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Last updated 6:48AM ET
September 25, 2018
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First News: A new twist in the hearing of the state's "pit" rule. (listen)
(KSFR) - A new twist seems to have developed during a state hearing over a controversial oil and gas drilling rule. The New Mexico "pit rule" requires drillers to deposit sludge from wells into pits lined with plastic liners so it won't contaminate the
water supply. But Eric Jantz of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center says industry would not only like to eliminate the existing rule but replace it with a new one. ***clip The hearing is in recess until mid-June.

Gov. Martinez expects to be doing regular business today after being shaken up last night in a rough airplane landing in Santa Fe. The New Mexican reports that she was a passenger in a private plane that apparently landed without its landing gear down.

Santa Fe's Lensic Theater will close its doors next month for 3 weeks while it upgrades its sound system and installs extra safety features for its lighting system. The closure is scheduled for June 15th through July 6th. The cost of the capital improvements is pegged at $115,000 with the work performed by the same company that handled the venue's major overhaul back in 2000. Much of the theater's current sound system will be donated to the James A. Little Theater.

Dr. Mack Sewell, New Mexico's chief state epidemiologist since 1989, is leaving his post. He's been hired to become Wyoming's occupational epidemiologist and starts his new job on July 9th. Wyoming has the 2nd highest rate of workplace fatalities in the nation with motor vehicle accidents accounting for about 50% of on-the-job deaths. His predecessor quit back in December after criticizing Wyoming's legislature for lack of interest in new safety regulations. Sewell is a Santa Fe native with degrees from UNM and other universities.

New Mexico's Secretary of Finance and Administration has announced that veteran municipal administrator, Michael Steininger, who has overseen finances for several New Mexico cities and counties, will temporarily manage and oversee Sunland Park's finances. The border community's municipal government has been in shambles with numerous officials charged with corruption and fraud. A recent state audit showed egregious violations of fiscal management thus causing Sunland Park to become the first New Mexico town placed under state management in New Mexico's history.

Wildfire officials say they have increased the number of personnel assigned to wildfires in the Gila National Forest to 435. They say they are waiting for new satellite photos to determine how far the fires have spread since the last count when it had burned about 1,000 acres. High winds and extremely dry conditions are adding to the fire danger there and throughout the state.

Weather for Santa Fe - Very low humidity readings coupled with strong breezes has all of northern and central New Mexico under Red Flag Warnings again today. Extremely critical fire conditions are now expected to persist into Saturday. High temperatures today will be in the low 80s with west winds to 25 miles per hour. High altitude smoke from the fires burning south of us in the Gila National Forest will be visible for the next several days.
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