Friday, April 30, 2010

NOAA declared the Deepwater Horizon incident "a Spill of National Significance (SONS)

(NASA Satellite Imagery Keeping Eye on the Gulf Oil Spill)


"Today, April 30, NOAA declared the Deepwater Horizon incident "a Spill of National Significance (SONS)." A SONS is defined as, "a spill that, due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment, or the necessary response effort, is so complex that it requires extraordinary coordination of federal, state, local, and responsible party resources to contain and clean up the discharge" and allows greater federal involvement. NOAA's estimated release rate of oil spilling into the Gulf is estimated at 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) per day based on surface observations and reports of a newly discovered leak in the damaged piping on the sea floor." More>>>>

New Offshore Drilling: Not Quite on Hold

The Wall Street Journal
April 30, 2010, 9:52 AM ET

By Stephen Power and Ian Talley

"More proof that the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is upending plans to expand offshore drilling: White House senior adviser David Axelrod said on ABC’s Good Morning America that there won’t be any drilling in new areas until “there is an adequate review of what happened here and what is being proposed elsewhere.”

Just last month, President Barack Obama announced plans to open new offshore areas for drilling oil and gas. The event was staged at Andrews Air Force Base and linked to energy security. “We’re here to talk about America’s energy security, an issue that’s been a priority for my administration since the day I took office,” he began.

Axelrod suggested any new drilling is on hold. “All he has said is that he’s not going to continue the moratorium on drilling but… no additional drilling has been authorized and none will until we find out what happened here and whether there was something unique and preventable here,” he said." More>>>>

Link to photos>>>>
or here>>>>

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oil interests biggest donor to GOP (NM) gov candidate

Las Cruces Sun-News
By Barry Massey Associated Press


"All of the Republican candidates are aligned with the oil industry in opposition to environmental regulations imposed by Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson's administration to restrict the use of pits for onsite waste disposal at drilling operations.

Producers contend the rules make drilling too costly and have contributed, along with lower energy prices, to an industry downturn in New Mexico.

No other Republican gubernatorial hopeful has received as much money from oil and gas interests as Martinez. ("An analysis of state campaign finance reports by The Associated Press found that Martinez collected about $215,000 from oil and gas donors from October through early April. That's half of the $428,065 she raised during the most recent campaign finance reporting period." -- from article)

But the industry also is a large contributor to GOP candidate Doug Turner, providing him $118,000 from October through April. About $100,000 of that came from Ray and Karen Westall and Loco Hills-based companies tied to them.

The oil and gas money represents about three-fifths of contributions Turner received during the past six months, excluding personal loans he made to the campaign." More>>>>

By the way, check out the ad with the article:

Oil interests biggest donor to GOP gov candidate (Susana Martinez)

By Barry Massey Associated Press

Special CDRC Meeting will be held this Thursday April 29th

Email for Santa Fe County:

"Hello All,

A Special CDRC Meeting will be held
this Thursday April 29th at 6:00 PM for a public hearing on the Sustainable Land Development Plan (SLDP) in the County Commission Chambers located at 102 Grant Ave, Santa Fe . The CDRC Public Hearing will be to consider proposed revisions to Chapters 7-15 of the SLDP. The CDRC has scheduled two additional CDRC Public Hearings on the SLDP for May 13th at 6:00 PM and May 27th at 6:00 PM. The meeting on May 13th will be to review the proposed changes from the Public Hearings and the meeting on May 27th is being proposed to consider the final draft.

Attached is the agenda for the Special CDRC meeting on Thursday April 29th. The draft revisions for Chapters 7-15 are available on the County website at Thanks for your input and participation in the (SLDP) process. Please contact me or Melissa Holmes at 995-2717 if you need additional information. Thank you

Robert Griego

Planning Manager

Santa Fe County


Phone: (505) 986-6215

Fax: (505) 986-6389

HSP SAVE PAPER - Please do not print this e-mail unless absolutely necessary"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Letter: A defining time for the area (San Miguel County NM)

Las Vegas Optic

April 23, 2010
By Aravis Kurtiz

"What happened to the “balance” in the San Miguel County Oil and Gas Task Force?

As a citizen of Mora County who has been dealing with the issue of oil and gas development, I was surprised at the selections made for the task force. I believe many of us are wondering, what was the selection criteria? As it stands, the task force is comprised mostly of oil and gas industry representatives and people who make a profit from oil and gas royalties. There is no balance. There are no educated community activists who are pro-regulation to counter the weight of industry’s voice.

Given the circumstances, it is vital that the oil and gas task force meetings be transparent and open to the public, but will they? San Miguel County can come away from this experience with regulations similar to those in Santa Fe County, a comprehensive and protective ordinance that addresses the many risks of drilling. Or, they can settle for an oil and gas ordinance like the one in Rio Arriba County which is weak and lacks proper protection for the county and its citizens.

This is a defining time for Mora and San Miguel counties, a fork in the road that will determine the future of our water, land and health for generations to come. It is time we came together to act in our own best interests, not the interests of the oil and gas industry. I am not against oil and gas development. I am for clean water, breathable air, health, agricultural development, and the protection that is necessary for those things to continue existing.

Aravis Kurtiz

Northern New Mexico Conservation Project "

Rio Arriba County BCC Oil & Gas Special Use Permit Applications Approval

Below is a link to one of three Rio Arriba County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) finding and conclusions to grant Oil and Gas Special Use Permit Applications approval to Approach Operating, LLC.

These are the reportedly the first New Mexico County Oil and Gas Permits issued within the State.

Link to Rio Arriba County BCC findings and conclusions referenced above (4MB pdf)>>>>

Santa Fe County SLDP Chapters 7 - 15

Email from Santa Fe County:

"The Santa Fe County Development Review Committee (CDRC) will hold a Public Hearing on the Sustainable Land Development Plan at a Special (CDRC) Meeting on Thursday April 29th at 6:00 PM in the County Commission Chambers located at 102 Grant Ave, Santa Fe.

Attached is the proposed revised draft for Chapters 7 thru 15 of the (SLDP) (9MG pdf). This will also be presented to the (CDRC) on April 29th. The revised Chapters 7-15 will be available to the Public through the County website at on Monday April 26th. Chapters 1-6 are available on the County Web at this time.

CD’s of the (SLDP) Chapters 1-15 will also be made available to the Public through the County Administrative Offices at 102 Grant Avenue. Anyone interested in a CD may contact Melissa Holmes at 995-2717 or email For Further information regarding The Sustainable Land Development Plan contact Planning Manager Robert Griego at 986-6215 or by email"

Chapters 7 thru 15 of the SLDP (9MB pdf)>>>>

The CDRC held a hearing last night on Chapters 1 thru 6 and there were comprehensive comments made by the citizenry.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Santa Fe County Plan (SLDP) Hearing Earth Day--Encl oil/gas/mining

From an email:

SFe County Plan (SLDP) Hearing Earth Day--Encl oil/gas/min

The Plan is directing the future Code (SLDC) to:

Create a new class of Overlay Zoning District Classifications required for approval of developments of countywide impact (DCI) including but not limited to oil and gas drilling, mineral excavation, rock, shale, limestone, gravel and sand quarrying, landfills and major land excavations. --Policy 4.2, Chapter 2.

Strengthen... Don't Weaken!


1) there needs to be a Policy directing that, along with the Oil & Gas Amendment, the Mining Ordinance (Article III, Section 5 of the current Code) will be retained and it's sand and gravel exemption will be deleted.

2) The developments of countywide impact ("DCI") section 2.2.6 in the Plan should avoid specific numbered magnitudes of land excavations, alterations, quantities and time periods. Those should only be placed in the future Code and the Plan should be more concerned with non-numerical generalized definitions and intentions to "protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens, residents and businesses of Santa Fe County from the harmful or hazardous adverse impacts...."

Some Details:

The DCI section itself ties magnitudes of land excavations, alterations, & grading to specific quantities and time periods. Here an example of what should be removed from the DCI section:

"Substantial Land Alteration removes primarily earth with mineral, ore, rock, sand, gravel, limestone, or bedrock material that occurs over a period of more than 3 months; substantial land alteration can also occur upon removal of more than 1000 cubic yards per acre of earth with minerals, rock, sand, gravel, limestone, or bedrock material, or movement of earth on an entire tract or parcel of land in common ownership in excess of 5,000 cubic yards." Emphasis added.

If this is not removed we would witness loopholes so that an excavation could dodge levels of classification by limiting removal of minerals to slightly less than 3 months, or less than 1000 cubic yards per acre, etc. What's required if below these thresholds? "Minor land alteration should not be regulated as a DCI."

A way to celebrate Earth Day, help insure that the County develops a truly sustainable County Plan, and Code. Once again, attend the hearings.


ps. this is a mailing from the Rural Conservation Alliance "Save La Bajada Mesa" listing, centered in the Cerrillos, Madrid, San Marcos areas of the Galisteo Basin. If you wish to be removed from this list, please request.

Download chapters 1-6 (10MB):

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Santa Fe County Sustainable Land Development Plan Public Hearing

Santa Fe County email:


The Santa Fe County Development Review Committee will hold Public Hearings on the Sustainable Land Development Plan at a Special CDRC Meeting on April 22nd and April 29th at 6:00 PM in the County Commission Chambers located at 102 Grant Ave, Santa Fe.

The SLDP has undergone a Public Review process and several changes to the February 4th Draft have been proposed.

Attached is the proposed revised draft for the first six chapters of the SLDP (see links below or click here (10MB)>>>>). This will be presented to the CDRC on April 22nd. Attached is the CDRC memo which summarizes the changes to each chapter (see links below or click here>>>>). A redline copy with proposed changes will be available on the website prior to the CDRC meeting.

The remaining chapters 7-15 of the SLDP will be presented at the CDRC Public Hearing on April 29th.

Robert Griego

Planning Manager

Santa Fe County


Phone: (505) 986-6215"


Proposed revised draft for the first six chapters of the SLDP (10 MB)>>>>

CDRC memo>>>>


Email response from Ross Lockridge:

"(A)ttached is the DCI section of the new draft SFe County SLDP formatted as a word doc which might make the section more accessible for reviewing and commenting on. The pdf has our highlights & comments, which have changed little because they haven't changed a thing in this section from that first draft handed specifically on DCIs, 3/26/10. Thus they are still tying magnitude of land excavations, alterations, & grading to numbers, ie. quantity and time periods.

The only direct mention of oil/gas via searching these 6 chapters is here, I think:

Policy 4.2: Create of a new class of Overlay Zoning District Classifications required for approval of developments of countywide impact ("DCI") including but not limited to oil and gas drilling, mineral excavation, rock, shale, limestone, gravel and sand quarrying, landfills and major land excavations."


DCI section of the new Santa Fe County SLDP (pdf) (with RL comments)>>>>

DCI section of the new Santa Fe County SLDP (doc)>>>>

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

County considers temporary ban on building

Phaedra Haywood | The New Mexican
Posted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"The Santa Fe County Commission voted to publish title and general summary of an ordinance that would impose a moratorium on most forms of development in the county for six months to a year. " More>>>>

See related post:

Santa Fe County Emergency Interim Development Ordinance (Six Month New Development Approvals Moratorium)

Why the proposed moratorium? So that while county adopts its new land use plan and code, it is to avoid a push by developers to submit applications under the old code so as to not be subject to the new code.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Santa Fe County Emergency Interim Development Ordinance (Six Month New Development Approvals Moratorium)

From Santa Fe County Commissioner Holian:

"Dear Citizens of Santa Fe County,

I am sponsoring the consideration of a moratorium on development in Santa Fe County, which will be near the beginning of the BCC agenda tomrorrow. It could generate a bit of a stir. This item, which has to be voted on, would publish Title and Summary of an Ordinance that would prohibit the granting of discretionary legislative and quasi-judicial approvals for zoning, subdivisions, famly transfers, land divisions, and a number of other land-use items related to new development.

I came to the decision to sponsor this after a long weekend of reading through our packet for the Tuesday meeting that has a number of contentious land use issues on the agenda.

You all know that Santa Fe County is in the process of rewriting our Sustainable Land Use Plan and Code. "Sustainable" is our hope for the future of our communities; almost everyone who's spoken out in county meetings on the Plan does not want to see any more sprawl development in Santa Fe County.

This new code will have some common elements with the Oil and Gas Ordinance which passed in late 2008:

1) Development will not be prohibited, but:

2) A robust set of reports and studies will be required for any new development.

3) There will be mandatory community involvement.

4) Land that is sensitive (archaeologically, agriculturally, environmentally, or cultural-historically) will be protected.

5) New development will require that adequate public facilities and services be provided: if not already existing, they will have to be built by the developer, right up front.

Right now, there are very few applications in to the County for developments. It appears that existing platted developments are at a standstill. Recently, we have been asked to approve extensions for some developments that were approved several years ago. Little, if anything at all, has gone forward due to market conditions.

I think this illustrates that the way we have been doing things with regard to development is no longer working for a number of reasons. We have to re-examine the whole process of development in the County. In fact, that is what we are doing with our new Code.

At the same time, if this moratorium passes, it is important for all of us to realize that we each have personal responsibility to push for the expeditious implementation of the new Code. Obviously, we Commissioners and the County staff are intimately involved in this new initiative on a daily basis. But also, it is up to you, the people of our County -- from the developers to the community members -- to speed the process of getting the code into operation as soon as possible: Sprawl will not wait, just as when the oil and gas drillers were poised to begin their work in the Galisteo Basin.

Just as a point of process, we will be voting on publishing Title and Summary of the Ordinance tomorrow. If that were to pass, we would then have a Public Hearing at an upcoming BCC meeting (either the next or the one after). Then, if that passed, the moratorium would last for six months. If you want to comment on this, be there tomorrow at 2 pm to make your voice heard


San Miguel County Oil & Gas Ordinance Task Force

Edit: Posted at Common Ground United and Northern New Mexico Conservation Project:

"Approval of the San Miguel County Oil and Gas Taskforce is on the agenda for tomorrow's San Miguel County Commission meeting. Any community members able to attend and offer their opinions to the commission are strongly encouraged to do so.

Below is an excerpt from tomorrow's agenda and an article published in the Las Vegas Optic regarding one of the applicants request for San Miguel County to remove its moratorium on oil and gas development in the county.

13. Oil and Gas Ordinance Task Force Appointments
Background Information: San Miguel County has accepted letters of interest from
individuals who wish to be appointed to and serve on the County's Oil and Gas Ordinance
Task Force. The County received letters from fourteen (14) individuals which were then
reviewed by a committee composed of County staff and one (1) County Commissioner.

Action Requested of Commission: Consider and appoint the following individuals to an
oil and gas task force representing the following categories:

Oil Industry: Karin Foster, Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico; and John
Michael Richardson, Petroleum and Mineral Land Services.

Environmental and Educational: Jeffrey Mills, NMED Las Vegas, NM; and Ken Benston,
Ph.D., NMHU.

Citizen: J. David Blagg, General Contractor, Sapello, NM; Ernesto Borunda, Retired,
Sapello, NM; Larry Web, Citizen, Newkirk, NM.

County Representatives: Nicolas T. Leger, County Commissioner; Les Montoya, County
Manager; and Alex Tafoya, Planning and Zoning Supervisor.

Staff Recommendation: Consider and approve recommended appointments to the Oil and
Gas Ordinance Task Force.

Presenter: Alex Tafoya, Planning and Zoning Supervisor

Las Vegas Optic
18 March 2010

You're taking property rights, county told

"By David Giuliani

Two San Miguel County landowners are asking the County Commission to rescind its moratorium on oil and gas drilling. They said it is impacting their property rights.

Larry Webb and Phil Bidegain — both of whom own land on the county’s east side — told the commission this week that they have leases with companies for possible oil and gas drilling.

Webb said he has a lease that comes up on May 4. He said he fears the company may not renew it because of the uncertainty surrounding the moratorium.

But county officials assured him that the moratorium was only temporary.

The county enacted the moratorium in January, with officials saying they needed to update a 20-year-old ordinance that deals with such issues. Commissioners maintain they want to protect the interests of all concerned.

They expect the moratorium to last a year while they draft a new ordinance, seeking feedback from everyone from environmentalists to the oil and gas industry.

The county hasn’t received any applications for oil and gas drilling, but they said they want to be prepared. In recent years, companies have expressed interest in oil and gas drilling in neighboring Santa Fe and Mora counties.

Webb said his lease brings in $140,000 over five years.

“By passing this moratorium, you have taken our private property rights,” he said.

He said he doubted the county would pass a moratorium on grazing if people questioned such activities.

“How is that different from minerals?” he asked.

He said oil and gas drilling would help the area’s economy and ultimately such things as schools.

Bidegain said he didn’t question the county’s authority to pass the moratorium, but he requested that the county rescind it while it enacts new local regulations on drilling, “so everyone can get on with their business.”

He said lifting the moratorium would give him and others on the county’s east side “a little better bargaining position” with companies.

Commission Chairman David Salazar stressed that the moratorium was only temporary and that the county sought to protect all concerned.

“We have a right as a county commission to put an ordinance in place that we think protects San Miguel County residents,” he said."'


Friday, April 9, 2010

Follow Up: Santa Fe County Model Mining Ordinance Under Attack

See post:

Santa Fe County Model Mining Ordinance Under Attack

As a follow up, Dr. Freilich emailed the following: "I have deleted the exemptions. The mining ordinance and the grading are very much like the oil and gas and you should be pleased."

Ross Lockridge responded with, "Dr. Freilich, again this is excellent additional news that you are deleting the sand & gravel exemptions. We will make sure to let others know today of your recommendations. We are meeting with Steve Ross on (M)onday at 2 pm and will make sure we are on the same page with this.

Fyi, here is the agenda from Jack if you haven't seen it:

The unresolved issues that we have identified so far would include:
  • Legal framework of growth management;
  • DCI's - Developments of Countywide Impact/especially related to mining;
  • Specific and Area Plan process and appropriate flow charts;
  • Mediation in the Development Review Process;
  • Process for amendments to the SLDP, Area and Specific Plans,
  • and Community Plans.

We plan to send you a few items in the hopes that you might better understand our concerns and be able to help us find alternatives appropriate to the County.


Helena Chemical Company wins case against community activist

The New Mexico Independent

Uribe ordered to pay $75k in punitive damages

Arturo Uribe

"Wednesday night, a jury found a southern New Mexico activist guilty of defamation and harassment against a chemical company.

Now, Arturo Uribe, a 40-year old social worker, owes the Tennessee-based Helena Chemical Company $2 in damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.

“The most important thing is we wanted the lies to stop—the amount of money was not something that was important to Helena—and we wanted to set the record straight in a forum where proof and evidence matter,” Robert Soza, Jr., Helena’s attorney told The Independent. “Though, I think that the money does send a message to Mr. Uribe and others who think that defamation is way of getting their point across: It’s not going to be permissible. It’s unlawful.”

In December 2008, Helena Chemical Company sued Uribe in New Mexico’s Third Judicial District Court in Las Cruces, saying he had repeatedly defamed Helena in public statements. According to the company, Uribe had harassed employees at the Mesquite branch and defamed the company via six individual slides within various presentations at community meetings, and when he told a television reporter: “We’re gonna allow companies and industry to contaminate us and knowingly do it and do nothing about it? I’m insulted; I’m hurt more than anything.”

The lawsuit was filed to silence an outspoken activist, Uribe’s attorney says" More>>>>

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Incidents where hydraulic fracturing is a suspected cause of drinking water contamination



"Opponents of such regulation claim that hydraulic fracturing has never caused any drinking water contamination. They say this because incidents of drinking water contamination where hydraulic fracturing is considered as a suspected cause have not been sufficiently investigated, either because scientists and regulators could not properly investigate (did not have the information or technology needed) or because they chose not to, even where signs clearly point to hydraulic fracturing. Some cases where groundwater was contaminated during hydraulic fracturing operations have been attributed to other causes, such as faulty well structure, even if a well failed during the hydraulic fracturing process.

Below is a list of incidents where drinking water has been contaminated and hydraulic fracturing is a suspected cause. I can't emphasize enough that there are many more cases of drinking water contamination around the country related to oil and gas production; those listed below are cases where a homeowner had enough detailed knowledge to know that a nearby well was recently fractured and specifically included that information in reports.....

...Please send me (Amy Mall) other incidents of which you are aware, and I will add them to this list."

List link>>>>

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

FACTBOX (Reuter's): Perils of U.S. energy production

 "April 6 (Reuters ) - The pursuit of natural resources to
keep U.S. cars and homes running can be a dangerous task, even
in a country with a slate of safety regulations.
 Here is a look at mining and refinery disasters that have
rocked the United States in past years.
 For a graphic on U.S. occupational fatalities by industry,
click on:
 * April 5, 2010 [ID:nN06200853] - An explosion at the Upper
Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, leaves at least 25
miners dead and four remain missing. It is the deadliest U.S.
mining disaster since 1984.
 According to federal records, the coal mine owned by Massey
Energy (MEE.N) has had a worse-than-average injury rate over
the last 10 years with three fatalities since 1998.
 * April 2, 2010 [ID:nN05192907] - Four workers died in a
fire at Tesoro Corp's (TSO.N) refinery in Anacortes,
Washington. A catastrophic failure of a heat exchanger in the
highly flammable naphtha unit of the plant is believed to have
started the blaze. It is the worst refinery accident since
March 2005.
  * March 2, 2010 [ID:nN02195856] - A fire on an asphalt
tank under construction killed two workers at Holly Corp's
(HOC.N) Navajo refinery in Artesia, New Mexico.
 * July 18, 2008 - Four workers at Lyondell Basell's
[ACCELC.UL] Houston refinery died when one of the country's
largest mobile cranes collapsed. The crane was 30 stories tall
and could lift 1 million lbs before it fell over.
 * August 6-16, 2007 - Six miners were killed when the
Crandall Canyon mine in Huntington, Utah, collapsed. The mine's
owner insisted an earthquake caused the cave-in, but it was
later found that insufficient pillar support and taking more
coal than allowed from certain areas led to the collapse.
 Ten days later, a subsequent collapse killed three rescue
workers. The U.S. government levied a $1.85 million fine
against the mine owned by a subsidiary of Murray Energy, the
highest penalty to date for coal mine safety violations.
 * May 20, 2006 - An explosion at the Darby No. 1 mine in
Millsboro, Kentucky, left five miners dead. The blast was
caused by a methane leak in the coal mine.
 * Jan. 2, 2006 - Twelve miners died after an explosion in
the Sago mine, run by International Coal Group (ICO.N), in
Buckhannon, West Virginia. The company permanently closed the
mine last year.
 The Sago disaster prompted passage of the Mine Improvement
and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act, which tightened safety
regulations and called for wireless communications systems and
rescue chambers underground with emergency apparatus.
 * Nov. 5, 2005 - Two workers died at Valero Energy Corp's
(VLO.N) Delaware City, Delaware, refinery. The workers were
asphyxiated inside a nitrogen-filled confined space.
 * March 23, 2005 - A fire at BP Plc's (BP.L) Texas City,
Texas, refinery killed 15 workers and injured 180. An
investigation found numerous safety violations, for which the
company paid $21.3 million in penalties and underwent
corrective actions to improve safety.
 * Sept. 23, 2001 - Two gas explosions at the Jim Walter No.
5 mine in Brookwood, Alabama, killed 13 coal miners. A pocket
of methane gas was ignited when falling rock hit a battery
charger. Ventilation shafts damaged from the first explosion
likely led to the trapped methane that caused the second
explosion 45 minutes later.
 * Dec. 7, 1992 - An explosion at the Southmountain Coal
Company's No. 3 mine in Norton, Virginia, was tied to
underground smoking. The mine operator violated ventilation
requirements, leading to a build up of methane that was ignited
by a cigarette lighter. The blast killed eight miners and began
the push to ban smoking in underground mines.
 * Dec. 19, 1984 - A fire in the Willberg mine, owned by
Emery Mining Corp, in Orangeville, Utah, trapped and killed 27
coal miners.
 (Compiled by Jasmin Melvin; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)"

Santa Fe County Commissioner Forum

Santa Fe County Commissioner Forum

7:00pm, April 6th (Tuesday)
Free and open to the public
Unitarian Universalist Church
107 West Barcelona Rd.
Santa Fe, NM
Hosted by the Sierra Club and moderated by Bill Dupuy of KSFR.

For more information, click here>>>>

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Senators' support of drilling irks some environmentalists

Bingaman, Udall, two favorites among environmentalists, both praised Obama plan

Steve Terrell | The New Mexican
Posted: Saturday, April 03, 2010

"For years, both of New Mexico's U.S. senators have voted against lifting the decades-old moratorium on offshore drilling.

But this week, when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the Obama administration's plan to open up part of the Atlantic coast and other areas to offshore drilling, both Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. Tom Udall applauded the announcement. " More>>>>

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Santa Fe County Model Mining Ordinance Under Attack

A post from a Santa Fe County concerned citizen:

"We learned definitively at the last Santa Fe County Plan workshop that (unlike the oil/gas ordinance) Santa Fe County is NOT intending to carry over the mining ordinance into the new code now being drafted. They are planning to supplant and supersede it within a new category (along with junkyards, etc.) that would include mining: Developments of Countywide Impact.

BRIEF ORIGIN & HISTORY OF A MODEL MINING ORDINANCE. In the Spring of 1990, Santa Fe County received an application from the mining corporations, Pegasus Gold and LAC Minerals, to commence exploratory drilling for gold on the Lone Mountain Ranch in the Ortiz Mountains near Golden. At that time the County's regulations for such large-scale hard-rock mining were "like something out of the 19th century" and only coal mining was was regulated by state law.

A coalition of citizen groups including the San Pedro Association, Madrid Landowners' Association, San Marcos Association, Galisteo Community Association, Lamy Community Association, Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, The Wilderness Society, and NM Citizens for Clear Air and Water filed a petition with the County Commission to impose a 6 month moratorium on approvals of all mining permits pending revision of the County's regulations.

A moratorium was granted and the County developed, with the help and input from the mining industry as well, the current mining ordinance that is designed to protect the land, water, and communities from the potential abuses of hard rock mining. It wasn't long before the State followed in adopting state-wide hard-rock mining regulations. But through the years there has been repeated attempts to undermine these reasonable State regs which, like the County regs have withstood the test of time. What pressures might be now at work to undermine the County's regulations.

Here's the directive as handed out Thursday as a new addition to "keys to sustainability", Ch. 2 of the new County Plan (SLDP):

Mining and other natural resource development areas will be defined as developments of countywide impact and regulated through an overlay district mechanism.

But the Santa Fe County Attorney's Office has just released a thin and worrisome outline of what they are thinking new regulations might approve that raises alarming questions. Attached (pdf) is a draft on Developments of Countywide Impact (DCIs) with our comments. We think this writing would end up in the code, not the plan.


--citizen written input on the SLDP to County staff is preferred by Thur. April 8. Send to:
Robert Griego

--Letters for the CDRC packet needed by Thur. April 15, c/o:
Paula Sanchez

--CDRC release of the SLDP with Staff recommendations is likely April 22. I'm not yet clear if citizens will be allowed to speak.