The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

Eco Beat

Don’t forget to recycle at
the Placitas Recycling Center!

Did you know? Municipal waste disposal in the United States costs $24 billion a year?

WHEN? 2nd & 4th Saturday each month. 8 am-1 pm.

WHERE? Hwy. 165 across from Comcast Cable

HOW? Newspaper—Remove kraft paper inserts (see below); no magazines or catalogues.

  • Brown grocery bags—clean. Loose or bagged. Kraft paper inserts may be included.
  • Cardboard (corrugated only)—Remove excessive tape or staples. Flatten boxes.
  • Aluminum—Clean cans, foil, plates. Loose or bagged.
  • Plastic—Remove any metal and stuff plastic bags into empty bottles. The center cannot accept any bottles that have contained hazardous substances like motor oil or pesticides.
  • Paper—White ledger; no junk mail. Loose or bagged.
  • Glass—Not yet.
  • Steel/tin cans—Not accepted. No market.
  • Polystyrene peanuts—Double bagged only; no block Styrofoam.

Recycle volunteers needed for two hours every six months. Call 867-3077 if you can help. Visit our website at


Public meetings will address hazard mitigation

Two public meetings will be held in December to help develop strategies to prevent or mitigate future losses from natural, technological, and man-made hazards in Sandoval County. Residents will learn about potential hazards, help develop goals to reduce the effects of disasters, meet with county officials, and contribute to guiding the county in disaster resistance.

On December 11 a meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Cañon Community Center. On December 12 there will be a meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the Sandoval County Courthouse commission room, Bernalillo.

For more information about hazard mitigation or the mitigation planning process, contact Jess J. Lewis, deputy fire marshall and emergency services coordinator, Sandoval County Emergency Management, at 505-867-0245.


Solar association needs instructors

The New Mexico Solar Energy Association is seeking instructors for its Sunchaser energy-education program, which introduces students to solar, wind, and other renewable-energy concepts through hands-on activities and exhibits on an eye-catching solar-outfitted trailer.

This is primarily a volunteer activity, although participants are given an honorarium to cover expenses. The Sunchaser travels to elementary and middle schools throughout New Mexico. One- to three-hour grade-specific science and energy programs will be conducted at each school.

A two-hour class for prospective instructors in the basics of the Sunchaser program is scheduled for December 7 from 10 a.m. to noon. It will be held at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. For information or to reserve class space, contact NMSEA at 246-0400 or


Sandia Mountain Legislation dies
with end of 107th Congress

On November 20, The U.S. Senate approved the "Tuf Shur Bien Preservation Trust Area Act" and sent it to the House of Representatives for approval. The legislation to settle Sandia Pueblo's land claim to Sandia Mountain would end litigation over who owns the west face of Sandia Mountain, but the House of Representatives chose not to address it before adjourning.

Senator Pete Domenici said, “I am clearly disappointed that this bill did not get done this year. A lot of work went into this it, and we’ve missed a critical opportunity.  But rather than lay blame on the failed last-minute rush to move this and other New Mexico lands bills, I want to focus on where we go from here. Clearly, I hope there isn’t any rush to litigate this dispute. I will work with Senator Bingaman and Congresswoman Wilson to see if we can develop our best course for reviving this legislation and moving it early next year.”

The plan gives the Sandia Pueblo certain rights to use the land for religious ceremonies and other purposes but keeps the property under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service with continued public access. In addition to giving the pueblo rights to use the land while keeping it open to the public, the legislation reinforces protections to ensure that the area retains its wilderness and national-forest characteristics; ensures that affected homeowners in the pueblo's land-claim area have clear title to their property; expressly authorizes existing rights-of-way and easements in perpetuity; grants the pueblo the ability to limit new uses of the land, although with exceptions; and allows the Sandia Peak Tram Company to continue operating its tram service up the west side of the mountain.


Pueblo receives funds to finish
Red Rocks economic development plan

The Pueblo of Jemez has received $125,960 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development to help complete an economic development plan. According to U.S. Representative Tom Udall (D-NM), the tribe has recognized the economic potential associated with the opening of the Valles Caldera National Preserve, the paving of State Highway 126, and the construction of the Jemez By-Pass Route as major contributors to increased tourism opportunities on State Highway 4. The pueblo is currently planning to increase tribal enterprise in the Red Rocks area.

The Pueblo of Jemez is approximately forty-five miles northwest of Albuquerque. It is within the southern end of the Cañon de San Diego. The present site of the pueblo has been occupied since the sixteenth century, with many of the buildings dating back to the period following the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Jemez is the only remaining Pueblo where people speak the Tewa dialect. The pueblo has passed its unwritten language down orally. The Jemez people are internationally renowned for their wickerwork baskets, pottery, figurines, holiday ornaments, and storytellers. There has been a long line of long-distance runners among the Jemez people, as well.


Pipeline safety meetings held

Community education meetings about pipeline safety were held on November 18, 19, 20, and 21 in Bernalillo, Placitas, Cañon,and La Madera. The events were sponsored by the Sandoval County Office of Emergency Services and Citizens for Safe Pipelines. Safety educators from the Danielle Dawn Smalley Foundation presented a program that included a slide show, and they also answered questions from the audience. The Danielle Dawn Smalley Foundation was established in 1996 after Danielle was killed in a pipeline explosion.

Sandoval County contains several large pipelines that carry natural gas and refined petroleum products. The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that people who live in communities near these potential hazards learn about them and what to do do (and what not to do) if a pipeline breaks.

The safety educators pointed out that our country is crisscrossed with more than 1.7 million miles of underground high-pressure pipelines. Most accidents are caused by excavation, so laws in every state require a call to the pipeline company at least forty-eight to seventy-eight hours before digging. Contact numbers can be found on the markers that are usually near pipelines. The One Call number for New Mexico is (800) 321-2537.

Pipelines are also subject to leaks because they are aging and often not adequately inspected or maintained. They are also subject to terrorist attack, so citizens should report any suspicious activity around pipelines to law enforcement. Sound and smell—as well as sight—may be helpful in detecting a leak.

The DDS Foundation brochure offers the following guidelines for citizen response to pipeline emergencies:

A liquid petroleum product may appear as an accumulation of material on the ground on top of or near a pipeline [as was the case in the 1999 Placitas leak]. Certain products when released will vaporize and can be seen as a mist or dense cloud. An area of dead or discolored vegetation, in an otherwise green pipeline right-of-way, may indicate a leak. If a leaked commodity has ignited, flames would be the most obvious signs of an emergency.

  • A high-pressure liquid pipeline leak may be detected by a hissing or roaring sound. The loudness of the sound will depend on the size of the leak.
  • A strange or unusual odor in the area of a pipeline may indicate a leak.

If you encounter any of these signs, the DDS Foundation advises the following list of dos and don’ts:

  • Don’t light a match, start an engine, activate any electrical switch (including lights), or otherwise do anything that may cause a spark.
  • Don’t drive into a vapor cloud.
  • Leave the area immediately on foot.
  • Refrain from any activity that might cause heat or sparks.
  • Turn off any running machinery.
  • Don’t come in contact with any escaping material, because some products are toxic and/or corrosive.
  • Notify 911 or emergency personnel once you are clear of the danger area.

For more information, contact the DDS Foundation at 972-472-6500 or go to


Pipeline study delayed

The release draft environmental impact study for the refurbishment of the old Tex-New Mex pipeline has again been delayed. This project and the issue of pipeline safety in general are of particular interest to residents of the Estancia Valley and Placitas because several large pipelines pipelines pass through the area. The proposed New Mexico Products Pipeline passes near residential areas, schools, and under the parking lot of the Placitas Community Center.

Shell Pipeline Company, LLC, proposed nearly a year ago to reactivate the forty-five-year-old Tex-New Mex for the transport of refined petroleum products including gasoline.

The Bureau of Land Management is overseeing the required EIS. Project manager Joe Jaramillo announced last month that the release of the EIS, which was originally expected last summer, would be delayed until January 2003.

Jaramillo said that among other things, the age of the pipeline is being looked at very critically. He said that the draft EIS would contain five alternatives: the action proposed by Shell, no action or refusal of the permit, pipeline replacement in sensitive areas, pipeline reroute, and the proposed action with added safety measures.

Release of the draft EIS will initiate another public comment period. For more information on the project, go to the BLM Web site at and follow the link to the New Mexico Products Pipeline. Comments and concerns may be addressed to your congressional delegation.




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