Mora County, New Mexico—A mandate for Community Rights and Banning Fracking

June 7, 2012

The Mora County Commission race results were a mandate to protect Mora County from oil & gas drilling and fracking by banning oil company development in Mora County.

Alfonso Griego ran and won against incumbent Laudente Quintana with a platform statement, “Alfonso Griego is Committed to the Mora County Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance that will protect our water, land, health and future by banning fracking and oil and gas development.” (ref. campaign mailer 5-2012–see attachment)

Quintana held citizens vulnerable to the impacts of oil&gas drilling and fracking by taking no position over the past nine months to support the Mora County Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance that bans fracking in Mora County, sponsored by Commissioner John Olivas.

Beginning January 2013, the commission will have two of three commissioners who ran their platforms on banning fracking in Mora County.

This is the third recent mandate of the people in Mora County since issues pertaining to preservation of the way-of-life and the natural resources have been brought to public discussion and vote. In 1994 the people expressed their overwhelming support of green, renewable, local development, protection of the water, culture and health. These were incorporated into the Mora County Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and the Development Guidance System (DGS). In the election of 2010, John Olivas won against an incumbent as he stood strongly with his platform banning oil & gas development in Mora County. Yesterday’s victory for Alfonso Griego supports the people’s voice once again.

At the May 2012 commission meeting, Chair Paula Garcia stated that 95% of the people of Mora County were against oil and gas drilling. Yet yesterday’s citizen vote was a much stronger statement than this. What the results of this election tell the world is that the majority of the people in Mora County want to ban oil&gas drilling and fracking in Mora County, and that they are not willing to allow the oil companies to come into Mora County whether they are regulated or unregulated.

As rancher Chris Velasquez from San Juan County told people at an educational forum in Mora in 2010, “Once they [oil companies] start their engines, it is all over.” The majority of the people in Mora County get that message loudly and clearly and are not accepting the regulating and permitting process that allows the oil industry to begin developing in Mora County. People understand the degradation this industry brings to the water, air, land and way-of-life and are willing to stand strongly with a ban.

The Mora County Community Rights Ordinance exerts the rights of the people of Mora County to protect their water, both quality and quantity. It supports their rights to clean air, their continued agricultural land-use, free from industrial oil and gas development, and it protects their way-of-life. The Community Rights Ordinance exerts citizen’s rights to self-determination and local self-governmental decisions about which development takes place in Mora County so that the people can attain their local sustainable present and future, for the children. This ordinance is a democratic voice for the citizens of Mora County.

Drilling Mora County

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"Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light."

                         --Thomas Jefferson, 1799


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