Thursday, December 4, 2014


 on the PRESENTATION to the
December 4, 2014

Members of the San Augustin Water Coalition addressed the N.M. Legislature’s
 Interim Committee on Water and Natural Resources on Tuesday in Santa Fe
 regarding our continuing concerns over the proposed removal of 54,000 acre-feet
 of water from the Plains of San Augustin annually by the Augustine Plains
 Ranch, LLC (LLC).

Newly-elected Catron County Commissioner, Anita Hand, raised several
 questions about confusing and vague information in the LLC’s new application
 to the State Engineer.  Some of these questions were later addressed to the LLC’s
 representative, Mr. Jichlinski, by members of the Committee.
Commissioner Hand asked why Catron County, which had been included as a
 “stakeholder” in the original application, had been removed altogether in the
 new one.  Mr. Jichlinski had no answer.

Commissioner Hand pointed out that the population of Datil was grossly
 misrepresented in the new application as “54 people”.   She informed the
 Committee that, according to the Datil Postmistress, the Datil post office serves
 about 600 HOUSEHOLDS.  (maybe 1200-1400 people)
Commissioner Hand asked why the data referenced in the new application had
 not been shared with either the Catron County Commission, or the protestants. 
  Mr. Jichlinski ignored the question.

When asked the same question by State Representative Candy Spence Ezzell of
 Roswell, he said that information “would best be presented in a hearing with the
 State Engineer, and not picked apart beforehand” by the protestants.

State Senator Joseph Cervantes of the Las Cruces area pointed out that this
 presentation by both sides has been made several times over the last 7 years,
 and wondered how much longer this was going to go on.
A representative from the Office of the State Engineer (OSE), Greg Ridgley,
  announced that this latest application had been returned to the LLC on 
November 25th for lack of  specific information needed to process it. He further
 said that the LLC had about 30 days to comply with the request if they hoped to
 avoid having to file a whole new application.  It has been neither denied nor
 accepted by the State Engineer;  just returned for lack of key information.

Senator Cervantes then asked if this was a failure to understand the application
 process on the part of the LLC, or did the Legislature perhaps need to aid the
 OSE in some sort of clarification process.  He was assured by Mr. Ridgley that
 the process wasn’t the problem, as others get projects approved frequently
 through the offices of the OSE.  The problem, Mr. Ridgley said, was the SIZE of 
this project.

Commissioner Hand also pointed out that the new application offers changes to
 OSE procedures as to how to proceed with the approval process.  That wasn’t
 favorably received by the Committee.
The Committee had several questions regarding the hydro-geology
 of the basin that neither Mr. Ridgley nor Mr. Jichlinski could answer.
We had been given one hour to make our presentations and allow for questions by
 the committee.  We were there for an hour and a half, going beyond the time
 allotted.  That hasn’t happened in any of our earlier presentations to the Committee.

All in all, the SAWC presentation went well, and we continue to make our point
 of opposition to the project.

And this from The Albuquerque Journal.

NM agency seeks more details on water proposal

SANTA FE — A revamped application by a commercial venture to pipe billions of gallons of drinking water from rural western New Mexico to more populated areas of the drought-stricken state lacks key information, state officials said Tuesday.
The state engineer’s office has given Augustin Plains Ranch until the end of the year to provide more specifics on what type of water rights would be developed, how the water would be used and what municipalities or industries would benefit.
Greg Ridgley, general counsel for the office, announced the latest development during an interim legislative meeting. He told state lawmakers applications to develop new water rights must be complete before the state engineer can accept them.
The agency, he said, needs to have enough information to determine if there’s sufficient water in the area that has yet to be appropriated and whether assigning new water rights would affect existing rights.
The company’s plan calls for drilling more than three dozen wells capable of pumping more than 17 billion gallons of groundwater a year to supplement dwindling supplies in the Rio Grande Valley. The company would build a 140-mile pipeline to Bernalillo County as well as other infrastructure to capture runoff for recharging the aquifer beneath the San Augustin Plains west of Socorro.
Some lawmakers said a decision should not be taken lightly given the volume of water at stake. Others described the proposal as too speculative.
Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, questioned whether capturing storm runoff and recharging the aquifer would be enough to avoid damaging existing rights and the local economy.
“It just seems like these are impossible goals to have on one side and make this work,” Wirth said.
Augustin Plains’ first application was rejected two years ago after the state engineer determined the proposal was vague and its effects could not be reasonably evaluated. It was one of the most contested filings in the history of the state engineer’s office.
The company submitted its latest application in July. After months of review, the office made the request for additional information in a Nov. 25 letter.
The company is reviewing the request.
Project Manager Michael Jichlinski said the application is the first step, and the company envisions spending millions of dollars more on studies to better understand the region’s hydrology if the state engineer allows for a hearing.
The company is proposing to develop water, a job Jichlinski said has historically been done by government.
“Our belief is the public sector is tapped out when it comes to the money available for infrastructure development, for all the studies that need to be done. It’s simply not there,” he said.
While skeptical of the Augustin Plains proposal, Sen. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces,
said the West was built on the ability to pipe water from one place to another, and government should be open to the private sector stepping in.
"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
Alexander Hamilton

Friday, November 7, 2014


 From Albuquerque Business First
The New Mexico Supreme Court has denied a
 motion to dismiss an application for a massive
 water project proposed by Augustin Plains Ranch LLC.
The motion was filed last month by the New Mexico 
Environmental Law Center on behalf of  a couple living
 in western New Mexico. They claimed that the application
 filed by Augustin is identical to one rejected by
 the state engineer several years ago.
Read the entire article here:
Carol and Ray Pittman

"We continue to fight the water miners' efforts
 to take the water from the Augustin Plains
 basin.  It is important to understand that the
 refusal of the Supreme Court to hear our
 petition, while it was a disappointment, does
 not mean that we are out of options."

 "Remember that Bruce Frederick
 has to fight this battle for us on the
 basis of legal technicalities,
 as the water miners have provided no
 substantive information.  The applications,
 both new and old, fail to meet the requirements
 of the law.  Submitting a "new" application is a
  game being played by the Augustin Plains Ranch.
  And we need to stop the game."
Carol Pittman
 And here's an article from the Socorro Defensor Chieftain:

Supreme Court side-steps water grab issue


 The drought monitor is important for numerous
reasons.  But in the San Augustin case it's helpful if
the foreigners can't use the drought to promote their
cause.  It's scare tactics - not unusual for mafia types.
A Storm Across the Valley, Tim Cox
Long Range Precipitation/Drought Outlook 
The official NOAA Climate Prediction Center
outlook for New Mexico precipitation during
November 2014 favors above normal
precipitation over much of the state. The
 outlook from November through January 20 
also leans toward better chances of above
 normal precipitation, especially across
southern New Mexico.
1 Month Precipitation CPC Outlooks
 3 Month Precipitation CPC Outlooks 
  Below is an animation of the weekly U.S. Drought monitor for
 2014 (through early October) across the United States. Note
 how the drought worsens over New Mexico through most of
 May before improving from late May through this summer.

The Sangre de Cristo Range in Colorado and New Mexico,
 as well as the San Juan Mountains further west,
 all got their first major blast of winter this week.
The Rio Grande snowpack is off to a good start.

“There can never be any real freedom on earth
 as long as people try to exert ownership over
 the natural resources of the world.”
 Bryant McGill, Voice of Reason 

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Draining the San Augustin aquifer will put an end
 to the great hunting in our area - if not immediately,
 then soon enough. Magdalena is the gateway to
 some of the best elk hunting in the American West,
but pumping 54,000 acre feet of water annually
 and piping it to points still unknown is going to
 affect wells, and springs, and wildlife 
 all over the entire region.
So say scientists that have weighed in on the matter,
 and so naturally the New Mexico Department of
Game and Fish is one of the many "protestants"
 in the case against the foreigners.
Currently, the entire mess on their application
is before the state Supreme Court.  But this
case will be going on further - a new application,
new arguments, more New York lawyers, etc.,
 ad infinitum.
 Please "SHOUT OUT" to Governor Martinez
at the bottom of this page, and contact your
state representative and senator.
Please tell them:
Statements from
  Director of the Hydrology Program
New Mexico Tech
Socorro, New Mexico
Conducted early August, 2013
 [Besides pumping water, the foreigners have
another brilliant idea, and that's how they'll
"recharge" the aquifer.]
"The developers there, the San Augustin Ranch,
are proposing to put in wells that are very deep,
 and the number that I heard mentioned in the newspaper
and so on, was 3,000 feet deep, and they claim that
they will pump a confined aquifer that will have
minimum effects on the shallower aquifers,
which is where most of the local residents rely for
domestic water and water for livestock."
"They also claim that they are going to induce  recharge
in some way, and this is not quite clear to me,
I have not seen the specifics on this, so I can't comment
very well on the merits of it,
but I have some inherent doubts about it....
because, the amount of time that's required for water
to reach the depths which they're proposing to pump
are very considerable, and studies haven't been done
on this, but if its typical of other basins in this part
of the country, that water at that depth, probably
recharged during the Pleistocene, during the last
ice age, more than 10,000 years ago, and the idea
that you could induce surface infiltration at the present
 time and resupply that aquifer that is 3,000 feet deep,
is's difficult to envision how
that's going to work."
 Interviewer:  This claim that they can capture
all the rainfall that's being lost to evaporation seems
like an EXTREME concept, to put it mildly.  I googled
and found that the way it's done is to somehow seal the
land - and that this has been done in parts
 of north Africa and the Mideast. 
 What can you tell me here?
"Any water that runs off - the San Augustin Basin
is a closed basin - there's no outlet to the ocean,
so it runs down into the middle of the basin and then
it sinks down into the land.  Whatever runs off
to the central playa, most of that becomes
groundwater recharge.
So, the only way to increase that groundwater
recharge is to reduce the amount that the plants
and the soil are using, and the standard method
for doing that - as you say - is to put some sort
of seal - asphalt, or plastic, or something, over the
 land surface, so you collect all of the precipitation,
all of the rainfall, and you put it
into some central collection area where it then
infiltrates downward....and that's technically
 feasible, but I have doubts as to whether converting
large areas of the landscape around the San Augustin Plains
to asphalt or something similar would be acceptable to
most people that live in the area."
What about the idea that if you seal it off....
well, isn't there a chance that funguses, microbes,
 biological strangeness....that something, some 
problem, could occur beneath the surface?
"Well, I think any 'biological strangeness' that
would be induced by putting a seal over the land
surface would be small in comparison to the
'biological strangeness' of denuding the landscape."
Then, of course, there's no opportunity for wildlife.
"That is correct, yes.  Once you've removed all the vegetation,
 then you've eliminated the ecosystem."
 Note: The above is just a small part of the interview
we conducted with Dr. Phillips.  We have a blog post up
from last summer that has much more - see it here:
The whole area is a "wildlife park" of sorts.
 Nearby US Forest Service lands offer beautiful
ponderosa forests, miles of trout streams, and
 numerous lakes. All over this country one
 can find herds of elk, deer,  and antelope, along
with gangs, rafts, or posses of turkeys
 (that's what ya' call a bunch of 'em).
 The region is also home to mountain lion, bighorn sheep,
 black bear, Mexican wolf, bobcat, fox, coyote, badger,
 bald eagle, golden eagle, ducks, geese, quail, dove,
 and many other species of wildlife.
 This area of New Mexico is famous for having
 the world's largest elk. Elk in the area have scored
 over 400 Boone and Crocket.
 Mule deer also grow large racks in this area,
with Boone and Crocket 200+ bucks killed
 in recent years.
 The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
is only one in a long list of "protestants" in
the legal proceedings against the foreigners -
Bruno Modena and son Vittorio, from Italy,
and unnamed others who are the foreign
 owners/operators/investors working under the
 corporate name of Augustin Plains Ranch LLC.
These are not ranchers, or a water company
from Europe, or anything like that.
These are big-time hustlers, scammers, schemers.
They refuse to divulge their sources of money;
they refuse to fully divulge corporate ownership,
or show a financial statement of any kind.
They smell like mafia, underworld,
 foreign operators of some kind.
Their Project Director, Michel Jichlinski, a
Norwegian who got his masters degree in Jerusalem,
was the President and CEO of a federal contractor
that got caught stealing millions of taxpayers'
 dollars from contracts in war zones in
 Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bribery was common - they called it "grease money"
the whistleblower testified.  And now Jichlinski
  works here, in what is openly known as one of
 the most corrupt states in the country.
Oh boy.
Luckily, there's a lot of opposition to this idiocy.
   Here's just a few of the outfits signed-up
 against the WATER GRAB, there's a
 much longer full list. 

University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech,
 USDA, Gila and Cibola National forests,
 the National Radio Astronomy Observatory,
 Phelps-Dodge Mining Company,
Catron County Commission, Pueblo of Isleta,
Middle Rio Grande Water Conservancy,
the Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico
Interstate Stream Commission, U.S. Dept. of
the Interior, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation,
Socorro Soil and Water Conservation District,
Navajo Nation Department of Justice,
Coalition of the Six Middle Rio Grande Pueblos,
Gila Conservation Coalition and Socorro-
Catron Farm Service Agency.

(List from the Socorro El Defensor Chieftain)
Just one question.
With all this opposition how have
these guys gotten this far?
Why wasn't this blown away long ago?
This seems really nuts when one
 looks at the facts. 
Well, that's actually two questions and a
remark....but the same answer applies to all.
It's because New Mexico is so damned corrupt.
The foreigners have a ton of cash, and you
can be sure they've been trolling with it up in
 Santa Fe, and elsewhere.  They've probably
got a mess of fish on the stringer.
It's easy fishin' with Land of Enchantment
 politicos and so-called "professionals" in
state and federal
The ones who take the cash are, of course,
 traitors to their people.  Shameless.  Worthless.
You kind of wonder if their conscience could kill 'em.
But in time, something will, some cancer or
fatal accident, some passage of life.
And then they'll get EXACTLY
 what's coming to them.    
 Carreta de la Muerte, from northern New Mexico
 It's artificial bullshit.
. .