Sunday, April 24, 2016

NM rancher challenges energy industry

A Gobernador rancher who appears in a new television ad that promotes stronger federal methane rules related to leaks and the practices of venting and flaring by the oil and gas industry has found himself straddling the line between environmental activists and the industry. Earlier this month, a nonprofit conservation group based in Montana and Colorado launched a television ad campaign to call attention to royalties lost each year related to methane escaping from current production practices on public lands. The Western Values Project rolled out the TV spot featuring Rio Arriba County rancher Don Schreiber, who said that like the ongoing debate over oil and gas operations in the San Juan Basin, his appearance in the ad is complicated. In a phone interview, Schreiber said that when he and his wife, Jane, both retired from life in Farmington and bought the 480-acre Devil's Spring Ranch in Gobernador in 1999, the couple, though familiar with oil and gas operations in the Four Corners area, had a lot to learn. Schreiber said that trying to develop the ranch to preserve the land and "reclaim some of the ranching heritage that was so rich in the state" meant he faced a learning curve on how oil and gas operators produce oil and gas, from building roads to flaring natural gas. "We tried to get a grip on the process (of oil and gas development) and had a lot of head-knocking with companies and the regulations," Schreiber said. "We weren't trying to stop them from drilling. We were trying to get them to change the way they did it." Schreiber said that at one point, he chained a small trailer to a temporary gate that blocked one of the access roads on his ranch and stayed put in it for three days in the dead of winter before oil and gas company workers showed up with a fig leaf — a box of donuts. He said his impulsive act of protest taught him a lesson in diplomacy — a balance of "actively resisting and actively engaging with (the industry)" — which he said he stands by today...more

No comments: