Skip to content

Cerro Pelado Fire Update, NM Water Allocation & UNM Takes Over Medical Services at MDC

This week on New Mexico in Focus, Gene Grant talks to the Line Opinion Panel about a report from the U.S. Forest Service that shows they were responsible for starting last year’s Cerro Pelado Fire, due in part to a holdover fire from a prescribed burn the agency conducted in the area two weeks prior. Gene asks the panel why the Forest Service was tight-lipped about its discovery and asks how the service can win back public trust. Then, Gene and the panel discuss a report from a national activist group that calls for New Mexico officials to pare back water access for agriculture businesses and to prioritize residential and drinking water. Gene asks the panelists to consider how the state’s water scarcity impacts farming, farmers and consumers. 

UNM Hospital is one week into a new partnership with the Metropolitan Detention Center. Executive Producer Jeff Proctor sits down with retired attorney Peter Cubra to talk about why this is a welcome change from private companies that have repeatedly failed to care for people who are locked up. 

After the relatively wet years of the 1980s and ‘90s, New Mexico’s reservoirs started dropping in the 2000s. In cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, two water districts — one in New Mexico and another in Texas — agreed in 2008 on new ways to share water stored in Elephant Butte Reservoir. But New Mexico’s then-attorney general, Gary King, sued the federal government, saying too much of New Mexico’s water was going to Texas. Texas disagreed and then sued New Mexico and Colorado, alleging that by allowing  farmers to pump groundwater connected to the river, New Mexico wasn’t sending its fair share downstream. That landed all three states in the U.S. Supreme Court, where the federal government also weighed in on the issue.  Now, the three states say they’ve come up with a plan to move forward, and although the federal government hasn’t agreed to the plan, federal Judge Michael Melloy, the case’s special master, has recommended the Supreme Court approve a settlement. To help us understand what’s going on, we invited water attorney Adrian Oglesby onto the show. He’s the director of the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the University of New Mexico’s School of Law.  

Host: Gene Grant 

The Line Opinion Panel: 
Paula Garcia, executive director, New Mexico Acequia Association 
John Fleck, professor, water researcher at UNM’s Utton Center 
Elizabeth Miller, independent journalist


UNM Hospital Begins Medical Services at Bernalillo County’s Metropolitan Detention Center 
Correspondent: Jeff Proctor 
Guest: Peter Cubra, retired attorney, founder of Advocacy, Inc.  

Is a Settlement on the Rio Grande Coming Soon? 
Correspondent: Laura Paskus 
Guest: Adrian Oglesby, director, Utton Transboundary Resources Center, UNM School of Law