RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – The community came out in force Tuesday to oppose a controversial project they said will be a danger to everyone in the Metro. The nearly two dozen community members spoke against a proposed gas storage facility on the west side even though the New Mexico Gas Company stands behind it. “The liquefied natural gas plant will further worsen the climate crisis in a moment when we need to phase out fossil fuels,” a resident said.

One after the other, people spoke out at the Bernalillo County Commission meeting Tuesday. “There would be numerous safety risks, health concerns, and financial costs placed on New Mexicans, which we don’t need or want,” another resident said.

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They were opposing New Mexico Gas Company’s proposed Liquified Natural Gas Storage facility on the outskirts of Rio Rancho, just north of Double Eagle Airport. “The consideration of the proposal makes me feel as though my life, my family’s lives, and our health are less important than the financial gain of the oil and gas industry.”

The only person to speak in favor of the facility during public comment was New Mexico Gas Company’s Vice President who said the proposed $180 million project would be safe and bring many benefits, like protecting their customers from price hikes. “The company believes avoiding the cost of early storage and having access to the stored gas that we would control during winter weather events or high prices will more than pay for itself,” Gerald Weseen said.

While it’s not the county’s decision to approve or deny the facility, Commissioner Barbara Baca created a resolution. It lets the state’s Public Regulation Commission, which has the final say, know they’re not in favor of it. “We really are asking the gas company in this resolution to engage in more study and analysis of the proposed site before proceeding further,” Baca said.

The resolution passed 4 to 1. Commissioner Walt Benson voted against it. A PRC meeting will be held on December 4 to determine the merits of the gas company’s proposal.