New Mexico high court to hear arguments over pollution rule

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next month in a case over contested water regulations that address groundwater pollution by copper mines.

Attorneys for the state and environmental groups will make their case regarding the so-called copper rule on Sept. 28.

The rule was initially approved by water regulators in 2013.

The New Mexico Environment Department argues the regulations are among the most stringent of any copper-producing state in the West and strike a balance between protecting water and allowing for economic development.

Environmentalists say the regulations violate the state Water Quality Control Act in addition to giving mining companies too much leeway to pollute groundwater.

Environmentalists are asking the court to set aside the rule and require the state to adopt new regulations to prevent pollution.

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