Thursday, June 12, 2014

Application for La Bajada mine tabled after public outcry

County residents stuffed themselves into the Santa Fe Convention Center to witness a hearing by commissioners on a proposal to create a new mining zone. Although the State of New Mexico does not recognize gravel operations as mining proponents argued that the area already has a history of mining.
After hearing public comments and testimony for more than six hours Wednesday on a controversial application for an aggregate mine on La Bajada mesa, Santa Fe County commissioners postponed a vote on the rezoning request until early July. More than 600 people stood up in unison at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, all opposing the proposed mine. Only two people spoke in support of the mine, a representative of applicant Buena Vista Estates that owns the property and Pete Domenici, Jr., an attorney for the applicants. The dark basaltic La Bajada escarpment is seen in movies like No Country for Old Men and by thousands of people driving north on Interstate 25 into Santa Fe. It is often called the gateway to Northern New Mexico. This is the third time since 2005 that Buena Vista Estates has applied to put a mine on La Bajada. [Staci Matlock, Santa Fe New Mexican]
At least five Baja Waldo residents attended the hearing as we are among the closest to the proposed mine. Arlen and Terry Asher would be looking just across el Rio Galisteo into the pit about four miles away and above it. Power would be supplied by a generator that would run continually in a location dark skies are coveted for movie shoots. Two pueblo governors attended as did many local celebrities and politicos. We actually called the 4-1 vote to table about 8 PM but it wasn't until just before the hall would be forced to close at 11 PM as the last of the testimony was heard.

A few outbursts from the mostly baby boomer crowd were fielded by Commissioner Mayfield who ran a very fair forum.

A poster in defiance of the application was in the lobby:
New Mexico IATSE Local 480 is a chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its Territories, Canada, AFL-CIO, CLC.

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