Approval of the permit could make it much easier to privatize New Mexico’s groundwater. During the Condemnation Case (2009-2013)[v]there was no insertion of environmental concerns into this case nor at any time within the last 10 years. Control over clean water for the public welfare rather than corporate profits is a fight we need to win.

The latter company owns 95 percent of Aquifer Science and has no employees.

This will decide the fate of environmental impacts to the Rio Grande watershed and ecosystem from this wells and projects. In the past 4 months IMH Larry Bain and engineer Gary Lee have been in contact with NMED and OSE. A decision is not expected anytime soon. The “corrected” version stands virtually unchanged from the earlier versions and should be denied upon the same grounds that led the previous versions to be denied by the State Engineer and courts: The application fails to identify specific beneficial uses, particular places of use and end users of the water to be appropriated.

from WQA standards. Where does the buck stop? In 2016, under a new State Engineer, the ranch filed a “corrected” application, which the State Engineer agreed to consider. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, and is made in the process of academic research and not for commercial usage.

The hearing on the permit protest finished on March 19. The showdown in the NM courts is expected this week after an Arizona Court of Appeals decision that remanded 20+ cases back to the Superior Court that will begin again at the 2016 timeline, and revert the ownership of the Brine wells.

According to sources, last week the OSE issued the permit for pumping the wells because of a phone call from the Office of the Governor, when Gary Lee circumvented the injunction to ask the Governor’s office to make the request. The first application, which was denied by the State Engineer and a State District Court in 2012, was amended and submitted again in 2014. According to K1 and other tax filings, IMH ‘cleaned out’ the assets of these corporations and of the 147 investors in 2015 and 2016, some of those who could, fought back.[ii].

Urban and agricultural water use has clearly become more efficient, but there are limits to these efforts, as well. All this was done in violation of court orders, misrepresentations to state agencies in violation of the law, with no public comment on the correct facts presented to the public and with no public hearings.

Michael Jensen is Communications and Public Education Officer at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. The permit was issued without public notice and a public hearing.
Learn more. Thank you.Melissa Y. MascarenasNew Mexico Environment DepartmentDepartment Public Records Custodian. NM OSE (Office of the State Engineer) and NMED (New Mexico Environment Department) Issued permits and temporary permissions (sometimes known to citizens’ groups as ‘Zombie Permits’) since that started in 2005, which allowed for IMH to neglect the wells while they were gathering more investors through capital calls and then cleaning out those accounts.

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