Almost a year has passed since the outpouring of community sentiment against a 50-acre basalt mine on La Bajada. Last September, Santa Fe County declared a moratorium on new mining operations and set about writing a tougher and more coherent ordinance regulating mines, junyards and landfills. Commissioners punted a decision on the gravel mine until the new regulations could be written.

The solid foundation of the proposed regulations is that so-called Developments of Countywide Impact should bear stronger scrutiny. That way, residents would have some protection from whatever mine, junkyard or landfill might be placed on an empty bit of Santa Fe County. The county was right to develop such regulations, and after a hearing in July, a vote should take place today on the proposal, likely after 5 p.m.

Ironically, delaying the decision on the La Bajada mine a year didn’t do much to protect Santa Fe County from lawsuits. Albuquerque-based Buena Vista Estates sued the county and the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency in U.S. District Court last April, charging Santa Fe County with what amounts to violation of anti-trust laws by preventing competition. There’s also a lawsuit in state district court about the imposition of the zoning moratorium itself.

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