The Aquifer when fracked

The Aquifer when fracked
Diagram

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sandoval County Commission uses nuclear option to change rules on appointments

If you want to protect Democracy and public participation
Come to this meeting

https://www.facebook.com/groups/StopFrackingtheRio/permalink/655470674661149/

Jay Block said that he would use the "Nuclear option" to get what he wanted and now he is doing just that. Arbitrarily and capricious are the actions of this Commission working for the industry. Remember to trust actions over words. Building trust by a newly elected official should a priority. Instead we have someone who is rewriting the rules to serve his own purpose.

Critical Sandoval County Commission meeting!
Please attend!

Commissioners are proposing major changes to the Planning and Zoning Commission appointment process.

Today - Thursday, April 6 – the County Commission will be considering approval of changes in the county ordinance that will have serious consequences to the planning and zoning commission. (see attached)

Here is a breakdown of what is wrong with the proposed changes to the ordinance. (All language that is underlined is what is being proposed for approval.)

Proposed change:

If you want to protect Democracy and public participation
Come to this meeting

https://www.facebook.com/groups/StopFrackingtheRio/permalink/655470674661149/

Jay Block said that he would use the "Nuclear option" to get what he wanted and now he is doing just that. Arbitrarily and capricious are the actions of this Commission working for the industry. Remember to trust actions over words. Building trust by a newly elected official should a priority. Instead we have someone who is rewriting the rules to serve his own purpose.

Critical Sandoval County Commission meeting!
Please attend!

Commissioners are proposing major changes to the Planning and Zoning Commission appointment process.

Today - Thursday, April 6 – the County Commission will be considering approval of changes in the county ordinance that will have serious consequences to the planning and zoning commission. (see attached)

Here is a breakdown of what is wrong with the proposed changes to the ordinance. (All language that is underlined is what is being proposed for approval.)

Notwithstanding other provisions of this Ordinance to the contrary, the terms of all members, regardless of the length of the term so provided, shall be subject to expiration when the commissioner who made the appointment leaves office for any reason.

What this means:

ANYTIME there is a new commissioner – one that is newly elected or appointed -  that new commissioner is entitled to pick a new planning and zoning commissioner regardless of how much time the current planning and zoning commissioner has remaining in his or her term.

Thus, the circumstances that would apply under this provision would not just be due to elections.  A commissioner may have to leave office before his/her terms ends due to illness or other reasons.

Proposed change:

A newly elected or duly appointed commissioner may, in his or her sole discretion and within 90 days of taking office, choose to replace any member appointed by a predecessor. The removal of the incumbent member and the appointment of his or her replacement shall be in accordance with the requirements of Section 2 (B) of this Ordinance. If a member is not replaced by an incoming commissioner within the time allotted herein, such member shall continue to serve out the remainder of the designated term.

What this means:

The “newly elected or duly appointed commissioner has 90 days to replace any planning and zoning commissioner selected by the prior commissioner.  If there is no replacement then the current planning and zoning commissioner continues to serve his/her term.

Proposed change:

Members may be removed for cause stated in writing, including but not limited to, frequent unexcused absences. Members shall be removed for any reason by a majority vote of the full Board of County Commissioners following a public hearing meeting. Written notice of proposed removal shall be provided by the County to the member at least fourteen days prior to the meeting of the Board of County Commissioners at which removal is to take place.
 What this means:

The board of county commissioners can fire a planning and zoning commission for any reason without a hearing. No justification is needed, no due process.  Planning and zoning commissioners would be treated as “at will” employees.

What’s wrong with this picture:

Blatant political control of the planning and zoning commission must be opposed.

   1.   These changes make these volunteers, who have very important legal powers and duties, subject to the political whims of the commission.  Planning and zoning commissioners are like judges – they have quasi-judicial responsibilities.

 2.    Just because a commissioner is newly elected or newly appointed should not give them the right to appoint a new planning and zoning commissioner and fire the current one.   This makes the appointment process into a political spoils system.

 3.    The board of county commissioners should not be able to get rid of a commissioner for any reason. If commissioners do not like the decisions being made by certain planning and zoning commissioners they should not be able to simply dismiss them.  Treating these positions as if they were “at will” really threatens the integrity and independence of this quasi-judicial body.

 4.    Decisions made by the planning and zoning commission can be appealed to the commission.   So there is legal recourse to planning and zoning decisions, and the board of county commissioners does retain some power.

 5.    Rather than setting up a very politicized appointment process, the board of county commissioners should consider a process that requires public notice, a screening process and a selection process that is open and fair.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Senate Memorial 78 moves to Senate Conservation Committee

Senator Mimi Stewart's, Senate Memorial 78 will be heard in the Senate Conservation Committee tomorrow at 8:00. If it passes it will go to the Senate Floor. This Memorial is a big step in recognizing the importance of Local Government regulations on the extractive industries.
 
Federal EPA regulations are already being rolled back. On the State level the NM Oil Conservation Division is incapable of increasing fines and even collecting fines from bad actors in the oil and gas industry because of a 2009 State Supreme Court ruling which makes it necessary for the NM Attorney General to file suit against violators. Because of political reasons this has not been done since 2009. 
 
SM 78 would show New Mexico Senate encouragement and support for Local Governments to protect the health,safety and general welfare of the citizens by establishing oil and gas ordinances.  
 
SM 78BERNALILLO COUNTY OIL & GAS DEVELOPMENT

Mike Neas

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Benalilllo Oil and Gas Development Bill in the Senate Rules Committee Needs Your Support!

WE NEED YOU HELP! to Get this Benalilllo Oil and Gas Development Bill passed out of the Senate Rules Committee
it is being Heard at 8:30 am 3/10/17 RM 321
Please attend watch online and
make the Call to the Senators Below **********Please support this Bill********** 
SENATE MEMORIAL 78
53rd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2017
INTRODUCED BY
Mimi Stewart
A MEMORIAL
REQUESTING THE CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE AND BERNALILLO COUNTY TO DEVELOP REGULATIONS TO ADDRESS THE SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS ASSOCIATED WITH POTENTIAL OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT IN BERNALILLO COUNTY. 
WHEREAS, there is potential for oil and gas development in Bernalillo county, especially in the western portion of the county; and
WHEREAS, a special use permit application for oil and gas drilling near Rio Rancho was submitted by SandRidge energy, inc., but later withdrawn; and
WHEREAS, although no immediate oil and gas activities in Bernalillo county are planned, current financial and energy circumstances indicate that this lack of current activity could change at any time; and
WHEREAS, any risk of contamination to the water supply in Bernalillo county can be minimized by proper design, installation and completion of wells; and
WHEREAS, pollution prevention costs much less than pollution remediation, and in many cases, pollution remediation may be not be technically or economically feasible; and
WHEREAS, oil and gas drilling can provide highly valuable hydrogeologic information about potable and non-potable water resources; and
WHEREAS, the issues related to oil and gas surface activities include trucking, transfer and disposal of oil and gas, production water and other byproducts associated with exploration and development; water quality; air quality; traffic; noise pollution; road density and disturbance; public access to information; and cost-sharing for inspections and enforcement, and these surface activities are minimally regulated by the oil conservation commission; and
WHEREAS, the complex nature of oil and gas exploration and development suggests that input is needed from a multidisciplinary group of technical experts to ensure that potential oil and gas activities are conducted in a manner that benefits all residents of the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo county while minimizing harm to the environment; and
WHEREAS, crafting technically sound oil and gas development regulations will take time and careful consideration of the facts, as well as consideration of public attitudes; and
WHEREAS, recent efforts that have taken place in San Miguel county illustrate the benefits of a proactive, collaborative effort between government, residents and technical experts to control the adverse impacts of oil and gas development; and
WHEREAS, taking a proactive position on the issue of oil and gas development in Bernalillo county and having regulations in place before oil and gas exploration and development activities begin will benefit the residents and the environment of Bernalillo county and the city of Albuquerque while allowing for prudent development of these resources;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the Albuquerque city council and the board of county commissioners of Bernalillo county be requested to jointly convene a multidisciplinary task force to investigate the potential social, economic and environmental effects of oil and gas development in Bernalillo county; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Albuquerque city council and the board of county commissioners of Bernalillo county be requested to develop and implement appropriate regulations to minimize adverse social, economic and environmental effects of future oil and gas development in Bernalillo county; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the mayor and city council of the city of Albuquerque and the manager and board of county commissioners of Bernalillo county.
Link has Info on contact for Senators. 
Senator Linda M. Lopez D Chair
Senator Jeff Steinborn D Vice Chair
Senator Gregory A. Baca R Member
Senator Jacob R. Candelaria D Member
Senator Stuart Ingle R Member
Senator Daniel A. Ivey-Soto D Member
Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino D Member
Senator Mary Kay Papen D Member
Senator Cliff R. Pirtle R Member
Senator Clemente Sanchez D Member
Senator Mark Moores

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Greater Chaco Coalition: NM Indian and Veterans Affairs committee passed Moratorium on Fracking Memorial

Victory! NM House Committee on Indian and Veteran Affairs unanimously passed the memorial in support of a moritorium on fracking Greater Chaco!! 5 Dems, and 4 Republicans. Historic!
Thanks Charlotte for the Facebook post!
https://www.facebook.com/charlottelevinson/posts/10155136823097112

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bill to bring back oil and gas pollution penalty moves forward By Laura Paskus



Bill to bring back oil and gas pollution penalty moves forward

 Print


Laura Paskus
Sen. Richard Martinez, D-EspaƱola


Sen. Richard Martinez, D-EspaƱola, presented a bill to the Senate Conservation Committee Thursday that would restore a state agency’s ability to penalize oil and gas companies that pollute water. Senate Bill 307 would also increase those penalties, which haven’t been updated since the Legislature passed the Oil and Gas Act of 1935.
During his presentation to the committee, Martinez pointed out the timeliness of the bill as the Trump administration has emphasized, he said, the “need to shift power to states.” If passed and signed into law, SB 307 would “ensure we meet the federal government’s standards for New Mexico to be in charge of its oil and gas programs,” he said.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can authorize states to take over certain regulatory duties. Under that program, states must be able to assess penalties against companies that pollute water.
But in New Mexico, the state’s Oil Conservation Division (OCD) hasn’t been able to do that for years.
In 2009, Marbob Energy Corporation, now owned by Concho Resources, sued OCD. The company argued that the division lacked the authority to assess civil penalties and sanctions against companies that polluted water resources.
The New Mexico Supreme Court sided with Marbob, ruling that OCD should instead report violations to the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, which could in turn sue to collect penalties. Because the AG must prove that the pollution violation was committed “knowingly and willfully,” to enforce civil penalties on oil and gas companies, it must prove the violation to a criminal standard.
Since 2009, OCD has not referred any violations to the AG.
Pros and cons
During the committee meeting, more than a dozen citizens and representatives of environmental groups spoke in support of the bill.
Those groups included the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Interfaith Light and Power, Conservation Voters New Mexico, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, New Mexico Solar Energy Association, Juntos and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center.
Mary Feldblum, representing the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, pointed out that New Mexico’s current penalties are far lower than those in other states. “This would impose penalties on bad actors,” she told the committee members, “it has nothing to do with the good actors.”
Industry representatives opposed the bill.
“With all due respect to the sponsor, who has been very good to business, there are misperceptions about the penalties,” said Mike D’Antonio, lobbyist for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. D’Antonio pointed out that OCD has many different enforcement actions at its disposal. The division can shut-in wells, for example, or ban operators from receiving new permits. Those and other actions are as or more effective than penalties, D’Antonio argued.
Industry also opposed language in the bill that would eliminate the requirement that a person acted “knowingly and willfully” in their violation of the Oil and Gas Act.
“I believe there are a lot of problems with the bill,” said Karin Foster, executive director of the New Mexico Independent Petroleum Association. Those include eliminating the knowing and willful standard and also the bill’s language concerning violations that “threaten to pollute groundwater.”
Foster added that industry would like to work with advocates to make the bill better.

U.S. Energy Information Administration
Map of the Permian Basin
“This sort of bill has a real impact on us, small operators like us,” said Claire Chase with Mack Energy, which she said employs about 1,000 people.
“With oil coming back, the Permian Basin is the next big play,” Chase said. “Companies look at New Mexico and if it’s unfriendly, they’re going to go drill in Texas.”
The Permian Basin, with its vast oil deposits, encompasses part of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Most of the basin falls within Texas.
Gabrielle Gerholt with Concho Resources also spoke against the bill. A former general counsel with OCD, Gerholt said Martinez was misinformed about the agency. The Marbob case, she said, ensured that the cases of companies accused of violating the law would be heard by a neutral body—a court—rather than by OCD.
She also invited people to look on the OCD website, where penalties are listed.
According to the division’s website, in 2016 it assessed $20,000 in penalties against a total of five companies for six incidents.
That same year saw a total of 1,264 “unauthorized releases” of crude oil, natural gas and produced water statewide.
“A simple bill”
Following public comment, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, noted that he introduced a similar bill in 2009.
He also asked about fines in other states and wondered how today’s penalties stack up against the 1935-implemented penalty of $1,000 per day.
Martinez’ expert witness, attorney Michelle Miano, said that penalties in Texas are $10,000 per day. And committee members and staffers calculated that in today’s dollars, the 1935 penalty of $1,000 per day is equivalent to about $17,000 today when adjusting for inflation.
The bill’s proposed $10,000 per day maximum penalty isn’t close to that, Wirth noted. “Before arguing that the sky is falling, let’s put this into perspective,” said Wirth, who added, “People can message this how they want, but [the bill] is trying to bring it up to date.”
The committee’s Republican senators disagreed.
Sen. William Payne, R-Albuquerque, raised a hypothetical scenario, envisioning “some poor guy” putting the wrong date on a permit application and then facing a third-degree felony.
The bill would make it a third-degree felony if a person knowingly violates the Oil and Gas Act or falsifies, omits or destroys required records.
Sen. Ron Griggs, R-Alamogordo, also spoke against the bill, which he said appeared to have been worked on “without talking to the people involved.”
During a discussion about penalties and spills, Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces, asked if anyone from OCD, a division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, was in the room.
No employees of the division nor the agency were present.
The committee passed the bill along party lines. SB 307 heads next to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Martinez, who chairs that committee, spoke with NM Political Report Thursday after the hearing.
“It’s really a simple bill. If you look at the violations and penalties in our surrounding states, New Mexico is the lowest,” he said. “All we’re trying to do is bring the civil penalties up to standard and give the OCD the authority to impose those rather than having to go to the Attorney General’s Office.”
Martinez said he was disappointed no one from OCD or EMNRD attended the meeting. “They haven’t communicated with me at all,” he said, “though I think the bill helps them in many ways.”
As the bill moves forward, Martinez said he hopes to work on some of the issues brought up at the meeting to build a consensus. But, he said, “I’m not sure we’re going to convince the industry that it’s not a bad bill.”
Correction: The story originally misidentified Mike D’Antonio as John D’Antonio.

P&Z Commission ordinance changes Corrupt Please come to March 2 6pm meeting Sandoval BOCC

Help us Stop the P&Z Commission Ordiannce Changes BY the Corruption in the Sandoval County Planning office. 



The new P and Z Commissioners will be appointed after this ordinance March 2 agenda item is passed. 

I think this is more of a legal question about Joann Rouke ousting off the P and Z  but especially given that the County is attempting to change and mold the ordinance to their liking and that in doing so they acknowledge their current need to change existing policy not to their liking, it would appear that the P and Z commission would not be able to be retroactively removed by these subsequent changes, unless by this revised method. 

Hence, MIke Springfield it appears is attempting to stack the P&Z in favor of the Oil and Gas Industry liking. 


Call and Email Tell MIKE Springfield what you think of his schemes and underhanded actions ont he Ordiannces process for this P&Z Commission and the oil and gas ordinance obstructions. 


Michael Springfield
Director, Planning & Zoning
Phone: 505-867-7628Email: mspringfield@sandovalcountynm.gov 


Members may be removed for cause by a majority vote of the full Board. Cause is undefined here, but it would seem that cause is much more than at will with respect to the existing P and Z members. No matter, the process still must be followed. 

  • That change is the proposed language that allows a newly elected commissioner to replace “any member appointed by a predecessor.”  That really politicizes the P and Z commission.  Commissioners are like judges and should not be removed just because someone wins an election. It should not be a spoils system.
  • The other change we are against is the ability to appoint a new P and Z commissioner to just fill the remaining term of an open commission seat.  It is hard enough to find qualified people willing to serve as a P and Z commissioner.  Why tie the hands of the commission to find good people?  Who would want to serve a four month term?

Its time to stand against this outright corruption BY the Sandoval County Planning Department.  



There is one change in the proposed ordinance dealing with the appointment of p and Z commissioners that I think needs to be strongly opposed at March 2 meeting. 


AT any rate.  Please come to testify against these two changes.  Hope others will be there as well.


 CALL and Email The Sandoval County Commissioners 
District
Sandoval County Commission
Email
Phone

3
Don Chapman
dchapman@sandovalcountynm.gov

+15054146247

4
David Heil
dheil@sandovalcountynm.gov

+15052526085

2
Jay Block
jBlock@sandovalcountynm.gov

+15052526218

1
James Dominguez
jdominguez@sandovalcountynm.gov

+15052523251

5
Kenneth Eichwald
keichwald@sandovalcountynm.gov

+15052527412



Tell the Commissioners
  • To Stop Mike Springfield (Sandoval County Planning Director) from politicizing judges (commissioners) on the P&Z Commission 
  • To stop  the vote and language on the Replacement of any member appointed by a predecessor must be stricken for the ordinance.
  • This smacks of corruption as the County is attempting to change and mold the oil and gas ordinance to their liking and that of the oil and gas industry.
Yes, we can stop this.  We can raise serious questions about these proposed changes to future appointments.  We need lots of people raising questions about the new ordinances.


Suggested letter to the Commissioners

I am writing about proposed changes to the Planning and Zoning Commission Ordinance.

I have spoken before about the ambiguity of the current Ordinance. However, I have concerns about the revised Draft.

The current Ordinance calls for P&Z Commissioners to serve staggered terms. This makes sense in that there should be some experienced Commissioners at all times.

I suggest that the Ordinance contain a schedule of Commissioner Year of Expiration by District.
Since District 1 and District 5 are assigned to have 2 Commissioners, one term should expire in an odd year and the other in an even year. Districts 2,3 and 4 should be assigned expirations with 2 odd, 1 even or 2 even, 1 odd year as to best fit the current assignments.

Historically, the P&Z Commission has had a number of open positions as filling some spots has been problematic. When a position becomes open because of a resignation or other reason, a replacement should be appointed for a minimum term or one year, but up to two years. This would give a new member time to get “up to speed” to do an effective job.

I believe the P&Z Commission should be as apolitical as possible. Members should be appointed for their willingness to serve with consideration of their background experience. I object to: “A newly elected or duly appointed commissioner may, in his or her sole discretion and within 90 days of taking office, choose to replace any member appointed by a predecessor”.
This, in my mind, politicizes the P&Z Commission. The provision “Members may be removed for cause….etc. should be the only reason for removing/replacing a P&Z Commissioner.


Regards,


Heads Up on the P&Z Commission Changes at tthe Sandoval county Commission  this week March 2 for Sandoval County  6 pm  




Sunday, February 19, 2017

Support Senate Memorial 78 Mimi Stewart' Bill

We could use some help from Bernalillo County residents and non profits. Water protectors are everywhere. We hope that everyone can support Senator Mimi Stewart's Senate Memorial 78, 


and the water protection efforts that will follow
The Water Protection Advisory Board (WPAB) of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) did its job. The WPAB recommended that Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and the ABCWUA adopt oil and gas regulations.  Based on the WPAB letter of recommendation, Senate Memorial 78 advocates for oil and gas regulations in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. Combined with our efforts in Sandoval County, I believe this is one of New Mexico's best chances to bring water protection to the forefront. This should be a topic of discussion and an important issue in the Albuquerque mayoral campaigns. The incoming mayor will serve on the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority Governing Board and exercise great influence on the future of drinking water for 600,000 users of ABCWUA supplied water. 





It is time to bring Water Protection to the Forefront.


Committee Members


TitleNamePartyRole
SenatorLinda M. LopezDChair
SenatorJeff SteinbornDVice Chair
SenatorGregory A. BacaRMember
SenatorJacob R. CandelariaDMember
SenatorStuart IngleRMember
SenatorDaniel A. Ivey-SotoDMember
SenatorGerald Ortiz y PinoDMember
SenatorMary Kay PapenDMember
SenatorCliff R. PirtleRMember
SenatorClemente SanchezDMember
SenatorMark MooresRRanking Member
Ask your preferred Mayoral Candidate to support quality water protection regulations. Since most of the ABCWUA drinking water is from the Rio Chama and the Rio Grande drainages, the Water Protection Advisory Board could someday become one of New Mexico's leading drinking water advocates.  All environmental non profits should support this drinking water protection effort by standing for SM 78 and broadcasting to their members the importance of protecting the entire Albuquerque Basin, which is water to nearly a million people.  When it comes to our drinking water, precautionary principles must take precedent.