Tuesday, May 27, 2008

State Land Trusts Advisory Board Draft Agenda


New Mexico
State Land Trusts Advisory Board

New Mexico State Land Office
Morgan Hall
310 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
11:00 AM

Agenda Item 1 - Call to Order - Chairman Raye Miller

Agenda Item 2 - Roll Call

Agenda Item 3 - Introduction of Board Members, Guests and State Land
Office Staff

Agenda Item 4 - Welcome - Commissioner of Public Lands, Patrick H. Lyons

Agenda Item 5 - Approval of Agenda

Agenda Item 6 - Approval of September 11, 2007 and December 11, 2007 Minutes

New Business

Agenda Item 7 - Election of State Land Trusts Advisory Board Officers
The State Land Trusts Advisory Board is required to elect a Chairman, Vice
Chairman and other officers it deems necessary. The Board will nominate
and elect officers.

Agenda Item 8 - Open Meetings Resolution
The State Land Trusts Advisory Board is required to conduct its meetings
in compliance with the Open Meetings Act. The Board will review and adopt
a resolution regarding the conduct of meetings in compliance with the Act.

Agenda Item 9 - Commissioner's Report
Presented by Commissioner Lyons
Key accomplishments and an outlook for 2007 will be presented.

Agenda Item 10 - Financial Report
Presented by Della Gutierrez, Assistant Commissioner for Administrative
The status of the State Land Office's budget and revenue projections will
be presented.

Agenda Item 11 - The State Land Trusts' Management Program Update - Dennis
Garcia, Deputy Commissioner
* Commercial Resources - Presented by Jerry King, Assistant
Commissioner for Commercial Resources
* Surface Resources - Presented by Larry Kehoe, Assistant
Commissioner for Surface Resources
* Mineral Resources - Presented by John Bemis, Assistant
Commissioner for Mineral Resources
* Communications/Public Information - Presented by Kristin Haase,
Assistant Commissioner for Public Relations
* Special Projects - BLM Exchange Update - Presented by Dallas
Rippy, Assistant Commissioner for Special Projects
* Organization, Legal Foundation and Programmatic Responsibilities
- Presented by Robert Stranahan, General Counsel

Agenda Item 12 - Miscellaneous Business

Agenda Item 13 - Public Comments

Agenda Item 14 - Next Meeting Date, Time and Location


Monday, May 26, 2008

"State's New Pit Rules Long Overdue"--Las Vegas Optic, by Rose Josefa

It’s wonderful that New Mexico’s Oil Conservation Commission has signed the final version of the oil and gas waste pit rule.

The new pit rule should be celebrated because it is a long overdue, common sense, oil and gas regulation that protects public health, the environment, landowners and communities. The Oil Conservation Division does not have enough inspectors to inspect all oil and gas wells and certainly the oil and gas industry does not protect the public when left to its own devices.

The pit rule truly does protect water, communities and public health while still allowing for a productive oil and gas industry. It is important to site pits and waste away from water, homes and other community resources, and to use tanks or closed-loop systems when they are close to these resources. And it is critical for the state to know how many pits we have and where they are located. Rose Josefa, Mora

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Experts Stress Caution Over Oil, Gas Drilling"--Santa Fe New Mexican

Excerpts: Oil and gas drilling is not all bad, but energy development can have serious negative effects on the environment, economy and public health, according to a panel of experts who spoke Tuesday on the consequences of energy development. Those impacts need to be publicized, studied, and planned for, they said.

"We are not for or against oil and gas development. We are trying to better understand it," said Ben Alexander, associate director of Headwaters Economics, a Bozeman, Mont., group that has spent the past two years studying the economic effects of oil and gas development in the American West.

Denver energy attorney Lance Astrella elicited a slight gasp when he said he had "a great deal of respect" for the people in the oil and gas industry. "Like it or not," Astrella said, "fossil fuels are going to be with us for a while."

Astrella said several dominant themes have emerged in his work on energy cases. One he characterized as an "excess use of property," where negligent oil and gas drilling practices cause a loss of value for people who own surface and water rights.

Astrella also said "volatile organic compounds" contained in the gases that escape from pipe lines, holding tanks or transport trucks cause real health problems the industry dismisses as "perceived."
"Why is there a question about whether it causes health effects?" he said. "Because there has been a failure of government. The federal government has not done the studies to determine whether there is a health link between drilling fluids and people's long-term, low-level exposure to them."

Astrella said it is imperative that baseline studies of air and water quality be done before extraction activities begin. "And it's very important they be done by you and not the drilling companies," he said.

Astrella said new technologies exist to help reduce the impacts of oil and gas drilling, but energy companies won't pay for them, and inventors won't invent better ones unless they become required.

"Why is it important to do it right?" he asked. "Obviously, for the public. Some of the serious illnesses take years to develop, and if you wait, ... it's going to be too late for them. "No amount of money will compensate them for the loss of a child or a cancer they may have."

One of the few people who has done research on the health effects of the energy boom in the West is Theo Colborn, a professor at the University of Florida and president of a group called The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, based in Paonia, Colo.

Colborn said her group studied 224 chemicals found in products used in drilling in New Mexico. About 97 percent of them contained chemicals with serious health effects, according to Colborn. And about 47 percent of those contained "endocrine disrupters" that cause irreversible changes in organisms before they are born.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mora Torium for Mora County

Mora County Commissioners voted today, May 20th, 2008 at the commission meeting to prepare a moratorium to halt any progress in the County on oil and gas development until such time the Development Guidance System (DGS) is revised to address such industrial development as oil and gas. "The moratorium would be in place between 6-12 months, or until the revision of the DGS is completed", said Commissioner Peter Martinez. County attorney, John Grubesic is advising the commissioners on the procedures on this development.

"Tap into renewables, not oil and gas"--Las Vegas Optic

David Giuliani’s article on the special meeting May 6 on oil and gas development in Mora County was fair and balanced. The meeting was a spirited event with people coming into a shared cohesive concern about the threats that oil and gas drilling could have upon the water, land and way of life in Mora County.

As Giuliani pointed out, citizens considering whether to sign leases for drilling should contact a lawyer who has expertise in land and mineral rights. The rancher who said he is happy with the results of having wells on his land in Texas said he signed a lease that was 60 pages long. He had considerable expensive legal help. We can be sure the lease he signed was nothing like the one being offered by KHL. Everyone does have the means to hire such help, but it is still crucial they get specialized legal help to get good protections.

It takes 300,000 gallons of water present and available quickly to drill one gas well. The county commissioners and citizens need to seriously consider whether Mora County can afford to lose this much water to every gas well drilled.

If New Mexico Land Commissioner Lyons decides to sell the public land leases of the wilderness of Mora and Colfax counties to drilling, it will change our water and culture forever. Citizens and New Mexico hunters need to call him to express their feelings about losing this pristine wilderness to drilling.

It would better serve Mora and New Mexico to begin in earnest to develop the renewable resources that our state is so perfectly situated to provide, rather than taking a terrible chance on opening Mora County to oil and gas development.

Pattie Cavalletto

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"Group to Fight Against Drilling," Albuquerque Journal North

Group To Fight Against Drilling

A coalition of local nonprofit groups and businesses announced Thursday they've banded together to form Common Ground United, a group dedicated to giving citizens a larger voice in oil and natural gas drilling issues.

Johnny Micou, who lives between Cerrillos and Galisteo and who has become a key figure in the fight against drilling in the Galisteo Basin, will be the fledgling group's executive director.

A total of 64 businesses and environmental groups are listed as members on the organization's Web site, which can be found at www.commongroundunited.org.

The stated goal of Common Ground United is to "protect our environment and community from the adverse effects of mining and drilling."

After a prolonged public outcry, Santa Fe County commissioners approved a 12-month moratorium in February on the granting of all drilling-related permits after months of debating how to best regulate proposed drilling in the Galisteo Basin.

Common Ground United will host an information booth at Santa Fe's CommUNITY Days on Saturday at the city's Plaza from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m."

Monday, May 12, 2008

"Stop Drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge!"

Your senators will be voting soon on an amendment that would allow drilling for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU.

The McConnell Domenici Amendment (No. 4720) would not only allow for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and Intermountain West, it would also threaten public lands in the Rocky Mountain West, pollute drinking water, and endanger marine habitat on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Finally, it would keep the United States on an unsustainable path of fossil fuel dependency. Even if we drilled every national park, wildlife refuge and coastline, America has only 3% of the world's oil, so we would still be importing most of the oil needed to meet our demand.

Please send the message below asking your senators to oppose the McConnell Domenici Amendment and protect wildlife! "

Action alert and model letters below. Contact US Senator Senator Jeff Bingaman immediately: http://bingaman.senate.gov/contact/ . The vote could come up as early as tomorrow on this amendment.

"You Can't Drink Oil"

"Company at Sink Hole Accused of Pumping too Much Water"--Houston Chronicle

The saltwater disposal company nearly devoured by a giant sinkhole this week in Liberty County was injecting sometimes double the amount of saltwater into the ground that its state permit allowed.

But officials with the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates such permits, stressed Friday that the cause of the sinkhole in the small town of Daisetta has not been determined.

"We have no proven link between Deloach and the sinkhole," commission spokeswoman Ramona Nye said.

Friday, May 9, 2008

"BOOM,BOOM"--High Country News

In western Colorado, an energy boom of unprecedented proportions has been layered on top of a thriving amenity economy. Which will come out on top?

Rifle, Colorado
After an energy bust flattened the region 26 years ago, Rifle slowly rebuilt itself as a tourist and retirement town and bedroom community for the flourishing nearby resort towns of Aspen and Vail. Then, about five years ago, the energy industry invaded. High-wage workers poured in by the thousands to man the drill rigs that popped up to tap one of the nation’s largest natural gas reserves. The result, says one Rifle economic planner, has been a "perfect storm"of industry in Garfield County on Colorado’s Western Slope.

"Sinkhole and Town: Now You See It ..."--The New York Times


“I’m used to things blowing up, not falling in,” Mr. Branch said.

Two trucks have already tumbled into the saltwater muck, along with two grain tanks, utility poles and pine trees. A work shed of the DeLoach Oil and Gas Well Vacuum Service adjacent to the pit hung precariously over the rim, likely to topple in next.

“I’ve got some lakefront lots to sell here,” said a neighbor, Harold McCann, 82, as he sat on his property staring out at what had been, barely 24 hours ago, a wooded field.

Officials expressed cautious optimism Thursday that the collapse had stabilized. “It appears to be slowing down, the hole does,” Corporal Bishop said.

But he said that “there are still chunks falling in” and that the authorities were prepared to evacuate Daisetta’s 1,034 residents if the hole suddenly grew.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Mora County Residents Warned About Oil, Gas Drilling"--Las Vegas Optic

MORA — Most speakers during a public meeting this week on possible oil and gas drilling in Mora County had a similar message — beware.

A new group, Drilling Mora County, which opposes drilling, invited a number of people from environmental groups and government agencies to speak about the effects of energy development. Missing were any voices from the oil and gas industry itself.

Organizers said they had invited representatives of Albuquerque-based KHL Inc., which is looking to lease mineral rights northeast of Mora, a first step that could lead to eventual drilling. But the company didn’t show.

The forum was originally supposed to be in the form of a County Commission meeting, but that meeting was canceled, with Drilling Mora County carrying on.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Letter-Writing Campaign-Mora-Toriam and State Land Leases

Organizations on oil and gas
•Oil and Gas Accountability Project OGAP
•Common Ground United
•Drilling Santa Fe
•Drilling Mora County
•Viva Rio Arriba
Write to the following addresses (sample letter below) and tell them to protect your water, your county’s most fragile and important resource which feeds the land and your families therefore the culture and way of life in Mora County from any industry that violates the mandate of the people via the governing laws of our Development Guidance System (DGS).

•Commissioner Peter Martinez, chair
•Commissioner Gino Maes
•Commissioner Laudente Quintana
•Interim County Manager Miguel Martinez
•Planning and Zoning, Rumaldo Pino, Chair
Above addresses:
Mora County Government
PO Box 580
Mora, New Mexico 87732

Governor Bill Richardson
Office of the Governor
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish
State Capitol
Suite 417
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Mark Fesmire
NM Oil Conservation Division
1220 South St. Francis Dr.
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Representative Tom Udall
District 3
811 St. Michaels Dr. Suite 104
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Representative Thomas Garcia
PO 56
Ocate, NM 87734
Senator Phil Griego
PO Box 10
San Jose, NM 87565

Sample Letter:
I’m writing to ask you to impose a 1 year moratorium on all aspects of oil and gas development in Mora County until such time the necessary environmental studies for our aquifers, acequias, wildlife, wells, etc. are completed and that it has been concluded that oil and gas development is compatible with our agricultural laws of Mora County.

The DGS already states that no polluting industry is allowed in our agricultural County. Please stand by the County laws and help strengthen the DGS from the threat of oil and gas industry development.

Please support our rights and be informed of our deep concerns.

Sincerely Yours,
Address and name

Write to the Commissioner of Public Lands, Governor, Lt. Governor, and our State Senator and State Representative and Governor (addresses above)

Sample Letter:
Commissioner of Public Lands
Commissioner Pat Lyons
NM State Land Office
PO Box 1148
Santa Fe, NM 87504-1148

Dear Mr. Lyons,

I am asking that you will defer the leasing of all state lands in Mora County due to the sensitive area for wildlife and our water for our communities. Our County’s laws, a mandate of our people, upheld in our Development Guidance System (DGS), stipulate that as an agricultural County, no polluting industry is allowed to degrade our way of life. Once the “bread-basket” for the State of New Mexico, we are reclaiming that right and claiming renewable resources to off-set the degradation of oil and gas extraction. Look to Mora County for GREEN—solar, wind and agriculture for our future generations.

Thank you for holding safely the leases on our Mora County earth.

Sincerely Yours,
Address and name

Mora-Torium-a Great Success May 6th, Mora

250 people came to Mora last night to listen and ask questions of a panel of experts on oil and gas development. Gwen Lachelt, executive director of Oil and Gas Accountabiltiy Project, (OGAP) presented on the impacts of drilling, and Daniel Sanchez, Oil Conservation Division (OCD) compliance officer, spoke on the ideals of government oversight. The panel: Johnny Micou, Common Ground United and Drilling Santa Fe; Oscar Simpson, NM Wildlife Federation; Paula Garcia, Mora Land Grant and NM Acequia Association; Don Schreiber, Rancher, Rio Arriba County; Bill Sauble, NM Cattle Growers Association; Bruce Frederick, NM Environmental Law Center; and Nick Ashcraft, NMSU answered sticky oil and gas questions from the audience.

A haunting and quiet absence of Mora County government did not stop the movement that brought this gathering of concerned Mora County Citizens together. The threat of the degradation of Mora County's water, along with the noise, air and land pollution from oil and gas industry development appeared to galvanize the citizens into calling out for a moratorium as the meeting progressed. Our State Representative Tomas Garcia, however, did show, and gave his support and concern over drilling activities in Mora County and offered support on the state level.

Little opposition came from the crowd, which appeared to hearten the concerned citizen group, Drilling Mora County, who has been working diligently to help bring attention to this Leviathan in their agricultural County over the past few months. Focused upon helping people understand the impacts of oil and gas industry, they are working to build a coalition among the Mora County citizens and to bring the issue to the County government officials. The citizens appear to have a task in front of them. However, the County's Development Guidance System (DGS) prohibits any industry that pollutes and posses a threat to the water, air, land, agricultural way of life and culture of the county.

If Mora County government and the people work together, they have an opportunity to rebuild the agricultural way-of- life. Already, local groups have begun farmer markets and ideas of massive greenhouse production are solidifying. Once the bread basket of New Mexico, Mora County has laid fallow since the 1950s when cheap oil and gas made local food production of little value. But today, rich in water, land and know-how, Mora County is capable of becoming, once again, the agricultural producer for the State of New Mexico.

It was reported, however, that the oil and gas industry is lobbying state officials to change existing State laws to over-ride the power of the County's. Petitions were signed for Commissioner Pat Lyons, State Land Offiice, to request that Mora County state land be kept off the leasing block for oil and gas industry bidding. A petition for a moratorium was also signed to be presented to the Mora County Commissioners. More signatures are needed.

Should oil and gas get a foot-hold in Mora county, it will be equivalent to fighting a land war with China. Agriculture will fall to industry. Water will run slick with oil. Land will stink from oil and gas fumes and the air will be thick with industry. Drilling Mora County asked the crowd to consider what they want for Mora County. And the clock is ticking.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

"Recovering From Wyomings's Energy Bender"--The New York Times

Eighty-five water wells in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have recently tested positive for hydrocarbons, indicating that toxic chemicals from drilling have leaked into the water table. Air pollution in the same area was so great this winter that vulnerable residents were warned not to venture outside. Oil companies argued that strong winds would rectify the problem.

The Bush administration,............... has lifted every possible impediment to industry.
For example, oil and gas companies are exempt from provisions of the Clean Water Act that require construction activities to reduce polluted runoff as well as from provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act that regulate underground injection of chemicals. The industry is also generously permitted to drill on critical wildlife winter range (close to 90 percent of all their requests to drill on winter range have been granted). Oil rigs are drilling for natural gas on the banks of the New Fork River (the headwaters of the Colorado) and in the foothills of the Wyoming Range. Well sites in many parts of the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are so closely spaced that, with roads, gas pipelines and compressor stations, the development is continuous.

“One day, I fear I will wake up and all that will be left of Wyoming is a hole in the ground,” one resident of the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem said.

"Mora County Fights to Protect Its Way of Life from Oil and Gas"

"Mired in the middle of oil and gas development, Mora County residents must now face difficult decisions on how to protect their cherished agricultural way of life. Oil and gas development does not respect the land, water, air, nor health of human or beast, and in today’s frantic race – funded by our federal government – more delicate and remote landscapes are being targeted for drilling. It is a shame to destroy these last vestiges of wilderness and traditional cultures that have preserved a way of life, unique and beautiful – and rich with values.

In October 2007, KHL landman Knute Lee, a small Albuquerque oil and gas “realtor,” came knocking on doors. Not to tell the residents in the Ocate area that oil and gas would be drilled on their property, but to negotiate to lease their mineral rights." (Beginning page 5, Rio Grande Sierran)