Sandoval Signpost


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  The Gauntlet

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letters, opinions, editorials

Signpost welcomes letters of all opinions. Letters are subject to editing for length, clarity, libel, and other considerations. Anonymous pen name letters will not be published. Attach your name and contact information. Send to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889, Placitas, NM, 87043 or

c. Rudi Klimpert

re: A trade with Fish

This morning I picked up a piece of wood that had been laying on the ground in my yard for at least the last forty years. My first thought was What would Jim Fish have done with this thing Mother Nature had been working on all these years? It is all eroded, wrinkled, and gnarled, yet I’m sure Jim would see a work of art in it after a little polish here and there and mounted on a piece of juniper. I will never walk in the woods or anywhere for that matter and see an interesting twisted branch or fence post that if Jim saw it could envision a thing of beauty, a work of art.

Hey, Jim, wherever you are, I’m not that far behind you and I’m a bit wrinkled and gnarled. What do you think? Can you polish me up here and there and make something of beauty? I’ll trade you this stone I found with a great fossil in it!

—Roger Evans, Placitas

re: Sandoval County oil and gas ordinance

Sandoval County Commissioners appear to have awakened to the need for a county oil and gas ordinance in the wake of citizen activism which resulted in the withdrawal by financially-strapped and Oklahoma regulation-challenged SandRidge Energy of its application for a commercial variance to explore and produce on two acres northwest of Northern and Encino currently permitted for residential and agricultural use near Rio Rancho Estates.

At the Commission’s direction, Planning and Zoning staff drafted an ordinance to amend the County’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. The oil and gas amending ordinance will be considered by Planning and Zoning Commissioners on Tuesday, July 11 at 6:00 p.m., with additional meetings possible in August.

Unfortunately the draft doesn’t adequately address the numerous impacts on air, water, and health quality in the region. For example, there are no provisions to provide adequate financial viability of potential operators—ultimately a key factor during SandRidge’s application process—and setback provisions are unacceptable to maintain the health of nearby and downwind, think Albuquerque, residents.

The proposed amendment is a weak band-aid designed as a placeholder in case NM Tech’s geologic/hydrogeologic study of the county, scheduled for completion in May 2018 and intended to provide more detailed technical insights into the county’s sub-grade characteristics as they relate to oil and gas activities, reveals more serious substrate concerns.

County Commissioners were unwilling to impose a moratorium on oil and gas development. Why not wait another year, at least until NM Tech’s study is complete, before considering any new applications for oil and gas development? Commissioners could use this time wisely to hear from a wide variety of experts in order to further understand all facets of this complex development issue.

I call on all Sandoval County residents to stay on top of this issue and pack the July 11 County Planning and Zoning meeting to comment on the proposed ordinance. Citizens can also submit comments prior to the meeting.

—Vicki Gottlieb, Placitas property owner and voter

re: Sandoval County oil and gas ordinance

Sandoval County Commissioners have put together a proposed ordinance to open the door for oil and gas development in Sandoval County. Upon close examination, the ordinance has more protection for the fracking companies than it does for the residents of Sandoval County. The proposed ordinance offers even less protection for folks living outside of Rio Rancho and Bernalillo.

With the onset of warming temperatures and less moisture in New Mexico, do we really want to set a course to potentially poison our aquifers and waste millions of gallons of water on fracking operations? Do we really want to become victims of the effects of fracking: air pollution, earthquakes that could damage our beloved adobe structures, and sinkholes, as experienced in Carlsbad? Have you ever heard of an oil and gas company that generously offers to take the financial responsibility to clean up damage done to communities all over our country?

The proposed ordinance has no emergency response plan, nor does it begin to make the oil and gas industry responsible for any damage it may cause. Also, Sandoval County would bear a huge financial burden in the development of roads, infrastructure, and expenses related to increased traffic.

Sandoval County could be an energy hub. We have miles and miles of open, vacant, sun-baked land and wind that could be developed for renewable energies. States all over the country have developed a renewable energy plan. We could be in the front lines of the creation of a future that is viable for our children.

Please contact our commissioners and advocate for the development of our renewable energy resources.

—Katherine Irish, Placitas

Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association report (ES-CA)

~Chris Daul, ES-CA

The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA) would like to thank all five Sandoval County Commissioners for voting to reject a settlement offer, made by Vulcan, in the continuing lawsuit against Vulcan. ES-CA did not believe that the proposed settlement offer was in the best interests of the residents of Placitas or residents of the County. Our arguments convinced the Commissioners of the same, and we applaud their taking this position.

It means that the lawsuit continues with a scheduled trial date in October, 2017. There is still a lot of work to be done in this matter. ES-CA would also like to thank the community for their support in attending meetings, contacting Commissioners, and contributing to the legal costs. This matter is a zoning issue. If we do not enforce the zoning laws in this County, then we are subject to potential development that does not respect the residents of this County.

In the same respect, oil and gas drilling is also a zoning issue. The County Planning and Zoning Office (P&Z) has been working on a draft ordinance to regulate this. The State has few regulations in place for this type of activity, so it is incumbent upon the County to issue strong and comprehensive regulations. This may require the County to go beyond zoning, but our water, air, and land deserve protection. These regulations should include, at a minimum, aquifer protection and monitoring, groundwater and surface water protection and monitoring, air-quality protection and monitoring, specified days and hours of operation, required inspections and mandatory fees to pay the expenses of inspections, sound level limits, and mandatory public hearings of applications.

ES-CA is not opposed to oil and gas drilling in Sandoval County. However, this activity has the potential to cause grave and irreparable harm to the environment and residents, and we deserve at least minimum protection from harm.

We also call upon our State legislators to examine this issue. The State has more resources than the County and should be the entity regulating this industry. We are concerned that the public and the environment are not being adequately protected and represented by current State and Federal oversight. The core reason for having a government is to protect the health and safety of the people. That is all we are asking.

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