SIERRA CLUB PRESS RELEASE – Public Rallies as Interstate Stream Commission Refuses to Allow Public Comment During Controversial Gila Diversion Meeting
Albuquerque, NM (11-10-14) – Despite requests from concerned citizens, the Interstate Stream Commission refused to allow any public comment or input at its next meeting on Monday over whether to divert the Gila River under the Arizona Water Settlements Act. The Commission is being sued for violations of the Open Meetings Act by former ISC director Norm Gaume and the decision to shut out public comment at Monday’s meeting has further alarmed concerned citizens about the lack of transparency in the Commission’s decision-making process. Gaume and citizens will rally and symbolically submit public comment outside the ISC building at 12:15 p.m.
What: Public Rally and Press Conference: The Public says “NO GILA RIVER DIVERSION BILLION DOLLAR BOONDOGGLE”
When: 12:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10 (Rally & Press Conference)
**Please note that the Commission will discuss the Diversion at 10:20 a.m., according to the formal meeting AGENDA.
Where: New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, 5550 San Antonio Drive, NE, Albuquerque
BACKGROUND: The governor-appointed New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission is considering whether to utilize federal funding from the Arizona Water Settlements Act to divert an average of 14,000 acre-feet of water per year from the Gila River, New Mexico’s last wild river. New Mexico has until the end of the year to report its decision to the Department of the Interior. Diversion would be tremendously expensive (construction, OM&R and exchange costs estimated at $1.1 billion), would yield little to no water according to the latest analyses from former ISC director Norm Gaume, and will negatively impact the hydrology and ecology of the Gila River according to the recently released 527-page Gila River Flow Needs Assessment.
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