Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Mora County gets views on drilling"--David Gulliani, Las Vegas OPTIC

Las Vegas Optic

By David Giuliani

"MORA — Ojo Feliz resident Emilio Valdez acknowledged during a public hearing that he leased his land’s mineral rights to oil and gas companies. He said Mora County needs economic development.

“There are people who are opposed to any industry. They look at the negative side of things,” he said, adding that he wanted to make sure future generations of his family had a source of income.

And he said if others had land to lease to energy firms, they would do so as well.

Not so, others said.

Valdez was one of more than 40 speakers during a three-hour public hearing Monday night at Mora Elementary School. More than 200 people attended.

The hearing was organized by the Mora County government, whose officials are considering changes to regulations to deal with possible oil and gas development.

More than a year ago, Albuquerque-based KHL Inc. started looking at leasing mineral rights near Ocate, northeast of Mora, a first step to drilling. A group calling itself Drilling Mora County, which is pushing for stricter regulations, has been seeking a public hearing for more than a year.

The county has yet to receive an application for drilling.

By the applause at Monday’s hearing, it appeared as if more people in attendance sided with anti-drilling speakers. But industry representatives and their supporters got cheers as well." More>>>>