Friday, August 5, 2016
County Service Agreement with NM Tech Lacks Costs and Valuable Public Input
Service Contract agreement between NMTECH and the County of Sandoval vague when it comes to the Oil and Gas Ordinances being written.On July 27 NM Tech and the County of Sandoval hammered out and signed an agreement regarding policy development and review of oil and gas drilling and production application, field inspection and presentation to public bodies. Nm Tech agreed to do this for an undisclosed amount of money. Yes, folks, the 4 year agreement has no agreed upon fees for their services rendered in the contract.Did Sandoval County just give Cart Blanc checks to NM Tech? Just how is public policy NM TECH’s forte, escapes me, for they will have no authority to enforce any regulation and gives the oil and gas industry first stab at drafting the Sandoval county oil and gas ordinance. There have been numerous studies of the hydrology in Sandoval, Bernalillo and Valencia Counties which are most likely the most studied areas in country on water quantity and quality.Why do we need more studies that may be true or not. I have seen Garbage in garbage out science reports. Many people do not consider NMTech exactly a independent third party.
Item #3 under Scope of Work leaves out the implications of the 2016 Integrated Plan by TECO/Nm Gas and PNM. This is currently being heard in NMPRC hearing starting with commenting periods (Aug15), testimony (OCt12) and their deadlines. (See our Facebook Posting on this to confirm date times and schedule of hearings) The 2016 integrated Plan is about expanding pipelines and processing plants through out the State and to run a gas line to Mexico that will port the gas overseas. Most likely this is plan is gearing up to export LNG. The TECO Plan is harping on the 2011 Freeze where 1000s of people suffered through -15 below severe cold for a week and had no heat due to frozen pipelines, wellheads and loss of transport.
In 2012 The PNM/NM Gas wanted to put a processing plant for fracking operations in Rio Rancho. At the time it was thought toby too expensive however maps show that processing plants and new pipelines in the new 2016 plan that include the entire state.
It comes down to the fact that the Scope of the Work and the costs of the work are vague or undetermined. County Planning has not included the scope or context of the 2016 Integration Plan and how that will proliferate gas production in Sandoval County and through out the state where in some areas where transport has been non-existent.
There are many people that support upgrading “existing” drilled wells, pipelines and processing plants in order to stop methane releases. Current releases are considered a crime against humanity in the amounts of methane and GHGEs that are emitted into the atmosphere daily in Sandoval and the 4 corners. The State of NM and its citizens are responsible to stop these releases. However, the Neoliberal politics that strangleholds NM that keeps people in poverty, without jobs in a stagnate economy that may soon crash, will not hire inspectors to this job and protect us.
Many see this plan as win for NM but it is going to have exactly the opposite affect. The only money Sandoval County should be counting on from the oil and gas industry are fees from implementing a Fee and dividend system that gives cash rebates to households with income levels under $80,000 a year.
Regarding liability on the contract, NM Tech is also subject to the immunities and limitations under the NM Tort claims Act NMSA 1978 Sec 41-1- through 41-4-27 regardless of jurisdiction and conflicts of law and choice of law principles. So if they screw up, it may be just too bad for residents to sue under a property taking in Rio Rancho and Rio Rancho Estates and would set a precedence for elsewhere around the state and beyond.