Court clears way for public hearing on chromium plume | The Bellingham Herald
The New Mexico Court of Appeals has sided with a coalition of environmental groups that had repeatedly sought a public hearing related to the cleanup of chromium contamination at one of the nation’s premier federal laboratories.
The court in a ruling issued last week found there was no evidence to support the decision by state regulators to deny requests for a public hearing.
The coalition, Communities for Clean Water, has concerns that discharging the treated water could end up pushing the plume of chromium closer to drinking water wells.
Never miss a local story.
Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.
"The court has ensured that the public’s concerns must be heard before discharges of pollution into our state’s waters are authorized," she said.
The state Environment Department did not return messages seeking comment on the ruling.
Then-Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn denied the request for a public hearing, saying his agency had accepted comments and that the permit was in the public interest.
The state Water Quality Control Commission backed up Flynn’s decision, saying concerns raised by the coalition had already been addressed by the Environment Department in a private meeting.
Under the permit, the lab is allowed to discharge up to 350,000 gallons a day of treated water associated with pumping tests, well development and groundwater remediation.