Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mineral Rights Questions Crop Up at Meeting

By Jessica Dyer
Journal Northern Bureau

"SANTA FE — Another question has been raised about the governor's proposal to expand the Cerrillos Hills State Park and create a wild horse sanctuary by buying 12,000 acres of privately owned land south of Madrid: What about the property's mineral rights?"...

Energy, Mineral and Natural Resources Department spokeswoman Jodi McGinnis Porter said in an interview that the state believes Ann Russ owns the mineral rights. Russ, whose family acquired the Ortiz land grant in the 1940s, served as president of the Ortiz Mining Company. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The mining company leased about 65,000 acres of mineral rights in the area to Tecton Energy, which sparked a major controversy a few years ago with its plans to drill for oil and gas in the Galisteo Basin. Intense public opposition eventually led Tecton to back off from the plan.

County Commissioner Liz Stefanics said she hoped there was some desire by the state to eventually purchase mineral rights to the Ortiz Mountain Ranch property.

"We can preserve the land by buying it," Stefanics said. "But if someone has mineral rights they can still do whatever they want to."' More>>>>

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