Current areas of focus
Vulcan Mine (a/k/a Lafarge Mine) Located on the I-25 east frontage road, 1.5 miles north of 165, this property (initially 1000 acres, then reduced to 821) has been under a gravel lease since 1973. Initially granted rights to mine under a 1988 Certificate of Nonconformance when it was permitted for a 5 day, 8 hour operation, it has grown to now be permitted to operation 12+ hours per day 7 days per week. At ES-CA urging, the county sent Lafarge a notice of violations in June 2013, and filed suit for enforcement in April, 2014. In November 2015, Vulcan Materials negotiated a new lease for the property (now owned by Seattle-based Mt Adams). ES-CA requested that the suit be amended and that we be permitted to intervene in support of the County, and in August 2016, the court agreed. Finally, in July 2017 and with the full support of the County Commissioners, we were able to get into face to face negotiations with principals of all parties and hammer out an agreement approved August 10, 2017 (Settlement__08-10-17) in which mining will complete in 9 years and all reclamation completed 9 months later (May 2027). ES-CA and its LPT will continue to work with Vulcan, Mt Adams and the County over that period to ensure any issues are appropriately addressed.
BLM We believe the BLM is about to propose, following publication of the Rio Puerco Resource Management Plan at the end of this year, to lease another 800 acres of BLM land for gravel mining in a move that is inconsistent with Sandoval County’s Placitas Area Plan. As a result we would have 5 of the largest 14 mines in the state within a 6 mile radius of Placitas. The encroachment of mining has damaged the natural environment and tarnished Placitas’ appeal. The community fears that new mining on the BLM Buffalo Parcel will further damage the environment, drive out residents, halt in-migration, diminish positive statewide economic impacts, and compromise market value for everyone but mining interests. Phrased differently, New Mexico cannot afford the non-economic job losses resulting from this scenario. We need the Governor to “just say NO!”
Fisher Mine Located on the I-25 east frontage road, .5 miles south of 165. The county allowed the company under a zoning ordinance exemption to do land clearing in preparation of a land sale. The company without delay began a gravel mining operation and filed with the state to operate an asphalt plant. After learning from ES-CA that Fisher may be operating outside that exemption, county staff inspected the property and notified Fisher by letter that they were violating a county ordinance. The property was annexed by the Town of Bernalillo to operate a gravel mine in return for Fisher agreeing to build a water retention area needed to resolve flooding issues on the Town’s East side. Bernalillo has issued a “Temporary Conditional Use Permit” limiting the size of the area to be mined (75 acres) and the duration of mining (7 years–ending January 12, 2022) resolving some of the key concerns expressed by ES-CA. Click on the following link for specifics (20150112_Minutes Bernalillo (Fisher Ordinance record)).
McIlhaney Mine The property is just south of the Fisher Mine and is owned as Sandia Tribal Trust land held by the BIA – it is not a part of the Sandia Pueblo Land. The mine has not operated since the late 1990’s, yet on November 18, 2010, the county brought the land onto the county maps zoned as a gravel mine. This action was taken regardless that sand and gravel mining, and extraction and processing, are not authorized in the “CD-WP (West Placitas Community District). ES-CA filed a complaint with the County of this inappropriate zoning action in January of 2011. There remains an unchallenged legal question regarding changing this land to proper zoning uses required by zoning ordinance within the “CD-WP” district.