Sandoval Signpost


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  The Gauntlet

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Eastern Sandoval Citizens Association

—Chris Daul

The ES-CA Board had its regularly scheduled meeting on April 6. The meeting featured a presentation by representatives of Western Refining, whose company operates a crude oil pipeline that runs through Placitas. The line was originally placed in the 1950s. Western pressure tested the line to twenty percent over maximum working pressure and made necessary repairs before recently beginning new operations. They are currently sending crude oil from the Farmington area to their refinery in El Paso, Texas.

The line is monitored 24 hours per day, seven days per week, at a control station in Bloomfield, New Mexico. If a drop in pressure is noted, personnel can remotely shut valves that would limit the amount of oil that would leak. There are four shut-off valves located within the Placitas area. Western has an emergency response plan and team to act, should there be a leak. They have also met with the Sandoval County Fire Department and briefed them on response plans. The line is visually inspected on a regular basis and there are two plane flyovers a month.

There are two other pipeline companies that operate lines that run through Placitas: Kinder Morgan and Enterprise. We will be meeting with Kinder Morgan in the next few months and hope to meet with Enterprise as well.

President Bob Gorrell noted that both pieces of legislation to control sand-and-gravel mining failed to pass the NM Legislature during the past session. Our local State representatives supported the legislation. ES-CA intends to continue to push for stricter controls and more enforcement power to insure that mining operations are conducted in an environmentally safe manner. The current focus is upon the Counties’ policies and zoning regulations that can be improved to better protect Placitans. It is important that members make their voices heard to our elected officials.

The Board, along with Las Placitas Association, has been working with the County and our Federal representatives to try to insure that no mining will occur on the BLM’s Buffalo Tract. Board members will be meeting with County representatives to discuss this matter. Please visit the ES-CA forum to see updated articles on this subject and others of concern to Placitas residents.

The next ES-CA Board meeting is scheduled for May 4, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Placitas Fire House (Sandoval County Fire Station 41), located at 463 Highway 165. All are welcome to attend.

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