Thursday, May 29, 2008

Developer, oil and gas company back legislative incumbents

"By Barbara Armijo 05/29/2008 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –

With the primary election Tuesday, many political races have the potential to impact economic development on Albuquerque’s West Side, specifically land that was part of the historic 300-year-old Atrisco Land Grant.

Atrisco Oil and Gas, LLC – the for-profit company created from the sale of the Westland Development Corporation to the SunCal Companies in 2006 -- will host a political rally Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in support of state Rep. Dan Silva and state senators James Taylor and Linda Lopez, all Democrats. All three are fending off challenges from primary opponents and Atrisco and SunCal want to help the lawmakers survive Tuesday's primary.

Peter Sanchez, CEO of Atrisco Oil and Gas, said he believes all three incumbents understand the development needs of the West Side while the challengers have shown themselves to be anti-development. SunCal also is sponsoring the event and is backing the same candidates as well." more>>>>

"For over 400 years, the Atrisqueños (Atrisco land grantees) have witnessed a number of economic and political changes, from the Pueblo Revolt to New Mexico's independence from Spain, and New Mexico's inclusion as a territory of the United States in 1846. Today, Atrisco remains one of the oldest existing land grants in the United States and one of very few Spanish Colonial grants still presently owned by the heirs of the original Spanish settlers. The Atrisco Land Grant continues to be a proud part of Spanish heritage in New Mexico." Atrisco Land Grant

Atrisco Flyer

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

West Siders beware

“We're concerned about the pollution. Until you hear the compressors, smell the air, and see the contamination, it's hard to believe…"

"That’s Tweeti Blancett, a northern New Mexico rancher, talking about the impacts of oil and gas drilling on her land. Tweeti has been seeing her water supplies fouled and cattle dying since oil companies started drilling wells on her ranch a few years ago.

Could we in Albuquerque be living next to and exposed to these same pollution and contamination?

The answer is yes. And it could be soon." more>>>>

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Farmaggedon: Small Farms Saving the World

"Local, organic agriculture can cut 30% of greenhouse gas emissions

According to a recent report, organic, sustainable agriculture that localizes food systems has the potential to mitigate nearly 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and save one-sixth of global energy use. To read the full report, click here to visit the Institute of Science in Society's website."

Farmaggedon is a new local blog.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Planning Meeting

On June 9th and 10th, Santa Fe County will be hosting meetings between the public and Planning Works of Leawood, Kansas. Planning Works was hired by Santa Fe County "to help develop an oil-and-gas-extraction ordinance, write an area plan for the Galisteo Basin and finish writing growth-management amendments to the county general plan," Santa Fe New Mexican. Dr. Robert Freilich recommended Planning Works.

From a Drilling Santa Fe email, "Bruce Peshoff of Planning Works in Kansas City (Leawood) will be in Santa Fe June 9th and 10th."He'd like to have discussions with stakeholders to get a personal flavor for the issues and concerns." As you all may know, Drilling Santa Fe has been calling for the County process to be transparent. There are invitations to meet with Bruce Peshoff going out to other organizations and individuals. Many voices in the community should be heard. There are some ways Drilling Santa Fe can help facilitate this and to begin the process in the right way. One way is to send in emails to to voice your concerns. I will take those hardcopy emails with me. Another way is that some concerned citizens could attend the meeting with me, but please let me know a head of time.

After the meeting an update will be posted at or ."

The meeting will be held on June 9th at 4pm at the County building. A useful resource is, "From Sprawl to Smart Growth," by Robert H. Freilich.

Some previous related posts:
Emergency Interim Development Ordinance
County Brings in outside firm for drilling ordinance

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mining industry financed film, "Mine Your Own Business"

New Mexico energy industry front groups CARE and the Rio Grande Foundation sponsored an unveiling of a mining industry financed film, "Mine Your Own Business," in Farmington this past Thursday. According to the Daily Times, "comments - intended to localize the film's message - angered Mike Eisenfeld of San Juan Citizens Alliance and Dailan Long of Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment

"Don't come here and accuse us of the things you do," Eisenfeld said, adding that Driessen had no idea about the dynamics of the Navajo Nation-Desert Rock Power Plant issue.

San Juan Citizens Alliance's 500 members work locally — and independently, Eisenfeld said.

"We don't pretend to have (all) the answers," he said. "To say I'm an obstructionist is laughable; I'm just a little guy trying to create some balance."'

Friday, May 23, 2008

YouTube Videos

The first link was sent by Drilling Mora County: Fracing
Also, there are many other video links, such as Spectacular Gaswell Blowout

Oil Company Sues Rio Arriba Over Drilling Ban

From The New Mexico Independent , "It hasn't been a good year for energy companies looking to develop new oil and gas fields in northern New Mexico. Three months ago, the Santa Fe County Commission voted unanimously to prohibit drilling in the Galisteo Basin for at least a year. And the Rio Arriba County Commission did the same thing last month -- unanimously approving a four-month ban on new oil and gas drilling in the county."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Exploring health effects of drilling in Santa Fe County

"SANTA FE (2008-05-21) -- Will there be oil and gas drilling in Santa Fe County. That's the question that's on hold for a bit longer as the clock continues ticking on an end-of-year moratorium. In the meantime, the question is should there be drilling?

A hundred of so people turned out Tuesday night for a forum on that very topic, organized by the opposition groups Drilling Santa Fe and Common Ground United.

Wyoming has had a huge economic boom from the energy industry - perhaps the biggest of any other part of the west. But it's also gone through the biggest downturns when the industry went bust.

In addition to the legal and economic issues embedded in the question, there are the health risks. A researcher who's been studying the health effects of gas drilling in Colorado and other parts of the West says the risks appear to be huge.

Dr. Theo Kolborn is an endocrinologist who lives in Colorado. She's gotten a number of awards for her research, and she was named one of one of Time Magazine's Environmental Heroes.

She told us in an interview that oil and gas drillers have always claimed that they use absolutely no chemicals when they drill. But she's identified hundreds. © Copyright 2008, KSFR"


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mora Torium for Mora County

From Drilling Mora County,
"Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mora Torium for Mora County

Mora County Commissioners voted today, May 20th, 2008 at the commission meeting to prepare a moratorium to halt any progress in the County on oil and gas development until such time the Development Guidance System (DGS) is revised to address such industrial development as oil and gas. "The moratorium would be in place between 6-12 months, or until the revision of the DGS is completed", said Commissioner Peter Martinez. County attorney, John Grubesic is advising the commissioners on the procedures on this development."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Candidates offer Views on Oil

From the Albuquerque Journal North:

'"We are not going to drill our way to success and we are not going to conserve our way to success," said Santa Fe attorney Marco Gonzales, a Republican. "It will take a little of both."'

His Republican opponent, Rio Rancho contractor Dan East, advocates increased energy exploration and new refineries. While Congress has little oversight over a controversial proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Galisteo Basin south of Santa Fe, East said he could support such a project if it were environmentally sound."

Don Wiviott, a self-described green developer in Santa Fe, praised Congress for halting shipments to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a move Wiviott said would increase supply and help reduce gas prices in the short term.
"Still, this legislation is a far cry from the long-term solution our country needs in order to ease the pain Americans are feeling at the pump," Wiviott said.
Wiviott called for an end to tax breaks to oil companies, higher fuel-efficiency standards and incentives for new automobiles and fuels, such as plug-in hybrids and algae-based biofuels."

Harry Montoya wants to eliminate oil company tax breaks and encourage the development of ethanol by providing loan guarantees for new ethanol manufacturing plants. Doing so would be good for the environment, national security and the economy, the Santa Fe County Commissioner said."

Dixon attorney Rudy Martin believes gas prices "are being artificially manipulated by producers and speculators to increase profits."
The candidate would order investigations, and if it was found that oil companies were fixing prices, Martin would vote to cut off their subsidies."

A consumer would not be able to purchase a new car that gets less than 35 miles to the gallon if Santa Fe attorney Jon Adams has his way.
"The new Honda Civic and many other cars get this kind of gas mileage through more efficient engines and body design," Adams said. Adams would also prohibit price gouging and require that the federal government use only clean and renewable energy."

Former state Indian Affairs Secretary Benny Shendo Jr. believes gas prices are a symptom of soaring global energy demands.
"The answer is not in fiddling with gas prices while the world literally burns," Shendo said. The solution is investment in clean, green energy that New Mexico is uniquely poised to contribute to and benefit from, he said."

Lujan, a Public Regulation Commissioner, says the Federal Trade Commission should investigate manipulative practices. He also said that the Small Business Administration can help develop renewable energy by providing grants, low interest loans and business counseling.
But gas prices will continue to be at the mercy of global markets, he said, until the U.S. weans itself off its dependence of foreign oil."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Common Ground United at CommUNIITY Days

A big thanks to the Common Ground United volunteers at CommUNITY Days yesterday! It was a very productive day, which took a lot of hard work. Brochures were handed out, many people educated about the coalition and petitions by SaveLaBajadaMesa! and Wildearth Guardians were signed.

Fossil Fuel Free Future

According to, Austin, Texas is the greenest American city. Why? "The politics in Austin, Texas, home base of Whole Foods Market and Lance Armstrong (at least part of the year), have earned it the title of “the blueberry in the bowl of tomato soup.” But the city’s energy portfolio could make it known as the ray of sunshine in the field of oil pumps. If you want to sign up for green power from Austin Energy, possibly the greenest power grid in the country, you can get in line—this year’s demand was unpredictably high, and they’re fresh out. Austin’s growing list of proactive energy maneuvers is, to say the least, striking. Not only does Austin lead the country in wind power and biodiesel production, but it has built advanced plug-in hybrid vehicles into its energy strategy."

Santa Fe did not make the top ten list. In order to have a fossil fuel free future, more resources need to be diverted to programs of alternative energy sources, local green utilities, green building, and permaculture. Posted previously, was about the David Blume book, "Alcohol Can Be A Gas!" and the myriad of sustainable sources of alcohol as fuel. Recent breakthroughs at The University of Texas at Austin, "A newly created microbe produces cellulose that can be turned into ethanol and other biofuels, report scientists from The University of Texas at Austin who say that the microbe could prove a significant portion of the nation's transportation fuel if production can be scaled up.

Along with cellulose, the cyanobacteria developed by Professor R. Malcom Brown Jr. and Dr. David Nobles Jr. secrete glucose and sucrose. These simple sugars are the major sources used to produce ethanol.

'The cyanobacterium is potentially a very inexpensive source fro sugars to use for ethanol and designer fuels.' says Nobles, a research associate in the Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbioloby."

Just think of New Mexico counties, such as Mora County that are proudly protective of their agricultural way of life producing sustainable alternative fuels. Our energy future is right out our back doors. We do not need to destroy every "little pocket" of the United States for the last drops of hydrocarbons. There are better uses of hydrocarbons than as a fuel. The remainder should be conserved.

Common Ground United will be organizing workshops in the near future. Once these events are set up, they will be posted on the website

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Group to Fight Against Drilling," Albuquerque Journal North

"Group To Fight Against Drilling

A coalition of local nonprofit groups and businesses announced Thursday they've banded together to form Common Ground United, a group dedicated to giving citizens a larger voice in oil and natural gas drilling issues.

Johnny Micou, who lives between Cerrillos and Galisteo and who has become a key figure in the fight against drilling in the Galisteo Basin, will be the fledgling group's executive director.

A total of 64 businesses and environmental groups are listed as members on the organization's Web site, which can be found at

The stated goal of Common Ground United is to "protect our environment and community from the adverse effects of mining and drilling."

After a prolonged public outcry, Santa Fe County commissioners approved a 12-month moratorium in February on the granting of all drilling-related permits after months of debating how to best regulate proposed drilling in the Galisteo Basin.

Common Ground United will host an information booth at Santa Fe's CommUNITY Days on Saturday at the city's Plaza from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m."

Press release: click here

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Gas and Oil Drilling But Were Araid to Ask

To download and print out as a flyer, click here.
Democracy for New Mexico permalink, click here.

Jim O'Donnell Guest Blog: Oil and Gas Industry to Pay for Archaelogical Excavations in New Mexico?

"The Bureau of Land Management announced Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division and the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation that will give oil and gas developers an option of funding excavation work and other studies rather than paying for archaeological surveys when they propose new development.

Over the past few years, I have written a number of times on my experiences as an archaeologist working on public lands in the Southwest. It wasn’t pretty."

Friday, May 9, 2008

"Alcohol Can Be A Gas!" - David Blume

This Sunday, May 11th at 1:00pm, on "Living on the Edge," KSFR 101.1 FM, with Xubi Wilson and David Bacon interview (pre-recorded) David Blume, author of "Alcohol Can Be A Gas!" It is an incredible show on the history of ethanol, its current promise as an alternative fuel, how it really does not take food out of the peoples mouths, and which plants in the Southwest are good sources of ethanol sugars.

Also, a video presented by Portland Peak Oil of David Blume, "Alcohol Can Be A Gas!"

Oil Conservation Commission Signs Pit Rule

"SANTA FE, NM – Today, the Oil Conservation Commission unanimously approved an order in case number #14015, more commonly known as the Pit Rule. The case is an application of the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division for repeal of existing Rule 50 and the adoption of a new rule. The rule concerns oil field waste pits, below grade tanks, and the use of closed loop systems during oil and gas operations."

Boom! Boom!

"After an energy bust flattened the region 26 years ago, Rifle slowly rebuilt itself as a tourist and retirement town and bedroom community for the flourishing nearby resort towns of Aspen and Vail. Then, about five years ago, the energy industry invaded. High-wage workers poured in by the thousands to man the drill rigs that popped up to tap one of the nation’s largest natural gas reserves. The result, says one Rifle economic planner, has been a "perfect storm"of industry in Garfield County on Colorado’s Western Slope."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Daisetta, Texas Saltdome Cavern for Oil Field Waste Becomes Sinkhole

"The sinkhole opened Wednesday morning in an area near an oil storage facility where salt domes are located. The caverns are used for storing salt brine pumped from oil fields," according to 411 Chatter.

The Post Chronicle for article and videos. for videos and pictures.

Mora County Residents Warned About Oil, Gas Drilling

"MORA — Most speakers during a public meeting this week on possible oil and gas drilling in Mora County had a similar message — beware.

A new group, Drilling Mora County, which opposes drilling, invited a number of people from environmental groups and government agencies to speak about the effects of energy development. Missing were any voices from the oil and gas industry itself.

Organizers said they had invited representatives of Albuquerque-based KHL Inc., which is looking to lease mineral rights northeast of Mora, a first step that could lead to eventual drilling. But the company didn’t show.

The forum was originally supposed to be in the form of a County Commission meeting, but that meeting was canceled, with Drilling Mora County carrying on.

More than 200 people packed the Mora schools gym to listen to nine panelists give their views on oil and gas drilling. Some residents in the Ocaté area have reportedly already signed leases with KHL." (full article, click here).

Oil Companies Settle MTBE Pollution Suit

"A dozen oil companies agreed to pay $423 million in cash plus clean-up costs to settle litigation over groundwater contamination from the gasoline additive, MTBE, lawyers representing public water utilities and public agencies in 17 states, said Wednesday."

Air polltion in Wyoming Community rivals that of big cities

'"Used to be you could see horizon to horizon, crystal clear. Now you got this," said Craig Jensen as he gestured to a pale blue sky that he says is not as deeply colored as it used to be. "Makes you wonder what it's going to do to the grass, the trees and the birds."

The pollution, largely from the region's booming natural gas industry, came in the form of ground-level ozone, which has exceeded healthy levels 11 times since January and caused Wyoming to issue its first ozone alerts. Now the ozone threatens to cost the industry and taxpayers millions of dollars to stay within federal clean-air laws.

Sublette County is home to one of the largest natural gas reserves in North America, and it is dotted with hundreds of gas wells to supply the nation's growing demand for cleaner-burning fuel. Thousands more wells are planned for the future.

But pollution from vehicles and equipment in the gas fields — along with dust, weather and geography — have raised ozone to a level that rivals those of big cities in the summertime."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What's Right with Biofuels

From Business Week, "In addition, greenhouse gas analyses of burning soy- and canola-based biodiesel are quite favorable. A definitive study conducted by the U.S. Energy Dept. shows that biodiesel cuts carbon emissions by 78% compared with petroleum diesel. And for every unit of energy that goes into making biodiesel, we get 3.5 units of energy in return....

...But perhaps the greatest weakness in the recent critiques of biofuel sustainability is a failure to address the many shortcomings of sticking with petroleum. Quenching the world population's growing thirst for fuel requires oil companies to use more invasive production methods, more energy to extract it, and more land—including pristine ecosystems."

U.S. Wind Industry on Pace for Record 2008

"NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The U.S. wind power industry remains on track to continue its record run in 2008 after the sector installed 1,400 megawatts of new generating capacity in the three months ended March 21, according to figures released Wednesday."

Bakkan Formation - 25 Times More Than 1995 Estimates

From USGS Newsroom, "3 to 4.3 Billion Barrels of Technically Recoverable Oil Assessed in North Dakota and Montana's Bakken Formation - 25 Times More Than 1995 Estimate"

Video: Tornado Town Goes Green

"May 2, 2008—Greensburg, Kansas, was nearly destroyed by a tornado in May 2007. Today the town is rebuilding and living up to its "green" name.

© 2008 National Geographic (AP)"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Drilling Debate" -- The New Mexico Independent

Often quoted is the potential amount of oil that might be below the surface of the Galisteo Basin. From a previous Drilling Santa Fe post:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

How many barrels?

"This world uses a thousand barrels of oil a second-- that's 86 million barrels a day. With China, India and other emerging nations continuing to grow, that number's not going anywhere but up."

"According to Dirks, the portion of the rift between Santa Fe and Socorro may contain one of the largest hydrocarbon resources in New Mexico, containing 50 to 100 million barrels of light sweet crude oil and 5 to 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas." -- Tecton Energy, LLC Press Release, September 19,2007.

Enough oil for just about a day of current world consumption; but, what about the adverse economic, cultural, water source, and environmental impacts to Santa Fe and Santa Fe County?

Yet, experts in the field question not only the quanity, but the quality of hydrocarbon in the area. The New Mexico Independent covered the debate recently. Click here to go to the video.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

"Oil, gas conference to draw thousands"

"Keynote speaker Bob Gallagher, chief executive of the 325-company New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, marks a first this year. He's spoken here before, but never with keynote status.

Arguably, most people are familiar with the NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude, regarding mixed-use areas, but Gallagher said he'll take that outlook to a new level — BANANAS.

"My talk will be a mix-master about the events going on in New Mexico: the emotional obstructionists and the BANANAS — build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything," he said. "I'll also talk about the CAVE attitude — citizens against virtually anything (everything?)."

Gallagher's speaking habits don't include prepared notes.

"I'll be winging it," he said.

He's titled his speech "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the oil industry." The speech starts at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The good is the revenue the industry brings to the state's coffers — $2,826,475,753 in 2006 as recorded by the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department and State Land Office.

The bad translates to "overzealous" regulation of environmental issues, Gallagher said.

The ugly is various communities' attempts to develop moratoriums against new drilling. Gallagher cited Santa Fe County's Galisteo Basin and Rio Arriba's unanimous county commission vote April 24 to impose a four-month moratorium on new drilling on some of the county's lands. It excluded state, federal and tribal lands, over which the county has no jurisdiction, and any lands within the zoning jurisdiction of a municipality."

Energy Information Administration - Official Energy Statisics from the US Government

The first two charts reflect crude oil production and world oil consumption. The next is the Non-Opec oil production growth. Finally, there is a chart of US energy consumption by fuel. We must move away from fossil fuels/nuclear and move to clean, renewable energy resources. These charts do not reflect a strong commitment to change.

Links to flow charts: Energy, Petroleum, Natural Gas, Coal, & Electricity. Link to US emissions data and chart. Link to Energy Perspectives with data and charts.

Alternative energy must become the mainstay. When it comes to resource extraction, we are in a resource death spiral. We hit peak oil, but consumption projections are forecasted to rise. Consequently, there is an unbridled race to find the last vestiges of fossil fuel -- at any cost. Land and water sources are destroyed, air polluted, people sickened, and the ecosystem endangered. Energy prices are at future shock levels. The economic system will be overloaded by such prices. Transportation costs and costs of production will rise greatly. We must hold our elected officials accountable. We must demand change.

Friday, May 2, 2008

"Mora County Fights to Protect Its Way of Life from Oil and Gas"

"Mired in the middle of oil and gas development, Mora County residents must now face difficult decisions on how to protect their cherished agricultural way of life. Oil and gas development does not respect the land, water, air, nor health of human or beast, and in today’s frantic race – funded by our federal government – more delicate and remote landscapes are being targeted for drilling. It is a shame to destroy these last vestiges of wilderness and traditional cultures that have preserved a way of life, unique and beautiful – and rich with values.

In October 2007, KHL landman Knute Lee, a small Albuquerque oil and gas “realtor,” came knocking on doors. Not to tell the residents in the Ocate area that oil and gas would be drilled on their property, but to negotiate to lease their mineral rights." (Beginning page 5, Rio Grande Sierran) (link to Drilling Mora County)

"Artic Oil Drilling in Domenici Plan"

"WASHINGTON— Sen. Pete Domenici on Thursday suggested opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling as part of a major U.S. production initiative to help drive down gasoline prices.

The measure also calls for oil drilling in parts of the outer-continental shelf off both coasts, mining oil shale in Colorado and other Rocky Mountain states, and a temporary suspension of U.S. oil deposits in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Domenici, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, unveiled his bill during a Capitol Hill news conference along with a dozen other Senate Republicans.

Senate Democrats said the bill's chance of passage— especially containing the ANWR provision— is slim."

"Alberta the underdog in oilsands PR battle: Stelmach"

"EDMONTON - Premier Ed Stelmach says the Alberta government is playing David to a big green Goliath in a rapidly intensifying argument over the oilsands.

He justified the province's new $25-million image campaign today as environmental groups got a fresh reason to decry the rapid pace of oilsands development and lax government regulation: hundreds of migrating ducks in danger of dying after landing in a toxic pond at a Syncrude mine site.

Officials have only been able to rescue three ducks so far, Environment Minister Rob Renner said. Many of the sludge-soaked birds have tried diving into the tailings pond to clean themselves, to detrimental effect."

"Wyoming's air is getting a little thick"

"Recently, I heard an ozone warning for the first time on Wyoming radio. I grew up in the tiny town of Saratoga and have lived in Wyoming for 27 of my 34 years, and during that time I’ve watched air quality decrease in other places -- like Denver. But I never expected to hear air-quality alerts in Sublette County, Wyo., where hardly anybody lives.

The warning meant that children and the elderly should not go outside and breathe the mountain air; although the radio did not say that, the local newspaper did. The ozone is caused by pollutants emitted from natural gas fields in the area combined with weather conditions and temperature inversions. The warning was repeated three times over the course of 12 days.

To think that this rural region is faced with air-quality issues similar to Los Angeles and Denver is downright sad."