Urgent Update on the Oil and Gas Ordinance and the effects on Sandoval County

For those of you that do not already know, the County has been working on several ordinances at the same time. For the most part, streamlining and deregulating any environmental oversight that protects the water, air, health and safety of the Citizens of Sandoval County and the rest of the state of New Mexico.

These Ordinances includes the Sandoval County Oil and Gas Ordinance (O&G), Comprehensives Zoning Ordinance (CZO), Sand and Gravel Ordinance, Planning and Zoning Commission Ordinance, Ethics Ordinance, while also introduced the Right to Work ordinance. All have serious implications and the Citizens of the Sandoval County should pay close attention to all and the implication of one to the other!

In the Comprehensives Zoning Ordinance (CZO) only select District Overlays and Zoning Districts get special treatment zoned as Special Use permit, which gives those few communities public notification and input on applications from Oil and Gas drilling or other mining industry. The majority of the county will be left as Permissive Use with no public notice or input. If all the people had been notified of the counties work on the Zoning, they too could have worked to protect their Communities from the impacts of such industry. The Oil and Gas ordinance will leave the people of such towns as Sile, Pena Blanca, Algodones, Puertocito, La Madera, Tejon, Jara, Counselor, Torreon, and the Rio Puerco valley in the dark and vulnerable to vast industrial impacts to their water, air, land, and people.


As many may remember, the last time the people of Sandoval County fought to stop the adverse effect of Oil and Gas drilling in the county, is when they halted Thrust Energy from drilling at the Sandridge project. The county was able to stop this only because it was zoned Special Use, which would not be the case now with this new ordinance leaving the county staff without proper zoning and language to protect the health and safety of its people.
No Public Notification in the majority of the County and to give one community Protection over another is just plain wrong and will push the Drilling to these unprotected areas. There is not a place in this county that does not supply the drinking water for many of people. This is a criminal act against the people of Sandoval County and the State of the New Mexico to willfully destroy our precious water. To delay this ordinance would be the prudent thing to do. A moratorium is

needed until geohydrology study can be done and the impacts are known. The people of Sandoval County deserve to know the truth! The people whose lives will be forever impacted by the decis

ions that will be made by their own County Commissioners on NOV 16th 2017. It is

important that everyone attend this very crucial vote next Thursday!


Also, Sandoval County Commission is accepting comments on the proposed ordinance until 5 pm, Monday, November 13th. Comments need to be sent to Sidney Hill, the Public Information Officer at [email protected], make sure to write the following in the subject line: Comments on the Proposed Sandoval County Oil and Gas Ordinance

Common Ground Community Trust has been working hard to implement any legal means to stop this ordinance. We have delivered a Notice of Violations of the open meetings act to the County. We expect to have to file an injunction to stop the Ordinance from being enacted. We are working on procedural IPRA and OMA Meeting Violations and we feel confident those will be upheld and these would have to be remedied before the Ordinance could be implemented. Common Ground needs to raise additional funds for the legal cost to carry us through District Court with this case.

You can help by pledging.  Send tax-deductible donations to:

Common Ground Community Trust (501c3)

907 Nyasa Rd SE

Rio Rancho, NM 87124

Thank you!

Correction: The County, in a subsequent document and approval, no longer has “Special Use” permiting in the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. Instead, some select CDO’s have limited Conditional Use permitting. Some citizens and not all had some findings dropped into their CDO’s according to the meeting minutes in the adopting the CZO revision this past month.