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A settlement has been reached to clean up an ocean of illegally dumped tires.

A settlement has been reached to clean up thousands of tires illegally dumped in a secluded Northeastern New Mexico arroyo.

State Land Commissioner Ray Powell and Environmental Secretary Dave Martin announced Friday that an agreement with Daniel Ranches and Kansas Equity Investments has been reached to remove the nearly 300,000 tires from the state trust land in Mora County.

Besides paying the estimated $1 million to remove the tires, Daniel Ranches and Kansas Equity will pay an undisclosed amount in fines.

The giant mound of tires has accumulated on the state trust land for several years and was put there by Harold Daniels, a Mora County businessman and owner of the Northeast New Mexico Landfill. He has stated publicly that he diverted the tires from the land fill to the present site in an effort to control erosion.

Commissioner Ray Powell said, “Because of this lawsuit and the action taken by the Environmental Department, the lessee has agreed to clean up the site by the end of November 2013 and to take additional action to restore the land to an appropriate condition after the tires have been removed—all at no cost to New Mexicans.”

The state trust land where the tires are located is about 10 miles southeast of Wagon Mound.

“The Environmental Department is pleased that all of the parties were able to come to an agreement that will restore the land impacted by the illegal tire dump and eliminate a public health hazard,” Martin said.

But Daniels previously told KRQE-TV that he diverted the tires from his landfill to help control erosion.

“With the blessing of the Environmental Department, we started the project down there,” Daniels told the station. “It's not a tire dump. It's an erosion control project.”

Auralie Ashley-Marx, head of the the department's Solid Waste Bureau, said in 2011 that the department did sanction the erosion project but Daniels stopped following the plan for placing the tires neatly to stop erosion.

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