WAGON MOUND- A massive tire dump that stretches through a remote arroyo in northeastern New Mexico will be cleaned up as part of a settlement reached with a ranching operation. State Land Commissioner Ray Powell and Environment Secretary Dave Martin announced the settlement with Daniels Ranches and Kansas Equity Investments on Friday. Hundreds of thousands of scrap tires were put on state trust land over several years by Harold Daniels, a Mora County rancher and owner of the Northeast New Mexico Regional Landfill. Daniels had said he diverted tires from the landfill as part of an erosion control effort. The State Land Office had issued a grazing lease on the trust land to Equity Investments. Under the settlement, Daniels will remove the tires and reclaim the area. He must also pay a civil penalty and a fee based on how many tires are removed.
The state has estimated that the cleanup could cost as much as $1 million.
State Land Commissioner Ray Powell, in statement released by his office, said, “Because of this lawsuit and the action taken by the Environment Department, the lessee has agreed to clean up the site by the end of November 2013 and to take additional action to restore the land to an appropriate condition after the tires have been removed – all at no cost to New Mexicans.”
“The Environment Department is pleased that all of the parties were able to come to an agreement that will restore the land impacted by this illegal tire dump and eliminate a public health hazard.” Martin said.