NM Trustee Settles with Copper Producer

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s natural resources trustee, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Freeport-McMoRan and several subsidiaries have reached a $5.5 million settlement over the release of hazardous substance from mine facilities in southwestern New Mexico.

The settlement includes funds for restoring habitat as well as the transfer to the state of 715 acres of land adjacent to the City of Rocks State Park.

State Parks Director Tommy Mutz says the land transfer include half of Table Mountain and a wetland site that’s ecologically significant.

As part of the settlement, the copper company will also reimburse the federal government nearly $60,000 for its remaining unpaid injury assessment costs.

Trustee Dave Martin says the state and federal trustees will prepare a draft restoration plan for public review that will propose projects that can be implemented with the settlement money.

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