Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Coalition for Energy Accountability renamed CommonGround United

The growing list for CommonGround United:

Non-Profit Organizations:

Amigos Bravos

Arroyo Hondo Land Trust
Cimarron Sky-Dog Reserve
Commonweal Conservancy
Concerned Citizens of Cerrillos
Drilling Santa Fe (DSF)
Earth Works Institute
Environment New Mexico
Galisteo Community Assocation
Madrid Cultural Projects
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
National Wildlife Federation
New Energy Economy
New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC)
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
New Mexico Wildlife Federation
Oil & Gas Accountability Project/EARTHWORKS (OGAP)
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Recursos de Santa Fe
Renewable Energy Partners of New Mexico
The San Marcos Association

Santa Fe Conservation Trust (SFCT)
Southwest Seminars
WildEarth Guardians
The Wilderness Society
Wild Prairie Partners


Althouse, Inc.
BJ Briggs, LLC
Confluence Mediation & Counseling
Coulter-Brooks Art & Antiques
High Feather Ranch Bed and Breakfast
Janine Lehmann Design
The Janis Group, Inc.
Lone Mountain Ranch
New Mexico Biotech, Inc.
OpenMake Software
Rush Creek Editions
Saltamontes on Grasshopper Hill Retreat
Santa Fe Permaculture

Thal Equine, LLC & Thal Boarding Training, LLC

Citizens' Activists Groups (not 501(c)):

Santa Fe Not Oil


Tweeti Blancett
, plus many others.

Click here for the position paper.

The Coalition for Energy Accountability has been renamed, CommonGround United, P.O. Box 23150, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87502.

Contact: Johnny Micou, drillingsantafe@earthlink.net, 505-474-3061.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Governor Richardson Issues Executive Order Imposing a Six Month Moratorium on New Oil and Gas Drilling in Santa Fe County and the Galisteo Basin

Press Release:

SANTA FE - Governor Richardson today issued an Executive Order imposing a six-month moratorium on new oil and gas drilling in Santa Fe County and the Galisteo Basin. The moratorium will allow more time for government agencies to gather information and formulate public policy to protect water aquifers, archeological and cultural resources, and wildlife in this ecologically fragile area.

"Places like the Galisteo Basin must be fully evaluated and understood before any new oil and gas drilling moves forward,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “Ground water, archeological, cultural and wildlife areas must be protected.”

The Oil Conservation Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department shall temporarily suspend the processing and granting of applications for permits to drill for oil and gas in Santa Fe County and the Galisteo Basin.

The New Mexico Energy, Mineral and Natural Resources Department, the New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs, the New Mexico Environment Department, the Office of the State Engineer, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and other executive agencies are instructed to conduct an assessment of all existing laws, regulations, policies, and planning documents to ensure that no oil and gas drilling activity occurs in Santa Fe County and the Galisteo Basin that would be detrimental to the interests of the State of New Mexico and its citizens.

“Careful examination of the Galisteo Basin is warranted,” said Joanna Prukop, Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. “More time to gather information on this ecologically fragile and resource-rich area will ensure proper protection of human health, the environment, and water.”

Executive Agencies affected by this Executive Order shall report to Office of the Governor and the Secretary of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department no later than June 24, 2008.

Extend the County Drilling Permit Moratorium for Land Use Planning

The next Board of County Commissioners meeting is January 29th. It is extremely important to extend the moratorium on applications to drill oil or natural gas wells until baseline studies for hydrology, geology, groundwater, surface water, archaeology and others are conducted for proper land use planning, so please take time NOW to write, email and call all five of the County commissioners about an O&G drilling moratorium extension. Our resources must be protected!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

House Bill 248 by Representative Peter Wirth

Click here for pdf version. Rep. Wirth had called for a six month oil & gas drilling moratorium in Santa Fe County.

Monday, January 21, 2008

SantaFeNewMexican.com list of Galisteo Basin Oil & Gas articles

Click here for the SantaFeNewMexican.com Galisteo Basin Oil & Gas articles combined or go to http://www.santafenewmexican.com/oil/.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

House Bill 125 Alert!

From the Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) House Bill 125 alert (click here).

"This bill is widely recognized as the oil and gas industry’s retaliation against the Oil Conservation Division’s rulemaking to establish a strong rule protecting soil, water and public health from oil and gas waste pits. Last fall the industry launched a high profile campaign to oppose the pit rule claiming it is unnecessary and will simply cost operators too much to haul their waste or used closed-loop/pitless drilling systems."

"Tabled" January 21,2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Santa Fe County Cancels Public Hearing

From a Santa Fe County email:
"Santa Fe

Contact: Stephen Ulibarri - Public Information Officer - 505.986.6353 - sulibarri@co.santa-fe.nm.us



Santa Fe, NM – January 16, 2008Santa Fe County has cancelled the first public hearing on the proposed new oil and gas ordinance. The hearing was slated for January 22nd at Santa Fe Community College. The public hearing schedule has been pushed back and is currently being revised.

# # #


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tell Santa Fe County No to Fast-Tracking of the Oil & Gas Ordinance

Since Gov. Richardson's moratorium on OCD permits extends until mid July, and since he is calling for studies to discern the threats of O&G activity throughout the Galisteo Basin, there is more time to adequately address the ordinance drafting. As it stands, the revised draft ordinance is cobbled together from ordinances around the country, which raises concerns about it coming together as a collective whole. There are concerns about the revision in and of itself; however, review of the revised draft is not complete. Demand that the public hearings be postponed until after all of the studies are completed. In the meantime, work on the revised draft could continue as the needed studies to further understanding of the geology, hydrology, archaeology, adverse economic impacts, and other critical studies for the County and the Galisteo Basin are conducted. Studies need to be done for the basin as a whole. The interconnectivity probably spans beyond the basin. If so, then the studies would need to be broadened to better protect resources throughout the County.

Although oil & gas production has been the leading economic driver in New Mexico, once the resource is severed, it is severed permanently. Oil & gas depletion rates are rising. New Mexico must replace the oil & gas industry with sustainable economic drivers and clean renewable tax sources. The oil & gas extraction industry is not our future. To gamble the Galisteo Basin for a marginal, speculative, non-renewable gas & oil play would be reckless.

The critical management areas should be identified before the ordinance adoption. We also must learn more about the complex faults, fractures and the interconnected hydrogeology. There may be other areas along with the Galisteo Basin that should be absolutely protected from oil & gas activity in Santa Fe County. It is hoped that the County and the community can work on these critical issues together to protect the vibrant economy of Santa Fe County, as we protect our irreplaceable resources and our residential areas.

So, please write the County Commissioners, the County Attorney and the County Manager about the following:

  • Demand the County stop the fast-tracking oil & gas ordinance drafting process and postpone the two official public hearings about the ordinance until baseline studies are conducted and a long-term management plan for the County is in place. The County should work with the State to coordinate the necessary studies of hydrology and geology. In addition, U.S. Senator Bingaman and Representative Udall sponsored the Galisteo Basin Archeological Sites Protection Act that has not been funded. Until a comprehensive study of the archeology in the Galisteo Basin is conducted and incorporated into the County management plan, all oil & gas activity in the basin should be deferred.
  • The County should extend the County moratorium to match the State moratorium, at a minimum.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Governor Richardson Announces Six Month Oil & Gas Drilling Moratorium in the Galisteo Basin

From a SantaFeNewMexican.com article:

"Gov. Bill Richardson didn't waste any time diving back into New Mexico politics after dropping out of the presidential race. Friday afternoon, he called for a six-month ban on oil and gas drilling in the Galisteo Basin.

"I feel that there shouldn't be drilling in the Galisteo Basin. In my judgment, it's a very fragile ecosystem that has archaeological and groundwater issues," Richardson told a group of reporters during a news conference Friday at the Roundhouse. He said the ban will allow time to study the water systems and archaeological resources of the area."

New Mexico PBS: New Mexico InFOCUS

Episode 119 click here:

"A hard look at the future of the oil and gas in New Mexico and the latest battleground in the fight over this precious resource: the Galisteo Basin. David Alire Garcia sits down with the head of the Oil and Gas Association and one of the leading voices of opposition, former green party candidate for the PRC, David Bacon."

From the discussion in Episode 119, see Tweeti Blancett in the Sierra Club "Episode 4: Range Wars Rage On" (Click here).

" They [citizens] don’t have a democratic right to decide what goes on in the county." -- Bob Gallagher, President of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association from Episode 119 InFOCUS.

County Ordinance to Prohibit Drilling in Culturally Significant Areas

From a Santa Fe County emai:

Santa Fe County’s proposed new oil and gas drilling ordinance will prohibit any drilling and exploratory activities that have the potential to disturb or destroy historic artifacts. The ordinance will require extensive archaeological surveys be submitted to both the Federal and State government as part of any permit application. In a letter to Santa Fe County Commissioners, Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Tom Udall ask the Commission to “delay issuing leases for any activities, such as exploration or drilling, that have the clear potential to permanently disturb or destroy irreplaceable artifacts.” The revised ordinance is being reviewed to ensure compliance with the Congressional request.

“The new ordinance will provide the maximum safeguards permitted by State law” said County Commissioner Chairman Jack Sullivan, “No permit will be granted without the collaboration of both State and Federal regulatory agencies ensuring that no culturally or archaeologically significant areas will be disturbed.” County officials are forwarding the letter from the Congressional Delegation to the local State Legislative Delegation and the State’s oil and gas drilling regulatory agency, the Oil Conservation Division (OCD) for appropriate action at the State level.

New Date for Oil & Gas Drilling Ordinance Hearing Set

From a Santa Fe County email:

The new date for Santa Fe County’s first public hearing for the proposed oil and gas drilling ordinance will be on January 22nd beginning at 3:00 PM in Santa Fe Community College’s Jemez room. The Jemez room can seat approximately 250 people and there is an overflow room that will have a live video feed of the meeting that holds an additional 250 people. The meeting will continue through the evening hours to guarantee the input of residents who work past 3:00 PM. The 2nd public hearing is slated for February 12th at 6:00 PM in the Commission Chambers.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Public hearing cancelled due to winter storm

January 7, 2008

Oil & Gas Drilling Ordinance Public Hearing Cancelled Due to Winter Storm


The first public hearing on Santa Fe County’s proposed new oil and gas drilling ordinance slated for this afternoon at Santa Fe Community College has been cancelled due to the winter storm. The hearing will be rescheduled for a later date.


Contact: Stephen Ulibarri, Public Information Officer (505) 986-6353/795-0828


For excellent legal comments and hydrology report (click here).

Tony Bonanno Photography photographs from the December 6, 2007 public hearing: (click here).