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Anson Stevens-Bollen

County Ordinance Would Ban Mining

Including the proposed mining project on La Bajada Mesa

August 25, 2014, 4:00 pm

Santa Fe County commissioners will decide Tuesday whether to publish an ordinance that would impose a 12-month ban on mining in its jurisdiction.

A draft of the "emergency interim development ordinance"  would appear to prevent the county from accepting a controversial application from Rockology and Buena Vista Estates to create a mining zone on La Bajada mesa.

The Albuquerque company, Rockology, wants to mine for basalt off a 50-acre site on the mesa. The proposal has stoked opposition from residents who live nearby La Bajada mesa, off Waldo Canyon Road, near Interstate 25, who say the mining would pose livability and environmental issues. Nearby Pueblos oppose any mining off La Bajada, too. The County Commission has already held two lengthy public hearings on the matter and met in a closed-door executive session on Aug. 12 without taking a vote.

The proposed ordinance would "enact a moratorium stopping the county from accepting new or processing existing development applications" for landfills, junkyards and "sand and gravel extraction activity requiring blasting," until the county has crafted regulations that deal with air, water and "scenic" quality in the area,  according to a memo from county staff to commissioners. 

If commissioners vote Tuesday to take the next step with the yearlong ban, county staff proposes that the County Commission hold a public hearing on the ordinance in a Sept. 16 meeting at 2 pm at the County Administrative building. 

Click here for a copy of the ordinance. 


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