Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oil Drilling May Harm Water Supply

From the Albuquerque Journal North;

Plans to drill for oil in the lush mountains east of Tierra Amarilla could endanger a vital source of New Mexico's surface waters, a hydrologist said Friday.

Steven Finch Jr. was testifying during state hearings on whether to allow Texas-based Approach Resources to drill 10 exploratory wells in northeastern Rio Arriba County. Whichever way the state Oil Conservation Division decides the issue, the decision will go a long way toward determining whether this water-rich, pristine corner of New Mexico is opened to energy development.

Rio Arriba County officials say drilling in the area is a bad idea, one that would threaten human health and the ecology of the region where the waters run cool, clear and everywhere. The county is asking OCD to revoke the company's four current drilling permits and deny six others that are pending.

Rio Arriba already has some 11,500 oil and gas wells spread across the dusty badlands in the western part of the county. But drilling is virtually unknown east of the Rio Chama, where parts of the mountains receive as much as 38 inches of precipitation annually and generate much of the stream flow that courses through the state. The watershed feeds the Rito de Tierra Amarilla, a major tributary to the Chama, which in turn joins the Rio Grande. more>>>>

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