Monday, April 12, 2010

San Miguel County Oil and Gas Ordinance Task Force

Approval of the San Miguel County Oil and Gas Taskforce is on the agenda for tomorrow's San Miguel County Commission meeting. Any community members able to attend and offer their opinions to the commission are strongly encouraged to do so.

Below is an excerpt from tomorrow's agenda and an article published in the Las Vegas Optic regarding one of the applicants request for San Miguel County to remove its moratorium on oil and gas development in the county.

13. Oil and Gas Ordinance Task Force Appointments
Background Information: San Miguel County has accepted letters of interest from
individuals who wish to be appointed to and serve on the County's Oil and Gas Ordinance
Task Force. The County received letters from fourteen (14) individuals which were then
reviewed by a committee composed of County staff and one (1) County Commissioner.

Action Requested of Commission: Consider and appoint the following individuals to an
oil and gas task force representing the following categories:

Oil Industry: Karin Foster, Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico; and John
Michael Richardson, Petroleum and Mineral Land Services.

Environmental and Educational: Jeffrey Mills, NMED Las Vegas, NM; and Ken Benston,
Ph.D., NMHU.

Citizen: J. David Blagg, General Contractor, Sapello, NM; Ernesto Borunda, Retired,
Sapello, NM; Larry Web, Citizen, Newkirk, NM.

County Representatives: Nicolas T. Leger, County Commissioner; Les Montoya, County
Manager; and Alex Tafoya, Planning and Zoning Supervisor.

Staff Recommendation: Consider and approve recommended appointments to the Oil and
Gas Ordinance Task Force.

Presenter: Alex Tafoya, Planning and Zoning Supervisor

Las Vegas Optic
18 March 2010

You're taking property rights, county told

By David Giuliani
Two San Miguel County landowners are asking the County Commission to rescind its moratorium on oil and gas drilling. They said it is impacting their property rights.
Larry Webb and Phil Bidegain — both of whom own land on the county’s east side — told the commission this week that they have leases with companies for possible oil and gas drilling.
Webb said he has a lease that comes up on May 4. He said he fears the company may not renew it because of the uncertainty surrounding the moratorium.
But county officials assured him that the moratorium was only temporary.
The county enacted the moratorium in January, with officials saying they needed to update a 20-year-old ordinance that deals with such issues. Commissioners maintain they want to protect the interests of all concerned.
They expect the moratorium to last a year while they draft a new ordinance, seeking feedback from everyone from environmentalists to the oil and gas industry.
The county hasn’t received any applications for oil and gas drilling, but they said they want to be prepared. In recent years, companies have expressed interest in oil and gas drilling in neighboring Santa Fe and Mora counties.
Webb said his lease brings in $140,000 over five years.
“By passing this moratorium, you have taken our private property rights,” he said.
He said he doubted the county would pass a moratorium on grazing if people questioned such activities.
“How is that different from minerals?” he asked.
He said oil and gas drilling would help the area’s economy and ultimately such things as schools.
Bidegain said he didn’t question the county’s authority to pass the moratorium, but he requested that the county rescind it while it enacts new local regulations on drilling, “so everyone can get on with their business.”
He said lifting the moratorium would give him and others on the county’s east side “a little better bargaining position” with companies.
Commission Chairman David Salazar stressed that the moratorium was only temporary and that the county sought to protect all concerned.
“We have a right as a county commission to put an ordinance in place that we think protects San Miguel County residents,” he said.