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Meetings Roundup: NMED seeks input about how the Gold King Mine spill impacted farmers

College board, MPO technical committee will also meet

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Environment Department will host two listening sessions to hear from San Juan County farmers about lingering agricultural concerns years after the Gold King Mine spill.

The first of those listening sessions will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Shiprock Chapter House on U.S. Highway 64. The second will be from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 6 at the San Juan County Fire Operations Center located on South Oliver Drive in Aztec.

The NMED is looking for input on how the Gold King Mine spill of 2015 impacted agricultural production.

More:Navajo farmers, ranchers sue EPA and contractors for Gold King Mine spill

One of the questions officials are asking is if farmers delayed planting crops after the spill and, if so, for how long and what convinced them to begin farming once again. The environment department is also wanting to know if farmers changed crops, like switching from growing corn to growing alfalfa, due to concerns about eating foods irrigated with water impacted by the spill.

The confluence of the Animas and San Juan rivers is pictured Aug. 8, 2015, after the Gold King Mine spill.

Other topics NMED hopes to gain input on is customer and farmer perceptions about the irrigation water from the Animas and San Juan rivers.

Finally, NMED is asking for input on what Diné and other farmers need in order to be made whole again after the spill.

MPO technical committee will discuss safety improvement program

The Farmington Metropolitan Planning Organization Technical Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Nov. 6 at Farmington City Hall, 800 N. Municipal Drive.

Agenda topics include the National Performance Management Measures for Highway Safety Improvement Program. The MPO is required to establish targets for five safety performance measures by Feb. 27, 2020.

A vehicle crosses over the San Juan River June 11, 2017 on County Road 5500 southwest of Bloomfield.

The MPO technical committee will also discuss amendments to the Transportation Improvement Program. These amendments include cost increases for the East Aztec Arterial Route and the County Road 5500 bridge replacement projects as well as a clarification about the project scope for the New Mexico Highway 173 safety improvements.

College board to discuss fire training tower demolition

The fire training tower is pictured, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, at San Juan College.

The San Juan College Board will meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 in the board room at the college. The board will discuss demolition of the fire training tower. It will also discuss the federal Rural Utility Services’ Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program. The grant program aims at increases access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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