New Mexico’s Governor Scraps Factory Farm Regulations
According to the New Mexico State Environment Department, more than two-thirds of the groundwater near dairy factory farms is contaminated with nitrates. When looking at all the possible pollutants coming out of dairy factory farms, that figure skyrockets to 90 percent. That’s right, 90 percent of groundwater near dairy factory farms is polluted. This pollution is nothing to scoff at, especially in such a dry state like New Mexico where water is a precious resource.
This environmentally degrading situation is why the New Mexico state legislature passed regulations last year to keep an eye on water pollution from dairy farms. The regulations would have required farms to apply for waste-discharge permits, making sure that farms told the state government how much waste they were emitting and how they were attempting to control their pollution. Now, New Mexico’s new Republican Governor, Susana Martinez, has thrown out all those regulations.
In New Mexico law, new regulations don’t go into effect until they are published in the register. Governor Martinez has simply ordered those responsible not to publish the rules, thereby preventing them from ever actually going into effect. It’s a sneaky way for one person to circumvent years of hard work by all interested parties in this matter. Bruce Frederick, an attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center says that Governor Martinez “is trying to short circuit the process. She’s trying to be above the law.”
Of course throwing out these regulations is a welcome move to the factory farms. Failing to regulate water pollution, however, is bad policy and threatens an important shared natural resource for the entire population of New Mexico. In other words, the dairy industry is threatening everyone’s water and health just so they can avoid a bit of paperwork and get out of doing what’s right. Does that sound like a fair trade-off to you?
We certainly don’t think so. It’s completely unacceptable for Governor Martinez to throw out a carefully crafted policy just so a few factory farms can make more of a profit. Sign this petition asking Governor Martinez not to brashly disregard factory farm regulations. The people of New Mexico deserve clean water.