Map Documenting Water Concerns in New Mexico Unveiled

November 26, 2010

On Thursday, February 2 at the State Capitol, combined groups of people of faith and communities concerned about water released a large color map of New Mexico. It shows in detail how current and historical industrial activities impact our urban and rural populations, our wildlife, and our natural resources of water, air and land. It focuses on the impacts of dirty energy production from oil and gas, the nuclear fuel chain and coal fired power plants, as well as Superfund and Brownfield sites.

New Mexico Threat Map

The Catholic Sisters of Mercy, Northeast Community of the United States, funded the map. Deborah Reade, of Deborah Reade Design, created the map. Anna Hansen, of Dakini Design, created the brochure.

At the dedication, a series of presentations by speakers from the non-governmental groups were made as the map was unveiled. They emphasized that water is a sacred trust and in the face of multiple assaults on its cleanliness, it must be protected.

Sister Marlene Perrotte, rsm, said local groups that are undertaking to create protective policies would use the map as a resource and tool. Sister Perrotte is a member of the Partnership for Earth Spirituality, which initiated the project through Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) and the Multicultural Alliance for Safe Environment (MASE).

Sister Rose Marie Cecchini, mm, said, "This New Mexico map places the truth starkly before our eyes and impels us to change our cultural assaults on water, air, land and wildlife while we have the time." Sister Cecchini is Director of the Office of Life, Justice, Peace and Creation Stewardship in Gallup.

Sister Joan Brown, osf, said we have a moral obligation to think of the children, the Earth and the future ones whose voices are usually not represented. Sister Brown is Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light.

Joni Arends, Executive Director of CCNS, reminded the audience that a generalized Reference Man is used to set safety standards. Reference Man is a Caucasian, 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 154 pounds. This standard is not protective of the most vulnerable people, including pregnant women, and it does not take into account the life styles and food sources of Indigenous and land-based communities.

Petuuche Gilbert, of the Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment, one of the core groups of MASE, spoke. He said that the evidence the map presents of pervasive pollution near Mount Taylor from careless water releases constitutes a true "tragedy of the commons."

The map, references and additional information are available at:

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