Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mora County Citizen Mandate--Mora County Commission meeting on development of oil and gas in Mora County 7-6-09


Even industry would have to concede that the Mora County Commission "Special Meeting" results on the development of oil and gas in Mora County was a mandate of the Citizens of Mora County. A crowd of nearly 300 packed and lined the walls of the gymnasium for 3 hours of testimony.

Of those who testified, only 5 out of the 48 people clearly supported oil and gas development in Mora County. Three were industry and two were Mora County land owners. New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Bob Gallagher, Industry attorney, Corine Foster and Shell Oil representative, Sally (?) spoke on behalf of the oil and gas industry. Mark Fesmire represented the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division. Tweeti Blancett and Chris Velasquez (Land out of Time), "cousins" to the North of Mora County, testified about the damaging extraction processes with which industry daily scars their daily ranching lives and cautioned the people that there is minimal government protection for them once industry drills on their land. The line up of speakers from Drilling Santa Fe, Johnny Micou, Linda Spier, David Bacon and Bruce Fredrick, NMELC, along with many others, read like a famous movie line up.

And even more exciting and promising was the testimony of the citizens of Mora County, who individually and passionately expressed their concern that industry would TAKE from them, the very way-of-life that is their great wealth...measured in the quality of their clean drinking water, land, air, health and peace of mind. "How do we measure wealth?" has been redefined and spoken with solidarity--it is MORA COUNTY! And the people spoke their mandate telling industry that they did not believe their rhetoric that oil and gas development can be "Good Neighbors."--as clearly as the incompatibility of mixing oil and water. The people told industry they were well aware of the toxic water contamination across New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas and elsewhere in the world. They spoke that once industry drilled their first well in Mora County, there would be no way of turning back. There appeared to be a powerful resistance to allowing industry a foothold in Mora County.

Now, given all this, what will the commissioners do after hearing the mandate of the citizens of Mora County? The public is now inquiring as to the process and they are actively urging the commission to unfold their vision and goals for the future of Mora County regarding oil and gas development.