Oil and gas industry needs to clean up mess


I am very concerned about the health of communities in New Mexico suffering from ill effects of oil and gas.

As a board member of Interfaith Power and Light, our faith communities and people of faith and conscience worked hard on the oil and gas air pollution rules finalized earlier this year by the Environmental Improvement Board.

We offered many comments and spoke in public hearings for rules to address spills, leaks, venting and flaring, which take a toll on all New Mexicans’ health and access to clean air and water. The rules passed by EIB were an important step and safeguard for New Mexicans.

The news that the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico (IPANM) intends to sue the state to reverse key provisions of the rules was very disheartening after such a long public process. Industry was part of the long rule-making process. As an ordinary person, I do not understand why IPANM would want to harm the health of our communities — except out of greed.

In good conscience, as oil and gas operators are realizing record profits, they should step up to clean up after themselves and act as better neighbors to New Mexico communities. People of faith and conscience are working now for strong federal rules for pollution that follow New Mexico’s lead.

The Environmental Protection Agency should strengthen its methane protection standards to require all oil and gas operators to find and fix leaks and stop routine venting and flaring.

In this time of increasing health risks from poor air quality, across the state, and especially in areas of oil and gas production, we cannot afford to take backward steps. It is critical that the EIB rules be maintained, so as people of conscience, we protect the most vulnerable among us.

Ann T. McCartney

Los Lunas

County needs to be  positive about the future


The properties Valley Improvement Association, Inc., have under contract to Cibola Land have been available for sale for years.

The properties held by the association have been sold to various buyers throughout the years. The decision to enter a contract with Cibola was a responsible, thought-out business decision, as VIA no longer has a funding mechanism to pay the taxes.

The sale would pay back taxes and continue to generate future taxes by the new owners, a benefit to the schools and our community. The premise of this contract, as with any other sale, was that the properties would continue to be governed by covenants and restrictions, covenants that have governed and protected the area for years.

Beyond the existing covenants, VIA cannot dictate future uses of properties sold; that is up to government oversight and regulations to do.

In all reality, the property that is in question is property that was sold in 1968 for $4.3 million (estimated $33 million in today’s dollars) to Horizon Corporation.

Now, a handful of the previous sellers from 1968 want their granted, sold, ancestral property back, using laws (2018 NM-HB88) and taxpayer funds ($750,000 to date) given by our local legislators to get these properties back in the hands of a few.

The actions by VIA to sell its properties, in the past or in the future, do not contribute to drilling in Valencia County — no more than selling the original grant will contribute to drilling.

It’s time that we place our energy in figuring a way to make positive things happen, like making N.M. 47 safer, building a bridge across the river to alleviate dangerous traffic issues and stop fighting the delivery of health care to Valencia County — issues that have been fought for years, causing so much harm; issues that affect the lives and safety of the residents of our community each day.

Richard Patrick Sweeney

Chairman of the board

Pam Cordova

Vice chairwoman

Teresa L. Scott

Secretary, vice president and COO

Paul A. Baca

Treasurer, president and CEO

Valley Improvement Association

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