0n December 22, 2008 a 'storage pond' dam broke in Harriman, TN flooding the Tennessee River Valley with over 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge. What wasn't known at the time of this man-made disaster is how many more Coal Ash dump sites exist in the U.S.A. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club the EPA released a list of 584 coal ash dump sites across the country. 35 states, including New Mexico, have coal ash dumps containing arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxins.
What: 1st International IFOAM Conference on Organic Animal and Plant Breeding Where: Santa Fe Convention Center, Sante Fe, NM, USA When: August 25-28, 2009
The Conference Opening Ceremony and Reception on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 7 pm, are open to the public at $10 per person. Keynote speakers include New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Miley Gonzalez and Indian food activist Vandana Shiva.
For a state with so much solar potential, New Mexico has realized very little actual solar power. PNM (the major electrical utility in NM) currently has about 1.4 megawatts of solar PV capacity, almost all of which is owned by individual customers. PNM owns two solar facilities, a 25kW solar PV system located in Algodones and a 5kW system in Aztec. With so little solar photovoltaic power in place, PNM's most recent proposal to limit privately-owned, grid-tied solar PV systems has the Renewable Energy Industry Association of New Mexico (REIA-NM) concerned.
What: Native Plant Day, promoted by the Native Plant Society of New Mexico. When: All day Saturday, August 15th Where: Agua Fría Nursery, Payne's Nurseries, Santa Fe Greenhouses, and Plants of the Southwest
Fairtrade, 100% Organic, All Natural, Salmon Safe, CSA Sustainable Forest Management. All of those sound great and are the sort of labels that many of us look for on the food and other products we buy. But, what do all of those labels REALLY mean? Food labeled USDA Organic is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. On the other hand, a, 'All Natural' label doesn't mean much at all.
Could New Mexico be on the path of a new High-Speed Rail Corridor running from Texas to Colorado? Imagine being able to take a bullet train from El Paso, TX north to Denver, CO with stops in between at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Colorado Springs. You could catch a dedicated, high-speed passenger train instead of spending hours driving by car or trying to book a flight that doesn't connect through Phoenix, Dallas or even further away.
Colorado has just begun a new program to allow rainwater harvesting. Strangely enough, due to the complexities of Colorado's water laws, it had been illegal to catch and hold the rain that fell on your roof! On June 2, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed the rain water collection bill into law. While there are many restrictions as to who can harvest the rain in Colorado, it is definitely a good step towards sustainability. Congratulations Colorado, starting July 1st you will no longer have to hide your rain barrels! Next, we have to work on Utah.
Ever wonder what is REALLY in your water? If you drink water from a private well, you should test that water to find out. Santa Fe County, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), the City of Santa Fe, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and the Good Water Company to jointly test private domestic water wells June 23 through 25 at no charge to residents or owners. Water tests will include field and laboratory analyses for approximately 50 chemical parameters, including nitrate, fluoride, heavy metals including uranium, and organic vapor such as from gasoline and degreasing solvent.
If the individual and idiosyncratic people of Santa Fe have a universal sport, it is hiking. Trail hiking is the simplest and most direct way to explore the mountains and arroyos that surround The City Different. Of course, A Walk in the Woods is also a superb way to escape (often with your dog) the paved confines of the city. Conveniently, you can celebrate America's 200,000 miles of trails (with a friend) this Saturday, June 6, 2009 at a National Trails Day celebration.