- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico regulators have signed off on an agreement brokered by dairy farmers, state officials and environmental groups.

The Water Quality Control Commission voted unanimously to approve the agreement during a meeting Tuesday in Santa Fe. It marks a compromise over how best to protect groundwater from potential contamination from dairy operations.

Settlement talks began earlier this year as regulators prepared for a public hearing to consider changes to New Mexico’s dairy regulations.

Attorney General Hector Balderas says the agreement is critical to southern New Mexico’s economy and water quality. He pointed out that the dairy industry has an economic impact of about $1.4 billion.

The new regulations require monitoring wells and dairies will be allowed to line their waste ponds with clay liners so long as there’s no contamination.

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