Sunday, August 31, 2008

Common Ground United and Drilling Santa Fe Worksheet for Santa Fe Co. Community Outreach

Common Ground United and Drilling Santa Fe have composed a county outreach worksheet for the Santa Fe County Oil & Gas Ordinance. The worksheet is a basic suggested guide and may not be fully comprehensive. It is designed for citizens' participation in the planning process. Feedback is welcome.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, IOGCC Chairman & McCain's VP Choice Coming to Santa Fe

An eariler Drilling Santa Fe post:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"The Challenges of Unconventional Oil & Natural Gas"

Thanks to Environmental News for New Mexicans for informing us about the upcoming event, "in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Nov. 16 - 18, 2008 for the IOGCC (Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission) Annual Meeting. The overall theme of this year’s meeting is 'The Challenges of Unconventional Oil & Natural Gas' a topic at the forefront of national attention." Wonder if the "challenges" will fully address the adverse impacts?

Small world.

More Palin/IOGCC information, go to a post at Environmental News for New Mexicans.

Nearly 13,000 acres of Mora County state trust land being offered for oil & gas leasing

Recently, Pat Lyons, Commissioner of Public Land, wrote an Op Ed calling for drilling of Otero Mesa.

Now, the State Land Office has put nearly 13,000 acres of the beautiful, agricultural land in Mora County up for oil & gas lease auction. Mora County residents had requested that this not occur. Oil & gas drilling activity poses threats to this agricultural county. More information will be forthcoming, along with action alerts.

Related links:

State Land Office (SLO)

SLO sale of oil & gas lease notice

Drilling Mora County

A few related DSF posts:

Otero Mesa's resources needed now

New Mexico State Land Office & "Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming"


Please join us (EGOT!) on

Thursday, September 11th - 7pm

at the Eldorado Community Center Railroad Room for a dialogue with incoming County Commissioner-elect (dist 5) Liz Stefanics and invited guests Commissioner Jack Sullivan and Commissioner-elect (dist 4) Kathy Holian

Liz and guests will discuss

areas of mutual concern. Our primary focus will be on energy issues - potential gas and oil drilling in Santa Fe County, and developing a local sustainable energy future. This is an extraordinary opportunity to talk with our elected representatives about the future of our community.

Hosted by the Eldorado Gas & Oil Team (EGOT!), the meeting

is part of their Resident Information Program. Space is limited to 60 people.

Further information: Deborah Boldt, 466-2295


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Feel The Heat

Santa Fe Reporter :

Behind the headlines, scientists warn that climate change is already hitting New Mexico

By: Laura Paskus 08/27/2008

..."Last year, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board created a new rule mandating the oil and gas industry report its carbon emissions. That rule is just a first step; it still doesn’t require that industry actually reduce its emissions.

According to Schlenker-Goodrich—who represented a coalition of environmental groups that worked with the state and industry to create the new rule—the oil and gas industry has a significant footprint in terms of greenhouse gas pollution and has an obligation to reduce those emissions. Beyond that, however, he says that if industry leaders start tracking emissions, they will have further incentive to keep those waste gases, particularly methane, within the system and make the energy production system more efficient.

“So when we’re talking about greenhouse gas pollution from the oil and gas industry, the solutions to that problem not only deal with climate, but they also deal with energy,” he says. “In terms of that, if you put those solutions into motion, into practice—if you implement them on the ground in the gas patch, in the oil patch—then you put more of the product in the pipeline for consumers.”

Schlenker-Goodrich also represents activists trying to change how the federal government allows oil and gas development on public lands to occur. (Currently, the US Bureau of Land Management has 5.4 million acres of public lands leased to oil and gas companies in New Mexico alone.)

Activists have asked the BLM to quantify greenhouse gas pollution from federally-authorized oil and gas operations and consider measures to reduce that pollution. Although the agency rejected the coalition’s challenge to the April oil and gas lease sale, activists have now contested the July sale.

Despite the magnitude of the problem—and the federal government’s stubborn resistance to confronting climate change—Schlenker-Goodrich harbors a fiercely optimistic streak. “We’ve become a nation of pessimists at some level—and that’s only a recent phenomenon,” he says. ‘We truly are a nation that has historically prided itself on being self-reliant, prided itself on having a can-do attitude—and perhaps at no time in our history, have those two values, our self reliance and our can-do attitude, been more important.”

Being engaged and educated on the issue of climate change is crucial, he says. But focusing on local community is important as well. People can make use of energy resources available in their own backyards—such as solar and wind—and stop relying on coal-fired power plants hundreds or thousands of miles away whose electricity is transmitted across inefficient lines. Working with local and state governments—and forcing them to become accountable—is key to a sustainable future.

“If we think long term, if we get out of this vicious trap of crisis-by-crisis management and really take in the long view, I think we can really do it here in New Mexico,” Schlenker-Goodrich says. “Frankly, I’m optimistic…It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but its going to be a lot of good work.”' Full article>>>>

Monday, August 25, 2008

KSFR News: Group questions Santa Fe County

KSFR Local

Group questions Santa Fe County


Catch the news director's blog


SANTA FE (2008-08-25) -- A local citizens group says it has found an anomaly with the way Santa Fe County is reporting the meetings it's having with local groups on oil and gas drilling.

© Copyright 2008, KSFR

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Santa Fe County Missing Minutes?

This morning I sent the following email to the County Attorney's office and Dr. Freilich:

"Would like to point out that the Out Reach Meeting List and the Focus Group Minutes do not match. Are these two document sets suppose to match? Are there minutes from the meetings especially with NMOGA (New Mexico Oil & Gas Association) and IPANM (Independent Petroleum Association New Mexico)? What about the second set of minutes for the "Santa Fe Friends of Capitalism"?

A few quick corrections that jumped out at me: The grassroots organization is Drilling Santa Fe at It was listed as No Drilling Santa Fe on the Santa Fe County documents. Also, when I spoke of a county energy plan, it was not to be in lieu of a growth management plan, but as part of the growth management plan.

It would behoove us all to expand the outreach. For example, Drilling Santa Fe is part of a broader coalition, Common Ground United at . As Common Ground United has done, local businesses need to be part of the mix. Also, other organizations such as the Oil & Gas Accountability Project (Gwen Lachelt, Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP)) and the National Wildlife Federation (Oscar Simpson, The New Mexico Wildlife Federation and National Wildlife Federation) should be brought in. At the bottom of this email will be a list of the coalition members to date."

Johnny Micou
Co-Founder, Drilling Santa Fe
Executive Director, Common Ground United

Friday, August 22, 2008


Santa Fe County Email:

"Santa Fe - August 22, 2008 - Santa Fe County anticipates a first draft of a new ordinance concerning oil and gas extraction within 60 days and an Area plan for the Galisteo Basin in late September. Once the draft is complete, it will be made available for public comment and then dates will be set for at least two public hearings.

Lists of individuals/organizations met with during public outreach, copies of sign-in sheets, and minutes of meetings with community stakeholders and other groups are available for review at Documents being reviewed by County staff and the consultant team ( during this process are available for public review in the County legal office. Documents on the list that are not available in the County legal office can be obtained from Planning Works via public records request (click here)."

"The Great Global Warming Scandal," a film to debunk global warming, was shown today at the New Mexico State Land Office

This is a review of the “documentary,” "The Great Global Warming Scandal," a film shown today at the New Mexico State Land Office. According to Wikepdia, “Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to "document" reality.” This film might be closer to the opposite. It is thick with sarcasm and thin on fact.

Even Dr. Robert Balding, author of “The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming,” commented afterwards that he did not agree with the film in some areas. One of the core arguments was that rising temperature precedes elevated CO2 levels. Dr. Balding disagreed.

Another core argument in the film is that sun spots was the climate change culprit. Dr. Balding suggested that sun spots are not solely responsible for climate change. In fact, he can not predict what will happen. He allowed that the dynamics are complex.

The main thrust of the film is to cast doubt upon climate change and the harmful impacts of CO2. If climate change does not exist and anthropogenic CO2 emissions are safe, then there need not be regulations or penalties for industry. Consequently, efforts to limit, reduce or eliminate anthropogenic CO2 emissions is anti-capitalistic, even neo-Marxist. Yet, those of faux-free-enterprise do not embrace the green entrepreneurship that is occurring globally.

Beyond blaming the media for the “global warming scandal,” the film is aggressively anti-environmentalist. In fact, it blames environmentalism for the poverty in third worlds.

In an impoverished area in off-the-grid Africa, there was a scene where a doctor had a choice between using a light or a refrigerator that contained medications. The building only had two small, under-producing solar panels, so it had little electric power for either. With strained logic, the film implied that solar power was “experimental” and only for the rich.

The film indicates that environmentalism denies Africans the use of their own resources and was perpetuating poverty. However, there was not a connection made between poverty and environmentalism. It was more a leap of logic. One such leap is that fossil fuel must be used to generate electricity in Africa and create prosperity.

Yet, who benefits from the oil drilling, such as in Nigeria?

Reality check. See video below:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

County might have violated state's Open Meetings Act

Santa Fe New Mexican:

"Santa Fe County spokesman Stephen Ulibarri admitted Thursday that the county has not been following its own rules when it comes to properly posting agendas for upcoming meetings.

Ulibarri's statement came after local radio station KSFR alleged the county violated the Open Meetings Act by failing to post a notice or agenda for a Community Development Review Committee meeting held Aug. 5.

The station's reporters missed attending the CDRC meeting — at which an attorney hired to advise the county on oil and gas development spoke — because information about the meeting was not posted on the county's Web site, KSFR said Thursday.

When first contacted by The New Mexican, Ulibarri said the county did not have a legal obligation to post notices on the Web site. He said the county had complied with the law by posting a legal notice in the newspaper.

But upon closer examination of the county's own resolution on the topic, Ulibarri acknowledged it requires agendas be posted online three days before meetings. " More>>>>

Newsweek: A Toxic Spew?

Newsweek :

Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images
Pumped: Workers release carbon-dioxide vapor after 'fracking' a natural-gas well in eastern New Mexico

A Toxic Spew?

Officials worry about impact of 'fracking' of oil and gas.

KSFR News: Questions raised about Santa Fe County violating Open Meetings Act

KSFR Local

SANTA FE (2008-08-21) -- KSFR News has asked the state attorney general's office to investigate whether Santa Fe County has violated terms of the New Mexico Open Meetings Act.

News Director Bill Dupuy says KSFR reporters missed attending an open public meeting of the County Development Review Committee because the time, date and agenda for the August 5th meeting were not posted on the county's website. KSFR had attempted to find out about a rumored discussion of oil and gas drilling in Santa Fe County. It was not until after the meeting had taken place that the reporters found the discussion had taken place at the open meeting.

The county commission requires that notices of regular and special meetings of all committees be posted in advance on the county's website in addition to newspaper legal notices.

On further investigation, KSFR News discovered that there were no such meeting notices for that committee for the period between March 2007 and August of this year.

An earlier analysis by KSFR News found that Santa Fe County's efforts to communicate publicly about its work on an oil and gas drilling ordinance have been far less robust than similar planning projects underway in Boise, Idaho, and Grand Junction, Colorado.

© Copyright 2008, KSFR

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

DW Turner, Anne Potter Russ & New Mexico Oil & Gas Association

Not long after the front page Santa Fe New Mexican article on Anne Potter Russ, we were contacted by DW Turner for a meeting with her. Since then, there has been a change. There have been several letters to the editor printed in the Santa Fe New Mexican from curious sources. There was the Albuquerque Journal article on Tecton Energy, LLC, "Tecton faces tough time in New Mexico," in which Tecton makes the claim, '"We already know there is oil present and producible there because we've re-entered an existing well in the Galisteo Basin (and it is) producing commercial quantities"' (highlight added). Yet, that well has been temporarily abandoned and only produced less 30 barrels in the last four months of production! DW Turner lists the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association (NMOGA) as a client.

There was a Santa Fe New Mexican article on the Rio Grande Foundation, a group that is co-sponsoring the showing of "The Great Global Warming Swindle" to be followed by a presentation by Robert Balling, author of the book "Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming" to be held at the New Mexico State Land Office. CARE (Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy) was in part founded by Ron Arnold (see quotes below). The Rio Grande Foundation and CARE are aggressive oil & gas industry advocates.

Yesterday, in a unanimous vote the Rio Arriba Board of County Commissioners extended the expiring oil & gas drilling moratorium for an additional 180 days. The story was carried in the Santa Fe New Mexican under news in brief. Also yesterday, the Las Cruces City Council adopted a resolution to protect Otero Mesa. Yet, Pat Lyons, Commissioner of Public Lands, says drill the Otero Mesa. The Las Cruces resolution adoption story was carried by KSFR and AP.

Energy may be one the biggest issues facing New Mexico and beyond. There are profound events in regards to energy happening in New Mexico. And beyond New Mexico, there are citizens protesting that industry has gone too far in Fort Worth and in the Delaware Basin.

Some related recent posts:

Tecton faces tough time in New Mexico

Otero Mesa's resources needed now

Texas residents want gas drilling permits stopped

New Mexico State Land Office & "Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming"

A Crude Awakening

"The Great Global Warming Swindle" showing at the New Mexico State Land Office

Rio Arriba County Board of County Commissioners Extends Countywide Drilling Moratorium for 180 Days

Shock doctrine opens way for oil drilling, Naomi Klein on disaster capitalism

CARE & the letter to the Gang of Ten Coalition

Ron Arnold quotes from SourceWatch:

"We want to destroy environmentalists by taking away their money and their members,"

"If chlorflourocarbons really destroy ozone, why isn't there a hole over chlorflourocarbon factories, he asks". As for the greenhouse effect he was emphatic: "There isn't any such thing".

"We are sick to death of environmentalism and so we will destroy it. We will not allow our right to own property and use nature's resources for the benefit of mankind to be stripped from us by a bunch of eco-facists,"

"And that sword has two purposes: to carve out a niche for your agenda, to reshape the American law in your image; and, kill the b(lank)s."[5] Asked to describe how he would like others to think of him, he said "People in industry, I'm going to do my best for you. Environmentalists, I'm coming to get you."

"We're out to kill the fxxxers. We're simply trying to eliminate them. Our goal is to destroy environmentalism once and for all"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

CARE & the letter to the Gang of Ten Coalition

"The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit."

Gordon Gekko, Wall Street (1987).

CARE, Citizens' Alliance for Energy Responsible, founded in part by Ron Arnold, and other aggressively pro oil & gas drilling advocates, have sent a letter to the "Gang of Ten Coalition," promoting more drilling: "Any legislation which rejects proposals to expand oil and gas drilling, and other energy development on federal lands, prevents progress towards lessening America’s dependence on foreign oil."

In short, expanding domestic drilling will not make America foreign oil independent. If one word were to sum up the impetus for more off shore drilling and costly oil shale mining and drilling -- greed. Also, see post:

Shock doctrine opens way for oil drilling, Naomi Klein on disaster capitalism

Please check out Earthwork's new site, :


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Rio Arriba County Board of County Commissioners Extends Countywide Drilling Moratorium for 180 Days

Just in from Viva Rio Arriba:

In a unanimous vote the Rio Arriba Board of County Commissioners extended the expiring drilling moratorium for an additional 180 days. The extension will continue to apply countywide. John Zent, speaking for ConocoPhillips, several residents of the Lindrith area plead before the Commission to limit the moratorium to the Rio Chama watershed area. Stephanie Reed speaking on behalf of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association echoed support for a division of the County into an eastern and western area to differentiate between the watershed (east) and developed (west) areas.

However, Gabriel Boyle, representing the County Planning and Zoning department reccomended to the Commission that the moratorium extension not be amended and apply to all "...surface over which the County has jurisdiction, including the developed areas." Attorney's Adan Trujillo and Frank Herdman summarized the progress to date on drafting the governing ordinance for oil and gas, and each recommended that the process go forward in a deliberate manner so as to allow time for careful consideration of all elements, including cultural issues. Mr. Boyle also emphasized the importance of the planned workshops for public and industry output, " a critical part of the process."

Commissioner Felipe Martinez discussed the length to which the Commissioners had worked and wrestled with the considerations of individuals affected, such as the Lindrith contracting concerns, and the overall responsibility to insure public water source safety and environmental impact. "Yes, the Rio Chama is a critical watershed, and perhaps parts of the County should just not ever be drilled. But, really, the entire County is a watershed. We must consider that as we move forward.

Both Commission Chairman Alfredo Montoya and County Manager Lorenzo Valdez expressed optimism that industry and government could work together and used the recent County Fair and 4-H Livestock sale in which the energy contributors have begun supporting the youth. "In 2006, we had only minimum participation from the oil and gas community, about $2,700. Last year, in response to a County outreach project, industry greatly increased their participation, to $26,000 and this year, another big increase to a total of over $37,000," said Montoya. Manager Valdez added that in addition to the huge increase, two of the energy contributors, Devon Energy and M&R Trucking were donating three steers back to community service organizations. "El Mirador for the handicapped; Esperanza for domestic violence; Hoy Recovery for substance abuse, all very important and deserving programs for the community. It's just an example of how we can work together for mutual benefit," said Valdez.

Shock doctrine opens way for oil drilling, Naomi Klein on disaster capitalism

The Real News Network:

"August 18 - In the most recent segment of his interview, The Real News senior editor Paul Jay discusses disaster capitalism with Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine.

Using the current high oil prices as an example, Klein explains that disaster capitalism is what she calls the ideological political strategy in which politicians use disasters to help push through unpopular policies, such as privatization and cuts to government spending. There is "a very deliberate change of topic coming from the oil and gas industry to get all of the focus on high gas prices and present a policy alternative that will not solve the prices, but will be certainly in the economic interest of the oil and gas industry, which is to allow drilling the continental shelf in Anwar."

Previous efforts to gain support for drilling in Anwar have failed because there could be serious environmental repercussions, but Klein believes that will soon change. "If you get all the people on corporate TV just reiterating the talking points of the oil and gas industry, and then you get a couple of presidential candidates also doing it then people will start to say 'Yeah! Drill now, drill now! Pay less!'" Klein says that this creates "an illusion that [drilling in Anwar] will actually help your gas prices before you go on vacation next week" when the reality is that the drilling would not even take place for a minimum of 5 years from now."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Taos Resource Management Plan Revision (RMPR)

Map of Taos Field Office

BLM Website :

"The BLM in Taos is updating land use plan decisions for public lands managed by the Taos Field Office in Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, Taos, Colfax, Harding, Los Alamos, Mora, San Miguel, and Union counties.

The RMPR will address at least six major issues of high public interest in the Taos Field Office planning area , including land tenure adjustment, land uses (rights-of-way), special area designations, visual resource management, off-highway vehicles, and mineral materials. Of these issues, off-highway vehicle area designations and the locations of minerals materials available for extraction are likely to be of most interest."

Taos Field Office


For anyone wishing to be placed on the mailing list as the Taos Field Office develops the Resource Management Plan (RMP) which includes BLM administered lands in Santa Fe County; they should send or email their name and address to:

Evelyn Rodriguez

evelyn_rodriguez@blm.govThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Taos Field Office - BLM
226 Cruz Alta
Taos, NM 87571


Eminent Domain


(Below) "is a short film that West and Clear collaborated on with Fort Worth filmmaker James M. Johnston. Eminent domain abuse is an abstract problem, but Ms. Horton’s plight puts a very human face on this issue. James and I wanted Ms. Horton to be able to tell her story in her own words and show you what it is like to have a pipeline literally coming to your front porch." More>>>>

Related posts:

Texas residents want gas drilling permits stopped

Urban Gas Drilling Causes Backlash In Boomtown

Friday, August 15, 2008

KSFR News: Santa Fe County planning effort lags behind work in other municipalities

"(SANTA FE -- Aug. 15, 2008) -- Despite promises, efforts by Santa Fe County lag behind similar efforts by two governments in other states to involve citizens in creating new regulations to govern drilling and other development."

Full story at: KSFR, click here

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Crude Awakening

From an earlier post, "a documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" to be followed by a presentation by Robert Balling, author of the book "Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming" to be held at the New Mexico State Land Office." (See New Mexico State Land Office & "Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming") What if "A Crude Awakening - The Oil Crash" were to be shown? What about all of the real scientific works on global warming, climate change and greenhouse gases? Will such works receive an unbiased airing? Why are some of the efforts to transition to clean, renewable energy being thwarted? Why is the dirty fossil fuel industry subsidized? (See Oil & Gas IndustryTaxpayer Derived Welfare at Common Ground United) (Click here for a DSF Global Warming Swindle flyer)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Farmer turns to fruit tree to power tractors

Jatropha fruit a dream fuel? 2:10
CNN's Susan Candiotti checks out a promising biodiesel fuel from a golf-ball sized fruit whose oil runs diesel engines.

Source: CNN | Added August 11, 2008

Oil and gas ordinance update

KSFR Local

Oil and gas ordinance update

SANTA FE (2008-08-13) -- Santa Fe County Commissioners made the decision last winter to develop a long term zoning ordinance that could take drilling into account, but also take into account other types of development in the county. Lead consultant Robert Freilich was here this week. He said he has had meetings with 50 different groups, including state agencie and pueblos. He also said he intends to hand over a preliminary draft of material for an ordinance in September. His segment runs about 3 minutes in the audio file.

We also talked with KSFR reporter Marion Cox, who is also a business professional involved in the same type of public involvement planning for municipalities. She raised questions not addressed by Freilich. Her audio runs about 6 minutes in the same file.

KSFR will have more on this question of the planning process for Santa Fe County in the coming days.

© Copyright 2008, KSFR

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Mineral rights in Santa Fe hard to track down

KSFR Local

Mineral rights in Santa Fe hard to track down
By: Norman Mark

SANTA FE (2008-08-12) -- People who live in Santa Fe County where there's the question of oil and gas drilling have been grappling with another big question. Who owns the mineral rights under their property?

It's not an easy question to find the answer to, as our reporter KSFR's Norman Mark found out.

© Copyright 2008, KSFR

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Santa Fe Co. Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Meeting with Oil & Gas Update Follow-Up

Follow up to post Santa Fe Co. Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Meeting with Oil & Gas Update:

The presentation was basically the same as the one presented to the CRDC, except the Surface Owners Protection Act (SOPA) was not mentioned, which is a legislative act that gives surface owners some recourse. The surface owner would likely have to hire an attorney to enact the protections under SOPA.
For more information, go to OGAP’s website at

After the presentation, it was mentioned to Dr. Freilich that as part of the Oil & Gas Amendments to the Land Use Code and the Galisteo Growth Management Plan, to please consider adding environmental impact studies to analyze the greenhouse gas emissions of projects. California has passed legislation for requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land-use decisions. Recently, a Desert Hot Springs’ plan for a mega-resort was thrown out for failing to analyze the effects of greenhouse gases.

Recently, Common Ground United, Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil and Gas Accountability Project, Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action, and WildEarth Guardians protested the BLM August 26, 2008 lease sale for the states of Montana and North Dakota totaling 25,274.06 acres based on the BLM’s failure to address global warming and climate change and the adverse consequences of this failure (click here for protest letter).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Roan on the auction block

High Country News:

BLM set to open Colorado plateau to gas drilling despite broad opposition

Video - by Emily Steinmetz, Andrea Appleton, Marty Durlin

"BLM set to open Colorado plateau to gas drilling despite broad oppositionUnless a last-ditch lawsuit filed by environmental groups is successful, the Bureau of Land Management will lease 55,000 acres of Colorado's most biodiverse lands to the energy industry on August 14. The Roan Plateau, which sits atop one of the largest natural gas reserves in the state, has become an icon in the battle over energy extraction in Colorado. BLM officials say their plan will protect the watersheds and wildlife habitat on the plateau, but a coalition of citizen groups, sportsmen, environmentalists and government officials -- including Gov. Bill Ritter -- are pushing for stricter regulations. The leasing of Roan will mark the end of a seven year battle." Video Link>>>>

Monday, August 11, 2008

Santa Fe Co. Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Meeting with Oil & Gas Update

The Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) will meet tomorrow (click here for agenda). Dr. Freilich will brief the BCC on the progress of oil & gas. An update and response to the briefing will be posted at .

(Public Hearing)
August 12, 2008 – 3:00 pm
XII. Staff And Elected Officials’ Items
A. Growth Management Department
3. Briefing On The Progress Since Adoption Of The Interim Development Ordinance Relating To Oil and Gas (Dr. Robert H. Freilich)

CDRC (County Development Review Committee): August

Minutes: August 5, 2008
Agenda: August 21, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Mexico State Land Office & "Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming"

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican (8/10/08) Letters to the Editor, a 501(c)(3) organization euphemistically called Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), which is a pro energy industry front group according to, is promoting a documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" to be followed by a presentation by Robert Balling, author of the book "Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global Warming" to be held at the New Mexico State Land Office.

According to the book synopsis at "Is global warming just a lot of hot air? The authors of this book believe so. They expose, what they believe to be, the exaggerations misstatements and outright lies of the global warming lobby, with particular emphasis on the American political scene." Is this appropriate?

Related post: "Otero Mesa's resources needed now"

Otero Mesa's resources needed now

(Picture: OCD Pit Sampling Program, 2007)

Santa Fe New Mexican Op Ed:
Patrick Lyons

From the New Mexico State Land Office website: "New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands, Patrick Lyons, recently made history by being the only Republican to hold the office for two consecutive terms. Mr. Lyons was first elected in November 2002, and is the highest ranking Republican in the state of New Mexico’s Executive Branch."

Excerpt (highlight added):

"Any time the subject of oil and gas development comes up, the first line of opposition is that it will damage water resources. Consider this: The state presently approves 2,500 or so new well permits every year that they say will not pollute water, and there are more than 30,000 active wells in New Mexico that are not harming any water supplies. If we can't protect our water sources, we shouldn't be drilling anywhere."

Regulations are designed to mitigate damage. To protect water resources fully would mean that there would be no degradation. Thus, there should be no drilling in or around our water sources that could be put to beneficial use by the citizens of New Mexico. Taking Commissioner Lyon's statement, "If we can't protect our water sources, we shouldn't be drilling anywhere," then based on his logic, the conclusion would be no drilling.

From Earthworks Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP):

Groundwater Contamination

Testing pit water quality in New Mexico
Taking pit water quality samples in San Juan County, New Mexico.

The New Mexico Oil Conservation Division has detected and documented more than 700 hundred incidents of groundwater contamination from oil and gas facilities across the state. The data can be downloaded from the OCD web site (click here to download a pdf version or an Excel spreadsheet version).

Prior to 1990, only 39 orders were issued against oil and gas companies for contaminating groundwater. The earliest order was issued in 1954. Since 1990, 705 incidents have been recorded, for a total of 743 documented groundwater incidents related to the oil and gas industry in New Mexico.

Of the 743 groundwater contamination incidents, more than half have been caused by contamination from oil and gas industry pits.

The Oil and Gas Accountability Project has created some graphs to summarize the OCD data. These graphs show:

For more information, go to

Most N.M. Leases See Drilling

The Albuquerque Journal:

By Copyright &Copy; 2008 Albuquerque Journal By Andrew Webb
Journal Staff Writer

"Opponents of opening new areas offshore and in Alaska to oil drilling frequently cite the fact that millions of acres already leased by oil and gas companies sit idle.

Oil companies, they say, are hoarding and should drill these leases before potential new fields are opened.

But, in New Mexico, more than three-fourths of leased federal acres are delivering natural gas or crude oil.

Some of the leases that aren't producing simply came up dry, and some others have been tied up by environmental and conservation groups opposed to drilling. Those include Otero Mesa in southern New Mexico and the Galisteo Basin north of Albuquerque and near Santa Fe.

The state's Oil Conservation Division, which regulates groundwater protection on state and federal land leased to oil and gas companies, has also blocked some new exploration on leases in Rio Arriba County.

Big picture numbers: The Bureau of Land Management has leased 5.4 million acres of federal land to oil and gas producers in New Mexico. Of that, about 3.9 million acres are in production, according to Tony Herrell, the BLM's state deputy director for minerals.

Herrell said leases where exploration efforts didn't find oil or gas will likely expire at the end of the 10-year federal limit." Article>>>>

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Independent producers meet in Farmington: Lt. Governor stresses cooperation to state oil and gas workers

The Farmington Daily Times:

"FARMINGTON — Leadership of the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico highlighted industry concerns about pit rule implementation as the group held its annual meeting Friday in Farmington.

The issues featured prominently in the interplay between keynote speakers, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and Michael J. Economides."...

..."Members also received synopses of other issues under consideration by the state's Oil Conservation Division. Among the issues was a discussion of whether counties could create ordinances more strict than OCD's.

A booklet prepared by the group's director of government affairs, IPANM's Karin Foster, discusses several examples from the industry's point of view." Article>>>>

California Court Rules Land-use Decisions Must Address Global Warming: Plans for Palmwood Mega-Resort Thrown Out

"INDIO, California - August 8 - In response to a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, a California court has rejected a proposal to build a controversial luxury resort and golf course because the project’s environmental study failed to analyze the project’s greenhouse gas emissions. The lawsuit had challenged the city of Desert Hot Springs’ approval of the Palmwood resort near Joshua Tree National Park.

“The court affirmed what the California legislature made clear: that global warming must be addressed in land-use decisions,” said Jonathan Evans, a staff attorney with the Center.

Threats to Vital Wildlife Areas

Most of the Palmwood site lies within regionally recognized wildlife conservation areas. The project area is home to numerous species of rare wildlife including bighorn sheep, burrowing owls, the Palm Springs pocket mouse, Palm Springs round-tailed ground squirrel, Le Conte’s thrasher, and loggerhead shrike. The area is also part of a wildlife linkage providing a bridge for animals to the adjacent national park and wilderness areas.

“This project would have destroyed vital habitat of some of the most endangered species in the Coachella Valley,” said Evans. “This ecological and financial disaster should never have been approved.”' More>>>>

Commission proposes chemical disclosure

Due to nurse Cathy Behr falling gravely ill due from exposure to gas well fracturing fluid, ZetaFlow, in Mercy Regional Medical Center's emergency room, the La Plata County Commission adopted "new, proposed guidelines for the disclosure of proprietary chemicals used by gas and oil companies at well sites."

The Durango Herald:
Gas, oil companies would have to say what’s being used at sites

"(T)he planning commissioners adopted all three alternatives presented by county staff regarding disclosure of chemicals, with minor modifications to each:
  • The commissioners voted 4-1 to require well operators to maintain an accurate inventory of chemicals used at well sites. Records must be kept on file for as long as a well is in operation and five years after it is closed, and must be disclosed to the county's director of community development within three days of request. Acting Chairman Travis Craig cast the dissenting vote.

In a phone interview Friday, County Manager Shawn Nau said the wording adopted by the commission closely mirrors wording currently proposed for the state's revised gas and oil regulations.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rules, however, would require inventories be updated bimonthly and kept on file for only as long as a well is operated.

The commissioners voted 4-1 to require operators to disclose chemical inventories to the county even in cases when chemicals used at well sites are otherwise protected as privileged information or trade secrets under state and federal laws. The county would be responsible for safeguarding that information.
  • The commissioners voted 5-0 to require operators to, upon request, immediately disclose all information pertaining to chemical spills to emergency medical professionals.

In other action Thursday, planning commissioners voted to also make the following amendments to the drafted regulations:

  • Change the existing definition of a major facility to include any facility containing internal-combustion engines or motors with a cumulative horsepower of 200, de-rated for elevation.
  • Extend the right to appeal proposed well sites to any neighboring landowners within a quarter mile. Currently, only surface landowners have the right to appeal.
  • Give surface landowners the option of working with the county's weed control department to prohibit use of specific herbicides on their properties.
  • Require surface landowners to place fences around well sites within 660 feet of schools but allow them to ask for fencing requirements to be waived for well sites near existing recreation facilities or commercial structures." Article>>>>