Placitas is at a crossroads—and decisions made at the Federal and State levels in the near future will determine if this community can flourish as one of the economic stars in New Mexico or as Albuquerque’s gravel pit. The outcome will become a legacy‐forming event for our current government representatives. In 2015 LPA and ES-CA issued a position paper on gravel mining in the Placitas area. Until the BLM releases the Rio Puerco Resource Management Plan (RMP), the future of mining expansion in our community is unknown.
There has been recent developments on gravel mining in Placitas as far as the lawsuit against the Vulcan Mine is concerned. The July 27 County Commissioners meeting had a Vulcan Mine settlement vote scheduled. ES-CA held a meeting on July 21st outlining the settlement agreement. The proposed settlement is essentially nine and a half more years of mining with the site along the southern border being completed and reclamation started in 5-6 years and the remaining northern site finishing up in 9 years with reclamation to follow. ES-CA Trust Committee and the County attorney recommend we settle to avoid further legal fees. After the 7/21 meeting LPA Board members received quite a few questions and complaints about giving in to Vulcan and asking how the $60,000 of money collected to fight the suite wasn’t enough to do the job according to the negotiating parties. You can read the settlement agreement here. Settlement-Agreement
LPA decided to ask Commissioner Block to postpone the vote and allow us to have another meeting to clear the air and flesh out all the concerns we had about this settlement. He did refuse to vote saying he’d only gotten the settlement on Wednesday and could not vote something so significant until he fully read it and understood it; as did Commissioner Eichwald. Commissioner Eichwald cited our lack of a commissioner as his reason to buy us time to have one additional meeting. That postponement allowed us time to have another meeting on August 3rd that was attended by about 55 people. The presentation by the ES-CA Trust members who were urging us to accept the settlement agreement because they truly felt it was the best we could hope to get was repeated for the audience followed by an exhaustive question and answer period. While no one was enthused about the settlement no one ponied up any pledges for more legal fees. The County Commissioners voted to accept the settlement at their August 10th meeting.