The Participants

Río Colorado Reclamation Committee (RCRC) —
The RCRC is a community based organization dedicated to the reclamation of the Molycorp mine and the restoration of the Red River. It is funded by a Technical Assistance Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Its purpose is to involve the affected community in the Superfund cleanup of the Molycorp mine site and the Red River. Anyone living in any community directly affected by the Molycorp mine either through proximity, business or employment is or has been affected by the activities of the mine. Citizens of Questa, El Rito, Latir, Cerro, Costilla, Red River, Lama, Arroyo Hondo, Arroyo Seco, El Prado, Taos, Ranchos de Taos, and any point in between are in the affected area. Any person living in in these communities can have a voice in the decisions made by the EPA and Molycorp regarding the cleanup of the mine and the Red River by becoming a member of the Rio Colorado Reclamation Committee. Join us.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) —
The EPA is divided into 10 geographic regions. The EPA region responsible for New Mexico is Region 6, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Aside from New Mexico, Region 6's territory includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas. On April 1, 2000, New Mexico's Governor, Gary Johnson, signed a letter to the EPA opening the door for Molycorp to be placed on the National Priorities List, which would give the mine Superfund status. While the EPA has not yet invoked Superfund regulations, it is likely to do so if Molycorp does not submit reasonable closure and reclamation plans and abide by permits administered by both state and federal governments. In the past Molycorp has resisted, delayed and stonewalled attempts to upgrade and enforce these permits, which would bring it into conformity with the environmental laws of New Mexico and the United States.
Molycorp —
In operation since the 1920's, production at the Molycorp mine near Questa increased by an order of magnitude with construction of the open pit in the 1960's, and continued to grow as the demand for molybdenum increased through the 1970's and '80's. As demand and price dropped in the late 80's and early 90's, the mine reduced the number of employees from over 800 at its peak to around 200 now. While the mine is currently open, it is actively mining only a small quantity of ore. Molycorp says that it is "developing" new ore bodies for future mining operations. In the meantime, the price of molybdenum continues to fluctuate at a very low level.
 
UNOCAL (Union Oil of California) —
Headquartered in California, it is the parent company of Molycorp. UNOCAL is one of the world's largest oil companies, with huge investments worldwide including Myramar (formerly Burma) and the Caspian Sea area, including Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
State Regulatory Agencies
  New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) —
    The New Mexico Environment Department was established under the provisions set forth in the Department of the Environment Act by the 40th Legislature, enacted July 1, 1991. The Department's mission is to provide the highest quality of life throughout the state by promoting a safe, clean, and productive environment. Two major divisions within NMED are involved in regulating the Molycorp mine:
• Ground Water Quality Bureau
• Surface Water Quality Bureau
  Mining and Minerals Division (MMD) —
    MMD is a division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, a state agency. MMD's mandate is to regulate New Mexico's coal and hard rock mines, reclaim abandoned mine lands, and work to advance economic development and educational initiatives related to mining in New Mexico.
  New Mexico Health Department —
    The health department has recently been brought into the investigation of health problems experienced by many people in Questa. The Questa drinking water supply is suspected of containing coliform bacteria at levels exceeding safe drinking water standards. It is also suspected of containing heavy metals possibly associated with Molycorp's mining operations. Extensive testing of the drinking water in Questa is currently being undertaken. Detailed health surveys of Questa townspeople are also being conducted.
United State Geological Survey —
The USGS is conducting a survey of the Red River to gather data that will be useful in determining background information.

Other Interested Parties

Amigos Bravos —
Amigos Bravos is a river advocacy group. Established in 1988 as a non-profit organization, its goal is to restore the Río Grande and its tributaries (of which the Red River is one) to drinkable quality wherever possible, and contact quality everywhere else; to restore the river ecosystem; and to aid the communities dependent on these rivers. Amigos Bravos' offices are located in Taos, New Mexico. Amigos Bravos is at the forefront of the battle to bring Molycorp into compliance with state and federal mining and environmental laws. It has been successful in breaking the stranglehold Molycorp has exerted over the community, and is closely involved in ensuring an effective closeout and reclamation plan for the mine.
 


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