The State of New Mexico Environment Department on Friday set a public hearing for a water-discharge permit denied a horse slaughter plant, Valley Meat Company, in July. According to the webpage Citizens Against Equine Slaughter, the hearing will take place on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 9:00 a.m., at the Chaves County Courthouse, 400 N. Virginia, in Roswell.
The hearing will discuss the Discharge Permit Application for Valley Meat Company. Owner, Mr. De Los Santos proposes to renew the Discharge Permit for the discharge of up to 8,000 gallons per day of horse processing waste water from the horse slaughterhouse. Discussed will be the potential of ground water contamination which includes nitrogen compounds.
In an article from HorsesforLife.org, the Water Quality Bureau received more than 450 comments opposing the renewal of the water discharge permit. DeLos Santos argues that most of the comments were from people outside of the United States and not from the State of New Mexico. He stated that no one from the farm area of Roswell commented.
Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) from District 1 in Albuquerque opposes horse slaughter and states that 75% of New Mexicans oppose horse slaughter, calling it a cruel practice which inflicts great pain and distress. Grisham is also concerned with health issues as most American horses are routinely administered known carcinogenic drugs prohibited in the United States to be used on animals killed for human consumption.
A July 11 letter from the Environmental Department of New Mexico brings attention to another legal aspect citizens against the permit expressed. Numerous public comments raised concern about De Los Santos "possible misrepresentations of criminal charges."
"Specifically Section 74-6-5 (E) (4) requires that if an "applicant" has, within the last ten (10) years received a felony charge or one constitution moral turpitude the Department must deny the application."”
In a New York Times article Mr. De Los Santos' attorney A. Blair Dunn stated the advocacy group erroneously described criminal trespassing as a felony. In December 2011, the first application filled out by Mr. De Los Santos stated "none" in the section about felony convictions. The second application filled out in March 2012 had no notations of any convictions, however the third application was filled out with two convictions; one for criminal trespass in Texas in 1988 and the other for residential burglary there in 1978.
Court records show that Mr. De Los Santos was arrested by the Amarillo police department on Sept. 11, 1989 — his third U.S.D.A. application reported the incident occurring a year earlier — on suspicion of criminal trespass but charged only with a moving violation and convicted of that offense.“ He was arrested on Aug. 28, 1978, in Dallam County, Tex., charged with
residential burglary and convicted. Mr. Wagman, the lawyer for Front Range, contended that Mr. De Los Santos now has committed a third felony by improperly filling out his first two applications. Under federal law, it is a felony to knowingly falsify, conceal or materially misrepresent facts submitted on a federal application.
Source: The Examiner by Cheryl Hanna
Below is the official notice of the Public Hearing and how to participate.
Description of the Requested Action:
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has scheduled a public hearing to consider the proposed approval of a ground water Discharge Permit Renewal, DP-236, based on the application submitted by Ricardo De Los Santos, President of Valley Meat Company, LLC, 3845 Cedarvale Road, Roswell, New Mexico 88203. Discharge Permits are issued and renewed pursuant to the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) Regulations, 20.6.2 NMAC.
Hearing Date, Time and Location:
The hearing begins with opening statements and the presentation oftechnical testimony on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 9:00 a.m., at the Chaves County Courthouse, 400 N. Virginia, in Roswell, New Mexico.Non-technical public comment will be taken as specified by the Hearing Officer, and also starting at 5:00 p.m. on October 22.The hearing may continue on the following day as determined by the Hearing Officer.In lieu of oral public comments, written statements may be submitted to the Hearing Clerk for the record during or prior to the hearing.
Application and Facility Description:
In the Discharge Permit Application for Valley Meat Company, DP-236, Mr. De Los Santos proposes to renew the Discharge Permit for the discharge of up to 8,000 gallons per day of livestock processing wastewater from a slaughter facility.Wastewater generated from the slaughter facility and occasional washdown of receiving pens collects in two concrete tanks for solids settling before flowing into the first of two synthetically lined impoundments
for disposal by evaporation.Potential ground water contaminants associated with this type of discharge include nitrogen
compounds.The facility is located at 3845 Cedarvale Road , approximately six miles east of Roswell , in Section 17, T11S, R25E, Chaves County .Ground water beneath the site is at a depth of approximately 10 feet and has a total dissolved solids concentration of approximately 4,080 milligrams per liter.
The hearing will be conducted in accordance with the WQCC Regulations at 184.108.40.20610 NMAC and NMED’s Permitting Procedures at 20.1.4 NMAC, available electronically at http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmac/_title20/title20.htm, and at no charge from the NMED Hearing Clerk, Sally Worthington, Room S-2103, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502,
telephone 505-827-2002 <br>, fax 505-827-2836. All interested persons will be given a reasonable opportunity at the public hearing to submit relevant evidence, data, views or arguments orally or in writing, and to examine persons who testify at the
No decision will be made at the end of the hearing; the post-hearing process will be set out upon the completion of the evidentiary record.Following that process, the NMED Secretary will approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove the proposed Discharge Permit based upon the administrative record for the Discharge Permit application, including the applicable information provided during the public hearing.
NMED will arrange for a court reporting service to make a written transcript of the hearing proceedings.Any party requesting a copy of the transcript from the court reporting service shall bear the full cost of obtaining copies of the transcript. The transcript also becomes a public record available from the NMED Hearing Clerk.
Technical Evidence Presentation Requirements:Any person who wishes to present technical evidence at the hearing shall file a Statement of Intent to Present Technical Testimony by 5:00 p.m. October 9, 2013, with the NMED Hearing Clerk, Sally Worthington, Room S-2103, 1190 St. Francis Drive , P.O. 5469, Santa Fe , New Mexico 87502 .Persons filing a Statement of Intent shall also serve a copy on the Department, the Applicant and other parties of record.A service list is available from the Hearing Clerk. Additional information concerning the presentation of technical evidence can be found in a Procedural Order entered by the Hearing Officer on August 15, 2013, available from the Hearing Clerk and on the web at
ROSWELL, N.M. - Agents of the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a walk-through of Valley Meat Co. on Tuesday, days after the Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue submitted a notice of intent to sue if the agency agrees to provide inspections required for the facility to slaughter horses.
The walkthrough does not constitute a final determination for Valley Meat, according to attorney Bruce Wagman, a partner at the Schiff Hardin law firm who represents both potential plaintiffs. "It means they did an inspection of the facility for certain criteria,"Wagman said. "It doesn't at all mean that there's an approval of horse slaughter. The walkthrough is part of a chain of events, sort of like saying once you get the nomination that you're actually the president. You may get nominated, but that doesn't mean you're going to win."
In their submission, Larkspur, Colo.-based Front Range Equine Rescue and the national Humane Society note that horse slaughter is a threat to the environment and to wildlife in the vicinity.
USDA activity related to Valley Meat is not necessarily affected by the notice of intent to sue, Wagman said. However, he emphasized that opening a horse slaughterhouse would require a final grant of inspection by the USDA, not just a walkthrough.
In threatening to sue, the organizations say wastewater and other slaughterhouse byproducts produced at Valley Meat could damage the habitats of several threatened or endangered species. That means more obstacles to approval for the plant, Wagman said.
"In order to approve the site as a slaughterhouse," he said, "USDA is required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service over the potential damage to those endangered species and their critical habitats."
Valley Meat is located near the South Spring and Pecos rivers, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Bottomless Lakes State Park. Among species mentioned in the notice are the Pecos bluntnose shiner, three snail species and a freshwater
Should the USDA give Valley Meat final approval, owner Ricardo De Los Santos still faces other obstacles. Wagman said plans to export the meat to eastern Europe and Asia would not comply with the New Mexico Food Act.
"Under New Mexico food law, horse meat is adulterated and cannot be sold," he said. "You can't sell it to somebody else, either. Doesn't mean, 'Oh, you can sell it to Europeans.' It means it can't be sold - period."
In the New Mexico Food Act, revised in 1993, Chapter 25, Article 2 refers to adulterated or misbranded food. The text is online at nmenv.state.nm.us.