Danielle Prokop

Danielle Prokop

Danielle Prokop covers the environment and local government in Southern New Mexico for Source NM. Her coverage has delved into climate crisis on the Rio Grande, water litigation and health impacts from pollution. She is based in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Hot harvest season begins in New Mexico chile country

By: - August 7, 2023

HATCH, N.M. – Harvest season is starting for New Mexico’s signature crop, but hotter isn’t always better for chile. Higher temperatures increase the spread of certain diseases (such as curly top virus) and limits fruit production for all kinds of crops, chile included. The heat can also threaten the lives of workers that must pick […]

New Mexico monsoon outlook in August looks ‘bleak’

By: - August 2, 2023

The respite from intense, deadly heat waves won’t last long. And it looks like the monsoon will suffer for it, according to New Mexico forecasters. Globally, July has been the hottest month in recorded history, a preliminary analysis from international science organizations found. The data will be fully published in August, but the analysis shows […]

The cracked riverbed lays exposed in El Paso, Texas, on May 23, 2022.

El Paso Water lawsuit against New Mexico Environment Department will stay in Texas courts

By: - August 1, 2023

A Texas judge ordered last week that a lawsuit against New Mexico environment authorities brought by El Paso Water will continue in Texas courts.  The dispute stems from the water utility fighting a $1.2 million fine from the New Mexico Environment Department for violating state water quality laws.  The fine came after a 2021 spill, […]

‘We’ve never been this close before,’ Downwinders cheer RECA amendment in defense bill

By: - July 28, 2023

An amendment to extend a federal fund for victims of radiation exposure, and expand who it covers passed the Senate with 61 votes on Thursday afternoon. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Sen. Crapo (R-Idaho) added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which earmarks more than $800 billion for […]

A sign stands outside the entrance to Spaceport America, prior to the launch of Virgin Galactics SpaceShipTwo Unity, July 10, 2021 in Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico.

Spaceport lawsuit settled before trial start

By: - July 20, 2023

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority settled a lawsuit by a former employee who alleged discrimination and retaliation, just before a trial was scheduled to begin July 31, according to court documents. The settlement agreement ends a three-year-long civil lawsuit against the agency. The terms of the settlement will be released on the state’s Sunshine Portal […]

‘People have been dying ever since’: Anger mixes with hope for NM Downwinders

By: - July 19, 2023

Lit by the glow of hundreds of luminarias at dusk, a group gathers in Robinson Park, Las Cruces to hear the list of more than 800 names read aloud, punctuated by rumbles of distant thunder. This is the legacy of the atomic age, the list of people who’ve died of cancer around the Tularosa Basin […]

Lawsuit claims Holtec made “false” statements on proposed New Mexico nuclear storage site

By: - July 13, 2023

The Florida company aiming to put an interim storage site for high-level nuclear waste in New Mexico is facing allegations of retaliating against a former executive, according to a New Jersey lawsuit. Kevin O’Rourke claims in a civil lawsuit filed in June that he was fired as a vice president and chief financial officer for […]

Sewage spill fine still tied up in Texas courts

By: - July 13, 2023

A fight over a $1.2 million fine from New Mexico to a Texas water utility’s 2021 sewage spill is stalled in Texas federal district court, attorneys told Water Quality Control Commissioners on Tuesday. The 14-person regulatory board under the New Mexico Environment Department administers permits for pollution in the state and handles any appeals for […]

A man leans over a stone walkway to look at water flowing from a diversion.

What’s a river? Supreme Court WOTUS ruling will be costly for New Mexico, experts warn

By: - July 12, 2023

State environment officials said most of New Mexico’s rivers, streams and arroyos will need additional protections by the state from pollution after the United States Supreme Court reshaped water law overnight with a ruling in June. Potential fixes could cost the state millions of dollars and take more than a year to put in place, […]

It’s hot and the late 2023 monsoon season is drying up New Mexico

By: - July 11, 2023

Triple-digit temperatures are part of a heatwave scorching the southern part of the state and turning up the heat across the rest of New Mexico. But there’s little relief so far from the monsoons – those patterns of afternoon and evening seasonal summer rains that douse the state and often provide crucial moisture. Across the […]

Groundwater pools into the Rio Grande riverbed, offering refuge to black-necked stilts, waterfowl, even a rogue peacock.

Judge OKs states’ plan to end Rio Grande dispute

By: - July 11, 2023

Last week, a federal judge gave his stamp of approval on a proposed settlement to end a lawsuit between Texas and New Mexico over Rio Grande water. The move potentially ends a decade of litigation in the nation’s highest court with barely a splash. U.S. 8th Circuit Judge Michael Melloy – overseeing the case as […]

Feds shoot down mining company’s ask to loosen cleanup standards at toxic uranium mine site

By: - July 6, 2023

In early June, federal regulators rejected a mining company’s proposal to loosen current cleanup standards at a former uranium mining operation in Western New Mexico.  Beginning in 1958, The Homestake Mining Company operated a mine in Cibola County, just five miles outside the town of Milan. The consequences have carried 65 years into the future. […]