Briefs from around the West
The wildfires in New Mexico continue to rage, with the largest being the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak blazes near Las Vegas, which grew together into one, 104,000-acre monster. In the Jemez Mountains, the Cerro Pelado remains just 10 percent contained. Check out twitter #NMFire for real-time coverage and follow reporters such as Shaun Griswold and Laura Paskus, who are on the ground keeping a tab on things.
Laura Paskus @LauraPaskusWent to the #nmfire meeting at Cochiti Lake for #CerroPeladoFire - Will have more info to share when I get to better Internet access. But here’s a link to a video with the deputy IC of the Southern Area Red Team: https://t.co/Wx2OlIfX6p
Arizona regulators issued a key water quality permit to Energy Fuels, the owner of the Pinyon Plain uranium mine just outside Grand Canyon National Park, reports Debra Utacia Krol for the Arizona Republic. Officials from the nearby Havasupai Tribe say they will continue to fight to stop the mine from opening. It’s just the latest indication that the domestic uranium industry may be on the brink of a revival.
The Los Angeles Times’ Sammy Roth reports that California Gov. Gavin Newsom may attempt to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant running past its scheduled 2025 retirement date. Newsom said that would give grid operators and utilities more time to increase renewable and battery capacity to avoid future rolling blackouts.
Perhaps you’ve seen the headlines in the last few days hailing a $90 million settlement related to the Gold King Mine spill. And perhaps you thought: What, another $90 million settlement!? It’s not—not another settlement, that is. It’s the same settlement we wrote about a while back that was just now approved and finalized. Read the deep dive on the settlement here:
From the Follow-up Department
Remember last week’s story about the vanishing pinyon jay? Reader Audrey Kruse, with the Grand Canyon Trust, kindly wrote to fill me—and you—in on some more pinyon jay conservation efforts:
I wanted to let you know that we've got a pinyon jay citizen science project currently underway to help better understand the extent of the declining population and to hopefully leverage that into protections of the PJ woodlands that are threatened by large scale removal projects on federal lands.
There's also a citizen/community science project from the Great Basin Bird Observatory, doing something similar - and we're loosely partnering with Audubon SW's pinyon jay hub as well. A few breweries are actually going to be launching a pinyon jay conservation-focused brew, I think sometime in July - the Bosque Brewery in Albuquerque and the Drinking Horn Meadery in Flagstaff.
Sounds to me like we’ll have to add a couple of beverage stops to the great Land Desk green chile bookstore road trip.