As part of a big settlement that has been years in the making, the Village of Questa in north central Taos County is receiving $2.3 million in funding that will go for a water and wastewater infrastructure project.
That $2.3 million is part of a larger $4 million settlement with the Englewood, Colorado-based Chevron Mining Incorporated in litigation that has also included the federal Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, and the State of New Mexico.
For years, Chevron operated a molybdenum mine near Questa. According to federal and state documents, a pipeline that transported mine waste to a handful of tailing ponds resulted in more than 200 spills during a three-decade period ending in the mid-1990s.
The operation took place on some 3 square miles of land, with the pipeline running adjacent to New Mexico State Road 38. Open pit mining took place at the site for nearly two decades, from 1965 to 1983.
The mine and company milling facility was shut down for good in the summer of 2014.
Chevron, in response, launched the Questa Economic Development Fund designed to foster economic growth and diversity in the village. The company has since invested up to $320,000 annually into that fund.
A new Questa facility designed to treat ground water and storm water was opened in Questa in the summer of 2018.
With a history dating back more than 500 years, Questa was used as part of a trade route by several Native American tribes, and today has a population of just under 2,000 residents.
By Garry Boulard
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