New Mexico Art Tells its History

History/Text: Pollution

The San Juan Generating Station, near Farmington, is a highly-polluting coal-fired power plant. The plant is responsible for significant nitrogen oxide emissions, which not only contribute to regional haze and ground-level ozone, but are also a hazard to public health. The Navajo Nation has been living with the plant’s excessive pollution for decades and is supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s request to improve their emissions of pollutants. If the request is carried out, the plant will reduce the ozone and particulate pollution that often obstructs the views in the regions national parks, as well as lower the risks of premature death and asthma that is often associated with air particulates.

Pollution is not limited to the Farmington region, though. Nitrate poison comes from sewage treatment plants, dairies, industrial facilities, restaurants, mobile home parks, other commercial operations. Nitrate pollution has been found in some areas of groundwater, which accounts for nearly half of the water that is used in New Mexico.

While dairy is the most important agricultural industry in New Mexico, the New Mexico Environment Department has said that 2/3 of the state’s 150 dairy plants are contaminating the groundwater with the excessive amount of cattle excrement on these farms. So, while we may be getting good milk out of the farms, we may also be getting contaminated groundwater.

There are two major dairy regions in the state: One is located in eastern New Mexico, while the other is located in central New Mexico. The eastern zone is the major production area, with more than 75% of the milk volume. Within the eastern zone,Chaves, Roosevelt, and Curry counties, produce 65% of total milk. In the central area, Doña Ana in the southern part of the state produces 15% of the milk.

Other sources responsible for pollution are the creosote plant in the South Valley of Albuquerque, a junkyard in Los Lunas, an old battery recycling center in Clovis, two uranium mills near Gallup, and other chemical handling facilities in the state.

For more information about air pollution» http://www.nrdc.org/air/default.asp

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