NM Pushes Changes To Water Protection

New Mexico – New Mexico regulators are hearing more testimony Tuesday on whether the state should designate streams, lakes and wetlands in wilderness areas as "outstanding national resource waters."

The hearing before the Water Quality Control Commission in Santa Fe is a continuation of a proceeding that started last month. It could be December before the commission makes a final decision.

The New Mexico Environment Department petitioned the commission for the special designation earlier this year. It would protect streams, lakes and wetlands by prohibiting any activities that would degrade water quality.

The department, environmental groups and others presented the board with a compromise proposal Tuesday, but the executive director of a group that represents New Mexico cattle ranchers says her constituents were left out of the negotiations.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.