From The Silver City Press (Geoffrey Plant):
In a 7-2 vote Thursday morning, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission declined to further fund the National Environmental Policy Act process for the controversial proposed Gila River diversion project in southwestern New Mexico.
The decision to stop work on the federally required environmental impact statement effectively prevents the New Mexico Entity of the Central Arizona Project, otherwise known as the N.M. CAP Entity, from pursuing its proposed development of 14,000 acre-feet of Gila River water under the terms of the 2004 federal Arizona Water Settlements Act. Any project that seeks to develop the AWSA water or use money from the New Mexico Unit Fund — the monetary component of the settlement — is required to complete an environmental impact statement as part of the process.
The move also portends a major policy shift regarding how the remaining $70 million in settlement funds will likely be spent, with the focus moving to so-called “non-Unit projects,” such as municipal and regional water supply projects.