New Mexico Supreme Court affirms copper rule
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to water quality regulations adopted in 2013 for copper mining operations.
The state attorney general’s office and environmentalists had opposed the so-called copper rule, saying it didn’t go far enough to protect the state’s limited groundwater supplies from contamination.
The New Mexico Environment Department and the Water Quality Control Commission have argued the regulations are among the most stringent of any copper-producing state in the West.
The Supreme Court said its task was to determine whether the regulations violated the Water Quality Act, not to assess the most effective and efficient way to combat adverse effects from pit mining.
The justices rejected claims that the rule was invalid because it differed from past regulatory approaches for controlling discharges at copper mines.