Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  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 Anonymous pen name letters will not be published.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

re: Reward offered for stolen poles

In December of 2015, over two hundred fence posts were stolen from the San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant property, located on Camino de la Rosa Castilla Road in Placitas. The San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant (SADLHLG) currently has a fencing project for all of the land grant’s properties in Placitas. Many organizations have partnered with us in order to accomplish this large undertaking. If you have any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals who stole the t-poles from the SADLHLG’s properties, a monetary reward will be given. If you have any information, call 867-1728 or the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department.

—Rebecca Skartwed, San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant

re: Dog hair—it’s for the birds

In a few weeks, our wild birds will be searching for a suitable nesting site and gathering nesting material. At about the same time, our dogs will be getting a little itchy in their heavy winter coats.

Perfect timing! Give your dogs a good brushing and discard the dog hair outdoors near trees or bushes, even among rocks. The birds will love using it to line their nests, and your dogs will be ready for warm weather.

—W. Elstner, Placitas

Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association

—Chris Daul

The Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association (ES-CA), along with many other organizations and residents of Sandoval County, has been opposing the application proposed by SandRidge to drill for oil and gas in the area west of Rio Rancho. The matter was denied by the County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) and then heard by the County Commission, who voted to send it back to the P&Z for further consideration. ES-CA will continue to push for a moratorium and the adoption of an ordinance to regulate this activity in the County and denial of the Sandridge request.

The ES-CA Land Use Planning Committee reported that the Vulcan mine footprint has increased and that the County has not inspected the site since Vulcan took control. ES-CA has contacted the County and they are moving forward on inspections. The County has also made a motion to have Vulcan joined as a defendant in the pending lawsuit. The NMED is moving forward with placing an air monitoring station in the area, but has changed the location in La Mesa.

The NM DOT has proposed plans to widen Route 550 from the intersection with Route 313 to the intersection with Route 528, including adding another bridge over the Rio Grande. ES-CA representatives have been attending meetings held by the DOT and have noted major concerns with this project. The plan can be viewed at ES-CA will be working with the Town of Bernalillo and other entities to provide input that the final plan protects businesses on Route 550 and provides safe travel for all residents.

ES-CA representatives met with representatives of Mid America Pipeline to discuss their proposed work at one of their pump stations. ES-CA stressed the need for the company to do more outreach to our community and to continue communications about pipeline activities.

ES-CA will begin discussing the renewal of the hospital bonds. These bonds were first approved by the County seven years ago and levy a 4.25 mil tax on property in Placitas. The bond monies are for Sandoval Regional Medical Center and RUST Hospital. We would like to hear comments from residents on this issue and hope to schedule meetings with both Hospitals to discuss their future plans.

The next ES-CA Board meeting will be on March 7, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Placitas Fire Station.

c. Rudi Klimpert

re: There are four major water issues surrounding our current fracking discussion

1. The possibility of contamination of the Albuquerque Basin. This would be both directly and indirectly. Directly from the penetration of the Albuquerque Basin by the drilling process and indirectly from disposal and handling probabilities connected with produced water and its accumulated natural but hazardous content and man-made chemical additives. These direct and indirect contamination concerns should be examined from above ground, below the water table and the proposed wells direct contact with the aquifer and any active fault zone scenarios.

2. The depletion of the Albuquerque Basin. This Basin supplies water to nearly one million users. The use of this water goes far beyond County lines. Those users are the effected community that must be considered and consulted in this decision. The health, safety, and general welfare of this extensive community is the primary and legal consideration behind any decision. These three legal concepts are the basis and stated purpose for our ordinances already in place, and they include within them the absolute protection of local water resources. The Ordinances already in place are sufficient at least in this case to base only one quality, well founded and defensible decision.

3. The transportation and handling hazards of the produced water (previously quality drinking water) and the chemical additives of the fracking fluids. What are the additives? Where and how are they handled? By whom? What are the precautions put in place and taken? Where are these disposed of and with what oversight and consequence? Insurance policies are not assurance policies and comprehensive, factually-based and extremely detailed assurance is paramount with intensive oversight incorporated. The financial consequences and responsibilities of all concerned parties must be a matter of record.

4. The actual underground disposal of over two billion gallons of hazardous and despoiled wastewater in New Mexico and here in Sandoval County. Please read the linked article below on the disposal of produced water into California drinking aquifers: california-orders-oil-companies-to-stop-drilling-near-drinking-water-supplies/.

We all must be proactive and also at this point, reactive. We cannot ignore the lessons learned in Oklahoma, California, the Gulf of Mexico, and elsewhere. The Water Quality Protection Policy and Action Plan of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority says it very well:

Policy A: The City, County, and WUA shall prohibit or control the releases of substances having the potential to degrade groundwater quality.

Rationale: Groundwater must be protected to assure its quality for human consumption and economic uses. Pollution prevention costs much less than pollution remediation, and in many cases, the latter may be technically or economically infeasible. Groundwater protection must have a high priority and be supported with adequate funding so that existing regulations are enforced. Educating the public and business community will facilitate efforts for groundwater protection and enforcement.

There are many good and justifiably concerned citizens who are, and want to continue to be, active in this matter of government. We must help all of the commissioners help us.

—Mike Neas, Unincorporated Placitas, Sandoval County

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