Monday, November 16, 2009

(San Miguel) County wants oil and gas regulations

Las Vegas Optic

Novemeber 16, 2009

By David Giuliani

"San Miguel County is looking at a proposed moratorium on oil and gas drilling permits while it drafts regulations for such activities.

No permits for oil and gas drilling are pending before the county. But County Commission Chairman David Salazar said he wants to make sure the county has sufficient rules in effect before companies come forward.

The county has a general ordinance that deals with conditional land uses, but it doesn’t contain any regulations specifically designed for oil and gas drilling.

Over the last year, Mora County has been reviewing its regulations to determine whether changes are needed to deal with proposed oil and gas drilling. A company has expressed interest in drilling in the Ocaté area and has already been in talks with landowners, some of whom have entered agreements to allow access.

But many in Mora County vehemently oppose drilling, saying it would affect the environment and their way of life.

Salazar said the current San Miguel County regulations are insufficient. At last week’s commission meeting, members generally agreed that they needed to form a task force to deal with the issue.

“Sooner or later, we’ll be having the same issues that Mora County is having, and we need to be satisfied with the regulations that we have,” Salazar said.

Commissioner Nicolas Leger said he wanted the task force to include people from both sides of the issue. He said an earlier task force on wind farm regulations appeared to be heavily weighted toward those against such activities.

“With the wind farms, there was some concern about balance. We need to get input from both sides of the fence,” Leger said.

Leger said he favored a more comprehensive ordinance.

“I don’t think the regulations we have are sufficient at all. The technology has changed considerably since that ordinance was enacted,” he said.

Pat Leahan, co-director of the Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center, said she was glad the county is paying attention to the oil and gas issue. She said the task force would have “excellent” resources locally to study the issue.

She said she hoped the task force would include representatives from land grants and acequia associations." Article>>>>

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