Mora County: New Local Bill of Rights Stops Fracking and Drilling

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and good citizens of Mora county have made headway as a new local Bill of Rights has been established.

By Shepard Ambellas

MORA COUNTY, NM — Monday the County Commission of Mora has made history by successfully stopping drilling and fracking in the area.

Fracking is defined by Wikipedia as, “Hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of various rock layers by a pressurized liquid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally—certain veins or dikes are examples—and can create conduits along which gas and petroleum from source rocks may migrate to reservoir rocksInduced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracingfraccing, or fracking, is a technique used to release petroleum, natural gas (including shale gastight gas, and coal seam gas), or other substances for extraction.[1] This type of fracturing creates fractures from a wellbore drilled into reservoir rock formations.” Fracking is a controversial process implemented by big business proponents such as large oil and gas companies.”

The new ordinance establishes that citizens of the county deserve clean air and water, which also includes no drilling or fracking to maintain the environment.

Nation of Change reported, “Existing state and federal oil and gas laws force fracking and other extraction activities into communities, overriding concerns of residents,” explained Thomas Linzey, Esq., CELDF executive director. “Today’s vote in Mora County is a clear rejection of this structure of law which elevates corporate rights over community rights, which protects industry over people and the natural environment.”

“This vote is a clear expression of the rights guaranteed in the New Mexico Constitution which declares that all governing authority is derived from the people. With this vote, Mora is joining a growing people’s movement for community and nature’s rights,” said Linzey.

“The vote of Mora commission chair John Olivas and vice-chair Alfonso Griego to ban drilling and fracking is not only commendable, it is a statement of leadership that sets the bar for communities across the State of New Mexico,” said CELDF community organizer and Mora County resident, Kathleen Dudley. She explained that the ordinance calls for an amendment to the New Mexico Constitution that “elevates community rights above corporate property rights.”

Mora County joins Las Vegas, NM, which in 2012 passed an ordinance, with assistance from CELDF, which prohibits fracking and establishes rights for the community and the natural environment. CELDF assisted the City of Pittsburgh, PA, to draft the first local Bill of Rights which prohibits fracking in 2010. Communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, New York and New Mexico have enacted similar ordinances.”

The fact that environmentalist have made headway is a good step toward a cleaner safer earthly environment. Bloomberg reported some problems fracking creates, and how the chemicals used are hazardous, “Fracking is a drilling technique that forces millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals deep into rock formations to release trapped oil and gas. A deposit known as the Monterey Shale may hold 15.4 billion barrels of oil, according to federal estimates, two-thirds of the nation’s shale-oil reserves. California is already the fourth-largest oil-producing state.

Opponents say the chemicals used in fracking pose health and environmental risks. The oil industry, through the Western States Petroleum Association, says hydraulic fracturing has been used safely for more than 60 years.”

Sources:

^http://www.nationofchange.org/first-county-us-bans-oil-and-gas-extraction-1367418547

^http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-01/california-regulator-eyes-tracking-of-fracking-chemicals.html

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)