Forest Service accepting comment on Pecos-area drilling plan - Albuquerque Journal

Forest Service accepting comment on Pecos-area drilling plan

The management of the Santa Fe National Forest is soliciting public input on the controversial proposal by Comexico LLC to conduct exploratory core drilling on national forest land north of Pecos in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

National forest representatives will host a public meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12, “to share information about the Comexico proposal and the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process and to give the public an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments,” according to a news release.

The public meeting will be at Pecos High School on N.M. 63 from 6-8 p.m.

The proposed drilling would be on previously identified mineral deposits, primarily copper, lead and zinc.

But the U.S. Forest Service’s news release noted that Comexico, a subsidiary of Australian company New World Cobalt, is not proposing to mine the Jones Hill area. “Comexico’s business model is to conduct exploration on previously identified deposits and market the prospect to other investors/companies for development,” the release said.

The forest service said public comments received by a Jan. 17 deadline “will help determine the scope of the Comexico project, including the SFNF’s management of Comexico’s exploration activities.”

Comexico proposes using existing roads and drill sites to drill up to 30 core holes on less than 5 acres to evaluate the ore body and its commercial viability.

The project area was previously explored for minerals in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s but not actively mined. Historic mining and mill sites that were active in the upper Pecos Valley from the 1880s to the 1930s contaminated soil and water and required remediation over decades. Critics of the Comexico proposal fear new contamination will flow into the Pecos River canyon, a popular recreation area for anglers, campers and hikers and where many vacation or weekend homes are located.

The Forest Service’s release also noted that federal mining regulations and laws require the agency to allow mineral exploration and development on National Forest System lands. But the activities proposed in Comexico’s plan do require analysis under NEPA, and the Forest Service can add mitigation measures and modifications to minimize potential environmental impacts.

Any future proposal to mine the Jones Hill area would require further NEPA analysis and documentation in a formal environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

The Forest Service said the area surrounding the project site is partially within an inventoried roadless area and adjacent to wetlands. The project area also is within designated critical habitat for the Mexican spotted owl, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and the endangered Holy Ghost ipomopsis, a flowering plant, as well as habitat for the goshawk, peregrine falcon and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The larger landscape also includes cultural resources important to several tribes.

“The SFNF will require modifications to Comexico’s plan to mitigate any impacts on these resources,” said the news release.

Documents related to the Comexico proposal are posted on the project webpage, https://www.fs.usda.gov/project?project=56733. Comments about Comexico’s plan can submitted online at that site by clicking on “Comment/Object on Project” under the “Get Connected” heading on the right side of the page.

Emails should be submitted to comments-southwestern-santafe-pecos-lasvegas@fs.fed.us with “Comexico Proposal” in the subject line. If attaching a document, use .doc, .txt, .pdf, or .rtf formats only.

Comments also can be mailed to Santa Fe National Forest, Pecos/Las Vegas District, P.O. Drawer 429, Pecos, NM 87552, or delivered in person to the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger Station at 32 South Main Street in Pecos, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » Forest Service accepting comment on Pecos-area drilling plan

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Albuquerque city councilors are considering making it easier to ...
ABQnews Seeker
Despite the changes, however, just a ... Despite the changes, however, just a handful of casitas have been built in Santa Fe. Data from the Santa Fe Association of Realtors 2022 ...
2
Zoning change could bring more casitas to Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
Casitas, smaller houses outside of single-family ... Casitas, smaller houses outside of single-family homes, and duplexes are common in Luevano's neighborhood. But much of the city — upwards of 68% — ...
3
Fragile responsibility: Profoundly ill children could get more in-home ...
ABQnews Seeker
After several hearings, a federal judge ... After several hearings, a federal judge recently directed the state Human Services Department to provide expanded in-home nursing services to two medically fragile children.The ...
4
Meateor Burgers to close at end of June
ABQnews Seeker
Business was going well for the ... Business was going well for the burger joint in the 505 Central Food Hall. But the business partners found out several weeks ago that ...
5
Hey MVD, where’s my license plate sticker?
ABQnews Seeker
I realized I had not received ... I realized I had not received the license-plate sticker over the Memorial Day weekend, and I remembered the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division had ...
6
Police searching for suspect in woman's slaying
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police are searching for a ... Albuquerque police are searching for a man who they said killed his ex-girlfriend this weekend. Police said they responded to the home of Julias ...
7
APD: Three killed at house party
ABQnews Seeker
Three young adults were killed and ... Three young adults were killed and a girl was injured at a shooting during a party in northeast Albuquerque early Sunday morning. It took ...
8
Pet care: Scratching the surface of an itchy situation
ABQnews Seeker
We learn a lot about pets ... We learn a lot about pets by watching them move. ... I observe by trying to be inconspicuous, like a fly on the wall ...
9
New Mexico Finance Authority launches program to rehabilitate homes
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico Finance Authority launches ... New Mexico Finance Authority launches program to rehabilitate homes.