The 2015 Legislature passed a law requiring the State Engineer to hold administrative hearings in the county where the water is located, not in Santa Fe. In recent years, the Office of the State Engineer has started to require water owners to go to Santa Fe for hearings, even though most people can’t afford the time and money to go there.
Senator Steve Neville and Representative Paul Bandy both introduced bills to require local hearings, and so did other legislators.
At first, OSE staff testified against this legislation. However, the new State Engineer Tom Blaine met with Bandy and Neville and others, and then instructed his staff to support the idea. The final bill was sponsored by Sen. Cliff Pirtle – it passed with bipartisan support and was signed by Governor Martinez. Senate Bill 276.
“We appreciate Tom Blaine’s support – it’s a good start for the new State Engineer,” said Paul Bandy.
Steve Neville said “It’s more than 400 miles round trip to Santa Fe, so this really helps water owners in San Juan County.”