Santa Fe County provides a case study in local drilling regs versus state control

Even as issues of state versus local jurisdiction bubble to the surface in the proposed Battlement Mesa drilling plan on Colorado’s Western Slope, there’s a prime example in New Mexico of county government setting its own course with tough local oil and gas production regulations.

Galisteo Basin

Galisteo Basin

According to the New Mexico Free Press, Houston-based Tecton Energy bought 65,000 acres of mineral rights in the Galisteo Basin and tried to start drilling in 2007. Santa Fe county commissioners imposed a three-month moratorium on drilling in order to pass their own tough drilling regs. When the moratorium was up, Tecton backed out.

It was the first large-scale bid to drill in one of the state’s most scenic tourism destinations (sound familiar?), and no companies have given it a whirl since. Oil and gas officials decried the county’s obstinacy and refusal to take industry tax money by becoming the sole New Mexico county not to bow to state drilling regs, according to the Free Press.

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About the Author

David O. Williams

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail
and Real Aspen.

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