World is watching Mora County battle vs. fracking

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Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 9:00 pm

MORA — It is a script destined for a Hollywood movie: A rural, low-income, mostly Hispanic New Mexico county passes a community rights ordinance, bans oil and gas drilling, and is sued by rich, greedy oil and gas barons.

“We’re protecting our water,” say two Mora County commissioners who support the ordinance.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Pat Shackleford posted at 12:17 pm on Wed, Nov 27, 2013.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 1100

    In the fracking process, "produced water" is the resulting polluted water (millions of gallons per site) which must be dealt with, somehow. The most common method is to pump it back underground where, in a perfect world scenario, it never migrates or mixes into other clean water which might at sometime become your children's drinking water. The paragraph below from an industry publication makes it clear that the water is forever polluted.

    "Oil and gas well producers have to find a way to dispose of this produced water. Many companies choose to pay to dispose of the water by hauling it off and disposing of it in injection wells, where the water is never re-used. This method of disposal has its limits, and is under scrutiny from environmental control agencies and facing increased capacity restraints."

  • Robert Beal posted at 4:05 am on Wed, Nov 27, 2013.

    Robert Beal Posts: 2

    More on the Heart of Fracking


    [append the address string below before pasting the entire URL into your browser's address window (otherwise it is too long for this comment space to accept)]


  • Robert Beal posted at 4:00 am on Wed, Nov 27, 2013.

    Robert Beal Posts: 2

    I live in The Heart of Fracking -- Odessa, Texas -- above the Permian Basin, in the southernmost high plains.

    The only sign of any wealth being generated here is the overweening menace of huge white new pickup trucks loaded for bear and thorn-scrub ready. The potholes, blowing trash, cigarette smoke, ghetto housing -- from plantation to apocalypse, oh, the horror.

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 1:55 pm on Tue, Nov 26, 2013.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 1100

    Might help to learn something about the fracking-process' huge water requirements and how resulting polluted water is dealt with successfully (or not) before making such simple assumptions about its impact.

  • JR Croteau posted at 1:37 pm on Tue, Nov 26, 2013.

    Richard Windsor Posts: 1

    “We’re protecting our water,” say two Mora County commissioners who support the ordinance.

    Protecting it from what?

    If you are so concerned about protecting the water, where is the ban on the use of any pesticides and fertilizers with in the county?

  • Dave Sutter posted at 12:21 pm on Tue, Nov 26, 2013.

    Sudsy Posts: 1

    There is a reason why Mora County is the poorest county in New Mexico. These idiots have unilaterally decided no corporations in Mora County. Why? They own land that was given to them (not earned) by their mothers and fathers. Land owned originally by native americans and stolen by the ancestors of these liberal do-gooders.

  • TC Shapard posted at 12:37 pm on Mon, Nov 25, 2013.

    Shap Posts: 2

    Unfortunately, Mora County case is not strong. Difficult to explain in court Mora Co. has accepted $1.8 million last year in "severance taxes" funded by the Energy industry. In addition, there are state lands including minerals rights Mora County does not control.

  • StaciMatlock posted at 3:16 pm on Sun, Nov 24, 2013.

    StaciMatlock Posts: 20 Staff

    Hi Stan, I should have made it more clear that the attorneys who have offered help to Mora, including CELDF, have said they will do so pro bono. So the county won't have upfront legal costs, but still have to cover the costs of their own travel, etc. Perhaps the travel of the attorney? Not sure.
    The bigger issue is, if Mora County loses, they will likely have to pay the other side's legal costs. That will be a bundle. Whether the New Mexico Association of Counties insurance would be able to cover it all is a question.

  • Stan Bies posted at 1:22 pm on Sun, Nov 24, 2013.

    Patron Posts: 37

    Nice in depth article . Difficult position for the county. Unfortunately it is hard to evaluate legal advice from lawyers on either side who have a strong political agenda or viewpoint. Probably should have considered getting initial review of legal options regarding likelihood of constitutional litigation success from an expert who would not be handling the case and might assist on a pro bono basis.

  • Jeff Carr posted at 12:18 pm on Sun, Nov 24, 2013.

    CitizenKane Posts: 50

    Stand strong Mora county! Remember, David beat Goliath.

  • Joseph Hempfling posted at 11:03 am on Sun, Nov 24, 2013.

    joehempfling Posts: 691

    This is not about oil and gas as much as SELF DETERMINATION AND SELF GOVERNANCE. Just like the insane TPP treaty being negociated in secrecy to over ride our Sovereignty in the name of Casino Capitalism ! Stand Firm Mora County in exercising YOUR RIGHTS and show the World that even a small New Mexican County
    i.e. David, can do in standing up to Goliath; in this case the Oil and Gas indutstry! and all it took was ONE stone. My prayers are with you !

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 9:25 pm on Sat, Nov 23, 2013.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 1100

    Thanks for covering this issue Staci. Will surely get more contentious as clean water becomes harder to acquire. Unlikely that "just folks" can win many legal battles against a billion-dollar business syndicate which already owns most of our government officials. State agencies are only too happy to take the royalty scraps and let constituent-citizens fend for themselves.


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