Regulators To Decide On Water Protection Plan

New Mexico – New Mexico regulators are set to deliberate Tuesday on whether to approve a proposal by the Richardson administration that would give special protection to miles of rivers, lakes and wetlands around the state.

The administration began pushing for a sweeping "outstanding national resource waters" designation in 2008.

Since then, state officials have held dozens of public meetings and the state Water Quality Control Commission has heard days of public comment and expert testimony.

It will be up to the commission to approve, modify or reject the proposal.

With an outstanding waters designation, certain rivers, lakes and wetlands would be protected by prohibiting any activities that would degrade water quality.

Ranchers and some irrigation groups have criticized the proposal.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.