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Last updated on Sunday September 9, 2018 3:02 PM
2014 TO 2015 AUGTUSTIN PLAINS WATER GRAB
WATER GRAB HOME PAGE - 2016 NEWS - 2017 NEWS

WATER LINKS

San Augustin Water Report Website
San Augustin Water Coalition
San Augustin Water Coalition (Facebook)
New Mexico Environmental Law Center

NM Water & Natural Resouces
Comm.
San Augustin LLC website
Water Grabbing (Wiki)  

NM Environmental Law Center is supplying an attorney, Doug Meiklejohn, to fight the water grab.  Click here

Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas  

list and link to NM Water Resource Projects over the last 15 years
NM Water Resources Research Inst.  

Contra Santolina - coalition of organizations opposing the Santolina development in Albuquerque  

September 26 - Court case on motion to Dismiss and Remand rescheduled for November 12th - Notice attached here  
Court case history here  

Sept 3, 2015 - current court case information: Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC v. Scott A. Verhines, P.E.

La Jicarita - NM Enviro. news  
NM Environmental Law Center  
NM Conservation votes website  
State engineer website
Sustainable research center  

IDE - A private consultancy firm - watch for conflicts of interest. Click here

November 4, 2016 -
Officials listen to water concerns.
More than 80 ranchers and concerned citizens ... (attended) a meeting by the Interim Legislative Committee for Water and Natural Resources to discuss the Augustin Plains Ranch LLC (APR) plan...

More in The Chieftain  

Song about Augustine Plains  

Videos from the October 26 meeting of WNRC:

- Video 1 of 12 - Chris Lindeen, Deputy General Counsel, Office of the State Engineer (OSE) and Brett Bruton - local rancher  

- Video 2 of 12 - Henry Edwards - local rancher  

- Video 3 of 12 - Anita Hand, Catron County Commissioner

WNRC Comments and questions

- Video 4 of 12
- Video 5 of 12
- Video 6 of 12
- Video 7 of 12
- Video 8 of 12
- Video 9 of 12
- Video 10 of 12
- Video 11 of 12
- Video 12 of 12  

Watch the 2nd district debate between Steve Pearce and Merrie Lee Soules here:

GEOLOGICAL AND WATER REPORTS

Feb. 7, 2016 - New geological report on the APR water. Click here

The Global Water Grab: A Primer  

Groundwater, Economic, and Legal Analysis of a Proposed Diversion from the San Augustin Basin of New Mexico. By - David J. Reese 2011  

NM Conference report in 2010 at Corbett Center: Water needs for the next decade - 2010

Ground water challenges of the lower Rio Grande: A case study of legal issues in TX and NM - Elizabeth Wheat Oct 2014

Interbasin transfer projects: Impacts on communities and ecosystems - Bruce Thomson- UNM 2010

1972 - HYDROGEOLOGY OF THE SAN AUGUSTIN PLAINS, NEW MEXICO An Independent Study Submitted In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Master of Science in Geology (approx May 1973  Click here  


LEGAL AND TECHNICAL DOCUMENTS

NM Legislature document search on APR.
Click here

2012- Groundwater, Economic, and Legal
Analysis of a Proposed Diversion from
the San Agustin Basin of NM
Click here  

November 30 2015 -
Speech by APR CEO Michel Jichlinksi in 2013 to the Drought Sub-committee in Las Cruces -
- Jichlinski Report to the Drought Committee 
- Jichlinski APR project - "private-public partnership".pdf
- SWAC report to the Sub-Committee

2003 - Ground water law source book in western states  


OUT OF REGION CASE STUDIES

2006 case studies: Right of way uses other than original intent.  

1990 - Mellon v Southern Pacific and MCI-right of way


OUT OF REGION MEDIA STORIES

Water fight continues; Neutral hydrogeologist weighs in..."The study, based on an analysis of existing data, groundwater models and data from three of EP's seven test wells, con-cluded that if the EP project continued pumping more than 1.8 billion gallons of water annually from the Middle Trinity Aquifer, local Well owners would see a negative impact on their residential wells."


GEOLOGICAL AND WATER REPORTS

May 2013 - Scientific American - Aquifers May Be Latest Casualty of Drought

U.S. water aquifer levels have been dropping at an accelerating rate for decades

2015 - Groundwater Challenges of the Lower Rio Grande: A Case Study of Legal Issues in Texas and New Mexico. Click here  

Feb. 7, 2016 - New geological report on the APR water. Click here

The Global Water Grab: A Primer  

Groundwater, Economic, and Legal Analysis of a Proposed Diversion from the San Augustin Basin of New Mexico. By - David J. Reese 2011  

NM Conference report in 2010 at Corbett Center: Water needs for the next decade - 2010

Ground water challenges of the lower Rio Grande: A case study of legal issues in TX and NM - Elizabeth Wheat Oct 2014

Interbasin transfer projects: Impacts on communities and ecosystems - Bruce Thomson- UNM 2010

1972 - HYDROGEOLOGY OF THE SAN AUGUSTIN PLAINS, NEW MEXICO An Independent Study Submitted In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Geology (approx May 1973  Click here  

 

 

2015 NEWS

2015 - Inter-basin Water Transfers - Utton Transboundary Resources Center

2014 SB007 - RELATING TO WATER; Requiring additional procedures in the application process for the diversion and use of water from the basin of origin for use outside that basin: providing for exceptions.  Click Here
Related: Inter-basin Water Transfers
Related website: UNM "Water Matters"  

January 13 - From the Green Fire Times: 
“Return of New Mexico’s most highly contested water grab. The Office of the State Engineer is considering a third application from Italian billionaire Bruno Modena to speculatively appropriate more than 17 billion gallons of water every year – more than half of what Albuquerque used in 2013. The billionaire has already pulled his first two applications, but we’ll have to see if the third time’s the charm under State Engineer Tom Blaine. The NMELC   will continue to represent nearly 100 residents of west-central New Mexico in their bid to keep water in the public trust in this hugely important water case.”

If you feel inclined to do so, please let NMELC know how much we appreciate their efforts to stop the water grab, efforts that so far have been successful.

New Mexico Environmental Law Center  
OR e-mail dmeiklejohn@nmelc.org
1405 Luisa Street, Suite #5
Santa Fe NM 87505

Current issue of Green Fire Times  

January 2015 -
Unfair Cooperation Agreement on Water Privatization (Many resources) Click here
  
Or go directly to the website:

Speech by APR CEO Michel Jichlinksi in 2013 to the Drought Sub-committee in Las Cruces -
- Jichlinski Report to the Drought Committee 
- Jichlinski APR project - "private-public partnership".pdf
- SWAC report to the Sub-committee

Click here for Channel 7 article and video

November 12 - we "won" the court case. The original 2008 application rejected by the state engineer stands. Albuquerque Channel 7, KOAT, was there with video and interviews.Click here for article and video
Channel 7, KOAT article  

The issue from the NM Environmental Law Center: :
The New York-based company seeks to pump 54,000 acre-feet of water annually through thirty-seven 20” wells. The Law Center represents approx. 80 individuals and organizations in this case; our clients are concerned about the impacts of pumping on their water, on wildlife, springs, and on the Rio Grande and Gila Rivers, which are hydrologically connected to the San Augustin Plains—and which is the last undammed river in the Southwest.

More on the legal story here

Chieftain:
Judge stands by ruling on water use 
 

SEPT 21 - NOTICE: 22nd MEETING POSTPONED
From Doug Meiklejohn of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center comes the following message:

an order has come from the District Court postponing the hearing on the motion to dismiss and remand. The reason for the order is that Peter White, who represents the Cuchillo Community Ditch Association, asked that the hearing be postponed because he will be out of the county this wee
k. One good thing to know is if there is a business tie, formal or informal, between the "water grab" and the Santolina project in Albuquerque.

News story collection related to APR project:
Part 1        Part 2  

Sept 3 -
A hearing on the Augustin Plains Ranch's motion to dismiss and remand. As you can see, the hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. on
September 23rd at the courthouse in
Reserve. Motion To Dismiss  

August 25 - News Flash: Note the legal section of the Chieftian.   Owners of Cat Mountain Ranch want to drill three wells and take over 195,510,000 gallons of water per year out of there. This project is much closer to Magdalena than the APR.

August 24, 2015 -

On July 30, 2015 the Augustin Plains Ranch filed a Motion to “Remand and Dismiss with the State Engineer” at the 7th Judicial Court. The motion states “Appeal from a decision of the New Mexico State Engineer in OSE hearing No. 09-096”. You will remember that this decision, rendered by Judge Matthew Reynolds, upheld the State Engineer’s denial of APR’s application to mine water in the Augustin Plains.

Doug Meiklejohn, Director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, stated:

”We believe that it is important to oppose the motion because we think that the motion is really an effort to persuade the District Court Judge to vacate his ruling that upheld the State Engineer's denial of the Augustin Plains Ranch's application.”

Subsequently, on August 12, 2015 the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, on behalf of its clients filed “A Response in Opposition to Augustin Plains Ranch LLC’s Motion to Dismiss and Remand to State Engineer”. Mr. Meiklejohn has explained:

"The Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC now has 18 days from the date that each of the responses* to its motion was filed in which to file a reply to each response. ... It is possible that the Judge will set a hearing to have oral arguments on the motion, but I do not know whether that will happen or when the hearing will be if one is scheduled.”

This is the latest legal maneuvering on the part of APR. Download this announcement.pdf

July 19, 2015 -
water grab update:
People ask “What can we do?” Right now just become informed. The time will come when we will need to fight the Augustin Plains Ranch LLC application again. Information is important in that battle, and these articles are key to understanding the water situation in the west.

One thing everyone can do right now is watch for the announcement of that APR LLC application. The State Engineer will publish the application in the legal section of newspapers, but we don’t know where or when. So, everybody, watch your local papers wherever you are in New Mexico to be sure we don’t miss the appeal period!

July 19, 2015 - How the West Over counts its Water Supplies  (NYTimes arfticle)

July 8 - County commission should listen to objections to Santolina project

July 1, 2015 - Official: New Mexico water debate to be shaped by transfers

June 30, 2015 -
Many of you already know that the Bernalillo County Commission has approved the Santolina Master Plan, Level A (Level B and Level C will refine the general provisions in the plan). Subsequently the Commission also approved the Development Agreement....
Full press releast here  

Related stories:
-
Santolina Approval  
- ABQ City Council rejects city input on Santolina
- Santolina closer to approval..opponents shout 'Shame!"
- Attempt to push back Santolina decision fails
- Video: Two sides on Santolina
- Water, 'systems thinking' &Santolina tangled history
- ABQ West Side development plans included in capital outlay

June 5, 2015 - Transparency Needed

Related documents:
- NM water debate shaped by transfers
- Seven States Running Out of Water
- Synopsis of proposed water for sale in other geographic areas
- Proposed Santolina Development Threatens South Valley
Acequias

- Synopsis of San Augustin Plains proposed water pumping applications 3/17/15  
- Tensions over Rio Grande escalate with Drought  

May 7, 2015-
KUNM talk show on the Santolina Project

January 17, 2014 - Population growth in New Mexico is approaching zero—and other bad signs (Washington Post)  

April 24 "Santolina" project update -

There is a project called Santolina in Bernalillo
County. We are convinced that the water will
have to come from outside the area for this
project should it be approved, and where
better than from the Augustin Plains. At the hearing in Albuquerque last March 25, we learned that Santolina will have an effect beyond the local area. The next hearing is
May 11 and our voices need to be added to those of the local people opposing this project.

An example of what you might say: "Water is
scarce in New Mexico. Why is there an
application to mine water in Catron County and
pipe it north to Albuquerque if there's plenty of
water there already to serve 99,000 new
people? Something doesn't add up here.
Please DO NOT approve Santolina."

Here is a summary of the project:
Summary.pdf    or     Summary.doc
Download a Map.jpg

Sign the Petition

Related: :
Bernalillo County Government
Contra Sandolina
Images of Master Plan

March 23, 2015-

March Santolina Announcement

Download this announcement  

March 18 -

March 18, 2015 Water grab update 

March 23, 2015
Bernalillo - Santolina development plan and water use

April 11, 2015 - annual meeting of coalition  

March 18, 2015 - Update, Mike Loyla     and  
The Sustainable Research Center

March 6, 2015 - HB-299 Update

February 26, 2014 -
Vote no on the Public-Private Partnership Act (HB 299), or any legislative attempts toward privatization.

More information here    
 
Please sign the petition here

Feb 11, 2015 -
Citizens mobilize against water grabs   (or go to web link here)

Feb 5, 2015 - Update on SB 276: With regard to Senate Bill 276, the bill received a "do pass" recommendation from the Committee, and the vote was unanimous.

February 3, 2015-
Senate Bill 276 needs the support of the water grab community.
Visit the Senate website to read it.
Or download the bill here

There is a bill pending in the State Legislature (Senate Bill 276) that would require the State Engineer to hold hearings on contested water rights applications in the county in which the water right at issue is located unless the parties to the proceeding agreed to have the
hearing elsewhere. The assumption is that the bill would make it easier for people protesting applications to deal with those applications.

ASAP, please let Doug Meiklejohn, the head of the NM Environmental Law Center, of your support for the bill SB 276 as soon as possible. His email is: dmeiklejohn@nmelc.org

January 21, 2015
The battle goes on ... and on ....
Why? Well, the Augustin Plains Ranch thinks we will quit and go away. If we do, they win.

Bruce Frederick, attorney defending us in battle, has won the first two rounds for us: two applications submitted to the Office of the State Engineer have been rejected.

Now there’s a third application.

The State Engineer has the application, but is not publishing it as he must do before it can be acted upon. He can sit on it indefinitely (and maybe hope we’ll go away?) and until it is noticed in local papers we cannot take any action. So here’s what we have to do: 1) watch the local papers for an announcement of the new application and 2) protest at that time.

Meanwhile, don’t give up. We can win if we hang in and work together. So far that’s what has happened; you have all been great through seven years of protests, court cases and games playing by the APR LLC.
012115-commentary

PRIOR TO 2015 NEWS

2014 WATER GRAB NEWS

JPL/NASA Ground water study  

NM Governor Maftinez accused of "Wholesale disregard for the law"

December 11, 2014 -
Water grab application sent back (Chieftain)  

Water privitization not a good idea - (letter in Chieftain)

The Price of Thirst - a book report  

Dec 2, 2014 -
NM Agency seeks for details on water proposal - Albuquerque Journal
Or download .pdf file here.

Questioning Augustin Plains water grab
(letter to Chieftain)

Nov 20, 2014 - Questioning Augustin Plains water grab
(letter to Chieftain)

December 2 2014 - NM Water and Natural Resources Committee Meeting minutes
Reports at the meeting:
120214 Eileen Dodds Comments
120214 JPL-NASA Study on Groundwater
120214 Water Supply Vulnerabilities-Report
120214 Anita-Hand-Comments to legislation
120214 APR summary to legislation
031511 APR-rpt to legislation
111614 Inman-rpt-should taking be allowed

November 6, 2014 -
Supreme Court side-steps water grab issue. Chieftain  

Nov 5, 2014 -
State Will Continue to Review Pumping Plan -
With a major legal challenge removed last week by the state Supreme Court, the state engineer’s office can continue its review of an application by a private venture to pump drinking water from Augustin Plains Ranch to determine if it meets state water codes....
More in the Albuquerque Journal Or  PDF version   Comments on news article here

Sept 24, 2014 - Channel 13 repot on Water Grab  

Sept 22 - Residents ask state Supreme Court to rule in Augustin Plains water grab case
092214-Writ

Sept 27, 2014 - Datil NEPA clean water workshop poster

Sept 22, 2014 -
Residents ask state Supreme Court to rule in Augustin Plains water grab case
   092214-Writ

Sept 3, 2014 - 'Worse Than Anything Seen in 2,000 Years' as Megadrought Threatens Western States.
More here  

Sept 2, 2014 - water grab update -
From the New Mexico Environmental Law Center comes the following summary of our situation:

Corporation believes new application will get them all the water. Um, not so fast...
The Augustin Plains Ranch LLC water grab case began because the Ranch, which is owned by an Italian billionaire, seeks to monopolize 54,000 acre-feet of water (enough to supply half the needs of Albuquerque) to sell to the highest bidder. Thanks to our supporters, we were able to fight them. "We led the effort to demonstrate that the application was unconstitutional," said Staff Attorney, Bruce Frederick. Based on our arguments, the State Engineer and a District Court Judge denied the Ranch's application. The Ranch appealed.

However, it appears the State Engineer is now working with the Ranch to deprive our clients of their day before the Court of Appeals. The State Engineer has accepted a second application from the Ranch. Although this second application is substantially identical to the first, the Ranch and the State Engineer convinced the Court that the Ranch's appeal was moot. The Court dismissed the appeal, sending us back to square one.

Aug 21, 2014 -
August 21, 2014 - Oral Argument hearing   Hearing for August 21 has been canceled.

Aug 5, 2014 - The State Engineer is requesting that the
appeal hearing be cancelled; the Ranch is asking that the new application be considered and if it is then the appeal hearing should be cancelled; our
attorney requests that the hearing be held as scheduled.
Related Documents:

080714-Carol Pittman Comments on the issue 080114-Supplemental brief of Augustin Ranch
080114-Supplimental brief of protestant - applees demonstrating this appeal is not moot
080114-Appellee NM State Engineer's supplemental brief on mootness


Water-level data for the Albuquerque Basin and adjacent areas, central New Mexico, period of record through September 30, 2012

071714-Augustin Plains Ranch press release  

071514 - Company tries again to tap New Mexico plains for water  

0714134 - Augustin Plains Ranch Application  

July 7, 2014 - Cashing in on water crisis  

Final Report on Water Planning, Development and Use - 2014    News article here   Or download the page here  

Members of (the Martinez) administration routinely - and quite aggressively - opposed measures designed to protect our water supply. Rest of the story here.

“If you go to the western U.S., people are still in that mindset of trying to withdraw as much water as they can, as long as they can pump faster than their neighbour." -- Betsy Otto of WRI ...
The rest of the story here

Sectoral contributions to surface water stress in the coterminous US

For Some in the Southwest, It’s Come to Selling Water to Fracking Companies

December 12, 2013 - Abq Journal
Climate change affecting Rio Grande water supply

1972 - HYDROGEOLOGY OF THE SAN AUGUSTIN
PLAINS, NEW MEXICO An Independent Study Submitted
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Master of Science in Geology (approx May 1973   

021310-Dems Sell-out Dianne Feinstein Attempts End-Run to Hand California Water to Billionaire Farmers   

Oct 22, 2010 - Augustin water meeting  

Date, Author unknown - "House Bill 27 amends the Natural Resources Trustee Act "

072514-Groundwater in SW (Colorado basin) disappearing    

November 25, 2009 - Water unites ranchers and environmentalists in a conservative corner

Jan 16, 2013 - Texas files water lawsuit against N.M.

April 17 - (Also read the comments)
Project may move water to area   

April 7, 2013 (Rio Rancho Observer) Rep. Tim Lewis: City’s water future may depend on new ideas

Jan 2011 - Water Heist in the Plains of San Augustin (Greenfire Times)

Investors leave blanks in plains water plans  
(Letter - D Chieftain)
Keep local resources under local control
 
(Letter - D Chieftain)