You picked a brine time

One of New Mexico's most controversial caverns is about to get stuffed with cash. A giant, empty brine well where water used to mix with salt before being pumped out of the ground for use in oil and natural gas fields is now in danger of collapse. It's in Carlsbad, underneath a major highway intersection. Yesterday, lawmakers voted to send a remediation bill to the governor that would spend $30 million to shore up the cavern. The company that owned the well is bankrupt.

Keepin’ secrets 

At least the vote was public. The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that will keep secret much of what aerospace companies do at Spaceport America, including potentially who they are. Seems like most companies that manage to shoot a rocket into space are pretty pumped when they do and not shy about divulging their identity. However, spaceport officials say they're losing business at the publicly funded facility by not having more robust secrecy measures. The bill will have to be on a rocketship through the House over the next three days, but it certainly has momentum as lawmakers try to ensure the floundering $200 million venture can someday turn a profit.

Ruszkowski hearing sidelined by background check

Acting New Mexico education chief Chris Ruszkowski won't get a confirmation hearing until he consents to a background check ($), says Sen. Linda Lopez, the Democrat who chairs the Senate Rules Committee. Without one, Lopez says Ruszkowski is serving without authority. The governor's office, which has a feud with Lopez that's second to none, says the senator is playing games.

Marijuana to ease opioid addiction

Medical marijuana advocates are calling on Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher (wife of former SFPD Chief Patrick Gallagher) to heed the recommendation of an advisory panel that's twice suggested adding opioid addiction to the list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card. Supporters gathered at the Capitol yesterday to bring attention to the cause. The Health Department says Gallagher, who's rejected the recommendation once before, is waiting on a report from the advisory panel before she makes her decision.

 Balderas wants decade of prison for Grieg

Attorney General Hector Balderas wants former state Sen. Phil Griego to spend 10 years in prison and have to pay maximum fines, about $32,000, when he's sentenced on public corruption charges Friday. Balderas filed his sentencing memo yesterday.

Animaniacs?

It's anything but zany over at Albuquerque's animal shelters. Management there has taken issue with a group of activists running a Facebook page that promotes adoption and pulls no punches about which pups get euthanized. The shelter, which is considered a "no-kill" facility by virtue of euthanizing about 10 percent of its homeless rescues, says the tactic sends the wrong message.

Rule rollback

The Trump adminsitration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that forced natural gas producers to capture methane leaks. It's the fourth time in a little over a year that the US Interior Department has tried to do that. The new rule largely shifts back to the way things were before the Obama measure.

Weather coaster

We're all over the place in the weather world this week. Expect a couple more days of warm, then crazy windy, weather before a storm rolls in from the southwest. It may not be a huge snowmaker for the northern part of the state, but we should see some precipitation. Things will cool off through Thursday before shooting up over the weekend.

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