Time to tell the MRCOG Water Resources Board
It’s time for a Moratorium
We are in a Climate Crisis! NO Business As Usual!
It’s Time for Adaptation and Transitional Policy Making
Next Water Resources Board (WRB) Meeting
Nov 6th, 10 am
WRB Seeking Input on
Draft Oil and Gas Guidance
The Board of Directors of the Mid Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) Resolution R-18-04 directed the Water Resources Board (WRB) to develop a scope of work related to oil and gas development in the region and to seek input and participation of key stakeholders when deemed appropriate.
The WRB convened a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to research oil and gas development issues and to develop guidance for MRCOG member governments. Input on the oil and gas development of the region and the draft guidance may be submitted to the TAG by:
- Submit in writing via email of no more than 5 pages issues of concern on the oil and gas development of the region. Please include “Concerns” in the subject line.
- Submit written comments of no more than 5 pages of the draft guidance. Please include “Comments” in the subject line.
Mid Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) Oil & Gas Ordinance Guidance Comments Needed
The draft on the MRCOG Oil and Gas Guidance, are recommendations by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The TAG are requesting public comments to the Water Resource Board at MRCOG.
Take action by sending a letter to 'Request a Moratorium' and why we need one.
Impacts from Oil and Gas Drilling: Fracturing our soil, health, water and air.
Here are the issues at hand for locals:
PROPOSED ROAD PROJECTS
MRCOG has led unsustainable growth policies since its inception, promoting schemes like the Northwest Loop (NWL), Paseo Del Vulcan (PDV) and Atrisco Vista Boulevard (AVB) extensions. These sprawl-promoting "roads to nowhere" are the latest chapter in an old New Mexico tale - land and resource speculation, aided and abetted by local government. There is a taxpayer-funded boondoggle at the heart of this story. Over a decade ago, Sandoval County paid $6 million for two brine wells as part of a plan to find water for the county's west side. The plan collapsed due to investor squabbles, the economic recession, and the high cost of desalination. The brine water proved to be toxic, with dangerous concentrations of heavy metals, including radium. The abandoned wells leaked from 2015-2017, spewing millions of gallons of radioactive water into the watershed. Now, plans for the wells are back, along with schemes for fertilizer plants, lithium mining, and fracking. All in areas "coincidentally" served by these road extensions. In 2017, while citizens were busy fighting the pro-fracking Oil and Gas Ordinance in Sandoval County, MRCOG was busy reviving the PDV project and the AVB extension. The NorthWest Loop is not under their purview.
Through the state-coordinated Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, slated for the legislature in 2020 and on the Governor’s call), taxpayers are funding private corporations by creating new roads for heavy industry without proper public notification. This violates a citizen’s right-to-know and due process.
Our citizens are asking MRCOG for the following:
- Perform impact studies on public health, and climate change before approving the Oil and Gas ordinance guidance that would impact the 4 county area. Studies must take into consideration all air, water, and particulate matter emissions from proposed industry and build out.
- Perform baseline air and water quality studies on the west mesa on the Bernalillo and Sandoval County line and for all counties in the Mid Region Council of Governments, including baseline air and water monitoring on boundaries to tribal nations. There are several schools that would be able to utilize grants for baseline indoor and outdoor quality on the West Mesa.
- Conduct proper tribal consultations and public notification. Hold informational meetings that provide a clear accounting of funding sources and plans to the stakeholders and surrounding communities.
- Hold an inquiry and investigation into land swaps made without transparency, inadequate or with no notifications.
The plan to pass an industry-driven oil and gas ordinance at MRCOG, if successful, will no doubt bring lawsuits. The Ordinance Guidance process did not take input from the public and stakeholders, this draft should have been written with a stakeholder group not a technical action group. This was written prior to the announcement of a public commenting period on produced fracked wastewater utilization outside of industry, that includes effluent return flow credit for the City of Rio Rancho water rights retirements to the Rio Grande. These entities are driving the MRCOG’s TAG team.
Fracking: THE ONGOING HEALTH THREAT TO COMMUNITIES
Our ability to address the on-going threat of fracking has not been allowed to come forward in the MRCOG ordinance process.Those threats from hydraulic fracking are to water, air and health in Sandoval County, West Mesa and NW Albuquerque include the use of Produced Water outside of industry that includes dumping oil and gas wastewater into arroyo and rivers, aquifer injection and for road spreading and for use on agricultural and livestock, this is not a hypothetical, it is a real and dangerous threat
The Brine well contamination have not been examined, on the impacts to the RioGrande and to the Rio Puerco from drilling, pumping and injection on the Rio Grande Rift, seismic risks, geological and hydrological independent studies from industry influence on what these impacts will have on the water supply and state obligations in extreme climate crisis need to be answered.
Rio Puerco Rio West Brine Well Spill 2016
With increasing urgency, groups of medical and other health professionals and scientists are issuing calls for comprehensive, long-term study of the full range of potential health and ecosystem effects of drilling and fracking. These appeals underscore the accumulating evidence of harm, point to the major knowledge gaps that remain, and decry the atmosphere of secrecy and intimidation that continues to impede the progress of scientific inquiry.
Radium levels in Rio West Brine wells prior to fracking fluids and wastewater flowback
Published reviews and international governmental reports underscore the mounting evidence of health risks including developmental, neurological, carcinogenic, respiratory, reproductive, and psychological. Health professionals and scientists in the United States and around the world increasingly call for the suspension of unconventional gas and oil extraction activities in order to limit, mitigate, or eliminate its serious, adverse public health hazards, including health threats from climate change.
The risks identified by these oil and gas companies are not just hypothetical. Many, if not all of these risks are reflected in the evidence compiled in other sections of the Compendium 6 of nearly 1800 peer-reviewed studies.
Upon examination by Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Concerns of Health Professionals of New York of the peer-reviewed medical, public health, biological, earth sciences, and engineering literature uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health.
Other studies on “Fossil Fuel and Brain” have pointed out the risks of the current emissions reporting standards and how they are impacting health are also not being addressed prior to the area opened for Fracking. Nearly 186,000 acres of public lands have been open to fracking leases from Chaco Canyon into the Rio Grande Watershed. The MRCOG Board apparently does the bidding of development and the oil and gas industry if they pass any portion of this ordinance.
Due to burden of fracking on local government, the lack of transparency of the costs- benefits by MRCOG that failed to engage the public stakeholders in their Oil and Gas industry driven ordinance, without discussion, inaccuracy of jobs claims, increased crime rates, threats to property values and mortgages, The industry has inflated estimates of oil and gas reserves and profitability as well. As a response to the proliferating evidence of the risks and harms of fracking—augmented by increasing concern about the many remaining uncertainties—various countries, states, and municipalities have instituted bans and moratoria.
There has not been the appropriate disclosures due to trade secrets and to know the impacts on water, air and health in the counties or state, or specifically, frontline communities in the Permian and San Juan basins including Chaco Canyon and surrounding Chaco Landscape. Nor has the economic fallout of an industry that is destroying the climate and causing extinction been considered by regional leaders that must ensure the safety and protection of the public as their sworn duty and mission to prevent dispersal of these contaminants . All policies implemented must be embraced according to the trust obligations of officials to preserve and defend people’s constitutional rights and to a clean healthy environment.
The conclusion reached by the Concerned Health Professionals of New York (CHPNY) and the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)
The rapidly expanding body of scientific evidence compiled and referenced in the present volume of the Compendium 6 is massive, troubling, and cries out for decisive action. Across a wide range of parameters, from air and water pollution to radioactivity to social disruption to greenhouse gas emissions, the data continue to reveal a plethora of recurring problems and harms that cannot be sufficiently averted through regulatory frameworks. There is no evidence that fracking can operate without threatening public health directly and without imperiling climate stability upon which public health depends. The only method of mitigating its grave harm to public health and the climate is a complete and comprehensive ban on fracking.
Furthermore, limiting review time and restricting how counties, states and tribes review projects could invite project proponents to game the system by submitting minimal data and ignoring a county’s, state’s or tribe’s request for any additional information. It is critical that county, states and tribes have adequate time to review applications for large, complex projects such as supplemental wells, brine well applications, roads, dams, pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Unreasonable time constraints and inadequate information could result in poor certification decisions that could cause degraded water quality and harm to public health and the environment.
We request that:
- The Board of MRCOG fully supports SB 459 to ban new fracking permit in the state.
- The Board support NO outside of industry use of produced water,
- MRCOG Board of Director and the Water Resource Board should declare support and passage of a regional moratorium to ban fracking in Sandoval, Bernalillo and Valencia Counties, in order to protect health, air, and water of the citizens of the State of New Mexico
Take action by sending a letter to 'Request a Moratorium' and why we need one.