New Mexico’s Most Important Industry is Under Attack in Sandoval County

Sandoval County’s latest proposed oil and gas ordinance is nonsensical and would do serious harm to the industry the county and our state depend on. The latest version is coming before the County Commission on Thursday night when the Commission debates final passage of the ordinance at its meeting which starts at 6pm.

Sandoval’s County Commission meets at:

1500 Idalia Road, Building D,
Bernalillo, NM 87004

The ordinance as currently proposed has a number of serious problems, including preemption and duplication of existing state and federal laws. The ordinance was poorly written, with many errors in the labeling of sections and subsections. Many of the regulations listed in this ordinance are arbitrary and burdensome. Many more requirements do not make sense practically or logistically. This ordinance will deter potential industry operators from doing business in Sandoval County and will almost undoubtedly lead to lawsuits against the county at the expense of taxpayers.

After more than 3 years of effort, the ordinance that will be voted on at the meeting was written without any input from industry experts;  instead, a group of outspoken industry critics were selected by Sandoval County Commissioners behind closed doors. This “Citizens Working Group” proceeded to meet privately, consulting only select members of the public. Currently, the oil and gas industry provides more than 100,000 jobs for New Mexicans throughout the state and nearly $50 million to Sandoval County’s schools.

Enactment of this ordinance will undoubtedly tarnish Sandoval County’s reputation as a fair, business-friendly environment.

Here are a few of the main issues with the proposed ordinance:

  • There are at least 16 different state or federal preemption issues in the ordinance
  • The published ordinance has many technical issues, including duplicative language and mislabeled sections
  • Many of the requirements, including setbacks (distance requirements from different entities) and water well testing, are antiquated, impractical, and expensive.
  • The Citizens’ Working Group was formed behind closed doors without any industry experts.
  • The county will undoubtedly be sued, costing the taxpayers.

If you can’t make it to the Commission meeting on Thursday night please send the Commissioners a note. You can email them below (or click here for a list):

Dr. James F. Holden-Rhodes

Jay C. Block

Don G. Chapman

David Heil

Kenneth Eichwald

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