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New Mexico Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in “Copper Rule” case

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  SANTA FE, N.M. — The state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the New Mexico Copper Rule case for Wednesday, September 28 in Santa Fe.

The Copper Rule is a regulation adopted in October 2013 that allows the state’s copper mines to intentionally pollute groundwater. It is the first time since the New Mexico Water Quality Act was adopted that the State has exempted an entire industry from *pollution prevention requirements of the Act.

In what will be a precedent-setting case, the state’s high court has been asked to set aside the Rule and require the State to adopt a new regulation that protects groundwater quality from copper mine contamination.

The appellants are Amigos Bravos, the Gila Resources Information Project and Turner Ranch Properties, represented by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center; William Olson, former New Mexico Environment Department Ground Water Quality Bureau Chief, represented by Charles Noble; and the New Mexico Attorney General, lead counsel Tannis Fox. Defending the Rule are the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission, the New Mexico Environment Department, and Freeport-McMoRan Mining Co.

Space in the Supreme Court hearing room is limited. Security will run bags through a metal detector.

WHERE: New Mexico State Supreme Court, 237 Don Gaspar Street, Santa Fe
WHEN: Wednesday, September 28 at 1:30 PM