In this piece by Deborah Baker of the Albuquerque Journal, Baker explores the consequences of the newly passed copper mine water rule, and changes on related commissions.

Attorney General Gary King is appealing the new copper mine water rule.

SANTA FE – Attorney General Gary King and other opponents of a newly adopted rule governing copper mines and groundwater have gone to the state Court of Appeals in an effort to get it overturned.

King says the rule approved in September by the state’s Water Quality Control Commission violates state law, because it allows groundwater at copper mine sites to be contaminated at levels above water quality standards.

“Ninety percent of New Mexicans rely on groundwater for drinking water, and this new rule, if allowed to be implemented, could render our water undrinkable for hundreds of years,” King said in a statement.

The lone dissenting vote on the Water Quality Commission resigned.

The only member of the Water Quality Control Commission to vote against the new copper regulations, geologist Doug Bland, resigned this week. He notified the commission in an email Monday that “due to other commitments” he will not attend future commission meetings. Bland could not be reached for comment.

Bland, who works for the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources at New Mexico Tech, also resigned over the weekend from the Mining Commission, which he chaired, citing other obligations. He was the geology bureau’s appointee on both panels.

Frederick said Bland stood up for environmental and public interests on the two commissions.

and a new environmental appointee to the Mining Commission, including hearing from Conservation Voters New Mexico.

Martinez, whose administration has made it a priority to roll back environmental regulations it says hamper businesses and economic development, came under criticism this week for her newest appointment to the Mining Commission – Democratic former state Rep. John Heaton of Carlsbad – as a designated environmental representative.

“He has a decidedly anti-environmental record,” said Leanne Leith, political director of Conservation Voters New Mexico, which does an annual scorecard and gave him an overall score of 46 percent for the last six years he was in the Legislature, through 2010.

Read the full story from the Albuquerque Journal.