Friday, July 24, 2009

Drilling and smoking in Mora County

The public session to discuss gas drilling in Mora County turned out to be a walk down memory lane. I could hear echoes of statements made decades ago by representatives of the tobacco industry.

“There is no scientific evidence that anyone has been harmed by smoking. Our product is perfectly safe; there are no added toxic chemicals. We are responsible members of the community, and our product makes a vital economic contribution to our society. Everyone should have the right to decide whether he or she will smoke, since an individual’s smoking doesn’t affect others. We don’t want eastern liberals pushing unnecessary regulations.”

Change “smoking” to “drilling for oil and gas,” and you have heard the arguments presented at Mora by representatives of the industry.

We now know that we were lied to about tobacco. We should be extremely skeptical when the same arguments are used to promote drilling for oil and gas. The industry has virtually unlimited resources that it can use to get its way. Will the commissioners give in to the industry, or will they take measures to protect the common good in Mora County?

Robert E. Pearson