Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens is a grassroots organizations whose mission is to

“Support and focus concerns, actions and outreach related to the quality and use of land, air, and water resources in Rio Arriba County and the State of New Mexico while maintaining consideration and respect for the preservation of traditional cultural values and consistent with sustainable economic development.” 

Rio Arriba is the name of our county and our group but more then that it means “Up River” and is a reminder that in New Mexico we are “up river” and what happens here will affect many downstream. Get involved today.


This is truly a grassroots effort and we want to thank everyone for their support.  As we grow together, we learn together. Only a few months ago oil and gas development may have seemed terribly peripheral, but now it is entering into our lives and our vocabularies in a new way.  It is our duty as citizens and land based people to protect the ecology that sustains us, and indeed all life above and below us.

We call upon you now to find a moment in your busy day to read the talking points below and rework them into your own comment letter sent to the BLM.  Previously we had understood that copying and pasting a form letter was enough, but this is not the case.  As a grassroots group we also ask you to send the information below to your personal contacts urging them to have their voices heard.  Anyone can send a comment, they do not have to be a resident of Rio Arriba.

Let’s get this issue out in the open.  Discuss it with your family, friends, neighbors, your electrician, your mayordomo, and the rancher who raises your meat!

The U.S. BLM has offered use of public land in the Rio Chama Watershed to oil and gas companies.  The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) has issued an Environmental Assessment (EA) on a proposed oil and gas lease sale to take place October 22, 2014. We citizens have until May 30 to submit comments to be analyzed and included in the environmental analysis.
To read the BLM Environmental Assessment click here.

Take action NOW to protect our land, water and way of life!

Your previous comments helped to defer the lease sale in Cebolla. Now let’s do it again! If you oppose opening up the lower Chama River Valley to gas exploration and fracking, please send your comments via email to the BLM State office at by May 31.

Here are some relevant talking points for your email letter:

3-5 million gallons of water are needed to fracture a single well.  The water will be locally sourced and permanently removed from rejuvenating the hydrologic cycle.  The U.S Forest Service readily admits that Rio Arriba County is experiencing a severe drought.

Hydraulic Fracturing degrades bedrock and has been scientifically linked to dramatic increases in earthquakes where they are not usually active. Numerous faults have been detected under the Abiquiu Dam Reservoir.  This has not been addressed in the BLM Environmental Assessment (EA).

The geology east of the Continental Divide is distinct from the San Juan basin.  BLM has not completed the required studies (RPM) to drill in the Mancos shale. The BLM Environmental Assessment (EA) alleges that fracturing in the Mancos shale would not occur above 5,700 feet below the ground surface. This is not supported by geological evidence, as the Mancos formation is a shallow one, less than 1,000 feet below the surface. The fracturing would actually take place above the water table, greatly heightening the risks of water contamination.

This would be the first significant oil and gas lease in the Rio Chama Watershed.  The Taos BLM Field Office has deferred drilling in parcels in Cebolla citing the need for further study.  The parcels in Gallina and Cebolla are both east of the Continental Divide and share similar geology.  The only division is in the politics and the line on the map between the Farmington BLM Field Office and the Taos BLM Field Office.

Oil and gas companies are not legally required to disclose the chemicals they inject into the wells.  In 2011 the House of Representatives reported that of 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products, 650 contain known carcinogens.  Spills in New Mexico’s oil and gas fields set records in 2012, with nearly 700 self-reported accidents.  At least thirty reported spills during 2011 and 2012 impacted a waterway or groundwater supply.

Everyone is welcome to this free community event!  Invite your family and friends!

Watch the film and Meet the Director.  Followed by discussion with special guests Philipe Martinez and Bruce Schriber.  Refreshments will be served.

2pm Saturday
Abiquiu Rural Events Center near 554 and 84 on El Rito Highway, Next to El Prado Transfer Station

Sponsored by Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens. El agua es la vida!  Water is Life!