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[l] at 7/13/24 7:39pm
President Joe Biden gives brief remarks from Rehoboth Beach, Del., on Saturday, July 13, 2024, on the shooting at Donald Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania. (Screenshot from White House livestream)WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden denounced political violence during brief remarks Saturday night after a shooting abruptly ended a campaign rally that Donald Trump was holding in Pennsylvania and injured the former president. Biden declined to say if the incident, which is under investigation by the Secret Service, was an assassination attempt. “I have an opinion, but I don’t have any facts,” Biden said, speaking from the Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, police department, near his vacation home there. “So I want to make sure we have all the facts before I make some comment.” Biden said he hadn’t spoken to Trump yet, but that he hoped to talk with him by phone soon. “I have tried to get a hold of Donald. He’s with his doctors. Apparently he’s doing well,” Biden said. “I plan on talking to him shortly. I hope when I get back to the telephone.” Trump on social media Trump posted on social media after Biden’s remarks concluded that he wanted to offer “condolences to the family of the person at the Rally who was killed, and also to the family of another person that was badly injured.” “It is incredible that such an act can take place in our Country,” Trump wrote. “Nothing is known at this time about the shooter, who is now dead.” Trump added that he was “shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear.” “I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin,” Trump wrote. “Much bleeding took place, so I realized then what was happening.” ‘We cannot condone this’ Biden said during his public comments the type of violence that took place during the rally was unacceptable and should never happen. “There is no place in America for this kind of violence. It’s sick,” Biden said. “It’s one of the reasons why we have to unite this country. We cannot allow for this to be happening. We cannot be like this. We cannot condone this.” Trump, he said, should have been able to have the rally without any violence. “The idea that there’s political violence or violence in America like this is just unheard of, it’s just not appropriate,” Biden said. “Everybody must condemn it.” Vice President Kamala Harris also issued a statement saying she had been briefed on the incident. “Doug and I are relieved that he is not seriously injured. We are praying for him, his family, and all those who have been injured and impacted by this senseless shooting,” she said of Trump. “Violence such as this has no place in our nation,” Harris wrote. “We must all condemn this abhorrent act and do our part to ensure that it does not lead to more violence.” GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX SUBSCRIBE The post Biden says ‘no place for this kind of violence in America’ after shooting at Trump rally appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: DC Bureau, Election 2024, Donald Trump, President Joe Biden]

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[l] at 7/13/24 6:34pm
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is rushed offstage by U.S. Secret Service agents after being grazed by an apparent bullet during a rally on July 13, 2024 in Butler, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images)WASHINGTON — Members of Congress rejected political violence Saturday after a shooting at Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Pennsylvania left at least one rallygoer dead and forced the Secret Service to rush the former president off stage. Local authorities confirmed the shooter was killed, according to The Associated Press. The shooting at a crowded outdoor rally in Butler, just an hour outside Pittsburgh, occurred less than 48 hours before the Republican National Convention is set to begin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Trump is expected to become the party’s official presidential nominee on Thursday. Video footage of the rally shows Trump bringing his hand to the right side of his face and ducking down behind the podium just after several gunshots and screams were heard. U.S. Secret Service agents huddled around the former president and raced him off the stage as he reached out to pump his fist in the air toward the crowd. Trump campaign spokesman Steve Cheung issued a statement shortly after that the former president is “fine” and that he thanked law enforcement. ‘Praying for President Trump’ Members of Congress from both political parties uniformly condemned violence in a wave of social media posts and official statements. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, posted on social media that he was “Praying for President Trump.” “Kelly and I are praying for President Trump and all the attendees of the campaign rally today in Pennsylvania, and we send our gratitude to the law enforcement who responded at the scene,” Johnson wrote. “I have been briefed by law enforcement and am continuing to monitor the developments,” Johnson added. “This horrific act of political violence at a peaceful campaign rally has no place in this country and should be unanimously and forcefully condemned.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, released a written statement saying that he was “horrified by what happened at the Trump rally in Pennsylvania and relieved that former President Trump is safe.” “Political violence has no place in our country,” Schumer wrote. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, wrote on social media that “all Americans are grateful that President Trump appears to be fine after a despicable attack on a peaceful rally.” “Violence has no place in our politics,” McConnell wrote. “We appreciate the swift work of the Secret Service and other law enforcement.” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, wrote on social media that his “thoughts and prayers are with former President Trump.” “I am thankful for the decisive law enforcement response,” Jeffries wrote. “America is a democracy. Political violence of any kind is never acceptable.” Members of Congress react with horror Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania issued a statement that he was monitoring the situation that unfolded in Western Pennsylvania. “(A)nd I’ve reached out (to) the State Police to offer support. Political violence is never acceptable and I am hoping former president Trump & all attendees are safe. Everyone in Butler should listen to law enforcement,” Casey wrote on social media. Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, whose wife Gabby Giffords, a former congresswoman, was shot in 2011 at an event, posted that they were both “horrified.” “Gabby and I are horrified by the incident in Pennsylvania,” Kelly wrote. “No one should ever have to experience political violence — we know that firsthand. We’re keeping former President Trump, his family, and everyone involved in our thoughts.” Giffords wrote on her own social media feed that “Political violence is terrifying. I know.” “I’m holding former President Trump, and all those affected by today’s indefensible act of violence in my heart. Political violence is un-American and is never acceptable — never,” Giffords wrote. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, wrote on social media that “(p)olitical violence is despicable, and there is no place for it in America.” “I’m grateful that former President Trump is safe, and to the law enforcement officials who risked their lives to take action” Peters wrote. “I will continue to closely monitor this developing situation.” Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins wrote on social media that she was “very relieved that President Trump appears to be OK; however, this violence is absolutely appalling.” “Thank God for the Secret Service and first responders who hurried President Trump out of harm’s way,” Collins wrote. Quick response Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, commended the quick response of Secret Service agents and other authorities on the scene. “My thoughts and prayers are with former President Donald Trump and his family after hearing news of a shooting at his campaign rally today,” DeLauro of Connecticut posted on social media. House Republican Mike Turner of Ohio, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement saying “As the situation unfolds in Butler, Pennsylvania, I urge everyone to join me in praying for President Trump and our country.” House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York wrote on social media that “AMERICA IS PRAYING! GOD BLESS PRESIDENT TRUMP! #SAVEAMERICA,” “I’m praying for President Trump. I hope everyone will join me,” former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy wrote on X. “Jacquie and I are praying for President Trump and all of the attendees at today’s rally. President Trump is a proven warrior who has overcome adversity time and time again. He will rise above this horrifying situation stronger than ever,” House Republican Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota posted. Former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, an outspoken critic of Trump and ranking member of the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, said news of the shooting was “horrifying.” “Violence of any kind has no place in American politics. We are grateful for the reaction of Secret Service and other law enforcement and pray for the former president and all those injured,” Cheney wrote on social media. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on social media saying he was “shocked by the apparent attack on President Trump.” “We pray for his safety and speedy recovery,” the leader of the U.S. ally said. The post Members of Congress condemn violence after shots fired at Trump rally appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: DC Bureau, Election 2024, 2024 election, Donald Trump, Trump shooting]

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[l] at 7/13/24 6:34pm
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is rushed offstage by U.S. Secret Service agents after being grazed by an apparent bullet during a rally on July 13, 2024 in Butler, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images)WASHINGTON — Members of Congress rejected political violence Saturday after a shooting at Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Pennsylvania left at least one rallygoer dead and forced the Secret Service to rush the former president off stage. Local authorities confirmed the shooter was killed, according to The Associated Press. The shooting at a crowded outdoor rally in Butler, just an hour outside Pittsburgh, occurred less than 48 hours before the Republican National Convention is set to begin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Trump is expected to become the party’s official presidential nominee on Thursday. Video footage of the rally shows Trump bringing his hand to the right side of his face and ducking down behind the podium just after several gunshots and screams were heard. U.S. Secret Service agents huddled around the former president and raced him off the stage as he reached out to pump his fist in the air toward the crowd. Trump campaign spokesman Steve Cheung issued a statement shortly after that the former president is “fine” and that he thanked law enforcement. ‘Praying for President Trump’ Members of Congress from both political parties uniformly condemned violence in a wave of social media posts and official statements. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, posted on social media that he was “Praying for President Trump.” “Kelly and I are praying for President Trump and all the attendees of the campaign rally today in Pennsylvania, and we send our gratitude to the law enforcement who responded at the scene,” Johnson wrote. “I have been briefed by law enforcement and am continuing to monitor the developments,” Johnson added. “This horrific act of political violence at a peaceful campaign rally has no place in this country and should be unanimously and forcefully condemned.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, released a written statement saying that he was “horrified by what happened at the Trump rally in Pennsylvania and relieved that former President Trump is safe.” “Political violence has no place in our country,” Schumer wrote. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, wrote on social media that “all Americans are grateful that President Trump appears to be fine after a despicable attack on a peaceful rally.” “Violence has no place in our politics,” McConnell wrote. “We appreciate the swift work of the Secret Service and other law enforcement.” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, wrote on social media that his “thoughts and prayers are with former President Trump.” “I am thankful for the decisive law enforcement response,” Jeffries wrote. “America is a democracy. Political violence of any kind is never acceptable.” Members of Congress react with horror Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania issued a statement that he was monitoring the situation that unfolded in Western Pennsylvania. “(A)nd I’ve reached out (to) the State Police to offer support. Political violence is never acceptable and I am hoping former president Trump & all attendees are safe. Everyone in Butler should listen to law enforcement,” Casey wrote on social media. Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, whose wife Gabby Giffords, a former congresswoman, was shot in 2011 at an event, posted that they were both “horrified.” “Gabby and I are horrified by the incident in Pennsylvania,” Kelly wrote. “No one should ever have to experience political violence — we know that firsthand. We’re keeping former President Trump, his family, and everyone involved in our thoughts.” Giffords wrote on her own social media feed that “Political violence is terrifying. I know.” “I’m holding former President Trump, and all those affected by today’s indefensible act of violence in my heart. Political violence is un-American and is never acceptable — never,” Giffords wrote. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, wrote on social media that “(p)olitical violence is despicable, and there is no place for it in America.” “I’m grateful that former President Trump is safe, and to the law enforcement officials who risked their lives to take action” Peters wrote. “I will continue to closely monitor this developing situation.” Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins wrote on social media that she was “very relieved that President Trump appears to be OK; however, this violence is absolutely appalling.” “Thank God for the Secret Service and first responders who hurried President Trump out of harm’s way,” Collins wrote. Quick response Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, commended the quick response of Secret Service agents and other authorities on the scene. “My thoughts and prayers are with former President Donald Trump and his family after hearing news of a shooting at his campaign rally today,” DeLauro of Connecticut posted on social media. House Republican Mike Turner of Ohio, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement saying “As the situation unfolds in Butler, Pennsylvania, I urge everyone to join me in praying for President Trump and our country.” House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York wrote on social media that “AMERICA IS PRAYING! GOD BLESS PRESIDENT TRUMP! #SAVEAMERICA,” “I’m praying for President Trump. I hope everyone will join me,” former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy wrote on X. “Jacquie and I are praying for President Trump and all of the attendees at today’s rally. President Trump is a proven warrior who has overcome adversity time and time again. He will rise above this horrifying situation stronger than ever,” House Republican Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota posted. Former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, an outspoken critic of Trump and ranking member of the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, said news of the shooting was “horrifying.” “Violence of any kind has no place in American politics. We are grateful for the reaction of Secret Service and other law enforcement and pray for the former president and all those injured,” Cheney wrote on social media. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on social media saying he was “shocked by the apparent attack on President Trump.” “We pray for his safety and speedy recovery,” the leader of the U.S. ally said. The post Members of Congress condemn violence after shots seemingly fired at Trump rally appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: DC Bureau, Election 2024, 2024 election, Donald Trump, Trump shooting]

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[l] at 7/13/24 6:22pm
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is shown covered by U.S. Secret Service agents after an incident during a rally on July 13, 2024 in Butler, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images)BUTLER — Former President Donald Trump is recovering Saturday after a shooting at a campaign rally in Butler that left a rally-goer and the gunman dead, authorities said. Two people were critically injured in the incident, according to the U.S. Secret Service. Shortly after Trump took the stage at about 6 p.m., several loud pops could be heard, and Secret Service agents whisked him off the stage, blood visible on his face. Trump briefly pumped his fist at the crowd before he left the stage. Video from the incident appeared to show Trump reacting to something hitting his ear. Saturday’s event was to be Trump’s final campaign rally before he formally accepts the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination at next week’s Republican National Convention. Trump posted to his verified account on the Truth Social platform at 8:42 p.m. and appeared to confirm he was shot. “I want to thank The United States Secret Service, and all of Law Enforcement, for their rapid response on the shooting that just took place in Butler, Pennsylvania. Most importantly, I want to extend my condolences to the family of the person at the Rally who was killed, and also to the family of another person that was badly injured,” Trump wrote. “It is incredible that such an act can take place in our Country. Nothing is known at this time about the shooter, who is now dead. I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear. I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin. Much bleeding took place, so I realized then what was happening. GOD BLESS AMERICA! Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is rushed offstage during a rally on July 13, 2024 in Butler, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images) Anthony Guglielmi, Chief of Communications for the U.S. Secret Service released a statement to reporters shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday: “During Former President Trump’s campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, on the evening of July 13 at approximately 6:15 p.m., a suspected shooter fired multiple shots toward the stage from an elevated position outside of the rally venue. U.S. Secret Service personnel neutralized the shooter, who is now deceased. U.S. Secret Service quickly responded with protective measures and Former President Trump is safe. One spectator was killed, and two spectators were critically injured. This incident is currently under investigation. and the Secret Service has notified the FBI.” Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger said on CNN that he shooter was “outside of the grounds, so to speak. Quite frankly I don’t know how he would have gotten to the location he was … we’re gonna have to figure out how he got there.” President Joe Biden condemned the shooting in a brief statement from Delaware “There’s no place in America for this kind of violence,” Biden said. “It’s sick, it’s one of the reasons we have to unite this country,” he added. “We cannot allow for this to be happening. We cannot be like this, we cannot condone this.” Biden said he had tried to contact Trump, and said that the former president was with his doctors and appeared to be doing well. “FBI personnel are on the scene in Butler County, Pennsylvania and the FBI will continue to work jointly with the U.S. Secret Service as the investigation moves forward,” FBI Pittsburgh Public Affairs Officer Bradford Arick told the Capital-Star in an email. Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Bertha Cazy told the Capital-Star in an email “The Pennsylvania State Police has Troopers on scene assisting the Secret Service in various capacities. All other questions should be directed to the U.S. Secret Service, the agency handling the investigation.” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told reporters Saturday “President Trump thanks law enforcement and first responders for their quick action during this heinous act. He is fine and is being checked out at a local medical facility. More details will follow.” Gov. Josh Shapiro said on social media he had been briefed on the situation and that Pennsylvania State Police were on the scene working with federal and local partners. “Violence targeted at any political party or political leaders is absolutely unacceptable,” Shapiro wrote. “It has no place in Pennsylvania or the United States.” GOP U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick, who spoke at the rally before Trump, told Fox News there were a number of shots, and Secret Service agents attended to Trump. He said it was hard to tell where the shots came from, but that he heard seven or eight shots. “And then, sadly, someone behind me, up in the bleachers was definitely wounded, and there was a lot of blood. And, you know, the police came in and helped carry that person out of the stands so they could get the care they needed. I’m not sure if others were injured or not, if at all, ” he said, describing the scene as “very chaotic.” McCormick said he was sitting in the front row to Trump’s right as he was facing the crowd. “I couldn’t tell whether it was one gun or two, but there were seven or eight shots, just one right, one right after another.” U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa) said he was monitoring the situation at the rally and had reached out to State Police to offer support. “Political violence is never acceptable and I am hoping former President Trump and all attendees are safe. Everyone in Butler should listen to law enforcement,” Casey posted to social media. U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-16th District), who also spoke at the rally, called the shooting an “attack from the left,” in a Facebook post, adding that he and his family were safe “and we are praying for Mr. Trump and everyone involved.” Ian Karbal of the Capital-Star staff contributed. This is a breaking story that will be updated. Our earlier coverage continues below. Speakers at the event ahead of Trump included representatives from the oil and gas industries, the mayor of Slippery Rock, and Sean Parnell, a former GOP candidate for U.S. Senate who received Trump’s endorsement, but suspended his campaign in 2021 after his then-wife testified he had abused her and their children. U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-9th District) who took the stage to AC-DC’s “Thunderstruck” told the audience Trump “will deliver on his promises. Our border will be secure. He will end the gas backwards energy policy of the Biden administration and in Pennsylvania, natural gas will flow again. We will make manufacturing great again by being the most competitive place in the world to build things.” U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-16th District), whose district includes Butler, pointed to Biden’s debate performance as evidence that “the media has been lying to us” about the president’s health. “Have you ever heard the term ‘playing through the whistle?’ Playing it through the whistle means you keep on playing, you keep on doing what you have to do to win,” Kelly said. “You keep on going to make sure you don’t lose. But I want to give you a different version: We’d better play it through the echo of the whistle. Playing through the whistle isn’t enough, not with this crew that we’re fighting against right now.” GOP U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick, who is challenging three-term incumbent Bob Casey, reiterated his claims that Casey votes with Biden 98% of the time.  “I like to say Punxsutawney, because it reminds me of Punxsutawney, Bob, Bob Casey, that is who only comes out of his hole once every six years,” McCormick said. “The lack of leadership, lack of moral clarity, an economy where 60% of Pennsylvanians are living paycheck to paycheck, and prices are up by more than 20% and is the result of the terrible, flawed policies of Joe Biden, the spending Bob Casey supported it every step of the way,” he added. McCormick repeated another familiar highlight of his campaign stump speech, pointing to the fentanyl crisis. “For those of you who are Vietnam vets, we lost 53,000 veterans in eight years of war. We had two Vietnams last year in the United States from fentanyl,” he said. “This is a war against us.” McCormick also referenced Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained in Russia in 2023, and Oakmont resident Marc Fogel, a teacher detained in Russia in 2021. Fogel’s mother said earlier in the week she was going to seek Trump’s help in securing her son’s release. “We need leadership that’s going to stand up and bring Pennsylvanian Mark Fogel home to Pennsylvania, home to America. That’s what leaders do. That’s what a commander in chief does,” McCormick said. The Democratic National Committee rolled out a billboard in Butler to greet Trump on Saturday that jabs at the former president’s economic record. The billboard, with the words “Donald Trump was a disaster for Pennsylvania,” will be located at the end of the Pullman Viaduct, about 10 minutes away from the Butler Farm Show. “Pennsylvania voters remember Trump’s failures and know exactly how much is at stake in November,” DNC spokesperson Addy Toevs said in a statement. “That’s why they’ll reject Trump and his Project 2025 agenda, and once again send President Biden to the White House.” As Trump rallied in western Pennsylvania on Saturday, first lady Jill Biden was also in the region to attend an Italian Sons and Daughters of America dinner in Pittsburgh. And in the eastern half of the commonwealth, Vice President Kamala Harris was in Philadelphia to deliver the keynote address at the Asian Pacific Islander American Vote Presidential Town Hall on Saturday. Saturday’s appearance in the Keystone State is Trump’s fifth visit to Pennsylvania this year, but his first in the western half of the commonwealth. Trump has made two 2024 appearances in Philadelphia, once for a rally on Temple University’s campus, and to deliver brief remarks at Sneaker Con in February. He also held a rally in the Lehigh Valley in April, and delivered a keynote address to a National Rifle Association gathering in Harrisburg in February. “Donald Trump can take his twice-impeached, 34-time convicted, vowed-to-be-dictator-on-day-one, consumed by revenge, serial liar, Project 2025 self out of Pennsylvania and go back to his Mar-a-Lago golf course,” Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Austin Davis said in a statement Saturday. “After he destroyed our economy, screwed over workers, and called for the ‘termination’ of the Constitution written in our state, Pennsylvania voters will send him packing in November. Again.” Butler is a reliably red county where Trump won by double digits in the 2016 and 2020 general elections. Trump’s rally in Butler a few days before the 2020 presidential election was well-attended, although there were transportation issues for those attempting to exit the rally. President Joe Biden has also been no stranger to Pennsylvania, making ten appearances the state so far, mostly in the southeast. Biden campaigned through the state last Sunday, appearing at a traditionally Black church in Northwest Philadelphia, and speaking to supporters in Philadelphia and Harrisburg. As of Saturday morning, 18 Democrats serving in the U.S. House and one serving in the U.S. Senate have called on Biden to not seek the Democratic Party nomination, following his poor debate performance in late June, amid questions about whether he can beat Trump in November. Biden has repeatedly said he does not plan to drop out of the race, reiterating his position at a rally in Michigan on Friday, where he was greeted with chants of “don’t you quit” and “we got your back,” from a crowd at Renaissance High School in Detroit. “You made me the nominee, no one else — not the press, not the pundits, not the insiders, not donors,” Biden told the audience. “You, the voters. You decided. No one else. And I’m not going anywhere.” Support for the president Pennsylvania Democrats have largely remained behind the Scranton native. Gov. Josh Shapiro, who has been mentioned as a potential candidate for president or vice president should Biden step aside, has remained committed to Biden’s 2024 bid. U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) has also emerged as a key campaign surrogate for Biden. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is seeking a fourth term in office, has also stood by Biden’s side, while other Democrats in battleground states have distanced themselves from him. On Friday, speaking to reporters after an event in Darlington Township, Beaver County, Casey reiterated his support for Biden, saying it had not changed. “I think we’re going to have a unified party between now and November,” Casey said. “This is a difficult period, but we’ll get there. But you know where I stand.” McCormick has blasted the three-term senator for continuing to support Biden. His campaign put up billboards in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton this week reading “Same old tired ideas,” with photos of the two Democrats. In response to a question about whether he was worried about Biden being a potential drag on his Senate race and other down ballot races on Friday, Casey answered with a firm “no.” Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-17th District) who also spoke at the event in Darlington with Casey, urged people to “Google Project 2025, and what Donald Trump expects to do if he becomes president, again. It is dangerous,” he said. “It is threatening to our freedom and the fundamentals of our rule of law in this country. “ Deluzio added that he thinks Democrats will unite to “make sure Trump is never the president of this country again.” However, U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D-7th District) has expressed concern about Biden’s “electability” and U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-12th District) has said Biden needs to show “that he’s up for the task” of staying in the race. Lee, who was scheduled to attend a Pittsburgh rally for Biden with Allegheny County Democrats on Friday but did not appear due to a schedule conflict, did not answer questions about Biden at an event in Pittsburgh with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. Lee said she would not answer a political question while at an event where she was appearing in her capacity as a member of Congress, TribLive reported. Pennsylvania GOP unites behind Trump Trump, who was convicted of 34 felony counts in a New York courtroom in May, largely has united the Pennsylvania Republican Party behind his candidacy. With the exception of U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-1st District), every GOP member of the state’s congressional delegation has endorsed Trump;  Fitzpatrick has not announced who he will be voting for in November. The only Republican in Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to represent a district Biden won in 2020, Fitzpatrick said he wrote in Mike Pence for president in 2016, but voted for Trump in 2020. Pennsylvania’s 19 electoral votes are critical to the candidates’ chances of winning in November. Biden campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon sent a memo to supporters listing Pennsylvania as one of the three “blue wall” states that provide the campaign the “clearest pathway” to reelection. Recent polling indicates that Biden and Trump are engaged in a close race for Pennsylvania, although Trump holds a narrow edge. The Cook Political Report ranks Pennsylvania in the toss-up category. It has the largest number of electoral votes of any battleground state. Updated: This story was updated at 6:15 p.m. with details from the event.  Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and X. The post Trump ‘safe’ after shooting at campaign rally; one spectator and suspected gunman killed appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Election 2024, Butler, Donald Trump]

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[l] at 7/13/24 6:22pm
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is shown covered by U.S. Secret Service agents after an incident during a rally on July 13, 2024 in Butler, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images)BUTLER, Penn., — Shortly after former President Donald Trump took the stage at a rally in Butler at 6 p.m., several loud pops could be heard, and Trump was whisked off the stage. Multiple reports suggested the noises were gunshots, and video from the incident appeared to show Trump reacting to something hitting his ear. Saturday’s event was to be his final campaign rally before he formally accepts the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination at next week’s Republican National Convention. The U.S. Secret Service chief spokesperson posted to Twitter shortly after the incident that “The Secret Service has implemented protective measures and the former President is safe. This is now an active Secret Service investigation and further information will be released when available.” The Butler County District Attorney said one person attending the rally and the shooter were both dead, the Associated Press reported. President Joe Biden has received an initial briefing on the incident, according to a White House pool report. Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told reporters Saturday “President Trump thanks law enforcement and first responders for their quick action during this heinous act. He is fine and is being checked out at a local medical facility. More details will follow.” Gov. Josh Shapiro said on social media he had been briefed on the situation and that Pennsylvania State Police were on the scene working with federal and local partners. “Violence targeted at any political party or political leaders is absolutely unacceptable,” Shapiro wrote. “It has no place in Pennsylvania or the United States.” GOP U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick, who spoke at the rally before Trump, told Fox News there were a number of shots, and Secret Service agents attended to Trump. He said it was hard to tell where the shots came from, but that he heard seven or eight shots. “And then, sadly, someone behind me, up in the bleachers was definitely wounded, and there was a lot of blood. And, you know, the police came in and helped carry that person out of the stands so they could get the care they needed. I’m not sure if others were injured or not, if at all, ” he said, describing the scene as “very chaotic.” Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is rushed offstage during a rally on July 13, 2024 in Butler, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images) McCormick said he was sitting in the front row to Trump’s right as he was facing the crowd. “I couldn’t tell whether it was one gun or two, but there were seven or eight shots, just one right, one right after another.” U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa) said he was monitoring the situation at the rally and had reached out to State Police to offer support. “Political violence is never acceptable and I am hoping former President Trump and all attendees are safe. Everyone in Butler should listen to law enforcement,” Casey posted to social media. This is a breaking story that will be updated. Our earlier coverage continues below. Speakers at the event ahead of Trump included representatives from the oil and gas industries, the mayor of Slippery Rock, and Sean Parnell, a former GOP candidate for U.S. Senate who received Trump’s endorsement, but suspended his campaign in 2021 after his then-wife testified he had abused her and their children. U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-9th District), who took the stage to AC-DC’s “Thunderstruck” told the audience Trump “will deliver on his promises. Our border will be secure. He will end the gas backwards energy policy of the Biden administration and in Pennsylvania, natural gas will flow again. We will make manufacturing great again by being the most competitive place in the world to build things.” U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-16th District), whose district includes Butler, pointed to Biden’s debate performance as evidence that “the media has been lying to us” about the president’s health. “Have you ever heard the term ‘playing through the whistle?’ Playing it through the whistle means you keep on playing, you keep on doing what you have to do to win,” Kelly said. “You keep on going to make sure you don’t lose. But I want to give you a different version: We’d better play it through the echo of the whistle. Playing through the whistle isn’t enough, not with this crew that we’re fighting against right now.” GOP U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick, who is challenging three-term incumbent Bob Casey, reiterated his claims that Casey votes with Biden 98% of the time.  “I like to say Punxsutawney, because it reminds me of Punxsutawney, Bob, Bob Casey, that is who only comes out of his hole once every six years,” McCormick said. “The lack of leadership, lack of moral clarity, an economy where 60% of Pennsylvanians are living paycheck to paycheck, and prices are up by more than 20% and is the result of the terrible, flawed policies of Joe Biden, the spending Bob Casey supported it every step of the way,” he added. McCormick repeated another familiar highlight of his campaign stump speech, pointing to the fentanyl crisis. “For those of you who are Vietnam vets, we lost 53,000 veterans in eight years of war. We had two Vietnams last year in the United States from fentanyl,” he said. “This is a war against us.” McCormick also referenced Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained in Russia in 2023, and Oakmont resident Marc Fogel, a teacher detained in Russia in 2021. Fogel’s mother said earlier in the week she was going to seek Trump’s help in securing her son’s release. “We need leadership that’s going to stand up and bring Pennsylvanian Mark Fogel home to Pennsylvania, home to America. That’s what leaders do. That’s what a commander in chief does,” McCormick said. The Democratic National Committee rolled out a billboard in Butler to greet Trump on Saturday that jabs at the former president’s economic record. The billboard, with the words “Donald Trump was a disaster for Pennsylvania,” will be located at the end of the Pullman Viaduct, about 10 minutes away from the Butler Farm Show. “Pennsylvania voters remember Trump’s failures and know exactly how much is at stake in November,” DNC spokesperson Addy Toevs said in a statement. “That’s why they’ll reject Trump and his Project 2025 agenda, and once again send President Biden to the White House.” As Trump rallied in western Pennsylvania on Saturday, first lady Jill Biden was also in the region to attend an Italian Sons and Daughters of America dinner in Pittsburgh. And in the eastern half of the commonwealth, Vice President Kamala Harris was in Philadelphia to deliver the keynote address at the Asian Pacific Islander American Vote Presidential Town Hall on Saturday. Saturday’s appearance in the Keystone State is Trump’s fifth visit to Pennsylvania this year, but his first in the western half of the commonwealth. Trump has made two 2024 appearances in Philadelphia, once for a rally on Temple University’s campus, and to deliver brief remarks at Sneaker Con in February. He also held a rally in the Lehigh Valley in April, and delivered a keynote address to a National Rifle Association gathering in Harrisburg in February. “Donald Trump can take his twice-impeached, 34-time convicted, vowed-to-be-dictator-on-day-one, consumed by revenge, serial liar, Project 2025 self out of Pennsylvania and go back to his Mar-a-Lago golf course,” Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Austin Davis said in a statement Saturday. “After he destroyed our economy, screwed over workers, and called for the ‘termination’ of the Constitution written in our state, Pennsylvania voters will send him packing in November. Again.” Butler is a reliably red county where Trump won by double digits in the 2016 and 2020 general elections. Trump’s rally in Butler a few days before the 2020 presidential election was well-attended, although there were transportation issues for those attempting to exit the rally. President Joe Biden has also been no stranger to Pennsylvania, making ten appearances the state so far, mostly in the southeast. Biden campaigned through the state last Sunday, appearing at a traditionally Black church in Northwest Philadelphia, and speaking to supporters in Philadelphia and Harrisburg. As of Saturday morning, 18 Democrats serving in the U.S. House and one serving in the U.S. Senate have called on Biden to not seek the Democratic Party nomination, following his poor debate performance in late June, amid questions about whether he can beat Trump in November. Biden has repeatedly said he does not plan to drop out of the race, reiterating his position at a rally in Michigan on Friday, where he was greeted with chants of “don’t you quit” and “we got your back,” from a crowd at Renaissance High School in Detroit. “You made me the nominee, no one else — not the press, not the pundits, not the insiders, not donors,” Biden told the audience. “You, the voters. You decided. No one else. And I’m not going anywhere.” Support for the president Pennsylvania Democrats have largely remained behind the Scranton native. Gov. Josh Shapiro, who has been mentioned as a potential candidate for president or vice president should Biden step aside, has remained committed to Biden’s 2024 bid. U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) has also emerged as a key campaign surrogate for Biden. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is seeking a fourth term in office, has also stood by Biden’s side, while other Democrats in battleground states have distanced themselves from him. On Friday, speaking to reporters after an event in Darlington Township, Beaver County, Casey reiterated his support for Biden, saying it had not changed. “I think we’re going to have a unified party between now and November,” Casey said. “This is a difficult period, but we’ll get there. But you know where I stand.” McCormick has blasted the three-term senator for continuing to support Biden. His campaign put up billboards in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton this week reading “Same old tired ideas,” with photos of the two Democrats. In response to a question about whether he was worried about Biden being a potential drag on his Senate race and other down ballot races on Friday, Casey answered with a firm “no.” Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-17th District) who also spoke at the event in Darlington with Casey, urged people to “Google Project 2025, and what Donald Trump expects to do if he becomes president, again. It is dangerous,” he said. “It is threatening to our freedom and the fundamentals of our rule of law in this country. “ Deluzio added that he thinks Democrats will unite to “make sure Trump is never the president of this country again.” However, U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D-7th District) has expressed concern about Biden’s “electability” and U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-12th District) has said Biden needs to show “that he’s up for the task” of staying in the race. Lee, who was scheduled to attend a Pittsburgh rally for Biden with Allegheny County Democrats on Friday but did not appear due to a schedule conflict, did not answer questions about Biden at an event in Pittsburgh with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. Lee said she would not answer a political question while at an event where she was appearing in her capacity as a member of Congress, TribLive reported. Pennsylvania GOP unites behind Trump Trump, who was convicted of 34 felony counts in a New York courtroom in May, largely has united the Pennsylvania Republican Party behind his candidacy. With the exception of U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-1st District), every GOP member of the state’s congressional delegation has endorsed Trump;  Fitzpatrick has not announced who he will be voting for in November. The only Republican in Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to represent a district Biden won in 2020, Fitzpatrick said he wrote in Mike Pence for president in 2016, but voted for Trump in 2020. Pennsylvania’s 19 electoral votes are critical to the candidates’ chances of winning in November. Biden campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon sent a memo to supporters listing Pennsylvania as one of the three “blue wall” states that provide the campaign the “clearest pathway” to reelection. Recent polling indicates that Biden and Trump are engaged in a close race for Pennsylvania, although Trump holds a narrow edge. The Cook Political Report ranks Pennsylvania in the toss-up category. It has the largest number of electoral votes of any battleground state. Updated: This story was updated at 6:15 p.m. with details from the event.  Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and X. The post Trump taken off stage at Butler rally after apparent shooting appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Election 2024, Butler, Donald Trump]

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[l] at 7/12/24 3:37pm
Severe flash floods closed roads in Ruidoso after storms dumped rain into the burn scar of the still burning South Fork and Salt fires. The National Weather Service is warning of continued flood risk the weekend beginning July 12, 2024. (Photo courtesy of City of Ruidoso)Since June 29, the National Weather Service has received reports of 41 flash flood events that stranded drivers, carried houses and destroyed bridges, among other destruction in southeast New Mexico.  The latest such report was just past 11 p.m. on July 10, when a house was pushed 10 feet in a flash flood near downtown Ruidoso. A gas leak and water line break ensued, according to the National Weather Service. In the two days since then, no rain has fallen, granting a short reprieve. But forecasters are calling on all residents in and around the South Fork and Salt fire burn scars to beware of additional rain forecast over the weekend, particularly in the afternoon and evenings.  “It is critically important for individuals in these sensitive areas to remain weather-aware, have multiple avenues to receive NWS warnings, and be prepared to take appropriate action to seek higher ground if a warning is issued,” according to a NWS weekend forecast issued Thursday afternoon. Woman trapped in tree, bridge destroyed, landspout spotted in ‘extreme’ Ruidoso burn scar flooding The risk of flash flooding carries at least through the weekend. Forecasters warned that even a modest thunderstorm could mean destructive flooding and debris flows.  “Remember, it only takes one thunderstorm to make it a dangerous situation on wildfire burn scars,” meteorologists warned.  Rain falling on burned scars doesn’t absorb as well into the soil, and there is less vegetation to hold back floods and debris flows. As a result, any rainfall can quickly become a major flash flood, forecasters said.  The South Fork Fire began June 17 and burned nearly 18,000 acres. As of the latest estimates earlier this month, it was 87% contained. The Salt Fire a few miles south of there started the same day, burning nearly 8,000 acres. It was 84% contained as of July 4.  Other flood reports from July 10 include a shipping container being carried by flood waters near Ruidoso Downs; a road collapse near Sudderth Drive and NM Highway 70; and an SUV with three people in it being rescued from the Rio Ruidoso.  See a map below with the latest flood reports: !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(a){if(void 0!==a.data["datawrapper-height"]){var e=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var t in a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r   The post Flash flood risk throughout weekend in, near South Fork and Salt fire burn scars, NWS warns appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Environment & Climate Change, National Weather Service, post-fire flooding, Salt Fire, South Fork Fire]

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[l] at 7/12/24 3:45am
A small stream flows alongside the Rio Grande at Isleta Blvd. and Interstate 25 on Sept. 7, 2023. (Photo by Anna Padilla for Source New Mexico) This article was originally published by Grist. It is republished here with permission. Mark Garcia can see that there’s no shortage of water in the Rio Grande this year. The river flows past his farm in central New Mexico, about 50 miles south of Albuquerque. The rush of springtime water is a welcome change after years of drought, but he knows the good times won’t last. As the summer continues, the river will diminish, leaving Garcia with a strict ration. He’ll be allowed irrigation water for his 300 acres just once every 30 days, which is nowhere near enough to sustain his crop of oats and alfalfa. For decades, Garcia and other farmers on the Rio Grande have relied on water released from a dam called El Vado, which collects billions of gallons of river water to store and eventually release to help farmers during times when the river runs dry. More significantly for most New Mexico residents, the dam system also allows the city of Albuquerque to import river water from long distances for household use. But El Vado has been out of commission for the past three summers, its structure bulging and disfigured after decades in operation — and the government doesn’t have a plan to fix it. “We need some sort of storage,” said Garcia. “If we don’t get a big monsoon this summer, if you don’t have a well, you won’t be able to water.” The failure of the dam has shaken up the water supply for the entire region surrounding Albuquerque, forcing the city and many of the farmers nearby to rely on finite groundwater and threatening an endangered fish species along the river. It’s a surprising twist of fate for a region that in recent years emerged as a model for sustainable water management in the West. “Having El Vado out of the picture has been really tough,” said Paul Tashjian, the director of freshwater conservation at the Southwest regional office of the nonprofit National Audubon Society. “We’ve been really eking by every year the past few years.” Surface water imports from the El Vado system have generally allowed public officials in Albuquerque to limit groundwater shortages. This echoes the strategies of other large Western cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles, which have enabled population growth by tapping diverse sources of water for metropolitan regions and the farms that sit outside of them. The Biden administration is seeking to replicate this strategy in water-stressed rural areas across the region, doling out more than $8 billion in grants to support pipelines and reservoirs. But the last decade has shown that this strategy isn’t foolproof — at least not while climate change fuels an ongoing megadrought across the West. Los Angeles has lost water from both the Colorado River and from a series of reservoirs in Northern California, and Phoenix has seen declines not only from the Colorado but also from the groundwater aquifers that fuel the state’s cotton and alfalfa farming. Now, as Albuquerque’s decrepit El Vado dam goes out of commission, the city is trying to balance multiple fragile resources. El Vado is an odd dam: It’s one of only four in the United States that uses a steel faceplate to hold back water, rather than a mass of rock or concrete. The dam, which is located on a tributary of the Rio Grande, has been collecting irrigation water for farmers for close to a century, but decades of studies have shown that water is seeping through the faceplate and undermining the dam’s foundations. When engineers tried to use grout to fill in the cracks behind the faceplate, they accidentally caused the faceplate to bulge out of shape, threatening the stability of the entire structure. The Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that manages the dam, paused construction and is now back at the drawing board. Without the ability to collect irrigation water for the farmers, the Bureau has left them to rely on the natural flow of the Rio Grande as it moves downstream through Albuquerque. There’s plenty of water in the spring, when snow melts off the mountains and rain rushes toward the ocean. But when the rains peter out by the start of the summer, the river’s flow reduces to a trickle. “We run really fast and happy in the spring, and then you’re off pretty precipitously,” said Casey Ish, the conservation program supervisor at the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, the irrigation district that supplies water to farmers like Garcia. “It just creates a lot of stress on the system late in the summer.” The uncertainty about water rationing causes many farmers to forego planting crops they aren’t sure they’ll be able to see to maturity, Ish added. The beleaguered dam also plays a critical role in providing water to the fast-growing Albuquerque metropolitan area, which is home to almost a million people. As the city grew over the past 100 years, it drained local groundwater, lowering aquifer levels by dozens of feet until the city got a reputation as “one of the biggest water-wasters in the West.” Cities across the region were mining their groundwater in the same way, but Albuquerque managed to turn its bad habits around. In 2008, it built a $160 million water treatment plant that allowed it to clean water from the distant Colorado River, giving officials a new water source to reduce their groundwater reliance. Construction crews attempt to repair the El Vado dam along a tributary of the Rio Grande in New Mexico. The federal government has been unable to find a way to stop seepage behind the steel faceplate dam. (Courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) The loss of El Vado is jeopardizing this achievement. In order for Colorado River water to reach the Albuquerque treatment plant, it needs to travel through the same canals and pipelines that deliver El Vado water to farmers like Garcia, “riding” with the Rio Grande tributary water through the pipes. Without a steady flow of irrigation water out of El Vado, the Colorado River water can’t make it to the city. This means that in the summer months, when the Rio Grande dries out, Albuquerque now has to turn back to groundwater to supply its thirsty residential subdivisions. This renewed reliance on groundwater has halted the recovery of local aquifers. The water level in these aquifers was rising from 2008 through 2020, but it slumped out around 2020 and hasn’t budged since. “We have had to shut down our surface water plant the last three summers because of low flows in Albuquerque,” said Diane Agnew, a senior official at the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, which manages the region’s water. Agnew stresses that aquifer levels are only flattening out, not falling. Still, losing El Vado storage for the long run would be detrimental to the city’s overall water resilience. “We have more than enough supply to meet demand, but it does change our equation,” she added. The Bureau of Reclamation is looking for a way to fix the dam and restore Rio Grande tributary water to Albuquerque, but right now its engineers are stumped. In a recent meeting with local farmers, a senior Reclamation official offered a frank assessment of the dam’s future. “We were not able to find technical solutions to the challenges that we were seeing,” said Jennifer Faler, the Bureau’s Albuquerque area manager, in remarks at the meeting. The next-best option is to find somewhere else to store water for farmers. There are other reservoirs along the Rio Grande system, including one large dam owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, but repurposing them for irrigation water will involve a lengthy bureaucratic process. A spokesperson for the Bureau of Reclamation told Grist that the agency “is working diligently with our partners to develop a plan and finalize agreements to help alleviate the lost storage capacity” and that it “may have the ability to safely store some water” for farms and cities next year. In the meantime, farmers like Garcia are getting impatient. When a senior Bureau official broke the bad news at an irrigation district meeting last month, more than a dozen farmers who grow crops in the district stood up to express their frustration with the delays in the repair process, calling Reclamation’s announcement “frustrating” and “a shock.” “If we don’t have any water for the long term, I have to let my employees go, and I guess start looking for ramen noodles someplace,” Garcia told Grist. Even though there are only a handful of other steel faceplate dams like El Vado in the United States, more communities across the West are likely to experience similar infrastructure issues that affect their water supply, according to John Fleck, a professor of water policy at the University of New Mexico. “We’ve optimized entire human and natural communities around the way this aging infrastructure allows us to manipulate the flow of rivers, and we’re likely to see more and more examples where infrastructure we’ve come to depend on no longer functions the way we planned or intended,” he said. As the West gets drier and its dams and canals continue to age, more communities may find themselves forced to strike a balance between groundwater, which is easy to access but finite, and surface water, which is renewable but challenging to obtain. The loss of El Vado shows that neither one of these resources can be relied upon solely and consistently — and in an era of higher temperatures and aging infrastructure, even having both may not be enough. Correction: This story has been corrected to clarify that the El Vado dam is built on a tributary of the Rio Grande. The post Albuquerque made itself drought-proof. Then its dam started leaking. appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Environment & Climate Change, Gov & Politics, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, drought, El Vado Dam, Rio Grande, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, water scarcity]

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[l] at 7/12/24 3:00am
A narrow median in Nob Hill in Albuquerque, pictured May 2023. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is pushing for a bill at the upcoming special session that would ban loitering on medians less than 3 feet wide where the speed limit is 30 mph or higher. So far, no state legislator has agreed to sponsor the bill. (Photo by Patrick Lohmann / Source NM)With less than a week until a special legislative session focused on public safety, no lawmaker has yet signed up to sponsor a bill pushed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham related to pedestrian safety and panhandling. Lawmakers will gather in Santa Fe on July 18 to address a handful of proposals related to public safety and criminal justice, including bills related to civil confinement, criminal competency and pedestrian safety. A draft version of the governor’s proposal would make it illegal to linger on medians less than 3 feet wide in roads where the speed limit is 30 mph or greater. The bill would make it a misdemeanor to “access, use, occupy, congregate or assemble” on those medians, with some exceptions, including for people crossing the street or using public transit. Lawmakers have referred to the bill as “the median safety bill” and “the panhandling bill,” noting that many of those affected would be people who stand in medians asking for donations from passing drivers.  NM governor rejects call from mental health care providers, advocates to cancel special session The governor’s office called its draft bill the “Unsafe Use of Highways and Medians Act” and cited the high rates of pedestrian deaths in the state in its preamble. Her office has also stressed that the bill does not target panhandlers in particular, but instead aims to reduce pedestrian deaths across the board.  The governor called for a special session after many related bills did not pass in the 30-day session this January, including one related to panhandling introduced by Sen. Leo Jaramillo (D-Española) that died in committee. Ahead of the session, she released draft bills she is hoping lawmakers will introduce and is working to find sponsors for them.  According to spokespersons for House and Senate Democrats, none of their members has agreed to carry the governor’s bill, as of Thursday afternoon. Also, some lawmakers, speaking at an interim committee meeting last month, seemed skeptical that the bill would withstand legal scrutiny. The joint Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee met June 27 and 28 and listened to a legal presentation on the case law behind similar ordinances to the draft proposal. They also discussed the way federal courts have interpreted – and sometimes struck down – similar legislation.  Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), chair of the committee, told Source New Mexico that it’s possible “people are not rushing to volunteer”  to shepherd the proposal through the Legislature.  “I haven’t been through many special sessions, but I am surprised that there has not been a sponsor identified yet,” Chandler said of the governor’s pedestrian safety bill.  Jodi McGinnis Porter, spokesperson for the governor, said Thursday afternoon that no sponsor had yet been identified for the bill but that it was “still under discussion.” In defense of the bill, Porter cited New Mexico’s repeated designation as the country’s most dangerous for pedestrians, including pedestrian fatalities. Chandler, who also chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said that lawmakers are far from reaching a consensus on multiple pieces of legislation as the clock ticks toward the session.  Lujan Grisham’s preferred legislation, as written, would likely be referred to judiciary committees in both chambers. They’d need to clear that hurdle before going to the full chambers for approval and eventual passage.  NM governor’s office continues forced treatment pitch to lawmakers, could return in full in 2025 She couldn’t predict whether any legislation would pass, she said.  “Were still at a place where its gonna be a heavy lift in getting these bills over the finish line, including the median safety bill,” she said.  Where’s the data? At the committee meeting in late July, lawmakers publicly questioned whether they had enough information to determine whether the governor’s draft bill on pedestrian safety was well-suited to reduce pedestrian deaths without unnecessarily restricting Constitutional rights, including the First Amendment.  The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that panhandling amounts to protected speech. And courts  have regularly upheld medians as traditional spaces where speech is protected and allowed, including protests, covering news, panhandling and personal conversations, according to Simon Suzuki, a staff attorney with the Legislative Counsel Service.  He was invited to give an independent, expert analysis of what types of median safety laws could be upheld in court. Over the years in New Mexico and across the country, cities have passed local ordinances restricting loitering on medians, Suzuki said. That happened in 2017 in Albuquerque, for example.  Often, those cities are sued for violating First Amendment rights, where judges require cities to demonstrate that they arrived at their panhandling ordinances by considering local conditions and crafting a policy narrowly tailored to protect pedestrians while also ensuring it doesn’t overly curb free speech rights.  To justify their ordinances, cities often need to present data showing how many people were struck by cars on medians and describe how the ordinance they enacted is targeted to preventing those collisions and reducing deaths.  In the Albuquerque case, a court struck down the ordinance, and the city later amended its ordinance to apply only to a handful specific medians that they described as particularly unsafe for panhandlers or other pedestrians.  The cases Suzuki cited all related to local ordinances, not statewide statutes.  NM governor shares draft proposal for forced mental health treatment At the committee meeting June 27, Rep. Andrea Reeb (R-Clovis) asked Suzuki whether a statewide ban would be harder to justify, given that it could be harder to tailor it to local conditions and therefore withstand a lawsuit and judicial scrutiny. Other lawmakers said they shared her concern.  Suzuki agreed that any judge would likely pose the question to a state official defending a statewide ban.  “What is narrowly tailored for one community is not going to be narrowly tailored for another community,” he said, based on his view of the case law.  Chandler, in the interview Thursday with Source NM, said she agrees the state has a problem with pedestrian safety.  But she will be looking for data that will help settle the question as to how the governor’s proposed law could apply to the whole state but also be narrowly tailored such that it would avoid or win a lawsuit. She’s raised the issue with the governor’s office, she said.  “Its a constitutional issue, a First Amendment issue, wherein there’s heightened scrutiny,” she said.  She’s also not convinced the state has a problem specifically with panhandlers being struck by cars; instead, she said, the data she’s seen related to pedestrian collisions is of people being struck while crossing.  “My understanding is that data relates to people crossing the streets, in crossing both sidewalks and jaywalking, and thats a different situation than standing in the median,” Chandler said. Porter, the governor’s spokesperson, did not address in questions from Source NM whether the office intends to compile or present data to demonstrate to lawmakers how the bill was crafted to balance public safety without impinging on free speech rights for New Mexicans across the state. Instead, she cited the statistics about New Mexico’s high rate of pedestrian fatalities.  However, she did say the bill was “narrowly-tailored,” noting that it only limits loitering on medians fewer than 36 inches wide in areas with speeds at 30 mph or above.  And she noted that it applies to all manner of speech on medians, not targeting panhandlers or protesters or any particular group for punishment.  “For example, it does not allow vendors to sell newspapers” or distribute political flyers, she said. “It applies evenly, across-the-board to everyone.” The post No lawmaker has signed up to sponsor NM Gov’s panhandling bill appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Gov & Politics, 2024 special session, First Amendment, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, panhandling]

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[l] at 7/12/24 2:34am
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., is pictured on Thursday, March 14, 2024. (Photo by Jennifer Shutt)WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Thursday passed a measure to reverse an Education Department rule seeking to extend federal discrimination protections for LGBTQ students, though President Joe Biden has vowed to veto the legislation should it land on his desk. House passage of the resolution on a party-line vote, 210-205, is part of a barrage of GOP pushback at the state and federal levels to the Biden administration’s final rule for Title IX since its April release. For all schools that receive federal funding, the rule protects against discrimination for students based on “sex stereotypes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.” Twenty-six states with GOP attorneys general have sued to block the rule, and courts have temporarily blocked it from going into effect in 14 states on August 1. The 14 states with temporary blocks are: Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. Illinois GOP Rep. Mary Miller introduced the legislation in early June. A week later, the Republican-controlled House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved it. Miller’s resolution seeks to reverse the rule through the Congressional Review Act, a procedural tool Congress can use to overturn certain actions from federal agencies. In the Senate, Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith also introduced legislation in June to try to block the final rule under the same tool. The Senate version has gathered over 30 Republican cosponsors. Rep. Virginia Foxx — chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and a fierce opponent of the administration’s final rule — said during the floor debate Wednesday that she wanted to preserve Title IX, which helped equalize funding for women’s sports and education programs beginning in 1972. “Title IX ushered in a golden era for women’s competition and education,” the North Carolina Republican said. “There is sanctity in the community and tradition of these memories, these spaces and these opportunities for young girls.” Regardless of whether the attempt to roll back the measure is successful in the Democratic-controlled Senate, Biden’s veto threat leaves virtually no possibility it could be adopted this year. Democrats, LGBTQ advocates in opposition  Democrats and LGBTQ advocates have described the effort to overturn the rule as motivated by misinformation and fear. “Unfortunately, this resolution has been clouded by misinformation, unfounded fears and with some, just hatred of transgender individuals,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, during the debate. Oregon’s Rep. Suzanne Bonamici — ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education — said the resolution was “another attempt to undercut this administration’s efforts to empower survivors and protect all Americans from discrimination.” “If Republicans truly cared about protecting women and children, they would stop this prejudiced rhetoric and take action on bills that would actually protect women from discrimination and harassment and defend women’s reproductive health care, make child care more affordable, preserve opportunities in workplaces for all parents, especially women,” Bonamici said. Scott called on the House to “reject these narratives and focus on real issues of safety and equity.” Final rule blocked in more states  Meanwhile, challenges to the rule are playing out in a handful of federal courts. Last week, Judge John Broomes of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas temporarily blocked the measure from taking effect in the Sunflower State, along with Alaska, Utah and Wyoming. Broomes also halted the rule from taking effect in “the schools attended by the members of Young America’s Foundation or Female Athletes United, as well as the schools attended by the children of the members of Moms for Liberty,” all groups that sued alongside the four states, per the order. Under Broomes’ order, the rule is also halted in an Oklahoma public school attended by a minor who is one of the plaintiffs. In June, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty of Louisiana issued a temporary injunction barring the final rule from taking effect there, along with Idaho, Mississippi and Montana. In Kentucky federal court, Chief Judge Danny Reeves temporarily blocked the final rule in the Bluegrass State, plus Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Virginia. Reeves rejected the department’s request for a partial stay of the injunction while its appeal plays out, per a Wednesday court filing. The Education Department has confirmed it is appealing the other two rulings but did not have an update Wednesday on whether it is filing a notice of appeal on the most recent ruling in the Kansas federal court. The spokesperson reiterated earlier this week that the agency has “asked the trial courts to allow the bulk of the final rule to take effect in these states as scheduled, on August 1, while the appeals are pending.” LGBTQ advocacy groups push back on GOP effort Allen Morris, policy director for the advocacy group National LGBTQ Task Force, said the vote was part of a pattern of anti-LGBTQ policy measures. “When you look at the rise in hatred and the rise in violence and the rise of young LGBTQ individuals not having the support that they need, where suicide rates are high, it is disappointing to see our opposition go against us with such a high level of intention,” he said. Morris told States Newsroom that “a lot of what is happening with this extremism is not founded in truth.” “It is founded in ways to spew hate and to spew fear. It is a lot of fear mongering, and it’s anything to make people feel like their backs are up against the wall, or as if they don’t have the power,” he said. Echoing a previous statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said it “does not comment on pending legislation” and emphasized that all schools receiving federal funding are obligated to comply with the new regulations as a condition of receiving those funds. The department has yet to finalize a separate rule establishing new criteria for transgender athletes. The post GOP plan to reverse final Title IX rule passes U.S. House, but Biden says he’d veto   appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: DC Bureau, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA+, Title IX, U.S. Department of Education]

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[l] at 7/12/24 2:31am
President Joe Biden holds a news conference at the 2024 NATO Summit on July 11, 2024 in Washington, D.C. NATO leaders convened in Washington this week for the annual summit to discuss future strategies and commitments and mark the 75th anniversary of the alliance’s founding. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images)WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden dug in on his 2024 reelection bid Thursday at a solo press conference following the NATO summit in Washington, despite a growing list of rank-and-file Democrats and high-profile supporters urging him to abandon his campaign over suspected health concerns. The highly anticipated press conference followed weeks of speculation about Biden’s ability to hold office and whether he should remain in the 2024 presidential election against former President Donald Trump. His performance, while markedly stronger than his devastating debate performance, still included a notable gaffe and could leave questions open. In response to the first question, about if Vice President Kamala Harris would be an able candidate against Trump, Biden mixed up their names. “I wouldn’t have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president if I didn’t think she was not qualified to be president,” he said. Biden fielded a wide range of questions from reporters from both the U.S. and overseas for just less than an hour. The meeting with the press came exactly two weeks after the June 27 debate, during which Biden stumbled repeatedly, spoke in a hoarse voice and appeared unable to finish some sentences. Biden and the White House have repeatedly attributed the debate as a “bad night” and pointed to clean results from his last three annual physical examinations. Asked directly about congressional Democrats’ unease about his candidacy, Biden said he had made a final decision to remain in the race, but was working to show doubters he was up to the task and responding to criticism that he could not handle impromptu questioning. “I’m determined on running,” he said. “But I think it’s important that I allay fears by seeing — let them see me out there.” GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX SUBSCRIBE Not stepping aside He added that delegates pledged to him through the Democratic nominating process should be free to vote their conscience, but that no one had a better alternative to his candidacy against Trump, the presumed Republican candidate. “I believe I’m the best qualified to govern and I think I’m the best qualified to win,” Biden said. “But there are other people who could beat Trump, too, but it’s awful hard to start from scratch.” Asked if he would step aside if his polling data showed Harris could beat Trump, Biden said he would not, unless it also showed he could not win. “No one’s saying that,” he added in a whisper. “No poll says that.” Harris is seen as the likeliest replacement for Biden if he were to leave the race. A trickle of congressional Democrats calling for him to leave the race since July 2 turned to a stream this week — with some reports indicating a poor performance Thursday night could give way to a flood. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a decades-long friend of Biden’s, urged colleagues in an MSNBC interview Wednesday to “let (Biden) deal with this NATO conference, this is a very big deal.” At the time Biden began his Thursday press conference, 14 Democrats in Congress had explicitly called for him to leave the race, with others suggesting it. Shortly after the press conference concluded, two more, Connecticut’s Jim Himes and California’s Scott Peters, called on Biden to step aside. Biden should “make room for a new generation of leaders,” Himes, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote in a statement posted to X. Peters’ statement was provided to Politico. Emphasis on foreign policy Biden, who has rarely held press conferences, consulted a list of reporters and took questions that ranged from his fitness to serve as president to his handling of the Israel-Hamas war. He lauded his accomplishments in office and said his job performance showed he was still up for the job. “If I slow down, I can’t get the job done, that’s a sign that I shouldn’t be doing it,” he said. “But there’s no indication of that yet. None.” Biden — a former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — appeared more comfortable on foreign policy questions than he was discussing his political future, providing in-depth answers on the Israel-Hamas war, China’s growing influence on the world stage and Ukraine’s war with Russia. Trump mocks Biden While Biden’s voice and grasp on the issues appeared stronger than he was at the debate, he still made several speaking mistakes, including the confusion between his vice president and Trump. Trump mocked the mix-up on his social media platform Truth Social with a post saying “Great job, Joe!” Later, Biden said Harris was qualified to be president and that is why he picked her as a running mate. His comments were worthy of attention given Harris would likely become the nominee if Biden were to step down. Biden attacks Trump on NATO Biden declared the summit a “great success” and underlined the U.S. commitment to the alliance and to Ukraine’s war against Russia. “For those who thought NATO’s time had passed, they got a rude awakening when Putin invaded Ukraine. Some of the oldest and deepest fears in Europe roared back to life because once again a murderous madman was on the march. This time, no one cowered in appeasement, especially the United States,” Biden said. Prior to taking questions, he attacked Trump’s record of disparaging NATO and its foundational commitment to defend fellow member nations. The former president has threatened to withdraw from NATO and accused allies of shortchanging the organization’s defense coffers. “A strong NATO is essential to American security, and I believe the obligation of Article Five is sacred. And I remind all Americans, Article Five was invoked only once in NATO’s long history, and that was to defend America after 9/11,” Biden said. The three-day summit largely centered on Russia’s ongoing bombardment and occupation of parts of Ukraine. World leaders promised a path for Ukraine to join the alliance, and the event culminated with the U.S. joining two dozen allies in signing the Ukraine Compact to “(a)ffirm that the security of Ukraine is integral to the security of the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond.” Biden sat down with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier Thursday to underscore military assistance including “working with our NATO allies to ensure Ukraine is flying F-16s this summer.” Zelenskyy thanked Biden for his “support and personal statement” following Russia’s strike on a children’s hospital in Kyiv Monday. Biden shook his head and responded the attack was “sick.” Another flub Between his meeting with Zelenskyy and the press conference, Biden introduced the Ukrainian president at a separate event to sign the compact, but mistakenly called him President Putin — the Russian leader at war with Zelenskyy’s country — before correcting himself. When asked about the blunder, Biden acknowledged that he made the mistake but said that he corrected it immediately. “I thought it was the most successful conference I’ve attended in a long time and find me a world leader who didn’t think it was,” he replied. Biden did not stumble earlier in the week when he delivered remarks at NATO’s 75th anniversary event; rather, his voice remained steady and firm as he opened the ceremony for leaders from the 32 member nations. The post Biden at NATO press conference rebuts doubters: ‘I’m the best qualified to govern’  appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: DC Bureau, Election 2024, Joe Biden]

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[l] at 7/12/24 2:22am
A sign with a skull and crossbones that translates as ‘No uranium’ in the Diné language warns visitors near the Church Rock mining site in Navajo Nation. (Photo by Eli Cahan / Capital & Main)It’s been 45 years since the largest radioactive release in U.S. history occurred at Church Rock New Mexico. Members of the Navajo Nation will gather on Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of the uranium spill. On July 16th, 1979, a dam ruptured and released more than a thousand tons of radioactive waste and nearly 95 million gallons of toxic radioactive wastewater spilled into the nearby Rio Puerco and surrounding Navajo Nation lands. “And the folks that live in the area tell stories about being out herding their sheep and seeing this wave of green liquid come their way, you know, they werent warned about it, and many of them waded in it to get their livestock out and ended up with sores on their legs,” said Susan Gordon, coordinator for the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, which she is helping organize the commemoration event. She said the contaminants flowed downstream through Gallup and across nine Navajo chapters. Radiation from the spill was detected as far as 80 miles downstream. As a result, communities around the spill have experienced health problems associated with radiation exposure. Gordon said the mining company, United Nuclear Corp. did little to clean up the radioactive waste. “They sent a handful of people out with shovels and buckets to try to gather up this green sludge that was all through there. And thats it. Thats all that was ever done,” Gordon said. According to Stanford University, the company dug new drinking wells and removed about 1% of the estimated total spill material. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission permitted the company to resume operations five months later. The mine was abandoned in 1982. The Church Rock spill is the third largest radioactive waste release globally, after the Fukushima disaster and the Chernobyl meltdown. Gordon said they’re hoping to continue to educate people. “But also to bring pressure on the National Institute of Health and our congressional delegation to provide more money for cleanup and for health research,” she said. The ceremony will have an opening prayer and a walk to the spill site. Speakers will include former uranium worker Larry King, and scientists discussing the impact of the radiation. Support for this coverage comes from the Thornburg Foundation. The post Gathering will mark 45 years since the largest radioactive release in U.S. history hit New Mexico appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Environment & Climate Change, Health, Native America, Church Rock, National Institute of Health, Navajo Nation, Uranium spill]

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[l] at 7/11/24 4:30pm
A school crosswalk sign at an Albuquerque high school on Sept. 7, 2023. (Photo by Anna Padilla for Source New Mexico)High school students in New Mexico who studied law enforcement, architecture, manufacturing, information technology and other career technical areas showed success in the classroom last year. For the more than 64,000 New Mexican high schoolers who were part of their local school district’s Career Technical Education programs, 95.7% graduated in 2023.  The overall statewide graduation rate for all students was 76.7%.  Last school year Janelle Taylor Garcia went on several visits to high schools in Gadsden, Bernalillo and Hatch with her boss, Public Education Department Secretary Aresenio Romero.  They observed how millions in new state investments, and changes to graduation requirements, set up a successful path for students participating in career tech classwork that want to enter the workforce right out of high school. Taylor Garcia described program leaders at various school districts as innovative and hands-on. “​​When I toured the (Hatch Valley Public Schools) campus this past semester, I met with Principals, CTE faculty, fiscal and data systems staff members, and learned about exciting educational programming,” she said.  At Hatch Valley Public Schools they saw career technical education – referred shorthandly as CTE – curriculum in classrooms that students can “use immediately” in areas such as agricultural power structures, greenhouse development, animal care and services. The instruction on those areas provided students with realistic hands-on experience at school, Taylor Garcia said. Bernalillo Public Schools expanded its Innovative Learning Space where students can learn about advanced technology and robotics. And the Gadsden Independent School District “is actively responding to student requests for CTE Programs of Study,” said Taylor Garcia, the public education spokesperson. The district established a law enforcement program of study based on student request and the demand for those workers in the area. Taylor Garcia also explained that recent legislative funds and outside grants have assisted in expanding the reach of CTE programs. The New Mexico legislature devoted $40 million in both 2023 and 2024 to CTE programs through general appropriations and the funding has been made available at the local level through statewide grants. Lawmakers begin crafting education budget priorities with career technical instruction in mind House Bill 198 in 2023 expanded the reach to include schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education to accept career technical education grants. Taylor Garcia said programs vary by school, but the career concentrations that use the most state funding for CTE are architecture, construction, manufacturing, information technology and health sciences. Other recent CTE funding includes a Careers2Communities grant awarded to the College and Career Readiness Bureau in 2020 and a “new” grant awarded to the department in 2023.  This funding was directed to develop a curriculum that “embeds career exploration into core academic content, especially math courses,” Taylor Garcia said, as well as make CTE resources more accessible to students with disabilities. House Bill 171 in 2024 also changed the graduation requirements for students entering ninth grade in the 2025-2026 school year. Students will be required to take one unit of a career cluster course, workplace readiness or a language class other than English. A two-unit pathway for students that can include CTE programs will also be required. Students are considered part of the CTE program if they complete two or more courses in a career cluster program. Graduation rates were also higher in “at-risk” subgroups of students in a CTE track. New Mexico is mandated to reform its education models for these students. The Yazzie-Martinez lawsuit, that is the court’s order to the reform, identifies this group as students with disabilities, living in poverty, English learners and Native Americans. Higher education leaders show up to support Yazzie-Martinez bill   Graduation rates for these students who are in CTE concentrations were all above 97% in 2023, according to the state. Going forward, a Career and Technical Education Statewide Advisory Board will launch in August and to unify the different groups already established in the state to support CTE programs, Taylor Garcia said. The board is a collaboration between the Career Technical Leadership Project and the PED’s College and Career Readiness Bureau. The first meeting is scheduled for Aug. 9 and will include business, industry and education representatives from across the state. GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX SUBSCRIBE The post NM high schoolers excel in Career Technical Education  appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Education, Gov & Politics, Career Technical Education, New Mexico public education, New Mexico Public Education Department]

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[l] at 7/11/24 3:51pm
U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., offered a resolution on July 10, 2024, to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt for refusing to turn over audio tapes of a special counsel’s interview of President Joe Biden. (Screenshot from U.S. House website.)WASHINGTON — In the latest U.S. House Republican attempt to secure audio tapes from the U.S. Justice Department special counsel’s interview with President Joe Biden, the U.S. House on Thursday rejected Florida Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s resolution to fine Attorney General Merrick Garland for withholding them.  The measure — which was turned down 204-210 — would have levied a daily fine of $10,000 against Garland under the House’s seldom-used “inherent contempt” power until he complies with a subpoena to release the tapes of the interview between special counsel Robert K. Hur and Biden surrounding his handling of classified documents. Four Republicans voted against Luna’s measure, including California Reps. John Duarte and Tom McClintock, along with Ohio Reps. David Joyce and Mike Turner. The resolution is part of a wider effort among Republicans to secure the audio — a drive that’s only intensified since Biden’s disastrous debate performance two weeks ago. During floor debate on Wednesday, Luna described the effort as a way to hold Garland accountable to the legislative branch. “With Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice refusing to follow the law, we have been left with no choice but to rely on inherent contempt,” she said. Meanwhile, Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, on Wednesday called the measure “stupid,” and noted Republican leaders’ tepid support for it. “Republican leadership knows this is a stupid resolution,” he said. “Their own members know this is a stupid resolution, but they’re beholden to the craziest MAGA members in their conference. So, this is what we get: stupid resolutions on the floor because they’re too chicken to stand up to the extremism in their own party.” The debate was delayed for more than 20 minutes after Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith asked for McGovern’s words to be stricken. After the pause, McGovern conceded to having his words stricken and did not use the word “stupid” for the rest of his remarks. “I urge a no vote on this – I’ve got to take this word out now – on this resolution,” he said. The Justice Department declined to comment on Luna’s effort Wednesday. GOP leadership  Former President Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, took to Truth Social on Wednesday to show his support for Luna’s effort. “I AGREE with Anna Paulina Luna and the many House Members who think Merrick Garland should be held in INHERENT CONTEMPT for refusing to release the Biden Tapes even though they were subpoenaed!” Trump wrote. U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed some skepticism over Luna’s measure, saying at a Tuesday press conference that “as a former constitutional law litigator, my preference is to follow the legal process, the legal proceedings, that protect the institution.” Johnson, of Louisiana, said he would rather focus on the civil suit from House Judiciary Committee Republicans, though he said that if the Luna measure came to the floor, he would vote for it. “I’d rather do it in a way that we’ve done in our present litigation, but we’ll let the chips fall where they may,” Johnson said, adding that “every member has the right to bring a privileged motion like that, and Anna’s very committed to this principle and I am, too. We all are. I think every Republican is.” Luna’s resolution  also signaled a walkback from her earlier effort introduced in May, which called for the House sergeant-at-arms to detain Garland. Historically, Congress has shied away from the lengthy and burdensome inherent contempt move — which has not been used in either chamber since the 1930s — prompting questions about how the House could actually enforce the fine. Republicans’ push for tapes  Garland has been hit with several attempts by House Republicans to try to secure the audio tapes. Last month, House Republicans voted to hold Garland in contempt of Congress after he agreed with Biden’s assertion of executive privilege over the tapes. Garland also faces a civil lawsuit from the House Judiciary Committee filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which seeks to overturn Biden’s assertion of executive privilege. House Republicans are still pushing for the audio despite the Justice Department offering up a transcript of the interview between Hur and Biden to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Garland tapped Hur to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents back in January 2023. Hur, a federal prosecutor during the Trump administration, wrote in the report that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.” However, Hur declined to prosecute the president. He noted that “at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” The octogenarian fiercely rejected the characterization of his memory. The post U.S. House fails to pass measure to hold attorney general in ‘inherent contempt’ appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: DC Bureau, 118th Congress, house republicans, U.S. Congress]

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[l] at 7/11/24 7:20am
Charles Merrival. (Courtesy of Charles Merrival family)Nearly two months after Gov. Kristi Noem used a photo of him as alleged proof that cartels have overrun tribal communities, a Rapid City man accepted a plea deal this week to a drug conspiracy charge. Charles Cain Merrival, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has been jailed in Rapid City for two and a half years and has only been free from jail for a few months since 2020, court records show. Noem flashed a photo of Merrival during a May 17 press conference in Pierre, at which she repeated claims that cartel members are selling drugs and trafficking people on Native American reservations in the state. The photo showed Merrival in a jacket emblazoned with references to motorcycle gangs. When contacted by South Dakota Searchlight about Noem’s use of his photo, Merrival denied having any connection to drug cartels. He said he hadn’t been to Pine Ridge for years, that the photo Noem used was taken at a mall in Rapid City, and that the governor’s actions “destroyed my ability to get a fair trial” in a federal drug trafficking case. His mother, Darla Merrival, told South Dakota Searchlight she believes the governor chose to make an example of her son because he’s a tribal member. Noem’s office did not respond to questions from South Dakota Searchlight about her use of Merrival’s photo prior to the publication of a June 12 story on his case. Spokesman Ian Fury did not reply to messages Tuesday seeking comment for this story. On Monday, Charles Merrival took a deal and pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and saw his remaining charges, for distribution of a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of a firearm, dismissed. A factual basis statement filed Monday and signed by Merrival says he voluntarily joined a conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in the Rapid City area, and that he’d flashed a firearm in January of 2022 “in furtherance of the drug distribution conspiracy.” The conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison. There is no parole in the federal prison system. Merrival’s plea deal stipulates an eight year sentence. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4 in Rapid City. In a text sent to South Dakota Searchlight through a jailhouse service provider, Merrival said prosecutors had filed what he described as a gag order that would have prevented his attorney from asking jurors about the media coverage surrounding Noem’s cartel claims. “There was no way I was going to win,” Merrival wrote. “Especially with them tying my hands about being able to ask jurors if they’d seen the press.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, filed a “motion in limine” and a document supporting the motion on July 2. A motion in limine is meant to prevent or limit the use of certain arguments or evidence in a trial. The documents that would explain what prosecutors had hoped to limit at trial were sealed by a judge at the government’s request. Examining Noem’s cartel claims Drug cartels: A link in every illegal fentanyl pill in South Dakota, not just on reservations Noem’s ‘banish the cartels’ obscures statewide drug problem, tribal leaders say Man in photo Noem used as alleged proof of cartels says it’s hindered his right to a fair trial Tribal members divided about banning Noem, united in need for better public safety South Dakota Searchlight is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. South Dakota Searchlight maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Seth Tupper for questions: info@southdakotasearchlight.com. Follow South Dakota Searchlight on Facebook and X. The post Oglala man used by Kristi Noem as alleged proof of cartel presence takes plea deal in drug case appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Election 2024, Native America, Police & Prison, Kristi Noem, Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota]

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[l] at 7/11/24 7:16am
Protesters gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, while justices hear oral arguments about whether federal law protects emergency abortion care. (Sofia Resnick / States Newsroom)WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate gridlocked over reproductive rights on Wednesday, when Republicans blocked Democrats from advancing a measure that would have expressed support for abortion access. The failed 49-44 procedural vote was just one in a string of votes Senate Democrats are holding this summer to highlight the differences between the two political parties on contraception, in vitro fertilization and abortion ahead of the November elections. Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski were the only Republicans to vote to move the bill toward final passage. “This is a plain, up-or-down vote on whether you support women being able to make their own reproductive health care decisions,” Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray said during floor debate. “It doesn’t enforce anything. It doesn’t cost anything. It’s actually just a half-page bill, simply saying that women should have the basic freedom to make their own decisions about their health care.” Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said that women and their doctors, not politicians, should make decisions about abortion and other reproductive health choices. “This is our current reality, but it doesn’t have to be our future,” Klobuchar said. “This is a pivotal moment for America: Are we going to move forward and protect freedom, which has long been a hallmark of our nation, or are we going to go further backwards in history — not just to the 1950s but to the 1850s.” Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow urged support for the legislation, saying women should be able to make decisions about their own health care, lives and futures. “That’s what this vote is about and we’re not going to give up until we have those freedoms fully protected,” Stabenow said. No Republican senators spoke during debate on the bill ahead of the vote. The two-page bill would not have actually changed or provided any nationwide protections for abortion access. The legislation, if enacted, would have expressed a “sense of Congress” that abortion rights “should be supported” and that the nationwide, constitutional protections for abortion established by Roe v. Wade “should be restored and built upon, moving towards a future where there is reproductive freedom for all.” The Biden administration released a Statement of Administration Policy earlier in the week, backing the bill. “Today, more than 20 states have dangerous and extreme abortion bans in effect, some without exceptions for rape or incest,” the statement said. “Women are being denied essential medical care, including during an emergency, or forced to travel thousands of miles out of state for care that would have been available if Roe were still the law of the land. Doctors and nurses are being threatened with jail time.” Trio of bills offered, blocked The blocked procedural vote on Wednesday came just one day after Democrats went to the floor in an attempt to pass three other bills on reproductive rights through the fast-track unanimous consent process. That involves one senator asking “unanimous consent” to pass legislation. Any one senator can then object, blocking passage of the bill. If no one objects, the bill is passed. The maneuver is typically used to approve broadly bipartisan measures or for lawmakers to bring attention to legislation without moving it through the time-consuming cloture process that can take weeks in the Senate. Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto on Tuesday tried unsuccessfully to pass her bill, which would have barred the government from preventing travel “to another state to receive or provide reproductive health care that is legal in that state.” Forty Democratic or independent senators co-sponsored the legislation. During brief floor debate, Cortez Masto said the bill “reaffirms that women have a fundamental right to interstate travel and makes it crystal clear that states cannot prosecute women — or anyone who helps them — for going to another state to get the critical reproductive care that they need.” “Elected officials in states like Tennessee and Texas and Alabama are trying to punish women for leaving their state for reproductive care, as well as anyone who helps them, including their doctors or even their employers,” Cortez Masto said. “Why? Because for these anti-choice politicians, this is about controlling women.” Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith objected to the unanimous consent request, saying that while members of the anti-abortion movement “most certainly do not oppose any individual’s freedom to travel across this great country,” they do have concerns the measure would hinder prosecution of crimes, like human trafficking. Bill would ‘take us backward,” Budd says Republicans blocked a second bill, sponsored by Murray, that would have blocked state governments from preventing, restricting, impeding, or disadvantaging health care providers from providing “reproductive health care services lawful in the state in which the services are to be provided.” The bill was co-sponsored by 30 Democratic or independent senators. “When I talk to abortion providers in Spokane, where they see a lot of patients fleeing restrictive abortion bans from states like Idaho, they are terrified that they could face a lawsuit that will threaten their practice and their livelihood, just for doing their jobs, just for providing care their patients need — care that is, once again, completely legal in my state,” Murray said. “We are talking about people who are following the law and simply want to provide care to their patients. This should be cut-and-dried.” North Carolina GOP Sen. Ted Budd objected to the request, arguing the bill “would make it easier for unborn life to be ended.” “The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision brought renewed hope to Americans who believe in the sanctity of each and every life, including life in the womb,” Budd said. “But this bill would take us backward.” Following Budd’s objection to passing the bill, Murray said his actions “made clear” that GOP lawmakers “have no problem whatsoever with politicians targeting doctors in states like mine, where abortion is legal.” “I think that pretty much gives the game away,” Murray added. Grant program Democrats also tried to pass legislation from Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin that would have established a federal grant program to bolster the number of health care providers who receive “comprehensive training in abortion care.” That bill had seven Democratic or independent co-sponsors in the Senate. “For our top-ranked medical schools, a post-Roe reality sowed chaos as students and their instructors wondered how future doctors in our state would have access to the full slate of training necessary to safely practice obstetrics and gynecology,” Baldwin said. Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall, an OB-GYN, blocked the request, saying that the federal government “should not be spending taxpayer dollars to encourage medical students and clinicians to take life when their principal duty, their sacred oath, is to protect life and to do no harm from conception to natural death.” Repeated attempts throughout 2024 Democrats sought to advance legislation on access to contraception and in vitro fertilization despite the 60-vote legislative filibuster earlier this year, and failed to get the necessary Republican support each time. In early June, Democrats tried to advance legislation that would have protected “an individual’s ability to access contraceptives” and “a health care provider’s ability to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information related to contraception.” A week later, Democrats tried again, this time with legislation that would have provided a right for people to access IVF and for doctors to provide that health care without the state or federal government “enacting harmful or unwarranted limitations or requirements.” Collins and Murkowski were the only Republicans to vote to move the bills toward a final passage vote. Alabama GOP Sen. Katie Britt attempted to pass an IVF access bill through the unanimous consent process in mid-June, but was unsuccessful. That measure, which she co-sponsored with Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, would have blocked a state from receiving Medicaid funding if it prevented IVF. The legislation, which had three co-sponsors as of Wednesday, didn’t say what would happen to a state’s Medicaid funding if lawmakers or a state court defined life as starting at conception. That’s what led IVF clinics in Alabama to temporarily shut down earlier this year after the state Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos at IVF clinics constitute children under state law. The Alabama state legislature has since provided civil and criminal protections for IVF clinics. The post U.S. Senate GOP blocks bill proclaiming congressional support for abortion access appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: DC Bureau, 118th Congress, abortion access]

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[l] at 7/11/24 3:30am
The Valley of the Gods within the Bears Ears National Monument. (Photo by Tim Peterson LightHawk for the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition)Five Native American tribes, including two in New Mexico, are joining the federal government in looking over tens of thousands of public comments on the future of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. The three-month public comment period ended on June 11, and more than 20,000 people submitted responses, according to the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. The public comments “overwhelmingly supported the use of Traditional Indigenous Knowledge in the management of the Monument,” the Coalition said in a news release on Wednesday. The tribally informed co-management plan for the national monument is the first of its kind in U.S. history. The plan is a collaborative approach between the federal government and tribes on how to steward Bears Ears, which can include tribal ancestral history and ideas for protections through land conservation and traditional education. People from the Zuni Pueblo, Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Ute Mountain Tribe, and Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray each have their own cultural and spiritual connections to the land, and say it is a sacred site. The five tribes signed the land management deal in June 2021. With public comment over, the five tribes acting through the Bears Ears Commission, along with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, will review the comments and figure out how to incorporate them into the final management plan. President Joe Biden fully restored the Bears Ears monument in October 2021 after the Trump administration cut it by nearly 2 million acres. In 2023 a federal judge tossed out a lawsuit by Arizona lawmakers that sought to reverse Biden’s proclamation. Part of the impetus for the area being designated a national monument was to protect it from future uranium mining, like the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints near the Grand Canyon National Monument. Biden’s executive action came after the head of the National Park Service said in March 2022 the federal government would make greater efforts to include Native American tribes in decisions involving federal lands. The post Tens of thousands ‘overwhelmingly support’ using Indigenous knowledge to manage Bears Ears appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Environment & Climate Change, Gov & Politics, Native America]

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[l] at 7/10/24 3:29pm
Floodwaters race past homes in Ruidoso on Sunday, June 30, 2024. (Courtesy of the National Weather Service, Albuquerque).Monsoon rains continue to pummel the burn scar of the South Fork and Salt fires in the Ruidoso Village area, causing widespread flooding and damage, according to the latest reports from the National Weather Service. Between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, the service confirmed 10 flash flood reports and one sighting of a landspout, a relatively rare tornado-like event caused by the thunderstorm.  Flash floods poised to continue in disaster areas through monsoon season According to the service: The floods destroyed a bridge on Main Road about two miles west of the center of Ruidoso. Floods carried the roof of a home and a car downstream. And a woman was rescued after being trapped in a tree due to “high rushing waters.  “This is extreme flash flooding,” Brian Guyer, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told Source New Mexico on Wednesday.  That means the floods pose life-threatening hazards, including to people seeking shelter, Guyer said. “Theres parts of homes being pulled downstream, water rescues, people being picked up from helicopters because theyre stranded,” he said. “Large debris flows, mud, rocks, culverts moving down the street.” The South Fork and Salt fires ignited in mid-June and went on to burn more than 30,000 acres. They are mostly contained, thanks in part to the arrival of early monsoon rains that also brought floods and debris flows. Rain falling on burned scars doesn’t absorb as well into the soil, and there is less vegetation to hold back floods and debris flows. The July 9 floods were the second major flood event that has occurred in the area since the fires started. The other major floods, about a week ago, were primarily along a stretch near the Salt Fire burn scar. Rains on Tuesday caused overflowing canyons in and around Ruidoso, Guyer said.  The risk of floods continues today, according to the National Weather Service. A flood watch is in effect in the area until midnight.  See a map below of the latest flood reports: !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(a){if(void 0!==a.data["datawrapper-height"]){var e=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var t in a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r The post Woman trapped in tree, bridge destroyed, landspout spotted in ‘extreme’ Ruidoso burn scar flooding appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Environment & Climate Change, post-fire flooding, Ruidoso, Salt Fire, South Fork Fire]

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[l] at 7/10/24 11:38am
In participating states, low-income families will receive $40 each month for each eligible school-aged child, up to $120, to buy groceries, beginning in the summer of 2024. Shown is a sign at a grocery store noting the acceptance of electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, cards, on Dec. 4, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)Applications for food benefits can be submitted today by some residents from Mescalero Apache Reservation, Lincoln or Otero counties who were impacted by destruction caused by the South Fork and Salt fires. Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) is part of the Presidential Disaster Declaration signed June 20 following the wildfire and flooding that is devastating communities in the Sacramento Mountains.  Eligibility is based on whether residents’ “home or belongings were damaged or have experienced a loss or reduction in income and have unreimbursed disaster-related expenses,” according to the New Mexico Health Care Authority, which oversees the program for people in the state.  Applicants will need to verify their identity and show Health Care Authority staff household income and disaster-related expenses. Households eligible for assistance will receive one month of D-SNAP benefits on an EBT card for use at authorized locations. Assistance is based on the number of people per household and can range from $291 for a single person household and $1,751 for a family of eight. The Health Care Authority will approve and send out information on how people who qualify can use their card for food purchases. Anyone already using SNAP who lives in the areas affected by fire and flooding and are not receiving the maximum benefit allowed based on household size will “automatically” receive supplemental benefits for a month. Applications for D-SNAP are open July 10-12 alphabetically by last name and July 14-17 for all.  July 10: A-F July 11: G-M July 12: N-Z Those interested in applying can do so at several locations including: Horton Complex, 237 Service Rd., Ruidoso, NM 88348 Roswell ISD Field Office, 1701 S. Sunset Ave., Roswell, NM 88203 Alamogordo ISD Field Office, 2000 Juniper Dr., Alamogordo, NM 88310 People can also apply by calling 1-800-283-4465. Locations will be open for in-person applications from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 14; the call center will be closed that day.  Residents in impacted areas who had food purchased with SNAP benefits destroyed in the fires or flooding can request replacement benefits. Applications for this assistance can be made at the D-SNAP locations or by phone at 1-800-283-4465. The deadline to apply is July 17. GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX SUBSCRIBE The post Disaster food aid applications open for residents harmed by South Fork and Salt fires, flooding appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Environment & Climate Change, Gov & Politics, Health, D-SNAP, flooding, Lincoln County, Mescalero Apache Reservation, New Mexico, New Mexico Health Care Authority, Otero County, Ruidoso, Salt Fire, SNAP benefits, South Fork Fire, wildfires]

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[l] at 7/10/24 3:45am
Contractors move equipment as part of a 2021 study of removing per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) from the aquifer under Cannon Air Force base, near Clovis, New Mexico. New Mexico asked a judge to require the federal government to pay current and future damages from PFAS in court documents filed Monday, July 8, 2024. (Courtesy U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Maxwell Daigle) New Mexico requested a judge order the federal government to pay the past and future costs of cleaning up ‘forever chemicals’ from military bases across the state, per court documents filed Monday. The costs to remove the toxic chemicals called per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) grows into the billions and cleanup efforts stretch for years. New Mexico officials argue the federal government needs to be accountable for PFAS contamination costs at Cannon Air Force Base, Holloman Air Force Base, Kirtland Air Force Base, White Sands Missile Range and Fort Wingate. Now, after a federal rules change on Monday, they hope it will allow the state to recover damages and future cleanup costs for PFAS contamination left by the U.S. Department of Defense at military bases across New Mexico. “We applaud the EPA’s listing of certain PFAS, or forever chemicals, as hazardous substances under the Superfund statute,” New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez said. “This enables us to pursue monetary damages and costs at federal facilities, as stated in our amended complaint.” .contentHolder .fullwidth iframe { float: none !important; width: 100% !important; border: 0px !important; margin: 0px !important; } Forever Chemicals PFAS are a class of thousands of manmade chemicals which have had widespread contamination, threatening both people and the environment. The chemicals’ stable properties give them the moniker ‘forever chemicals’ as they are resistant to breaking down, and resist heat and water. They are used in items from nonstick cookware, water-resistant clothing to firefighting foams. Their ubiquity is also one of their greatest threats. They’re present in an estimated 97% of U.S. populations’ blood. The chemicals are linked to decreased fertility, immune system damage, lower vaccine effectiveness and increased cancer risks. Torrez said the change means a federal law requiring polluters to pay to clean up contamination now applies to PFAS. The designation of PFAS as a hazardous substance is separate from the EPA’s efforts to remove the forever chemicals in drinking water. The filing makes the federal government liable to pay for current and future costs, repair damages to water, land, air and address impacts to wildlife and the state’s economy. “This opens the door for us to really help communities like Clovis who have been suffering for far too long with this threat, if not actuality of PFAS,” New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney said. He told Source New Mexico that if a judge grants the request, the timeline for payment would be uncertain, but pointed to a similar process on the Gold King Mine, which took several years. The state has spent an estimated $8 million to $10 million on technical, legal costs and clean-up at Cannon and Holloman, Kenney said, but the estimates for cleanup at all sites will be expensive. “We could easily be looking at up to 150 million, if not more, especially once we understand the magnitude of the damages,” Kenney said. He said it’s unclear when the state will have an estimated cost of damages available. “It depends if we have cooperation by the United States,” Kenney said. “I would say to be five and-a-half years in, and to be where we are today, does not scream – to me – cooperation.” As part of those costs, New Mexico is looking to recoup at least $850,000 for the removal of thousands of PFAS-contaminated cow carcasses from a dairy farm next to Cannon, another $1.3 million for investigation contamination around bases, according to the complaint. The filing amends a five-year old civil case before the federal District of South Carolina Court. That case combined 500 claims from across the country seeking damages from contamination caused by the use of a fire-fighting foam containing PFAS. The case has been in a discovery phase since 2020. Specifically, New Mexico said the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force broke state law by failing to contain or “address contaminants, hazardous wastes, and hazardous substances,” listing how PFAS was found in groundwater and surrounding environment. The original 2019 complaint only focused on Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases, but the amended complaint filed Monday expands to five sites. New Mexico argued in their 65-page motion that while the federal government has acknowledged that PFAS poses “an imminent and substantial danger,” at Cannon, that they have failed to take action to clean up. The complaint asked that the court grant the state the power to direct the federal government to “to take all steps necessary” on clean-up. The U.S. Department of Defense deferred comment to the U.S. Department of Justice Tuesday. New Mexico is embroiled in a second, separate federal lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Defense over PFAS, which is still in mediation, and is not part of the effort to recoup damages. The post NM looking to recoup costs from PFAS damages at military bases appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Gov & Politics, Health, Cannon Air Force Base, Fort Wingate, Holloman Air Force Base, Kirtland Air Force Base, PFAS, White Sands Missle Range]

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[l] at 7/10/24 3:42am
The front of the Montana Historical Society on the Capitol grounds in Helena (Photo by Eric Seidle for the Daily Montanan)A New Mexico author who has written several books on Montana pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing several items, including letters from C.M. Russell’s wife, from the Montana Historical Society during the course of a year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. Brian D’Ambrosio, 49, of Santa Fe, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of theft of major artwork. In exchange for his plea, the government agreed to dismiss nine other counts for which he was indicted last November. The count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but prosecutors agreed to recommend his D’Ambrosio’s offense level be decreased because he pleaded guilty, which could lead to a more lenient sentence depending on what the judge decides. D’Ambrosio’s indictment was unsealed in January. According to the records, D’Ambrosio would go to the Montana Historical Society in Helena from April 2022 through September 2023 claiming he was doing research and would steal items, including some more than 100 years old, from the archives. He would then sell or try to sell them on eBay without saying they were stolen. Those included a Crow program for the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1926; a 1905 Centennial Brewing letter from Butte; an 1889 Montana Society of the Framers of the Constitution Convention Flag and Program; a Ravalli County sheriff card from the early 1900s; a telegram and letters written by Nancy Russell, the wife of C.M. Russell; and stock certificates and letters from the late 1800s and early 1900s involving the Silver Cliff Mining Company, U.S. Silver Service Commission; and Mexican Central Railway Company. D’Amrbosio was caught when he tried to sell items to an undercover FBI agent posing as a buyer, according to the indictment. D’Ambrosio has written numerous books with various ties to Montana, and online biographies say he lived here for more than 20 years. An Independent Record article from October said D’Ambrosio also co-owns an herbal store in Santa Fe and is a private investigator in three states. The two sides had reached a tentative agreement in April in the case, but D’Ambrosio agreed to the plea deal during a court hearing Tuesday. He was again released – as he has been since his indictment – pending his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Nov. 13.dambrosio-plea Daily Montanan is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Daily Montanan maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Darrell Ehrlick for questions: info@dailymontanan.com. Follow Daily Montanan on Facebook and X. The post New Mexico man pleads guilty to stealing items from Montana Historical Society appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Police & Prison, Montana Historical Society]

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[l] at 7/10/24 3:35am
Water flows from the bypass tubes of Glen Canyon Dam at a rate of approximately 32,000 cubic feet per second Nov. 21, 2004 in Page, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Topping / Getty Images)A bipartisan coalition of Arizona’s congressional delegation introduced legislation to address one of the longest-running water issues facing three Arizona tribes. The Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement (NAIWRSA) Act of 2024 would ratify and fund the largest Indian water rights settlement in the country, which will secure water rights for the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe and the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe. “This legislation and the settlement it ratifies represent a historic step forward in resolving a decades-long water rights dispute, providing certainty and stability for the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, and the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe,” Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly said in a written statement. Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, an independent, introduced the act in the U.S. Senate on July 8. Identical legislation was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, where it is cosponsored by Reps. Juan Ciscomani (R-Tucson), Raúl Grijalva (D-Tucson), Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) and David Schweikert (R-Scottsdale). “Our historic bipartisan legislation delivers real, lasting results for the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, and San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe by strengthening water security, creating economic opportunities, and providing certainty and stability so their communities can continue to thrive,” Sinema said in a press release. The Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement Agreement will settle the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe, and the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe’s claims to the main stem of the Colorado River, the Little Colorado River, and relevant groundwater sources in Arizona. “Securing water rights for these tribes upholds their sovereignty and lays the path for their growth and prosperity through increased investment in water infrastructure,” Kelly said. “Ratifying this settlement honors our commitment to the tribes and helps secure our state’s water future, and we’ll work together as Republicans and Democrats to get it done.” The bill states that the legislation aims to achieve a fair, equitable and final settlement of all claims to rights to water in Arizona for the three tribal nations. In addition to settling the tribes’ ongoing water claims in the Colorado River Basin, it includes billions in funding for essential water development and delivery projects for the tribes. Ciscomani said in a written statement that the settlement and legislation will provide a “long-lasting partnership” between Arizona and the tribes. “This not only gives much-needed certainty to the Tribes but allows Arizona to better plan for a secure water future while providing for improved water infrastructure throughout the region,” he said. As part of the settlement, the three tribes would gain access to reliable and safe water for their community through various outlets, including the upper and lower basins of the Colorado River, aquifers, shared washes and water infrastructure development. “The Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement Agreement is a monumental achievement and the product of negotiations spanning almost 30 years,” said Leslie A. Meyers, the associate general manager of water resources for the Salt River Project. “Salt River Project has participated in the negotiations from their inception.” Meyers said SRP enthusiastically supports the bills because the settlement provides the three tribes with the desperately needed water supplies and infrastructure to secure their futures. The water settlement authorizes $5 billion to acquire, build, and maintain essential water development and delivery projects, including a $1.75 billion distribution pipeline. The three tribes would be guaranteed access to over 56,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water and specific groundwater rights and protections. Grijalva said that the legislation deserves the full support of Congress because the settlement was the historic culmination of a decades-long effort to bring water to the three tribes. “As the climate crisis continues to exacerbate an already devastating multigenerational drought, the federal government’s obligation to deliver clean, safe water and water infrastructure to the tribes could not be more pressing,” he said. “I urge my colleagues to move this legislation to the president’s desk quickly.” Tribal leaders commend legislation introduction Leaders from the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe and the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe commended the work of everyone involved in writing the settlement and introducing legislation to Congress. Tribal councils from all three tribes initially passed bills supporting the water settlement in May. However, Congress must approve the settlement before it can go into law. “For decades, our Navajo people have lived without piped water in their homes, with many of our elders hauling water over 30 miles roundtrip,” Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren said during a press conference on Tuesday. “More than 30% of the homes on the Navajo Nation lack running water. This is unacceptable.” Nygren said that the Navajo people are American people, and no one in America should be denied access to water because of where they live. “This settlement ensures that the Navajo people will have rightful access to water, providing certainty for our homeland’s future and an equal opportunity for health and prosperity,” he added. If the act passes Congress, the Navajo Nation water infrastructure it would fund will bring substantial clean, safe and reliable drinking water to Navajo communities in Arizona, according to Nygren’s office. The infrastructure will allow tens of thousands of Navajo people in Arizona to have piped water in their homes for the first time. “It is a great opportunity here to claim what is ours as Navajo people,” Navajo Nation Council Speaker Crystalyne Curley said Tuesday. “Water is essential to every living thing that we possess in the Navajo way.” She said this is the first time a tribe is bringing this large of a water settlement to Congress, and she said it is unfortunate that the Navajo Nation is one of the last tribes in Arizona to bring its water settlement to a federal level. Curley said it’s as if the Navajo Nation is going up to Congress with an empty cup and begging for both what is rightfully theirs and what they deserve. “Without this settlement, our communities will remain disproportionately vulnerable to diseases, and development on the Reservation will continue to be restricted by the lack of water infrastructure,” she said in a press release. Curley noted how the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Navajo Nation particularly hard due to the tribe’s lack of access to clean water and plumbing. Through the water settlement, the Navajo Nation would gain access to 44,700 acre-feet per year of the Upper Basin Colorado River Water and 3,600 acre-feet per year of the Lower Basin Colorado River Water. The Navajo Nation will also lease, exchange, and accrue long-term storage credits for its Arizona water as part of the settlement. The tribe could store Arizona water in two reservoirs in New Mexico and aquifers on the Navajo Navajo for later recovery. The Navajo Nation would also be able to engage in inter-basin transfer of Colorado River water in Arizona and divert its water from New Mexico and Utah for use in Arizona. The San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, which spans Arizona and Utah, will not only receive water rights from the settlement but also ratify the treaty and create their reservation boundaries. “We are so thankful to Senator Kelly and Senator Sinema for introducing legislation that will not only provide our Tribe with water but will also ratify a treaty negotiated and entered into by the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe and the Navajo Nation decades ago,” Robbin Preston Jr., president of the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, said in a press release. “The Tribe has waited far too long to have an exclusive reservation of its own,” Preston added. “The opportunities made available through this legislation will change the lives of our Tribal Members and the trajectory of our Tribe.” As part of the settlement, the tribe will gain 5,400 acres of land within the Navajo Nation, which will be proclaimed the San Juan Southern Paiute Reservation. The land will be held in trust by the United States. Preston said the settlement would provide the San Juan Southern Paiute people with reliable electricity, water, and housing. “Our people will have opportunities that have never been available to us before,” he added. “This legislation is more than a settlement of water rights; it is the establishment of an exclusive reservation for a Tribe that will no longer be forced to live like strangers in our own land.” For the Hopi Tribe, the settlement guarantees access to 2,300 acre-feet per year of the Upper Basin Colorado River Water and a little over 5,900 acre-feet per year of the Lower Basin Colorado River Water. Hopi Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma expressed his gratitude to the state, tribes and neighboring communities for working to make the settlement a reality. “Our collective action means a more secure water future for the Hopi Tribe and all of our neighbors in Northern Arizona,” Nuvangyaoma said. As part of the settlement, the Hopi Tribe can lease, exchange, and accrue long-term storage credits for its water, store it in aquifers on Hopi land for later recovery and engage in inter-basin transfer of the Colorado River within Arizona. Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: info@azmirror.com. Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and X. The post New legislation would ratify Colorado River water settlements for three AZ tribes appeared first on Source New Mexico.

[Category: Environment & Climate Change, Gov & Politics, Native America, Colorado River, Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe]

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