Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
Fire managers are planning to conduct prescribed fires in two locations on the Gila National Forest beginning today, pending favorable conditions. The projects under consideration are the Bar Six Prescribed Fire 12 miles southwest of Silver City and the Slaughter Mesa Prescribed Fire 8 miles southeast of Quemado Lake.
The public is invited to celebrate National Parks Week from April 18th through April 25th at the Gila Cliff Dwellings. April 18th is Junior Ranger Day, and children of all ages are invited to take part in fun events, including Wildlife Olympics, Indian corn grinding, bowl and pictograph painting, Leave No Trace camping, and storytelling with bones, horns, antlers and hides. These fun events will teach about the people and animals that have lived at the Cliff Dwellings. April 18th and 19th are “fee free” days, so all entrance fees to the Monument are waived.
A new report ranks the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon as the nation’s most endangered river. According to the report by the nonprofit group American Rivers the Escalade project, a proposed two-million square-foot development on the east rim of the Grant Canyon, is the most pressing concern. The development would include a tram which could transport up to ten-thousand people per day to the bottom of the Grand Canyon near the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers. The area is considered sacred by several Native American tribes.
On the Governor’s Desk:
Governor Martinez signed Senate Bill 325 – Health Agreement No-Compete Provisions, which aims to help retain healthcare professionals in New Mexico, especially rural areas, by limiting enforcement of non-compete clauses. The bill will allow certain health care practitioners to go to work for a different hospital or health care facility once their contract is over even if their contract has a non-compete provision with their previous employer.
Martinez also signed Senate Bill 442 – Financial Assurance for Abandoned Oil Wells, which aims to make the state more business friendly while protecting the public interests. The bill amends the Oil and Gas Act to require oil and gas well operators to provide additional financial assurance for wells that have been placed on inactive or temporarily abandoned status. The operators can provide a one=-well financial assurance or offer to increase any existing blanket plugging financial assurance. The changes also allow operators to post a larger number of wells on the temporarily abandoned status waiting for market conditions to improve.
The Governor signed a bill to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and to require retail liquid nicotine packages to be sold in child-resistant containers. The desired outcomes are to protect minors from harm, as the safety of e-cigarettes has not been fully studied. Risks are unknown but suspected, and the USDA is considering classifying e-cigarettes as “tobacco products.”