Not-in-My-Neighbor's-Backyard: Environmentalists in Santa Fe County may have chased would-be oil wildcats Tecton Energy out of the Galisteo Basin, but folks in Rio Arriba County are still facing off with Approach Operating LLC.
The New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission will hold hearings on 20 applications from Approach to drill the Mancos shale formations six miles outside of Tierra Amarilla.

The commission also will consider Rio Arriba County Commission's request to cancel or suspend four of Approach's previously approved drilling permits. The hearings are scheduled for 9 am, Sept. 9 at Porter Hall, 1220 S. St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe.

High Water Mark: The water company serving the town of Edgewood in southern Santa Fe County wants to raise rates by 65 percent, despite reporting "solid" profits in August.

New Mexico American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, filed paperwork with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission for the rate increase, which will average 80 cents a day or $24 per month, per household. The company predicts the approval process will take at least a year.

The water company claims the increase is needed for infrastructure and staffing.

Yet, the rate increase comes at a time when American Water—the largest investor-owned water utility in the country—is reporting major growth: The company's operating revenue in the second quarter increased by 4 percent, while its stock value increased by 14.3 percent.

Sinvestments: A year a half ago, the State Investment Council and the Educational Retirement Board divested all holdings in companies doing business in Sudan. It was a great move for human rights—and for Gov. Bill Richardson, who was running for president on his diplomatic and humanitarian credentials.

But New Mexico's Public Employees Retirement Association argued it's illegal for state agencies to invest money for reasons other than profit. Of course, the Legislature could change that if it wanted.

Legislators will have the chance to grill the state's top investment officers at the Aug. 26 Investments Oversight Committee hearing. But Committee Chairman Rep. John Heaton, D-Eddy, tells SFR Darfur probably won't be on the agenda.

"Whether money is invested in tobacco companies or some other investments people may think have some moral or ethical problems, we have not really delved into that," Heaton says. "But we don't want them to invest in third-cycle CDOs [collateralized debt obligations] that are going to lose money."