Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gov. Richardson & water grab

The thing that has me worried is that Governor Richardson is hell- bent on bringing in even more business; remember his trip to Europe this summer? [article]

In order to promote that kind of growth, he will have to have a plan for the water to support it. So even though sucking our plain dry by a foreigner seems like a no-brainer issue for the OSE ... perhaps it's not.

>> Kevin Ryan

Rio Grande Diversion comment


I think that the effort to take groundwater in Catron Co is tied to Albuquerque water use upstream. There are others with whom I've spoken who share this belief.

The relationship is like this: The San Juan-Chama water has been flowing for a long time and has been providing a significant source of water flow to the Rio Grande, helping the state meet Rio Grande Compact delivery requirements. If Albuquerque starts using its San Juan-Chama water and the equivalent amount of native Rio Grande water it says it needs as "conveyance", then the river will lose as much as 45-48,000afy in flow.

Taking Catron County groundwater and transfering it to surface water discharge into the Rio Grande (selling it to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority) will allow Albuquerque to use more water upstream and not risk penalties from the State Engineer.

I thought that the issue was dormant; I didn't realize it was under some sort of process. Please let me know what is going on and I'll spread the word around here. If you need any advice or information, let me know and I'll see if I can find someone to help.



-- Michael Jensen
Grants & Communication
Amigos Bravos
PO Box 238
Taos NM 87571
505.362.1063 (cell)
505.758.3874 (office)
skype: michaeljensen79

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Property owner speaks out

We are property owners at Abbe Springs Ranches development, lot 98, in western Socorro County. We have sent a letter of protest to the State Engineer against the Augustin Plains Ranch’s, LLC application for appropriation of ground water. We plan to drill a well on our NM property, and believe the proposed appropriation of ground water will affect the amount of water available to us. In addition, we are concerned about the long term effect of commercial drilling on wildlife and plant life on the property and in the area. We also believe commercial drilling will affect property values. We plan to pass our property to our children and grandchildren, and will do whatever we can to help it to remain a beautiful, peaceful, country site that can be enjoyed for generations.

Furthermore, we have concerns about the effect of commercial drilling on the nearby National Forest lands. Surely, dry forest lands will negatively impact tourism, and the enjoyment of all who would visit. Please let us know what we can do to help you in your endeavor to defeat the Augustin Plains Ranch’s application.


Sarah and Joshua Chong
Lansdale, PA 19446

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Broe Water Grab Defeated

Thursday, September 25, 2008

On September 17, 2008, Broe Land and Acquisitions, Inc. LLC (Broe) filed a notice to withdraw all of its applications for water rights that are currently pending before the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer. Broe, a Denver corporation specializing in real estate speculation, had filed a total of 16 water rights applications to appropriate thousands of acre-feet of groundwater per year from the Gallup underground water basin in Catron County.

Broe's decision to withdraw resulted from a motion filed by New Mexico Environmental Law Center staff attorney Bruce Frederick on behalf of its clients, including Thomas Davis, who owns water rights in the area. Frederick argued that the appropriation would violate state law requiring water rights and land to be owned by the same entity. Broe’s applications to the State Engineer attempted to purchase water rights to land owned by the State of New Mexico.

“Broe’s plans to pump thousands of acre-feet from the aquifer would have impaired our wells and threatened our community, which depends on that groundwater,” says Davis.

"This is a major victory for New Mexico communities working to protect their scarce water resources," said Frederick. "This appeared to be an effort to speculate in water rights by obtaining and developing water reserves in the same way that oil companies develop oil and gas reserves, a practice that could devastate communities that depend upon the water involved."

According to Frederick, out of state water speculators see profit-making opportunities in New Mexico and are intent on converting what’s left of New Mexico’s free unappropriated groundwater into their private reserves.

Frederick and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center are also representing individuals opposing the applications filed by the San Augustin Plains Ranch to appropriate 54,000 acre feet of water annually from the San Augustin plains area near Datil, NM.

The mission of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center is to protect New Mexico’s natural environment and communities through legal and policy advocacy, and public education. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center’s attorneys have handled over 100 critical cases in low-income and minority communities fighting pollution and environmental degradation. The Law Center charges few, if any, fees to its clients, most of whom are from Hispanic and Native American communities. The NMELC is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2008. Membership and gifts help New Mexico communities protect their natural environment and their health from toxic pollution, the degrading effects of growth and liabilities created by irresponsible mining.

Bruce Frederick, Staff Attorney New Mexico Environmental Law Center 505-989-9022