New Mexico high court asked to set aside water regulations

Animas river, gold king mine spill

SANTA FE (AP) – Environmental groups say the New Mexico Supreme Court should set aside contested water regulations because they fail to prevent pollution by copper mines.

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center filed a brief on behalf of its clients Monday in the case against the state’s so-called copper rule.

The rule was initially approved by state water regulators in September 2013. Opponents argued the regulations violated the state Water Quality Control Act in addition to giving mining companies too much leeway to pollute groundwater.

The New Mexico Environment Department has argued that the regulations are among the most stringent of any copper-producing state in the West and strike a balance between protecting water and allowing for economic development.

The high court announced in July that it would consider the case.

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