Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
NM water official rejects San Augustin application
The state's top water official has denied a request from a New York-based commercial venture that sought to drill more than three dozen wells in western New Mexico. Rural residents, one of the state's largest irrigation districts and others had described the application by Augustin Plains Ranch as a modern-day water grab. They argued it flew in the face of a western water doctrine that has been in place for more than a century to keep speculators from profiting off the sale of water to thirsty users. State Engineer Scott Verhines announced Monday that he denied the request because it was vague, too broad and the effects of granting it could not be reasonably evaluated. He said he considered the overall impacts the proposal would have on New Mexicans. "As our society becomes increasingly dense in urban areas, we remain encouraging to innovations in water movement around the state," Verhines said. "However, reasonable applications are those that identify a clear purpose for the use of the water, include reasonable design plans and include specifics as to the end user of the water." One of the most contested applications in the history of the state engineer's office, the plan by Augustin Plains Ranch called for drilling 37 wells, each capable of pumping 2,000 gallons of water per minute. In all, the company asked to pump more than 17 billion gallons a year from beneath the plains for up to 300 years to supplement supplies in the Rio Grande Valley. Verhines issued the denial without prejudice, meaning the company can refile its application. It also has the option of appealing the decision in state district court...more