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Friday, July 4, 2008 THE NEW MEXICAN A-7

Ban: Agency recommends raising penalties
Feds question Continued from Page A-1
more time is needed to evalu-
A yearlong moratorium imposed by supports oil and gas produc-
tion, was also unavailable.

if oil, gas rules ate and prepare for possible

impacts of hydrocarbon extrac-
The EMNRD listed six other
Santa Fe County in February is still
in effect and could be extended.
Richardson’s office did not
return phone calls seeking his
reaction to the reports and the
requests for an extension of the

apply to them recommendations, some of

which would constitute major
changes in the way the oil and
gas industry is regulated in
recommending to extend the
Micou said he is also excited
about the portions of the report
conducted in oil and gas devel-
opment areas in northwestern
and southeastern New Mexico
“indicate significantly elevated
A yearlong moratorium
imposed by Santa Fe County
in February is still in effect and
New Mexico. could be extended six more
Record drilling is expected to vote in August on
rules implementing laws requir- One recommendation would
that request more money and
authority for regulation and
rates of asthma, respiratory
illness and cardiovascular dis- months if needed. The county
prompts public ing the environment, wildlife amend the Oil and Gas Act encourage Santa Fe County ease.” The DOH report also has hired a panel of experts
and public health and safety be to give the Oil Conservation to exercise some controls as includes a list of chemicals to help them create policies
health, safety given more consideration when Division and the Oil Conserva- well. “The OCD is recognizing used in oil and gas extraction to meet the wave of energy
proposals approving development. tion Commission authority to
impose more serious penalties
county authority to regulate, and their corresponding effects production activity currently
sweeping the Western United
Colorado’s natural gas boom and that is very important and on health.
prompted the laws, approved on hydrocarbon producers who wonderful,” Micou said. Bill Dirks, president of Tec- States.
By Judith Kohler last year. There were 35,440 violate existing state laws. Other state agencies that ton Energy, the company that The complete text of the
The Associated Press active oil and gas wells state- “It’s meaningless to talk issued reports and recommen- sparked Richardson’s morato- reports created by state agen-
wide as of June 6. about the requirements the dations include the depart- rium by seeking permits to drill cies on this topic is available on
DENVER — Colorado offi- OCD/OCC could impose on
The state’s record drilling ments of Cultural Affairs, Tour- for oil in Galisteo last Decem- the EMNRD Web site: www.
cials revamping the state’s oil oil and gas operations if OCD/
rates the past few years have ism, Indian Affairs, Game and ber, couldn’t be reached for
and gas rules are taking heat OCC does not have an efficient
been driven largely by natural Fish, State Engineer, Agricul- comment Thursday.
from an unexpected source: the and practical way of enforcing
gas development, most of which ture, Environment and Health. Bob Gallagher, president of Contact Phaedra Haywood
federal government. those requirements,” the report
is on state or private land. The New Mexico Depart- the New Mexico Oil and Gas at 986-3068 or phaywood@
The U.S. Bureau of Land Man- says.
Late last year, BLM Direc- ment of Health said studies it Association, a trade group that
agement, overseeing an explo- Penalty amounts should
tor Wisely sent an editorial to
sion of gas drilling on federal be raised so they are in line
Colorado papers saying her
land in Colorado, is challenging with penalties in other indus-
agency gets many complaints
the notion that new state regula- tries, and the agency should
about energy development even
tions would extend to federal not have to prove violations
though less than 15 percent of it
land without BLM’s agreement. were “knowing and willful” to
occurs on federal lands.
The BLM’s complaints fol- Wisely said in a December impose fines, the report further
low vocal opposition from the interview with The Associated states.
industry to new rules being Press that the BLM is required Amendments should also be
considered by regulators. to conduct rigorous environ- made to the duties of the two
In a June 6 letter to the state, mental reviews and faces strict agencies that would allow them
Colorado BLM Director Sally regulations, but the state doesn’t to consider a broader range of
Wisely said her agency believes have a comparable process, and factors when issuing drilling
“that certain draft rules would it’s responsible for far more of permits, according to the rec-
be pre-empted by federal law if the new wells. ommendations.
applied to oil and gas operations BLM spokesman Hall said “At a minimum … statutory
on federal lands.” She cited court although the state is consider- mandates to protect the envi-
cases and the U.S. Constitution. ing comprehensive changes, ronment should be expanded to
Wisely suggested in an earlier many of the federal regulations expressly include the authority
letter that the state and BLM will still be tougher. He said to protect surface water and
should hash out their differ- the agency doesn’t want to see ground water,” the report reads.
ences to avoid litigation. existing protections on federal Richardson enacted the
She urged the Colorado Oil land watered down or state six-month moratorium and
and Gas Conservation Commis- rules impede what the BLM’s ordered the studies after public
sion, the main regulatory body, been directed to do. backlash against a proposed oil
to consider updating a long- That includes fostering oil drilling project in the Galisteo
standing agreement between and gas development. “The Basin. The state moratorium
Colorado and the BLM on oil feds are trying to have it both on oil and gas drilling in the
and gas development to resolve ways. They’re speaking out of basin expires at the end of
any conflicts. both sides of their mouth,” said this month, although a county
“We have had a good relation- Steve Torbit, regional executive moratorium is in effect until
ship with the COGCC in terms director of the National Wildlife February.
of how we worked on these Federation in Boulder. Johnny Micou, founder of
issues,” BLM spokesman Steven Torbit is a wildlife biologist Drilling Santa Fe, one of several
Hall said. “I think all of those who worked for the Wyoming grassroots organizations that
concerns can be addressed and Colorado state wildlife sprung up to protest oil devel-
through the (memorandum of agencies and the U.S. Fish and opment in the basin, said he is
understanding).” Wildlife Service. pleased with the recommen-
Dave Neslin, acting director He said he worked on many dations made in the reports.
of the oil and gas commission, federal environmental reviews, “There is some really, really
said he plans to meet with fed- and the BLM typically deferred good stuff in there,” Micou said.
eral officials soon. He said there to Colorado on the spacing of “We are thrilled that they are
have been discussions and his wells.
staff recently modified the pro- Torbit contended that has
posals in response to concerns allowed the BLM to get away
about drilling on Indian lands. without doing more rigorous
“We believe the issues can be environmental analyses.
resolved in a manner that works Although some of the fed-
for both sides,” Neslin said. eral regulations are stronger
State officials, though, have on paper, Torbit said the BLM
insisted the rules would apply often waives requirements
to federal land because of the when companies ask. Some
state’s jurisdiction over water environmental groups and
and wildlife. elected officials have made
The oil and gas commission similar claims.

Raid: Antlers, heads YOUR INSIDE

will be auctioned off
Continued from Page A-1
charges, was arrested on felony
charges of trafficking with the
intent to distribute and pos-
law enforcement division, said
the Martinez case was one of
the largest number of confis-
cated wildlife heads and items.
“We’re always concerned when
session of a firearm by a felon, there are numerous heads, and
and a misdemeanor charge of we haven’t seen the documenta-
possession of a controlled sub- tion,” Brooks said.
stance. He was booked into the Brooks said the department
Santa Fe County jail. has accumulated so many con-
Police alerted the state Depart- fiscated antlers and wildlife
ment of Game and Fish about heads that in mid-July the cache
the game heads and obtained will be auctioned off to the pub-
a search warrant to investigate. lic. People will have a chance
Inside Martinez’s blue-and-white to bid on elk, deer and bighorn
mobile home at No. 77 Sunrise sheep antlers at the annual auc-
Road, a game officer found tion July 19 in Santa Fe. Money
17 mule deer heads and 21 elk raised at the auction will go to
heads, most with antlers and the department’s game protec-
some shoulder mounted. The tion fund, Brooks said.
officer also found a stuffed black
bear head, a bobcat hide and
Online banking is an easy and secure way to bank at your convenience. • Free bill pay
Contact Staci Matlock at
pronghorn antlers. Several of the 470-9843 or smatlock@ Pay bills, transfer funds and apply for loans anytime, anywhere, with no • Free eStatements
bull elk skulls had large six-point additional fees and no waiting.
antler racks attached. • Free wire transfers
The officer said in an affidavit
that he believes Martinez pos- 140 Wines • Free bank-to-bank transfers
sessed most of the game heads Half-Price Sundays
and pelts illegally. Game depart-
ment records show Martinez
has had six elk hunting licenses PRANZO
since 1999 and had a deer hunt-
ing license for this season, which
begins Nov. 1.
4 71 - 1121
Martinez pleaded guilty to

unlawful hunting or fishing in
2001, court documents say.
Dan Brooks, chief of the M Member FDIC
Game and Fish Department’s AS SPECIALIST A IR

2 year or
24,000 miles warranty
on Parts and Labor.
1221 Calle de Comercio Santa Fe: 954-5400 I 301 Griffin St. I 2009 Galisteo St. Los Alamos: 662-5171 I 1200 Trinity Drive I 77 Rover Blvd.