It’s not too late

Editor:

In his Nov. 24 column, Mr. Yates argues that at the July 15 Valencia County Commission hearing, the state demonstrated how it “imposes and enforces strict rules to protect fresh water aquifers.”

I was at that meeting. How many rules did the state present to monitor groundwater during or after drilling an oil well? None.

The state showed no state requirements to monitor groundwater. The state only (arbitrarily) imposes a certain length of steel casing to isolate the oil well from shallow groundwater.

Oil wells are drilled deep, and the shallow parts of the well are completed very fast, with minimal concern for the shallow layers, as the drillers are anxious to reach the deep, potentially oil-bearing strata.

There is no evaluation of groundwater aquifers, aquitards or distinct groundwater salinity zones during that early process.

Drilling proceeds blindly through. Since there is no groundwater monitoring required, there will be no way to know if the drilling (whether successful or not!) has impacted the groundwater until a nearby groundwater well shows some contamination (from oil or simply from mixed-up groundwater salinity zones), and this could be many years later. By then, it is too late to fix, and the drillers are long gone.

The county cannot hide behind non-existing state rules to monitor groundwater during oil drilling.

 

Paul Parmentier, Certified hydrogeologist

Los Lunas

 

It will affect everyone

Editor:

How is Harvey Yates so sure he’ll find gas or oil when he drills in Valencia County?

He’s most certainly relying on seismology, geological mapping and possibly magnetometers, all developed by scientists over the last century.

For him to then drill, Mr. Yates depends on material scientists manipulating atomic structures that he cannot see with his naked eye to forge drill bits that can tear through the hardest rock.

Mr. Yates also entrusts the safety of his drilling team and his profits to scientistic understanding the physical and chemical properties of the different layers of rock below, the chemistry of fracking fluid, the fluid dynamics of oil, gas and water.

Harvey Yates does not doubt these scientists and engineers. Yet somehow when these same principles of physics, chemistry, and fluid dynamics are applied in the 200-year-old discipline of climate science they become a “religion.”

When they demonstrate the impacts of the fossil fuel industry on the heath and well-being of people and ecosystems upon which we all depend, they are suddenly not a “proven science.” Tell that to the people whose livelihoods and indeed way of life have been wiped out by the Hermit’s Peak Fire, Mr. Yates.

Tell that to the taxpayers who are shelling out $1 billion to pipe water to Clovis and a few other small towns running out of water. Climate change is real. It is here. It is caused by fossil fuels.

What you do in Valencia County, Mr. Yates, even on private property far away from any town, affects people everywhere. Fluid dynamics and atmospheric science tell me that.

 

Stefi Weisburd

Tijeras, N.M.

 

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.