Thursday, April 26, 2012

Four Dollars for a Gallon of Water? The Dream of Monsanto and Other Corporations Wanting to Privatize Water

The minera leases  filed at the Mora County Clerk's office show that not only the oil and gas was leased.  They show with but one or two exceptions, the landowners unknowingly or knowingly leased their water resources to SWEPI (Shell Western Exploratory Production Inc).  This means they have leased their water without restriction.

When the water is either depleted or contaminated or both, and bottled water costs $4 per gallon, will the $1 per acre or $25 per acre lease be the "wealth" the landowners counted upon?

Some people have been seeing this leasing as a "water grab" in the Las Vegas basin....and they could be correct in their speculation.  Pickens, Monsanto, Royal Dutch Shell and Nestle seem to think clean drinking water is a good investment.

Four dollars for a gallon of gas is ridiculous enough, but $4 for a gallon of water could someday became a reality, that is if oil tycoons like T. Boone Pickens and water bottling companies have their way. Privatization of water in which companies control the public's water sources and free water is a thing of the past appears to be what Pickens and corporations such as Monsanto, Royal Dutch Shell, and Nestle are banking on to increase their vast fortunes.

Companies, brokers and billionaires are buying up groundwater rights and aquifers. Groundwater is necessary for agriculture and more water is needed to meet a growing demand for food. Many countries have already over-pumped their groundwater to feed increasing local populations. Combine this with climate changes and an ever-increasing strain on water resources due to a rapidly growing world population and you have got a future where water is called "blue gold" because of its scarcity and high cost.

Vermont-- Fracking Ban Passes Senate 27-1
April 18, 2012
Statement of Paul Burns, Executive Director of VPIRG on Passage of H.464, the Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing in Vermont
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The 27-1 vote of the Vermont Senate in favor of a ban on fracking for natural gas in the state is an important statement about the legislature’s commitment to clean energy, and its intention to protect public health and natural resources from the dangers of this practice.
This vote brings Vermont one step closer to becoming the first state in the nation to ban the dirty and dangerous practice of fracking. This is exactly the kind of leadership that is needed on this issue.
Fracking is wreaking havoc in nearby states. This bill sends a clear message to the oil and gas industry that we value clean water too much to allow fracking in Vermont....continued.....

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Fracking Frenzy's Impact on Women

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has generated widespread media attention this year. The process, which injects water and chemicals into the ground to release "natural" gas and oil from shale bedrock, has been shown to contribute signficantly to air and water pollution and has even been linked to earthquakes. But little has been reported on the ways in which fracking may have unique impacts on women. Chemicals used in fracking have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive health problems and there have been reports of rises in crimes against women in some fracking "boom" towns, which have attracted itinerant workers with few ties to the community....continued....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Unicopia Green Radio with Faren Dancer and Las Vegas City Councilman, Andrew Feldman & Mora Democracy School Committee secretary, Kathleen Dudley speak on Community Rights

A Dubious Ordinance

April 1, 2o12
As the Las Vegas City Council moves closer to passing proposed Ordinance 12-06, titled the Las Vegas Community Water Rights and Local Self Government Ordinance, let’s take a closer look at it. In our opinion, it’s a statement more than a law.

We seriously doubt it would hold up in court. It imposes an outright ban on all oil-and-gas drilling in Las Vegas and its watershed, which is probably a violation of constitutionally protected individual property rights. The measure would also challenge the New Mexico and U.S. constitutions, and preemptive law, in other ways that won’t likely hold up in court....continued.....

Las Vegas, NM, Passes Ban on Driling--

Last night, Las Vegas, New Mexico became the first municipality in the Southwest to enact a local bill of rights banning all forms of oil and natural gas drilling in the city and its watershed.  KUNM’s Sidsel Overgaard was there, and has this report.
 Listen to the recorded interview with Miguel Pacheco, Andrew Feldman and David Bacon
Las Vegas, N.M., Endorses Community Rights,
  March 21, 2012

The first day of spring was an auspicious day for the Las Vegas City Council to make history. It was a victory for the people and for democracy. The united voice of the citizens and actions taken by the council showed that concerned, involved people make a difference—that our elected officials who support their oath of office to protect the health, welfare and safety of the citizens, support Democracy. 

While the final vote on the Las Vegas Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance was still pending, the outcome of the March meeting held great possibilities for a protective Community Rights Ordinance as drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, CELDF, and sponsored by Councilman Andrew Feldman.

The vote to pass the Ordinance did not take place during the March meeting, as expected.
The “action item” to vote on the Ordinance was not on the agenda, at the counsel of the city attorney, David Romero. There was contention from the council and citizens towards the mayor and city attorney over this. As Councilman Feldman pointed out, last month’s unanimous vote by the council was specifically to advertise in order to bring this ordinance to a vote at the March meeting...continued...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thomas Linzey, CELDF, speaks on Corporate Rights

Las Vegas New Mexico City Council Votes and Passes the Community Rights Banning Corporations from Fracking for Shale Gas--1st in the West!

April 4, 2012
Las Vegas, New Mexico

Las Vegas, New Mexico Council Votes to Pass the Community Bill of Rights Banning Corporations from Fracking for Shale Gas

“Along with the City of Pittsburgh, this is how we change federal law, folks.  It starts at the bottom.  We do this, and other cities do it. It starts a ball rolling that hopefully will not stop.  We change our laws in this great country that protect us instead of protecting corporations."    --- Andrew Feldman, sponsor of "Las Vegas Community Water Rights and Self-Government Ordinance"

Monday night the City of Las Vegas, New Mexico, City Council voted on a community Bill of Rights.  It is known as the "Las Vegas Community Protective Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance."  This Ordinance establishes a new system of law--giving rights to citizens and nature.

The City Council voted 3-1 in favour of the Ordinance.  In favour:  Councilman Feldman, Councilwoman Tonita Gurule Giron and Councilman Romero.   Opposed:  Newly elected Councilman Vince Howell.

This community rights ordinance is the first rights-based ordinance to pass in the southwest.  It takes courage to be the first on the block, but more importantly, it takes a strong moral compass to stand up for the rights of the citizens when the pressure to support the status quo is dauntingly powerful.

Councilman Andrew Feldman sponsored the Ordinance, advocating for the rights that citizens and ecosystems thrive in the City of Las Vegas, New Mexico, as they would under this community rights ordinance. He is committed to working with other New Mexico communities to help them pass community rights ordinances.

In the words of Councilwoman Tonita Gurule Giron, after the vote, "It was the right thing to do."
Councilwoman Gurule Giron is running in the City of Las Vegas mayoral race.  The voting date is April 17th, 2012.

At the request of a committee of Las Vegas citizens, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, CELDF, known for their work with communities around the world, helped them draft a rights-based ordinance which they then presented to Councilman Feldman for his support.

Today the community of Las Vegas will stand along side with over 140 communities across the United States who exert their rights to local self-government, local sustainability, and a Bill of Rights that protect their communities and nature from corporate threats.  And perhaps most importantly, establish Democracy within their communities for the first time in their lifetimes.

Anit-Fracking Law Adopted--Las Vegas Optic

Las Vegas,. New Mexico
April 2nd 2012

Setting aside the grave concerns raised by its legal counsel and its insurer, the Las Vegas City Council voted 3-1 on Monday to approve a community bill of rights ordinance, becoming the first municipality in the state to do so....

The ordinance seeks to elevate the civil rights of the community and of its natural resources while limiting the rights currently enjoyed by corporations. A standing-room-only crowd was on hand at the council chambers to witness the vote, and most of them applauded when the measure passed. “This is a historic moment for Vegas, and it may face legal challenges but that’s how you start changing federal law,” [Councilperson] Feldman said after the meeting. “I feel really passionately that our rights are being trampled at the expense of corporations for profit and that the ... citizens in this country need to start taking back their rights. This is where it starts, in a grassroots effort.”...continued.....

By Martin Salazar