Fight Fracking: Albuquerque Basin; Valencia County

The Valencia Water Watchers need a legal expert to help us protect the water of the Albuquerque Basin aquifer!

Lawyers are expensive, and we (VWW) need to hire a knowledgeable attorney who is:
well-versed in water law, drilling/fracking law, land-use law, and zoning codes
conversant with the hydrology/geology of the Albuquerque Basin aquifer, and
passionate about protecting the health and well-being of communities.


The water in Valencia County comes from the Albuquerque Basin aquifer, which extends over 3,000 square miles from the Jemez Mountains to south of Belen. This entire aquifer is now at risk because of a decision made by the Valencia County Commission.

On July 14th, the County Commissioners held a 7½ hour Public Hearing about a proposed “Natural Resource Overlay Zone” ordinance. This NROZ ordinance, heavily influenced by a wealthy Oil & Gas magnate, makes it very easy for Oil & Gas companies to start DRILLING and FRACKING in Valencia County.

Over 200 people showed up at the Public Hearing, and more than 75% of them strongly opposed the ordinance.

Despite this OVERWHELMING PUBLIC OPPOSITION, and after hearing hours of scientific fact-based information about the inherent risks of fracking in the Albuquerque Basin, the Commissioners voted 3:2 to adopt the NROZ ordinance, with a few amendments.

This ordinance opens up our county and the aquifer for fracking – but we intend to fight this possibility at every turn! And the fight is far from over – which is exactly why we are seeking funding for a lawyer to help us. We are staying vigilant and preparing to fight the good fight to protect the people, land, and water.


“Fracking” is a process where water filled with toxic chemicals is pumped deep underground at high pressure to “fracture” rocks in the subsurface, forcing the natural gas up through the rock layers. The Albuquerque Basin, part of the Rio Grande Rift, is heavily faulted – which means the underground regions that would be fracked are often in contact with, or perilously close to, the water aquifer.

New Mexico geologist Don Phillips says:
“The Rio Grande Rift, which includes Valencia County, is one of the most dangerous places to frack in the Western Hemisphere … because of probable contamination of the Rio Grande aquifer in the Albuquerque Basin and virtually certain triggering of earthquakes.”

Fracking poses significant risks to the Albuquerque Basin and to the people who call it home:
  • Earthquakes
  • Water contamination in a pristine basin
  • A myriad of health issues that are documented in many parts of the US – areas that have been drilled, fracked, and left to deal with the deadly outcome.


We (VWW) are seeking funding to retain an attorney who will represent the people of our beautiful, underserved, and impoverished county as we oppose fracking. Your donations to this project will support our goals:
  • Protecting the singular and unique Albuquerque Basin and its pristine water.
  • Preventing contamination of the aquifer with the dangerous chemicals that are used for fracking.
  • Not disturbing the huge magma body in Socorro (just south of our county) where the greatest number of earthquakes happen in NM.
  • Avoiding the health risks associated with fracking (leukemia, asthma, cancer, premature births, etc.).
  • Relegating drilling/fracking activities to areas that are not prone to the extreme risks associated with drilling/fracking in the Albuquerque Basin.

We are a small, passionate group of citizens and we need legal counsel so we can succeed in this fight against fracking and the wealthy interests who want to bring it into our county. This will be an intense and possibly protracted legal contest; it will likely be very expensive and could ultimately end up in District Court. Your donations will help us cover those legal costs.


We need your help! Please support us with a donation (every dollar matters). Also, please share this fundraiser with others – those who reside in Valencia County, those who depend on the Albuquerque Basin aquifer for life-sustaining water, and those who want to support impoverished frontline communities affected by fracking.

Thank you for caring about the short- and long-term future of the aquifer, the water, the land, and the people who live here.

TL;DR: Valencia Water Watchers needs to hire a lawyer who can help us fight the threat of fracking in the Albuquerque Basin aquifer, so we’re asking for donations for that purpose.
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Donations (65)

  • Kat D'Orazio
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
  • Sharon Johnson-heflin
    • $35 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Austin Rio Mursinna
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Bobbe Besold
    • $36 
    • 1 yr
Illustration of helping hands

Give $45 to help get this fundraiser to its goal

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Fundraising team (4)

Valencia Water Watchers
Raised $465 from 12 donations
Los Lunas, NM
Bianca Sopoci-Belknap
Anni Hanna
Team member
Raised $386 from 6 donations
Deirdra Velasquez
Team member
This team raised $2,045 from 47 other donations.

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