Letters to the Observer: Reader discusses history of vertical drilling in the New Mexico Tech study


No, sorry Commissioner Heil. Hydraulic fracturing of wells that began in the 1950s was vertical drilling.

Page 59 of the New Mexico Tech study you referenced states, “In the early 2000s, techniques were developed to drill wells horizontally through shales and other unconventional low-permeability reservoirs.”

Page 60 states, “Unconventional oil and gas exploration and development has risks associated with it, including risks to drinking water quality. As Sandoval County considers its unconventional oil and gas resources, it is important to also begin assessing the possible susceptibility of groundwater resources to contamination during oil and gas operations.”

Page 99 states, “Operations around population centers, including Rio Rancho and also smaller communities, are high risk, given the reliance of all of the communities on groundwater as their drinking water supply.”

The referred expertise that Sandoval County gathered was embodied in the Feldblum Citizens Working Group Ordinance, which was dismissed outright by the Planning and Zoning Commission, home of P&Z commissioner Daniel Stoddard and the infamous Stoddard Ordinance that began this whole fiasco.

I attended the Sandoval County Commission meeting where the considered ordinance you mentioned did not pass. I wrote the letter of Dec. 22 because this issue has not gone away and concerned residents should not assume so.

I am not a county commissioner. My credibility is really not at issue, but yours is. May District 4 be better represented in 2020.

Stephen Farkash

Rio Rancho