The Aquifer when fracked

The Aquifer when fracked

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sandoval County Violates IPRA to support oil and gas industry

Our group requested the tactical response safety plans for and oil and gas pipeline explosion and or other industry facilities. The county violated IPRA and redacted  the information stating national security. The OAG weighed in by investigating and found the county had violated the IPRA. Their attorneys are fleshing this out.

In the meantime,
We sent this letter to the Sandoval County Commission

Sandoval County Commissioners      November 8, 2016                                                             
County Manger Philip Rios 
RE: IPRA Violations on Public Record Request Concerning Oil and Gas safety procedures. 

Dear Sandoval County Commissioners and County Manager Mr. Rios,

We are writing to make our final request for the Sandoval County tactical safety plans surrounding the oil and gas industry pipelines and other facilities.  On Sept. 4th, we requested the Tactical safety plans concerning spills, fire explosions and other catastrophic events.

We were denied the plans through arbitrary and capricious actions of Fire Chief Maxon, who stated that we, “did not have the “expertise” to decipher the county safety plans” in the case of a catastrophic event.  He therefore redacted the information later claiming national security reasons. We find these claims to be false and in violation of IPRA. We requested an opinion of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). This is now the second time within the year the County has been found in violation of IPRA on our IPRA requests. It has been noted that the County is remarkably lazy on following the law.

The Office of the Attorney General read the County’s response to their Oct 6th letter inquiring about the situation surrounding the redaction of public records and violations of the IPRA 3-day and 15-day notice and their incorrect and false reasoning for redaction of the records. The Attorney General will be contacting the County in regards to these violations.  

Furthermore, we are making one last ditch effort to request these plans prior to filing in New Mexico District Court.

The County appears to be pushing the ordinance through before the end of the year because they want to pass the ordinance without full disclosures of their safety plans in case of accidents, explosions and contamination of water, air and risk the public health and safety.

By not releasing public information the county appears to be willing to risk the public safety in order to appease the oil and gas industry and multinational banks ready to drill over 8,000 wells with all the ramifications of that decision.

If this is not the case then release the information requested.  We hope that this issue can be resolved without further litigation. Thank you

Elaine Cimino 
Benton Howell