boom or bust baby: passing gas in mora county, nm.

As the cities partake in green vision quests dreaming a carbon neutral future, rural New Mexicans tremble at the possibility that this beautiful landscape of potential will be poked, polluted and gutted with pipelines, roads, flares and holding ponds wrought by a natural gas boom carried in on the wings of climate change. With the Federal administration pushing natural gas cars and energy options as the stepping stone to reducing CO2 emissions on target with a new global deal, those of us sitting atop split estates are experiencing how the agenda of large global corporations have begun to take precedence over community concerns like quality of life, the future of our land base, and of course water, the life blood of existence here in New Mexico. At the end of the year the world meets in Copenhagen to hash out a new climate agreement which will supersede the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto should have driven global emissions down to 1990 levels, but without the participation of the USA—which produced approximately 25% of the world’s carbon emissions until it was recently overtaken by China—there has been an increase in emissions. Copenhagen is a different story, with Obama on board the emission impossible Continue Reading →

drill baby drill…

Like many poor rural areas of the west, New Mexico faces a grab for its resources. Driven by the rising cost of fuel this trend is now focused on drilling for oil and gas, which means the degradation of some of the most pristine areas of our state. How oil and gas reserves are divided appears arbitrary on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find NIMBYism alongside backroom deals and government complicity with industry. Here in New Mexico urbanites get to hear the gasps of exasperated Santa Fe folk fighting off the rigs, but what about the voices that cannot be heard? The voices of those who live further on the margins in the poverty stricken rural areas that make up the resource rich West, where the bulk of resource degradation takes place. In New Mexico, much like rural Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and other Western states poverty sculpts the landscape. Here the lure of a quick profit at the expense of the environment is facilitated by corrupt officials, public land lease sales, and efforts to buy subsurface rights before the owner realizes they’ve sold the family ranch down the line for pennies on the dollar. Who needs Continue Reading →