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New Mexico: Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments / Connections, Inc. (A Former EPA CARE Project)

The summary and links below provide a description and documentation of a Gallup, New Mexico project that received a Level I cooperative agreement from EPA’s former Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) Program in 2005, and a Level II CARE Cooperative Agreement in 2009. These case studies serve as historic references, and conditions since the project was funded may have changed.

The resources developed for this project provide communities with information about ways that other communities have addressed environmental issues. Communities can use these project results to reduce environmental impacts, understand risks and become stewards of their own environment.


The Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments (2005)
Gallup, New Mexico
EPA Region 6

The Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments (NWNMCOG) is the recipient of a Level I CARE cooperative agreement. The NWNMCOG covers a largely rural area with 220,000 people in 3 counties. This proposal focuses on a wide range of environmental issues that will be addressed in collaboration with Native American tribes, municipalities, small towns, and widely disbursed rural settlements in the region. The NWNMCOG will use CARE funding to address the contamination of soil, air, and water, primarily caused by industrial processes such as uranium mining, oil and gas development, and power plant emissions. It will focus on environmental health concerns that have been identified, and additional concerns that will be identified in the CARE process. Five top concerns that have been identified in one of the counties are: 1) the lack of adequate solid waste disposal systems, which leads to dumping in arroyos and other areas; 2) a lack of good quality water, as well as inappropriate wastewater disposal; 3) environmental justice; 4) poor air quality caused by refinery and power plant emissions and windblown dust, and; 5) concern about unfenced livestock not being cared for properly.

Prospective CARE Partners: The New Mexico Environment Department (the Office of the Secretary and District 5); the McKinley Community Health Alliance; the Northwest New Mexico Community Development Corporation; the Cibola Health Council; the Four Corners Ozone Task Force; the San Juan Citizens Alliance; the Durango-McKinley Paper Company; the Pueblo of Zuni; Connections, Inc.; the McKinley Soil and Water Conservation District; Work in Beauty, Inc.

Connections, Inc. (2009)
Gallup, New Mexico
Region 6

Connections Inc., is the recipient of Level II CARE funding. The title for this Level II project is Nanizhozhi Waste Stream Reduction and was originally part of the 2005 NW New Mexico Council of Governments CARE Level I project. This project is designed to help a community of small, isolated and economically disadvantaged communities, in the sparsely populated, rural and multi-jurisdictional region of McKinley County in northwest New Mexico. Goals include the following: achieve positive environmental change and stewardship with limited resources and expertise; reduce the proliferation of solid waste in both the landfills and illegal dump sites, and; ensure collaborative waste stream reduction. This will be achieved by creating a recycling program, which renders waste reduction profitable and convenient, and alternative energy and green technology initiatives, which reduce consumption of exhaustible and polluting natural resources by making better use of recycled and inexhaustible and polluting natural resources.

Established CARE Partners: NWNM Solid Waste Authority, McKinley Citizens Recycling Council, Gallup Solar, Durango-McKinley Paper Company, NWNM Council of Governments, University of NM Gallop, Pueblo of Zuni, Navajo Nation Chapter, Catholic Indian Center, Youth Conservation Corps, McKinley Community Health Alliance, McKinley Water Board, U.S. Indian Health Service, Sandia National Labs, Eastern Navajo Dine Again, Catholic Indian Center, McKinley County Smart Growth, Nizhonigo Nahat'a Consulting, Zeca Corporation, National Forest Service, NM Water Management, NW Clean and Beautiful and Peabody Energy. 

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