The Aquifer when fracked

The Aquifer when fracked

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Raw Brine pumping for fracking will Impact Rio Grande

Sandoval County voted on an unadvertised list for ICIP funds for roads,bonds and then they added new items not on their revised working list. list should have been made public as it includes new highways funds to develop for fracking truck traffic. Paseo Del Vulcan #ABQ by-pass topped the list.

Also, was escorted off the podium before I could finish my message that the Interstate stream commission ISC report by Shoemaker in 2009 and 2013 was concealed in the district and NM Supreme Court(s) and to the Legislature when they passed the brine preemption of no beneficial use, knowing that the report said there were direct impacts from pumping brine. In the same token any Fracking or drilling especially with brine would impact and destroy the drinking water supply for the region and because the fractured geology. Below is a modeling map that shows the impacts on hydrology on the Rio Grande.

The employees involved should be sanctioned
And that there was no record of the settlement agreement filed with County Clerk and no financial report or fiscal impact report to the County Treasurers office, with $6M of taxpayer money being spent on Desalination Pilot plant.

The raw brine can be used for fracking without polishing. The county is suppose to receive payment for the $6m dollars in December to seal the deal, when payment is made they will be able to sell 4,000 afy as industry use. The brine water rights and ownership is being litigated heavily in Arizona on $1B asset. Sandoval County is nowhere to be found. They gave away our resources that has the potential of destroying our water supply.

In order to protect the public health and safety of the people and environment of the region the brine desal directly impacts the oil and gas ordinance.

We need an audit and to put this all into the record.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


(Part One)
Elaine Cimino  8/23/2018 
Rio Rancho, NM, On Thursday night’s agenda, Item # 10. The ICIP infrastructure projects at the Sandoval County Board of County Commission regarding road improvement in Rio Rancho Estates on Encino Road, Rainbow and King Blvd promoting Paseo Del Vulcan will be discussed and voted upon. These roads and other connectors are the arterial roads that feed to the main roads like Southern, Northern, and King Blvd (s) and the freeway Paseo Del Vulcan. These roads are for the oil and gas trucking operations, fracking operators and to help developers build out Rio Rancho City Center on the backs of the taxpayers, all to push the Paseo Del Vulcan (PDV) (aka Albuquerque By-Pass) with sweet real estate deals on frontage properties this Thursday evening.  AGENDApacket__08-23-18_1539_123

2020 ICIP next years Project to finance.

It is not just the issue or roads mentioned above, it is the entire push by these Commissioners to fund public roads for private developers in the RR area while ignoring infrastructure needs throughout the rest of the County and also ignoring the public safety issues. The county already maintains these roads as arterial roads. There are more pressing issues for the County than to build out Rio Rancho’s Pipe Dream for Paseo Del Vulcan Albuquerque by-pass.
We obtained the ICIP list despite it not being posted which shows PDV front and center. Yet they refuse to post this list.  2020 ICIP PROJECT CONSIDERATIONS v2 (1)
According to court documents obtained in an IPRA request, the County had required the developers of the Rio West Subdivision to build the roads our to their project in which the County was a partner.  However, over the course of the project, it became clear that the taxpayers footed the bill. The Northwest Loop, Encino Road, Rainbow Road and King Blvd paid for the road development out to the Rio Puerco and including the Old Ranch Rd that also included a state land swap with Mesa Del Sol.
It is the entire push by these Commissioners to fund public roads for private developers in the RR area while ignoring infrastructure needs throughout the rest of the County and also ignoring the public safety issues.
What happened was that the County ended up paying for those roads. They applied for funding on behalf of the developers and did a State Land Office land swap and ended up for the County paying for and maintaining the roads. Last January the County allowed a private Corporation to close down the Rio Puerco Road with armed guards.
There is nothing on the agenda that talks about specific on these roads nor a list provided, therefore, we believe this is a potential OMA violation because it was improperly advertised.

Where is the concern for public safety over pie-in-the-sky economic development?
More importantly, this area is where Thrust Energy said in this year’s work session that they would frack.  The industry needs this highway for transport.  Furthermore, with the Desalination Brine Project wells head repaired the fracking industry may use the raw brine for fracking without polishing it.
While everyone is focused on the oil and gas ordinance these commissioners are busy spending taxpayer funds to build infrastructure for an industry that if allowed to operate would destroy the aquifer, foul the air and impact the health of all residents if not dry up the Rio Grande with direct impacts to the Rio and its ability to deliver water to Mexico and Texas.

Prior Expenditures- 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Update on Sandoval County Oil and Gas Ordinance Timeline

Bill Diven- Photo Credit
According to Bill Diven’s Sandoval Signpost article, “Heil’s amendment on November 16th, which passed 4-1, would make such development a conditional use in areas already designated in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance as community districts and overlay zones. Those 11 areas already have extra and varying zoning protections and include most of Placitas plus Algodones, Rio Rancho Estates, La Cueva, and the Jemez Valley corridor including San Ysidro.”

But NOT all Community Districts Overlays will have the same zoning. For example, Rio Rancho Estates has a permissive use zone in the overlays districts so there would be no changes to protections of the Municipal Drinking water wells that over 100,000 people rely upon. While many Environmental groups advocate for Equal protection the only overlay districts we can find that will get a public notice and a public hearing is Placitas, at the Dec 6th, East Mountains community meeting, Commissioner Holden-Rhodes mentioned "Exclusion Zones" meaning the community district overlays as a way to Exclude certain activities. As it now stands this is unequal protection. These can be found in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.

Under conditional use, a drilling applicant would need to meet the same requirements for a permit, but instead of the zoning director making the decision, approval would be up to the Planning and Zoning Commission after a public hearing. Permissive use does NOT require that process, and the County no longer has a special-use zoning permit in the Comprehensive Zoning Plan. It is only under a Special-Use permit that the County has the authority to reject a permit. As long as certain conditions are met - in an administrative procedure, they cannot disallow the permit application. Bernalillo County has this copy to help the general public understanding permitting. 

On December 14th, 2017, commissioners - during their one meeting for the month, are expected to vote on publishing the ordinance. That triggers a 15-day public notice period… making the January 4th, 2018, meeting the earliest commissioners could take action on the ordinance itself.
As of Sept 21th, 2017, the County adopts the Oil and Gas 9-page ordinance.

County Pulls a Bait and Switch on Citizens’ Input Process on Ordinance                                          This ordinance lacks adequate protections for water, air, and public safety. Many issues are not addressed.

Commissioner James Holden-Rhodes of Placitas attempted to table the ordinance until New Mexico Tech can finish its assessment of oil and gas resources relative to potential sources of groundwater in the county. His motion drew raucous applause but only one other vote, that from Commissioner Kenneth Eichwald of Cuba, the sole Democrat on the five-member body.

The $62,000 project began in July with the final report not expected until May of 2018. The county has contracted NM Tech as a consultant on developing the zoning ordinance that would apply only to surface issues on private lands outside municipalities.
Our Position Statement on the NM Tech Study

There are two parts to it: 1) primary goal to locate oil and gas resources that can be explored in the county; and 2) assessment of impacts to nearby aquifers. So they are looking at aquifers in a limited way, not like a hydrological assessment would but just in terms of limitations on oil and gas exploration posed by aquifers and geology in general if that makes sense.  It would help to identify areas where oil and gas exploration would pass through aquifers or nearby and the relative depths of aquifers and oil/gas wells in relation to one another is an important factor in whether damage could be caused to water resources and how high that risk is.  Interestingly though there is no mention of surface water supplies which the EPA also mentioned are at just as high, if not a higher risk of contamination from fracking specifically, which tells us that the goal was not to protect water resources but just to account for whether they would impede oil and gas exploration.
In the link above the NM TECH Study and the Staff report on Sandridge permit application under special use. When one reads the staff report we see a 180-degree position change when Commissioner Chapman became chair.
"This study produced: Bulletin-161 — Geology and Hydrology of Groundwater-Fed Springs and Wetlands at La Cienega, Santa Fe County, New Mexico, by Peggy S. Johnson, Daniel J. Koning, Stacy S. Timmons, and Brigitte Felix, 2016, which won the AASG/GSA John C. Frye Memorial Environmental Geology Award for 2016. Santa Fe County — November 29, 2017, The Bureau has been involved in a comprehensive study of the geohydrology of the wetlands in the vicinity of La Cienega, south of Santa Fe, since 2011. These springs and wetlands occur where local groundwater flows intersect the surface. They provide an important source of water for domestic and agricultural use as well as wildlife. The broad goals of the study were to understand the groundwater resources that sustain these wetlands. More specific goals addressed with collaborating agencies included developing strategies to restore springs and wetlands that have already been impacted by local urban development, and to assure the future and sustainability of these important resources. The study revealed a complex, 3-dimensional groundwater system. Groundwater flow from the Santa Fe Group regional aquifer sustains these wetlands. These groundwater flows are susceptible to increased groundwater withdrawals and to seasonal fluctuations, and a majority of the wells in the study have shown a persistent decline in water levels in the last decade. This study has redefined the shallow aquifer in the Santa Fe region and has much broader implications for that part of the state." 

The area in the North Albuquerque Rio Grande basin has a similar geological stratification, with more faults that make it more vulnerable to destroy perched aquifers by fracking. Sandoval County could regulate this water issue as a surface water issue but has failed to ask for the appropriate study.
Geology underlying the county was one recurring theme during the meeting. Speakers focused on the difference between the northwest, which includes part of the San Juan Basin with its history of oil and gas production, and the southeast, which includes part of metro Albuquerque where 800,000 residents rely in large part on groundwater.

While the geology of the northwest is relatively simple, the southeast also includes the Rio Grande Rift, one of the few rift valleys in the world visible on land. Here the earth’s surface is slowly pulling apart fracturing subsurface layers from Colorado into Mexico.

“Not taking into account the geology is a big problem,” said professional geologist William Brown of Placitas. The faulting along the rift increases the potential for drilling into a petroleum-bearing layer on one side of a fault line affecting a water-bearing layer directly opposite on the other side, he said.
“Placitas is the area that probably has the greatest potential for contamination,” Brown told commissioners. “There’s a huge number of faults in the Placitas area. It’s so complex that you can’t go up there and do horizontal fracking.”

Brown recommended dividing the county into zones with more stringent permit requirements including public hearings for sensitive areas.

Another geo-hydrologist working with the Placitas Citizens Group is making rounds to talk with the commissioners. Recently, Commissioner Holden-Rhodes distributed a letter regarding the hydrology and faults within the basin and the implications of earthquakes and strata vulnerability. The most recent earthquake was located in Cochiti Pueblo area. An Earthquake in the area of Cochiti Dam, which is an earthen dam, would be vulnerable to a catastrophic event causing death and destruction of the several pueblos and traditional towns and villages along the Rio Grande. Holden Rhodes sent a letter to the Community regarding his take on the water issues It is abundantly clear from the reports released to the public that drilling in the Rio Grande Basin would impact fault zones and may cause the destruction of perched sub-basin aquifers which Rio Rancho gets its water. In the Ortiz Mountains, East mountains, because of the uplift in geological strata it is equally important not to destroy private property values by destroying the groundwater supply.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

People's Rally OCT 19th 4:15 pm Prior to County meeting UPCOMING EVENTS

People's Rally on 'No Protections ordinance'

Press Conference To Be Held
Come raise your voice!  Let the County Commission hear our dissent for fast-tracking the Ordinance process. the latest, follow the links, read the ordinance, and download the agenda, read the followup that the San Felipe Governor wrote to Sandoval County regarding Chapman's comments of OCT. 5th. Come to the meeting and speak up! This may be the last notification we get before fracking rigs show up!
4:15 PM Prior to County Meeting       Sandoval County Admin Bldg. 3rd Floor Chambers, 1500 Idalia Rd NE, Bernalillo, NM 87004, United States

Community meeting on legal options on Sandoval County Oil and Gas Ordinance 

We need to set the record straight!
We Need the Safety Plan! 


10 am – 12 noon  Saturday

755 Loma Colorado Blvd. NE Rio Rancho, NM 87124

The County Commission approval of the ordinance--Final comments are due now. We a will be posting those dates on our website.
  • There are no water protections.There are no air protections and No public health and safety considerations.
  • The County preempted the National Historic Preservation Act Chapter 106
  • The Ordinance is 9 pages that streamline permits with only best management practices.     DO YOU OWN A WELL?
Citizens Grassroots Group Working to Protect, Water, Air and Public Health and Safety --- Come to the meeting!


Donation Accepted Send to:
907 Nyasa RD SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124

For TaxExempt Donation Make Checks over $100 to: ACP&J 
Memo line: Common Ground Community Trust 

Smaller Donations gladly accepted 
Please Help us Protect Our Water!

Common Ground Community Trust
A Citizens Grassroots Group just formed the
Protect Our Valley Coalition
Protect our water, air,
health and safety.
A Citizens Advisory Board

Wednesday, Oct 18th Bernalillo Range Cafe 6 pm
Wednesday, Oct 25th Bernalillo Range Cafe 6 pm 

FastTracking Streamline Permitting In Sandoval County Oil and Gas ‘No Protections’ Ordinance

FastTracking Streamline Permitting In Sandoval County Oil and Gas ‘No Protections’ Ordinance

The impacts to the Greater Chaco Canyon cultural landscape are ongoing and being ignored in the consideration of the Sandoval County Oil and Gas Ordinance. The County is failing to protect and serve the Residents in Throwing in the industry that is poisoning environments and people for the profit by a few.
Sandoval County Commissioners are slated to vote on the oil and gas ordinance OCT 19, At 6 pm, Chamber 3rd Floor, 1500 Idalia Rd Bernalillo, NM 87124. However, in a questionable OMA violation at the end of the meeting Oct. 5th, 2017, Commissioner Block entered amendments to the oil and gas ordinance on the record and now has failed to advertise those amendments prior to the meeting and failed to respond appropriately to an IPRA request.
This is what the lack of transparency leads to — tyranny.
After this blatant OMA violation at the end of the October 5th, meeting, during Comments from the COmmission, Commissioner Chapman read into the record a statement regarding the County’s meeting with San Felipe Pueblo Governor and staff. Commissioner Chapman’s statement was refuted by the San Felipe Pueblo, Governor Ortiz, and Lt. Governor Valencia, in a follow-up letter addressing their concerns after viewing the video.  Follow up to Sandoval County Commissioner re Oct 4, 2017 meeting
This does not bode well for the County who is appearing highly discriminatory in their approach and statements regarding their false statements about the Pueblo, ignoring Issues on the lack of enforcement by the State and Federal Government on the Greater Chaco Mesa, ignoring public advisory board in this Ordinance process, with their refusal on adopting a Good Neighbor Notification Districting and Policy. It is obvious that the County Commission does not want to have a conversation with or hear and address the concerns of the Public and Pueblos on this ordinance, or the issues this ordinance brings with it. apcg2017-12 Resolution Protections of Sacred Sites
The County paid $62,000 + to NM Tech for a Water Study that will not be available until May 2018. Instead of waiting for this report, which would set an image in public perceptions of a prudent approach to creating an ordinance with protections in mind. Barreling ahead the County has doubled down with the NMOGA, independent speculators and predator oil industry landsmen in what appears to smack of crony capitalism, not the free market considerations for long-term investment in our communities need. This ordinance is all about short terms gains for a select few, while the County with the other hand works to further hurt the working class with a wage killer Right-to-Work ordinance. NM_Tech_work_order_7-17 work order for NM Tech Modeling Study 571_SC BCC O&G ORD Draft October 2017
Barreling ahead the County has doubled down with the NMOGA, independent speculators and predator oil industry landsmen, in what appears to smack of crony capitalism, not the free market considerations for long-term investment in our communities need. This ordinance is all about short terms gains for a select few, while the County with the other hand works to further hurt the working class with a wage killer, Right-to-Work ordinance.
The lack of transparency, ignoring contractual and fiscal obligations of the MTECH Water Modeling, which was a crucial part of the process, to the insulting behavior shown to the Pueblo and Dine’ leadership without addressing their outstanding issues, the County is negligent in their capacity to govern effectively and needs to come to terms with erroneous behavior. AGENDApacket__10-19-17_1741_81
With the AMREP/outer rim/Sandridge’ Permit, still active the dangers to the Rio Rancho drinking water supply are paramount.

Unannounced Item on Oct 5th County meeting: Oil and Gas Amendments Discussed and Commisioner Chapman’s Statement on San Felipe Pueblo Meeting

During an UNannounced item on the Oct 5th County Commission Meeting Not only did the County appear to Violate the open Meeting act by talking about amendments to the oil and gas ordinance, The Commissioner goes on to misrepresent the Tribal nation of San Felipe Pueblo. See the previous post for Governor Ortiz and the Lt Governor's Letter. Here is the Video Clip of the what happened last time. 
The County Commissioners are scheduled to vote to approve the Sandoval Oil and Gas Ordinance Oct 19 6 p,m Chambers 3rd Floor 1500 Idalia Rd Bernalillo 87004
people's Rally starts at 4:15 pm with a press conference.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Active Oil/Gas Permit for Thrust Energy/AMREP Drilling Starts With Approval of Ordinance

Active Oil/Gas Permit for
Thrust Energy/AMREP
Drilling Starts With
Approval of Ordinance 

30-043-21278 ROADRUNNER 03 1201 #001 [315649]
Sandridge Permit still valid for 40 acres expires 11.10.17

Active permits with p
Stake showing Well Pad Rio rancho Estates ermissive use with no Public notification means Mike Springfield, planning director would rubberstamp county application permit without notification. 1 well per acres or up to 6 wells per 5 acres (This is the NMOCD allowance in NW Sandoval in the Chaco Mesa Area), means 40-150+ oil and gas wells over the aquifer and the City Rio Rancho drinking water supply to over 100,000 people including private water wells. 1.8 million gallons per are used in fracking one oil and gas well.

This will potentially impact the Rio Grande and ABQ basin through over-pumping. The leak rate is 16% of all wells drilled for contamination equals 8-32 wells will leak. The above info on leaks was read/entered into the record at the last commission meeting by Alan Friedman (ESCA).

There are a couple of people who think that they can keep asking for amendments to the draft, they should be supported. It is hoped that they can get "special use permitting" it would be better, but unfortunately, not qualitatively or substantially for the overall ordinance, The draft would need to be republished after any amendment.

We are better off without an ordinance than to have this one.

ARTICLE III. ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT. Section 3.1. Amending Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. A. The Sandoval County Board of County Commissioners hereby amends Ordinance No. 10-11-18.7A, Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of Sandoval County, to establish Oil and Gas exploration and production, and the structures and facilities associated with that use, as a Permissive use within Section 9 (1). RRA – Rural Residential Agricultural District, and to remove this use from Section 10. SU – Special Use District.
What does this mean? In plain English, making oil and gas development a "Permissive use" means that applications to drill IN ANY RURAL AREA with that zoning will be rubberstamped & allowed to proceed with no public notice. You won't know an oil well is going to be drilled next to your home, your child's school, in your fields, or through your aquifer, until the rigs show up. This is what the Sandoval County Commissioners want for their community.

Our coalition thinks differently because Thrust Energy will bring Sandridge / or WPX to drill these wells in the next couple of months unless we can stop this train wreck.

The next meeting is Oct 19th Come to the meeting We will send update announcement on time date and location We are asking them to change the venue to allow for all comment. 

PROCESS GOING FORWARD: What To Expect, what happens now

The county will publish the draft ordinance for comment then hold ONLY one more meeting to approve the ordinance.  As long as the Ordinance is not amended It will be published one more time and then becomes law within 30 days. If amended they have to republish it and then hold another Final hearing. Since they are in rush to do push this through we do not think they are going to amend unless they can be convinced of liability legal threats. The County is more concerned with the O&G industry suing than with the public.We are exploring our legal options, please expect an announcement soon. 

Write emails and call the Office of the Attorney General 
What can you do? The "Stoddard Ordinance", quoted above, is an Oil & Gas Ordinance that will be voted on by the Sandoval County Commission as early as October 19th. The entire process has been fraught with controversy, and the ordinance as it stands now will do nothing to protect the health & safety of the citizens or our aquifers. The County has repeatedly failed to follow its own procedures for citizen input. Call the NM Attorney General and ask him to expedite the four Open Meeting Act violation complaints that have been filed with his office. 505.717.3500.   ABQ consumer Complaint Number 

Ask the County to hold a meeting in a larger forum so that people can enter their comments into the record. A public hearing is about creating a record and they must understand the irreparable harm they will do.  Be kind but firm when speaking to whomever answers.
Call 505 867-7538 and email county commission ask:
Maria Encinas <> the County manager’s Secretary
dmaes@sandovalcountynm.govCounty manager

once we know venue we will send an announcement