This week on New Mexico in Focus, Gene Grant talks to the Line Opinion Panel about a report from the U.S. Forest Service that shows they were responsible for starting last year's Cerro Pelado Fire, due in part to a holdover fire from a prescribed burn the agency conducted in the area two weeks prior. Grant asks the panel why the Forest Service was tight-lipped about its discovery and asks how the service can win back public trust. 

Then, Grant and the panel discuss a report from a national activist group that calls for New Mexico officials to pare back water access for agriculture businesses and to prioritize residential and drinking water. Grant asks the panelists to consider how the state’s water scarcity impacts farming, farmers and consumers. 

UNM Hospital is one week into a new partnership with the Metropolitan Detention Center. Executive Producer Jeff Proctor sits down with retired attorney Peter Cubra to talk about why this is a welcome change from private companies that have repeatedly failed to care for people locked up. 

After the relatively wet years of the 1980s and ‘90s, New Mexico’s reservoirs started dropping in the 2000s. In cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, two water districts  one in New Mexico and another in Texas  agreed in 2008 on new ways to share water stored in Elephant Butte Reservoir. But New Mexico’s then-attorney general, Gary King, sued the federal government, saying too much of New Mexico’s water was going to Texas. Texas disagreed and then sued New Mexico and Colorado, alleging that by allowing farmers to pump groundwater connected to the river, New Mexico wasn’t sending its fair share downstream.

That landed all three states in the U.S. Supreme Court, where the federal government also weighed in on the issue.  Now, the three states say they’ve come up with a plan to move forward, and although the federal government hasn’t agreed to the plan, federal Judge Michael Melloy, the case’s special master, has recommended the Supreme Court approve a settlement. To help us understand what’s going on, we invited water attorney Adrian Oglesby onto the show. He’s the director of the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the University of New Mexico’s School of Law. 

NMiF airs on NMPBS 5.1 (KNME HD) Friday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 6 at 7 a.m., and streaming on the PBS video app.     

NMiF Segments UNM Hospital Begins Medical Services at Bernalillo County’s Metropolitan Detention Center  Correspondent
Jeff Proctor

Peter Cubraretired attorney, founder of Advocacy, Inc.  

Is a Settlement on the Rio Grande Coming Soon? 

Laura Paskus 

Adrian Oglesby, director, Utton Transboundary Resources Center, UNM School of Law 

Host: Gene Grant  

The Line Opinion Panel
Paula Garcia, 
executive director, New Mexico Acequia Association

ohn Fleck, professor, water researcher at UNM's Utton Center

Elizabeth Miller, independent journalist

New Mexico in Focus is the New Mexico PBS prime-time news magazine show covering the events, issues, and people that are shaping life in New Mexico and the Southwest. NMiF takes a multi-layered look at social, political, economic health, education, and art issues, and explores them in-depth with a critical eye to give them context beyond the "news of the moment."

NMPBS Executive Producer, Public Affairs, is Jeff Proctor. New Mexico in Focus Senior Producer for Public Affairs is Lou DiVizio. “Our Land” Senior Producer is Laura Paskus. The producer of New Mexico in Focus is Antonio Sanchez and Co-producer is Kathy Wimmer.

Funding for New Mexico in Focus is provided by the McCune Charitable Foundation and Viewers Like You.

Funding for the Your New Mexico Government Project comes from the Thornburg Foundation and New Mexico Local News Fund.

Funding for Our Land: New Mexico’s Environmental Past, Present & Future, is provided in part by the Neeper Natural History Programming Fund for KNME-TV.