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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Clean Water Rule Lawsuit Includes New Mexico

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015   

SANTA FE, N. M. – New Mexico is among thirteen states suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its updated Clean Water Rule.

The lawsuit filed this week, claims the rule amounts to a power grab by the federal government, seeking greater control over state and local waters.

However, at the Center for Biological Diversity, Brett Hartl sees it differently. His group is concerned the updated Clean Water Rule actually removes protections for some waterways. Hartl, the center's endangered species policy director, is concerned the states are trying to further diminish the rule.

"They might be saying that this is a 'huge overreach,' but I have a feeling that behind closed doors they're probably, I think, fairly happy with what the final rule looked like," Hartl says. "But they're going to keep going, because once you smell blood in the water, you don't stop."

Supporters, including sportsmen's groups, say the Clean Water Rule needed the update, and that it restores protections for headwaters, some streams and wetland habitat left uncertain after two U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Hartl says previously, protections for wetlands were considered on a case-by-case basis, irrespective of location. He points out that the new rule mandates that wetlands be within 4,000 feet of a river or a stream to qualify for federal protections.

"In the old system, there was a chance to protect something that was more than 4,000 feet away from a stream - now there isn't," he explains. "The old system at least had the possibility to protect wetlands, and the new system doesn't."

The other states involved in the litigation are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.



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