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Northern New Mexicans Protecting Land, Water and Rights

NMED Presentation Regarding "Naturally Occurring Uranium in the Pojoaque Area, Espanola Basin - New Mexico" at August 31st Water Fair at the Nambe Community Center

Video of NMED Presentation

Santa Fe New Mexican article


Who We Are

NNMProtects is a tax exempt organization per Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Your donations are tax deductible. Please use tax exempt ID 46-5501157 and Thank-you!

Northern New Mexicans Protecting Land, Water, and Rights strives to lessen the stress of neighborhood tensions due to lack of information and fair representation. By providing an organization whose main goal is to unite and empower the community against prejudice and discrimination within community members, community deterioration can be stopped and repaired.

To achieve these goals, the our mission will be accomplished through:

We are very interested in what residents of the Northern New Mexico value and how we can better serve the community. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. Find out how to contact us on our Contact Us page.

Pojoaque Valley School District

The Pojoaque Valley School District had an election on February 3, 2015 for three positions on the School Board. Congratulations to Toby Velasquez and Jeffrey Atencio for being elected to the Board and Fernando Quintana for being re-elected.

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, the Pojoaque school board elected officer positions for 2015. Sharon Dogruel made a motion for President nominating Jon Paul Romero. Jeff Atencio second the motion. The motion to elect Jon Paul Romero for president then went for a vote of the school board members. John Paul Romero, Sharon Dogruel and Jeff Atencio voted yes. Toby Velasquez and Fernando Quintana voted no. A motion was made to nominate Fernando Quintana as Vice-President. This passed unanimously. A motion was made to nominate Toby Velasquez as Secretary. This passed unanimously. Your 2015 Pojoaque Valley School Board Officers are: President - Jon Paul Romero Vice- President - Fernando Quintana Secretary - Toby Velasquez Member - Jeff Atencio Member - Sharon Dogruel

Pojoaque Valley Irrigation District

Recently, the Pojoaque Valley Irrigation District conduct an election on December 2, 2014 to select a Board Director for District 1, El Rancho. The incumbent was Horacio Roybal and there was only one candidate, Danny Roybal opposing the incumbent. Please view the below documents regarding the operation of PVID and learn about possible violations of New Mexico State Statutes that occurred while conducting this election

The Aamodt Settlement

The Aamodt Water Rights Settlement is the longest running water rights case in New Mexico. Forty years in the making, the settlement is meant to resolve disputes of water claims by the Pueblos of Nambe, Tesuque, Pojoaque and San Ildefonso, the City of Santa Fe, the County of Santa Fe, the United States government, and non-Native landowners of the Nambe-Pojoaque-Tesuque (NPT) water basin.

View Proposed County Agreement for the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water Authority

Conversation with NM State Senator Carlos Cisneros on February 20, 2015 about funding Aamodt Settlement.

The Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act (Public Law 111-291), passed by by US Congress on December 8, 2010, water rights were assigned to all the parties in the suit. In 2012, the actual Aamodt Settlement Agreement was signed by tribal leaders, the Governor of New Mexico, City and County of Santa Fe officials and US government to implement this law.

Non-native landowners of the NPT basin were faced with a decision in early 2014. In addition to adjudicating the water rights for all the litigants in the Aamodt settlement, the Settlement Agreement also stipulated the construction of a regional water system. This water system would be built on San Ildefonso Pueblo land and cost ~$170 million dollars. The US government has promised ~$106 million of this amount, leaving the State of New Mexico and the County of Santa Fe with a price tag of ~$70 million dollars. For more information regarding the regional water system and the cost-sharing agreement, see the Pojoaque Regional Water System Engineering Report and the 2013 Cost-Sharing and System Integration Agreement

Individual land owners had until April 7, 2014 to object to the terms of the settlement and to opt in or out of the proposed regional water system. As incentive for residents joining the water system, the promise of more water usage rights was offered to those that joined the system. The Office of the State Engineer was tasked with sending notices to residents regarding their options, but of 6,949 packets mailed, 2,665 were returned to sender (38%).

NNM Protects has retained a lawyer to represent any objectors to the Aamodt Settlement. Anyone wishing to have Blair Dunn present their objections to the federal court can join in the legal battle. For more information on Mr. Dunn, see his bio: page 1 and page 2

Official Court Proceedings for Objectors Represented by A. Blair Dunn Esq. and Lorenzo Atencio, Esq.
Additional Reading
Proposed Joint Powers Agreement and Water Master Rules
Related Water Issues in New Mexico
Additional Aamodt Reading

Jemez Mountain Electric Cooperative Easement Costs

The Public Regulation Commission (PRC or Commission) approved a rate increase on August 13, 2014 for Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative (JMEC) to help the utility cover right of way costs associated with providing transmission and distribution service on land owned by San Ildefonso Pueblo (SIP).

The Jemez Mountain Electric Cooperative (JMEC) provides electric service to thousands of customers in rural areas of northern New Mexico, including all eight northern pueblos. Most of its customers rely on power lines crossing pueblo land in order to get electric service to their residential and business properties.

The Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo negotiated easements over their tribal lands in 2012. The $11.5 million fee charged to the rural cooperative was passed on to customers in the greater Espanola area in order to recover costs. At the same time, a recovery method for this and future easement costs with Native American tribes was written and called Rate Rider 19. This rate rider stipulated that the Local Costs for a particular Native American Government shall be recovered from the Local Customers within the outer boundaries of the Native American Lands of that Native American Government on a per-kWh basis through a separate Rate Rider (see Rate Rider 19 ).

In essence this would charge pueblo customers the costs of the easement on their lands. It was only through a waiver of this requirment that Ohkay Owingeh was able to instead pass along the costs of its easement agreement onto the greater customer base of JMEC (see Public Regulation Commission (PRC)'s meeting minutes from July 19, 2012 and August 14, 2012 ).

When San Ildefonso Pueblo then reached an agreement for easement fees in the amount of $5.9 million dollars in 2013, they also sought to pass along the rate increases to a wider customer base. The effects of this rate increase in El Rancho and on San Ildefonso Pueblo have a large impact because they are recovered over a much smaller number of customers and rate hikes will be much more noticable.

Despite community members attendance and testimony before the PRC to uphold the original intent of Rate Rider 19, JMEC customers in these areas have been unable to stop the utility rate increases.

JMEC Information

Things only get worse in the easement saga. The federal code of regulations that stipulate how rights-of-way on Indian land are obtained is 25 CFR 169 is being amended because of current House and Senate legislation amending the 2005 Native American Energy Act.

The effect of this legislation and the resulting regulation changes is that the tribes are being given even more latitude in the amounts they charge for rights-of-way. They are allowed to waive any appraisal or valuation, and no cap is placed on the fees they can charge for such rights-of-way.

The House version of the bill has passed, but the Senate bill is still in committee. We urge interested parties to contact Senators Udall(202) 224-6621 and (202) 224-5521 to urge them to fight for fairness in the final version of S.2132. Additionally, we have a petition that should be signed by all JMEC customers concerned about this issue. You can find the petition form here. Return completed partitions to our mailing address before August 11th or contact Heather Nordquist at (505) 470-3622 to arrange alternate delivery to NNM Protects staff for timely submission.

County Easements Challenged

Long-standing easements for the County of Santa Fe for road usage on San Ildefonso lands have recently been challenged by the pueblo and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). For the moment, our current Congressman, Ben Ray Lujan has defended these decades-old agreements with San Ildefonso Pueblo, but given the amount of money to be made by charging the residents of El Rancho and surrounding areas for their natural gas, telephone and other utility rights of way, the BIA has once again responded to the Congressman claiming trespass along these public roads.

The Pojoaque Pueblo's Gaming Compact

The time has come for Pojoaque Pueblo to renegotiate its gaming compact. Not getting all the concessions it wanted from the State of NM and Susana Martinez, they have applied directly to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and proposed a new compact.

There is nothing good in this compact for the people of New Mexico. In a nutshell, the compact:

New Mexico has long had a drunk driving problem. It was recently ranked as the state with the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the country.

Read the proposed compact here.

There is no vehicle for the public to comment on this document. The governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez has until the end of August to respond. Please write your newspapers to let them know what you think of the document and let Governor Martinez know your thoughts.

Pojoaque Valley Community Plan

The County of Santa Fe has initiated a process to update our community plan, and develop appropriate zoning and regulations. Planning committee meetings are scheduled between March and May.

In the News

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Action Center

This page will serve as a short and sweet list of the meetings and events you can attend to get involved in helping us tackle the issues on our agenda.

County Events
Current NM Legislative Session

Contact Us

President - Beverly Duran-Cash (505) 699-3596

Executive Vice President - Heather Nordquist (505) 470-3622

Vice President - Dave Neal (505) 455-2175

Secretary - Martha Trujillo (505) 455-2779

Treasurer - Gail Martinez (505) 660-4807