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Morning Word: Something in the Water

July 31, 2017, 7:30 am

Something in the water
The tap water of 1.7 million New Mexicans contains unsafe quantities of uranium. That’s more than 80 percent of the state. Although Santa Fe’s water system follows state and federal guidelines for safe drinking water, one group using stricter standards based on California’s water safety guidelines found that city water “contains eight cancer-causing contaminants at levels above California’s health guidelines.”

Populist uprising in Santa Fe
Fed up with what they perceive as Mayor Javier Gonzales’ limousine liberalism, a burgeoning populist movement in Santa Fe says it will run at least one candidate in next year’s City Council election. Smart Progress New Mexico is a group of Bernie Sanders-minded liberals as well as fiscal conservatives who helped defeat the sugary drink tax. The group has already recruited one person, Jim Williamson, to run for a council seat. Might it be the same Williamson who talked to SFR about his support for Trump on election night last November?

Zinke goes into the wild
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s been in the state reviewing 20 federally designated national monuments to decide whether to rescind or shrink their acreage. On the last leg of his visit he met Sen. Martin Heinrich and Sen. Tom Udall in the Sabinoso Wilderness, a 16,000-acre federally designated wilderness that is currently inaccessible to the public because it is surrounded by private land. The senators are hoping that Zinke will approve a purchase by a nonprofit organization of a ranch that butts against the wilderness. Previously, Zinke has ignored requests from public officials in places critical of the proposal to scale back public lands.

Laminated Social Security cards OK for REAL ID
It just got a little easier to obtain a REAL ID-compliant form of identification in New Mexico. The Motor Vehicle Department announced it would now accept laminated Social Security cards as a form of identification in lieu of W-2 or 1099 tax forms. It’s unclear if a lawsuit filed two weeks ago by a woman frustrated that the a private-contract MVD wouldn’t accept her laminated Social Security card as a form of ID had anything to do with the change.

Alerta, alerta
Tomorrow, the main suspect in the 2016 kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of an 11-year-old girl in the Navajo Nation is expected to change his plea in federal court in Albuquerque. The case shone a spotlight on the lack of an Amber Alert system for the Navajo Nation, even though it was awarded $333,000 in funding for such a system years ago. US Sen. John McCain has said more than 7,700 American Indian children are listed as missing in the US.

Pipeline construction in Taos
Construction of six miles of natural gas pipeline in the Rio Grande Gorge will begin on Aug. 1. The $14 million job is said to be a necessary upgrade to crumbling New Mexico Gas Company infrastructure, but some Northern New Mexico communities still won't have gas service even after the Taos Mainline Reroute Project is in service. The project will also make traffic worse along Highway 68.

Thunder and rain
It didn’t rain as much as some feared or hoped in Santa Fe this past weekend, but most days this week appear with a little cloud-and-lightning-bolt next to it, according to my iPhone. Be sure to pack an umbrella for the week, just in case.

Thanks for reading! The Word is using bottled water to make this morning's coffee.

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