Sunday, September 27, 2009

Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center: Santa Fe Opera Oil & Gas Community Letter

Below is a letter from the Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center to the community-at-large regarding the Santa Fe Opera leasing minerals in San Miguel and Mora Counties for oil and gas exploration and development:

Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center
719 Sixth Street, Las Vegas, NEW MEXICO 87701
(505) 425-3840

26 September 2009


You may have heard that the Santa Fe Opera Company, Grantor Charles MacKay, recently signed an oil and gas lease with J Bar Kane, Inc. for mineral rights (to drill for oil, gas, helium, etc.) in this part of the Las Vegas Basin. This is all too true. See "Exhibit A" (88MG) on the back of this letter. The lease encompasses nearly 27,000 acres, covering the Sapello / Hwy. 518 area, directly north of Las Vegas, in San Miguel County, and extends into Mora County as well. This area is part of the groundwater recharge area of the Las Vegas Basin.

We have been told that the land targeted for drilling (for this particular lease, and unfortunately there are others) is between Highway 518 at Sapello and Interstate 25 at Watrous. It is in the vicinity of ("little") Los Alamos and Emplazado. It is near Lake Isabelle. It is in both San Miguel and Mora Counties. The lease was signed on April 20th, 2009 and officially entered into the county record on August 18th, 2009.

The Santa Fe Opera does not own the land itself, but rather the mineral rights under that land. This is the concept of "split estate," whereby you can own your land, but if you don't also own your mineral rights, oil and gas drilling can be done on your property. (For more information about this, go to

The Las Vegas Basin encompasses all of Mora County, much of San Miguel County, and part of Colfax County. The portion of the Las Vegas Basin that runs along Highway 518 just north of Las Vegas and into Mora is part of our groundwater recharge zone for the whole Las Vegas Basin. And that recharge zone continues north, along the eastern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This part of the mountains provides the source waters for the Gallinas River, Mora River, Ocate Creek, Coyote Creek, Sapelló River, Gallinas River, and more. This whole area is at risk of environmental devastation by the oil and gas drilling industry, which is exempt from the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, The Community Right to Know Act, and others ( and

Many of the waterways that could be affected by oil and gas drilling hold the sacred acequia system in place, a long-held tradition and life-blood of the communities of this area. We need to protect the Las Vegas Basin. Santa Fe's recent ordinance for protecting their county from the environmental devastation of the oil and gas industry can be found at: and at To listen to Community Peace Radio shows on this topic, go to: and click on "radiocasts."

Do what you can. Call (505-986-5955) or email ( the Santa Fe Opera. Call our County Commissioners (505-425-9333) and ask for their help in passing a protective ordinance similar to Santa Fe County's (

Thank you! -- Pat Leahan, Co-Director, Las Vegas Peace & Justice Center

Link to letter>>>>

Related posts:

Opera: Finances Led to Drilling

Recourse for mineral rights owners?

SF Reeper: SF Opera Statement On Leasing Rights to Driller: No other recourse, director says.

Shell reportedly eviscerates Mora County Land Use Plan

Santa Fe KSFR: What does Santa Fe Opera get out of oil/gas leasing deal? (Podcast)

Who has more say in Mora County? Citizens or Shell?

Santa Fe Opera Leases Land For Oil & Gas Exploration

Santa Fe Opera leasing minerals for oil and gas exploration?

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