Tuesday, February 16, 2010

DMC Educational Meeting with Chris Velasquez and Gilbert Armenta, San Juan County ranchers--saying no to oil and natural gas develpemnt

Save New Mexico Lands and Water

At the February 11th 2010 meeting of Drilling Mora County, Rancher Gilbert Armenta told how Conoco-Phillips drilling crews bulldozed his family cemetery removing or destroying the grave markers. This shows the incredible disrespect and total lack of ethics that the natural gas industry has for New Mexican citizens. Other than a few good officials from San Miguel County no other government representatives – not even one representative of State or Federal Government - cared enough to attend. I guess Mora County and its people are too poor and unimportant for politicians to give a damn about what happens to them and their land.

My wife and I will not support or work for any New Mexico or Federal politician that hasn’t the guts to speak out and work to bring this insane gas drilling under regulation … or if it cannot be done safely, then halt it completely. We need an immediate moratorium on new drilling for all of New Mexico. We need a comprehensive research effort by a government lab to see if gas drilling can be done safely. If it can be done safely then we need to clearly define for the gas industry how they will be allowed to do it, and provide regulation and inspection to see that this is the way it gets done. Currently, natural gas drilling is reckless and completely out of control. Corporate greed replaces and overrules common sense. If natural gas cannot be extracted safely then we need to stop extracting it.

San Juan County where natural gas drilling has occurred for some years now has the highest cancer rates in New Mexico. In other parts of America where gas drilling has occurred for some time, abnormally high cancer and livestock health issues are also being seen. These cancer rates are a direct consequence of the underground rock fracturing process (fracking) that uses known carcinogens like Benzene. Once the water aquifers get polluted there will be no going back. The gas industry does not have to disclose the mix of chemicals that they use to do fracking because this is considered proprietary information, a consequence of the Cheney-Bush Administration’s exclusion of the oil and natural gas industries from the Clean Water Act requirements and liabilities.

Who is going to pay the costs of cancers when Royal Dutch Shell and others have extracted the gas and pulled out of Mora and other New Mexico counties? What will happen to New Mexico property values when it becomes widely known that our aquifers are polluted and causing a greatly raised cancer rate? What new industry will want to move to New Mexico and provide jobs? What sense does it make to be asking New Mexico tax payers to clean up a few old gasoline tanks in Santa Fe when all over the state the natural gas industry is pumping far greater quantities of carcinogenic chemicals into wells … chemicals that are undoubtedly far deadlier than the gasoline of many decades ago?

An industry so bankrupt of values that it will bulldoze a family cemetery cannot realistically be expected to respect health or any other concerns of American citizens. It is long past time to halt all new drilling and see if it is possible to extract gas safely. We are disgusted that politicians are taking so little interest in this issue. We will not vote for or support any politician who fails show any concern for the citizens of New Mexico or for the lands and waters of New Mexico, which sustain our lives and livelihoods here in New Mexico. We need an immediate halt to this insane practice. New Mexicans must stand together, united, and demand that these greedy corporate bullies respect law and the best interests of our State, its people, our lands and the water.

Ed Scott
PO Box 2240
Taos, NM 87571