Saturday, October 3, 2009

Santa Fe Opera, Vandegrifts and Dr. Alexander lease their mineral rights in San Miguel and Mora County

And who owns the surface property? This is being determined by Drilling Mora County. The first area mapped shows the 36,000 acres of land in San Miguel and Mora Counties of which 26,747 acres of mineral rights have been leased by the four parties to J Bar Cane. One of those parties, Santa Fe Opera director, Charles MacKay, states that it is his fiduciary responsibility to lease the mineral rights for the financial support of the opera. However, the opera's guidelines for gifts is more delineated than that. See for the full scoop. MacKay's actions were obviously efficient and precise, yet irresponsible to the landowners and neighbours in the counties where oil and gas development is being opposed.

The lease MacKay signed gives drilling companies the legal right to build worker housing, run roads
and lay pipes anywhere across the surface owner's land they choose (even if it might be the alfalfa field), and extract their water along with setting up gas wells and running compressors 24/7 at their discretion. In fact, if the water wells run dry or contaminated, all in a days work. This "highway robbery" is done with only the Surface Owners Protection Act for the land owner--which essentially gives them no rights what-so-ever. There is no law even enforcing the mineral owner to notify the surface owner that the leases are being considered for sale or are sold.

The map above shows four rough groupings of squares, each one apparently representing one of the four lessors of mineral leases. Each small square within these areas represents a square mile or 640 acres. The 26, 747 acres lie some where inside these squares which make up the 36,000 acres of land.

The four parties who leased mineral rights are
1. Dr. Marcia Alexander
2. Lyn M Vandegrift and Byron and Margaret Vandegrift
3. Joan Mary Vandegrift
4. Charles MacKay, Santa Fe Opera

Physical mapping of these properties shows approximately 7,000-8,000 acres in the Mora Land Grant, Mora County, with the balance in San Miguel County, including the San Miguel Land Grant. The 26,747 acres cross Interstate 1-25 in two places.