Category Archives: Environment

Sandia National Laboratories’ Mixed Waste Landfill, Line Panel examines: APD use of lapel cameras, payday lending, WisePies Arena

This week on New Mexico in Focus, we focus on the Sandia National Laboratories’ Mixed Waste Landfill. The site is located at the southern end of Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and it contains numerous radioactive and other chemical wastes that were dumped into unlined pits and trenches from 1959 to 1988. Producer and correspondent Floyd Vasquez speaks with advocates about the latest developments regarding the site, and whether it presents a serious threat to the city’s groundwater. The New Mexico Environment Department has given conditional approval to Sandia’s request to have the landfill categorized as fully compliant.

The Line opinion panel looks at the firing of an Albuquerque Police Department officer based on an internal affairs investigation regarding his use of lapel cameras. Dear fatally shot a 19-year-old woman earlier this year who was suspected of stealing a truck. He is appealing the firing and his attorney maintains the APD policy on lapel camera use is impossible to comply with. This comes on the heels of a call by President Barack Obama for more police to use lapel cameras following the decision not to indict the officer who shot a man in Ferguson, Mo., which sparked protests around the country. It also comes in the wake of a consent decree signed by the city of Albuquerque and the Department of Justice to implement reforms after DOJ issued a report condemning the use of force among APD officers.

The Line will also look at the issue of payday lending in New Mexico. Despite several successful lawsuits against lenders, and a push for reforms years ago, companies can still charge enormously high interest rates, according to advocates. There will be a push in the next legislative session to put a usury cap of 36 percent in place, but it’s unclear if that effort will succeed, despite popular support for more regulation.

And the Line will also discuss a new naming rights deal for the Pit between UNM and local pizza chain WisePies, as well as the latest on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and pending federal rules on smog.

We also get an update on the catastrophic fires and floods that devastated Santa Clara Pueblo in 2011 and continue to impact the pueblo’s lands with a piece produced for the NewsHour on PBS by Kathleen McCleery.


Host: Gene Grant

Correspondent: Floyd Vasquez

David Correia, Professor of American Studies, University of New Mexico
Dave McCoy, Executive Director, Citizen Action New Mexico
Leona Morgan, Diné NO NUKES
H. Eric Nuttall, Professor Emeritus of Chemical/Nuclear Engineering, University of New Mexico

Line Panelists:
Janice Arnold-Jones, Former State Representative
Dede Feldman, Former State Senator
Tom Garrity, The Garrity Group
Sophie Martin, Editor, & Attorney

The Co-Producers of NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS are Megan Kamerick and Floyd E. Vasquez Jr.. Associate Producer is Kathy Wimmer. Funding for this program was provided in part by the McCune Foundation Communications Fund, Santa Fe Community Foundation.

Episode 821 for air December 5, 2014