24-year olds facing life situations that put them at high-risk of failing to reach educational and career milestones. Congressman Ben Ray Luján announcing the federal funding from the U-S Department of Labor on Wednesday. YouthWorks trains students with a curriculum focused on alternative energy and energy efficiency. Lujan says, quoting: “YouthWorks is doing tremendous work in Santa Fe, giving young people an opportunity to work hard and learn the skills they need to get ahead.”

Santa Fe Weather: Sunny skies today and tomorrow with high-temps in the low 80s. Tonight: Expect partly cloudy skies with the overnight low dipping to 48.