San Miguel County Passes Tough Oil and Gas Regulations

From La Jicarita

San Miguel County Passes Tough Oil and Gas Regulations.

By KAY MATTHEWS

Today the San Miguel County Commission unanimously voted to adopt the San Miguel County Oil and Gas Regulations ordinance, which uses zoning and stringent requirements to regulate how and where the oil and gas industry can explore, drill, and hydraulically “frack” within the county. At the last public hearing before the adoption of the ordinance, Robert Freilich, the land use law attorney who helped the county draft the ordinance, stated, “This ordinance is a lot better than Santa Fe’s ordinance.” He also acknowledged the hard work of the members of PROTECT San Miguel County, whose diligence in reviewing the ordinance and helping in its revision makes it one of the toughest in the country. After the commissioners passed the ordinance, they also thanked all of those who had worked so hard to make this a reality.

La Jicarita spoke with PROTECT San Miguel County member Bob Wessely about what makes the San Miguel County ordinance so strong. He described it as basically a “large collection” of details that have gone through four or five incremental drafts to address problems raised by his organization and by the public at the 15 or so hearings held over the last several years. He cited four areas in which the final draft is particularly rigorous:

  • Permit application processes and studies are extensive, including detailed environmental impacts, water availability, traffic, infrastructure, geohydrology, fiscal impacts and emergency response plans.
  • Regulations for enforcement now include the hiring of a well-qualified county inspector, paid for by the industry, who will be responsible for overall application review as well as frequent monitoring and inspections stipulated in the ordinance. The strong post-permit monitoring now includes a 10-year annual inspection of abandoned wells for possible leakage.
  • The industry is held responsible for all County costs, including application technical review, ongoing inspection and monitoring, and additional off-site infrastructure (roads, judicial system, etc.).
  • Protection and mitigation requirements have been expanded to cover all areas of potential impacts by the drilling process (surface water, groundwater, air, noise, lighting, traffic, viewshed, etc.).

These regulatory requirements will apply to the eastern portion of the county—the boundary line is about 30 miles east of I-25 and runs from north to south— where exploration and drilling will be allowed. The western portion of the county is off limits.

sanmiguel_map

Other regulations that PROTECT requested or worked on with the county have also been included in the ordinance:

  • Pre-operation baseline testing requirements for air quality and water quality are extensive.
  • Air quality monitoring has been strengthened to protect county citizens from potential leaks of gasses during operations (drilling, fracking, and extraction). Closed loop systems are required. Open pit storage of fluids is prohibited.
  • Disposal of all wastes must be at state approved waste facilities, of which there are none within the county.
  • Water quality requirements were strengthened by designating which substances the industry has to test for.
  • Set back limits from drilling operations were established for a wide arrange of categories. Residential and school set backs are 4,000 feet, approximately a kilometer; non-residential structures are 1,000 feet; and groundwater recharge areas such as wetlands, acequias, and rivers are 1.5 miles. Conchas Lake, a popular recreation area, has a 2-mile set back.

I asked Wessely if he felt this ordinance would act to discourage oil and gas development because of its onerous requirements. He answered that it would certainly discourage a “fly by night” operator and would make large companies like Shell carefully consider whether it’s worthwhile, before engaging in the process. While there is currently no drilling taking place in the county, there are leases in the Watrous area (west of the dividing line) and some ranchers in the eastern area are desirous of having drilling on their ranches.

San Miguel County Board of Commissioners (L to R: Commissioner Marcellino Ortiz, Nicolas Leger, Consultant Steve Burstein, Dr. Bob Freilich, Commissioner Art Padilla, Commissioner Gilbert Sena, County Manager Les Montoya) final Oil and Gas Ordinance Public Hearing, 3 November 2014.

The San Miguel Oil and Gas Regulations were long in the making. La Jicarita asked Pat Leahan, with the Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center and PROTECT San Miguel County, to provide a timeline of how the public and county worked together to promulgate this ordinance.

  • In 2008 the Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center was asked by some folks in Mora County to look into leases that were being requested in Mora County, which prompted the Center to see if there were any leases also being pursued in San Miguel County.
  • In October of 2009 the Center went before the San Miguel County Commission to present the information that there had been drilling activity in 2006. The county was unaware of that fact and when it looked into county regulations involving extraction found that the regulations dealt primarily with gravel and other types of mining, not oil and gas.
  • San Miguel County Attorney Jesus Lopez directed the commission to look into drafting a moratorium on oil and gas drilling to give the county time to look into the issue.
  • At the November 10, 2009 county commission meeting the Peace and Justice Center presented documentation on the well that was drilled in 2006—location map, permit application, capping, etc.—and the Las Vegas Basin White Paper, a report that was commissioned by the group Drilling Santa Fe to analyze the impacts of potential drilling and fracturing in the Basin. The Center also presented this information to the mayor of Las Vegas who imposed a moratorium within the city limits.
  • On December 8, 2009, the County Commission adopted Resolution 12- 08-09-NATURAL RESOURCES, proposing the adoption of a one-year moratorium on conditional use permits for oil, gas or geothermal exploration, extraction, or drilling. A moratorium was passed on January 10, 2010.
  • In early 2010, after a screening of the film “Split Estate” a small group of people (Bob Wessely, Leslie Hammel-Turk, Brad Turk, Barbara Ehrlich, Kim Kirkpatrick, Carole Silon, Pat Leahan, Kate Daniel, Don Shaw, and Arielle Hawney) organized PROTECT San Miguel County to educate themselves and strategize on the issue of oil and gas development.
  • The Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center retained the New Mexico Environmental Law Center as a consultant to help draft an oil and gas ordinance. After consulting with Drilling Santa Fe it learned of Robert Freilich, the land use attorney who helped draft the Santa Fe County Ordinance. Freilich was subsequently hired by the county to help draft the San Miguel ordinance.
  • PROTECT San Miguel County sponsored and participated in many community forums and talks on Community Peace Radio to educate the public. A San Miguel County Oil and Gas Ordinance Task Force had been established and members of PROTECT joined the task force. The task force proved largely ineffective because of obstructionist tactics by the New Mexico Independent Petroleum Association representative.
  • The moratorium on oil and gas development was renewed several times for a total of four years.

While folks in San Miguel County are celebrating the passage of these regulations, neighboring Mora County is navigating tough legal terrain. In 2013 Mora County passed an outright ban on oil and gas development and is now embroiled in two industry lawsuits. Last week, U.S. District Judge Browning heard arguments on a motion for summary judgment in the SWEPI LP (a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell) vs. Mora County lawsuit. Based on his statements in the courtroom—“Some of these provisions are pretty wild; they’re pretty inconsistent with centuries of federal law” —it seems likely that at a subsequent hearing he will rule that either some of the language in the Mora County Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance is unconstitutional or that the entire ordinance should be thrown out. Another lawsuit filed against Mora County by private landholders and the Independent Petroleum Association remains extant but settlement negotiations are ongoing.

Advertisements

Protect the Rio Chama

I hope this finds you well, willing and able to circulate these materials in time for the BLM deadline of Friday the 15th.

If you have contacts among other organizations to whom you can pass this on, it could be very important as our outreach is woeful.

I am sending 4 documents which may or may not all be useful to you: 1) BLM specifications for an acceptable letter of protest;  2) a synopsis of the arguments against fracking in this watershed through which passes the majority of the entire water supply for the state of New Mexico; 3) Talking Points to pick and choose from when writing a letter so that each is unique and not disqualified;  4) a sample letter.

Blessings,

Mimi

The BLM Farmington Field Office is in the process of selling leases for 13 parcels of public land in the Santa Fe National Forest to oil and gas companies that may pollute our land, air and water. To allow this would endanger the Rio Chama Watershed and the Rio Grande with which it is joined.  We need to protect the New Mexico’s primary watershed and this is our chance.  The time is now! Please write your official letter of protest to stop the BLM from proceeding.

THE SPECIFICATIONS:

ALL PROTEST LETTERS MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS for the October 22, 2014 Oil & Gas Lease Sale-Farmington Field Office:

By mail, by hand delivery or by fax (to 505-954-2010  Attn: Jesse Juen  BLM)  If you use mail,  please pay for certified mail and send a copy to Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens at PO Box 835  Abiquiu NM 87510      Email will not be accepted at all. Address your protest:   Attn: Jesse Juen, NM BLM State Director
                                     301 Dinosaur Trail
                                     PO Box 27115
                                     Santa Fe, NM 8750
The protest must include your name RETURN ADDRESS. BLM must reply.

You must sign your protest as an individual citizen, not as an organization, unless fully ratified.

A protest must state the INTEREST of the protesting party in matter.  E.g. I am a resident/rancher/land owner/hiker/visitor/acequiero.

Refer to the 13 parcels in the Santa Fe National Forest that should be deferred:    NM 201410-001     
NM-201410-004   through  -015
            
The protest must include REASONS to support the protest. BLM will dismiss a protest filed without a statement of reasons.  Use the talking points to help build your statement of reasons. The most important is the danger to the scant and precious supply of water in New Mexico. Procedurally, pointing out that the BLM’s has NOT fulfilled its responsibility to verify that studies conducted truly substantiate a “finding of no significant impact” (FONSI),  is the most important objection we can make. Furthermore, we believe it’s impossible because you cannot fracture shale above the aquifer without contamination.

BLM must receive a protest no later than close of business on August 15, 2014.
As they said in school, USE YOUR OWN WORDS .The BLM disallows form letters. No email will be accepted.

THE ARGUMENT:

Hydraulic fracturing, “fracking”, uses millions and millions of gallons of water for each well, every time it is fracked.  if the BLM sells leases to oil and gas companies, they will use water necessary for the life of all communities downstream. Water is far more valuable to us than oil and gas because el agua ES la vida.  New Mexico has never had water to spare, especially now that the monsoon doesn’t deliver as it used to and because we are in drought.

50 to 60% of all of New Mexico’s water passes through the eastern side of Rio Arriba as surface and ground water and all of it is at risk because of the danger of contamination. In 2009, the County Commission attempted to protect the eastern side of the Continental Divide where the headwaters of the Rio Chama form by delineating a frontier district protected from oil and gas exploitation and the ordinance should be respected. The lands proposed for lease sale by the BLM in the Santa Fe National Forest around Regina, are on the eastern side of the Continental Divide, among the tributaries of the Rio Chama. They are beautiful and precious places in themselves – the Rio Galllina, the wetland areas of Parcel 12,  archaeological sites and more.

37,000 oil and gas wells are operating in the San Juan Basin around Farmington, with many more planned – providing a lot of oil and gas and a lot of revenue for government. It makes sense to restrict oil and gas production to areas of basin west of the Continental Divide that cannot contaminate widely downstream.

The process of extraction uses hundreds of chemicals in formulas that are trade secrets. Although the oil and gas industry claims they are safe, the national House of Representatives made a study identifying 2500 chemicals used of which 650 are known to cause cancer.  

The wells proposed around Regina will be drilled in shallow shale, using a new technology of horizontal drilling which has not been adequately tested and studied. Because the shale layer sits on top of the Morrison Formation holding our aquifer which is recharged by rain and snowmelt trickling through the shale, there is no way to protect water in the aquifer from chemicals injected under pressure sufficient to break shale during this process. Wells drilled into Morrison Foundation, such as the community well in Cebolla, have been tested and proven to provide some of the best water in the state.

Fracking has been linked to earthquakes in many places that have never experienced them before. The Abiquiu Dam and other sites sit atop fault lines and are already vulnerable.

Gas is a often merely a byproduct of fracking, not worth capturing for sale, though it may measure in the hundreds of millions of gallons, as in Oklahoma. It will be released into our air, or burned off by “flaring” – like lighting a giant blowtorch – in the midst of a region where catastrophic fires have raged in recent years. Such large volumes of gas are flared off from the main shale fields that they are visible from space. This past winter a well exploded in Pennsylvania so it can happen again.

Storage tanks release volatile chemicals constantly in an invisible smoke which can be revealed by infrared film and none of it is healthy. The industry claims that you can drink fracking fluid but 17 cows in Pennsylvania died after an hour’s exposure. The closer you live to a fracking operation the greater your chances of developing chronic rashes, headaches, nosebleeds, severe asthma and other respiratory problems. (Within 5 – 12 miles is the danger zone being studied.) 300 residents of a Texas fracking town filed formal complaints recently with the state authorities.  It is too soon to trace the effect of exposure to birth defects and cancers, but newborn babies across the nation already show 200-300 chemical contaminants in the blood of their umbilical cords when tested, according to the National Academy of Pediatrics.

Every well requires 400 – 2000 trucks running 24 hours a day carrying sand, frack fluid and water in, and oil, possibly gas, and “produced”, (which means poisoned), “water” out.  24 hours a day of tremendous noise, dirt, fires and lights all night, hundreds of transient workers and big machines pounding up and down roads without ceasing during the entire life of the well.

Perhaps 30% of the water forced into the rock comes back up, but laden with chemicals in a thick soup of sand. Standard practice is to truck this elsewhere and re-inject it, which seems to be causing earthquakes. The other technique is to pump it into evaporation pits. When these pits and impoundments get breached, the contaminants have flowed directly into ponds and pastures. Half the cows grazing near one, in western Pennsylvania, gave birth to dead calves that year and the following year effects were very visible in an unusual lack of steers.

This means that something like 70% of the potentially poisonous water remains in the permeable shale rock layer, trickling slowly down. The Floresta/Forest Service takes responsibility for the surface of the land. The studies they‘ve conducted on the impact of proposed oil fracking focus on the surface of the land. But, as devastating as oil extraction is to land, the catastrophic consequences are likely to happen slowly underground.

The BLM is charged with making sure that the FS studies adequately address the movement of water underground which is based on thoroughly understanding the geology of an area. But the subject of recent FS studies has been the Spotted Owl and road erosion. This sale should not be allowed to happen because there is not any basis for a “finding of no significant impact” (FONSI), which is a precondition for the sale. THIS MAY BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE POINT OF PROTEST

Independent review is also needed and Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens is undertaking one.

TALKING POINTS:

INCOMPLETE STUDY AND DISREGARD FOR PROCEDURE – the BLM needs to update the 2003 Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Mancos Shale/Gallup formation RMPA/EIS alternatives.  These two studies do not address shallow shale hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in this geologic situation.  If the lease sale continues BLM will be in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).   

WATER – anything you’d like to say about water; quality, availability, importance of clean water, etc.  Millions of gallons of water are required for each proposed well and oil and gas companies will use our water.  Fracking risks poisoning local water and that of millions of downstream users because the geologic layer containing oil and gas east of the Continental Divide sits above the aquifer.

CHEMICALS – oil and gas companies are not legally required to disclose the chemicals they inject into the wells.  In 2011 the House of Representatives reported that of 2,500 fracking products, 650 contain known carcinogens.  Spills in New Mexico’s oil and gas fields set records in 2012, with nearly 700 self-reported accidents.  At least thirty reported spills during 2011 and 2012 impacted a waterway or a groundwater supply.  Toxic waste -water will be produced by the millions of gallons and there is no reference in the BLM Assessment to how they will dispose of it.

EARTHQUAKES – the Abiquiu Reservoir and Heron Lake are placed near several known fault lines.  Injection wells are often used to dispose of waste-water and are known to cause seismic activity.

AIR QUALITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE – flaring is a common practice used in fracking in which huge amounts of hydrocarbons are released directly into the atmosphere.  Flaring also poses an extreme fire danger in our Santa Fe National Forest.  A 3- 12 miles radius has been identified as dangerous to human and animal health.  Waste- water pits are another means of disposing of the toxic sludge.  These are open pits that are filled with waste-water and left to evaporate.  
 
SOIL RESOURCES – in this high desert climate the soil can be fragile.  Talk about your concerns for the soil in light of heavy traffic from big rigs used in fracking; erosion caused by roads and construction of drilling pads; toxic chemical spills and anything else you might have to say about the earth.

WILDLIFE – talk about endangerment of any particular species – disruption of migratory patterns, etc.

DARK SKY – talk about your feelings for an uninterrupted night sky view.

CULTURAL RESOURCES AND LANDSCAPES – talk about what is dear to your heart in this area – what resources and landscapes you want to remain.  A section of the Old Spanish Trail runs through these parcels.  The BLM has also identified hundreds of multi-cultural historic sites in the area of these parcels that are listed in the Environmental Assessment.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE – Quoting from the EA:
Environmental justice refers to the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, programs, and policies.  It focuses on environmental hazards and human health to avoid disproportionately high and adverse human health of environmental effects on minority and low-income populations.

Talk about your feelings in light of this statement and what you know about hydraulic fracturing as it relates to the Rio Arriba Frontier District.  

SOCIO ECONOMIC – Quoting from the EA: “An assumption is that the No Action Alternative (no lease option) would not affect current domestic production of oil and gas.”  In other words, there are not major oil and gas reserves.  They go on to say:
“If the BLM were to forego leasing and potential development of the proposed parcels, the assumption is that the public’s demand for the resource would not be expected to change.  Instead, the mineral resource foregone would be replaced in the short-and long-term by other sources that may include a combination of imports, using alternative energy sources (e.g. wind, solar), and other domestic production.  This offset in supply would result in a no net gain for oil and gas domestic production.”

Write about what you think about that.

DISRUPTS COMMUNITIES BY INCREASING NOISE POLLUTION AND TRAFFIC,  OVERSTRESSES INFRASTRUCTURE – thousands of big rig trucks running on roads 24/7; generators, bright lights, hampered emergency response times,  etc.

IN CLOSING – round out your letter with a reiteration of your demand/request to defer the remaining 13 parcels in this Lease Sale.  Use your own words.   The BLM Farmington Field Office has the authority, as the sale agent, to defer these remaining parcels.  These 13 parcels in the Santa Fe National Forest pose the same issues as their neighboring parcels that have been deferred and the same risks to the Rio Chama Watershed east of the Continental Divide.

INCLUDE THIS SENTENCE:  A finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the October 22, 2014 Oil and Gas Lease Sale is not adequately supported by the Environmental Assessment as it now stands.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Jesse Juen
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
New Mexico State Office     
PO Box 27115
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502

7/26/2014

Dear Director Juen,

My name is Felicity Garcia and I am writing to protest the proposed sales of parcels NM-201410-001, 004 thru 015 that will be offered up for lease in the BLM Competitive Oil and Gas Lease Sale, October 22, 2014.

Interest in Protesting
I am a lifetime resident of Gallina, and my family has farmed and raised livestock in this area for hundreds of years.  My income is based on the integrity and productivity of the land.

Reasons for Protesting
I understand the importance of clean water, and a functioning ecosystem for the health of our community.  Without clean water we cannot hope to thrive in our traditional lands.  We live with a limited amount of water in our part of the world, and I am concerned about the 2-10 million gallons of water that is used for each well in this process. I highly protest this misuse of the limited resource of water.

Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are known to cause cancer, neurological, and other health problems.  There have been many examples of spills and groundwater contamination, despite the efforts of private oil and gas companies.  The risk of polluting our precious water is too great.  If our water is affected it is the residents who will have to live with the consequences, not these companies.

The waters in Gallina and Regina flow into the Rio Chama and any pollution will also affect our neighbors down river all throughout the state.

Our forests are vulnerable to forest fires because of extreme drought, and the hydraulic fracturing process involves many fire risks.  Wells have exploded and caught fire, and the flaring of natural gas burn off can cause the dry forest to catch fire.  Our forests are a part of our livelihoods and heritage as we use them for firewood, livestock forage, and wildlife habitats as we have for hundreds of years.   After a fire burns the exposed soil can cause flooding that and also pollutes our rivers.

I again protest and ask you to defer the 13 parcels up for lease in the October 22, 2014 BLM Lease Sale.

Sincerely,

Felicity Garcia

 Felicity Garcia
Please send your mandatory response to.
P.O. Box 1116
Gallina, NM, 87017

Fluoride used in U.S. water supplies found contaminated with lead, tungsten, strontium, aluminum and uranium – NaturalNews.com

Natural News exclusive: Fluoride used in U.S. water supplies found contaminated with lead, tungsten, strontium, aluminum and uranium

via Natural News exclusive: Fluoride used in U.S. water supplies found contaminated with lead, tungsten, strontium, aluminum and uranium – NaturalNews.com.

Natural News exclusive: Fluoride used in U.S. water supplies found contaminated with lead, tungsten, strontium, aluminum and uranium

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) The sodium fluoride added to U.S. water supplies is contaminated with the toxic elements lead, tungsten and aluminum, a Natural News Forensic Food Labs investigation has revealed. Strontium and uranium were also found in substantial quantities in some samples, raising additional questions about the purity of industrial fluoride used for water fluoridation.

These ICP-MS results, shown below, were determined with the very same ICP-MS laboratory instrumentation used by the FDA and various universities. Mike Adams, director of the lab and one of the world’s leading researchers into heavy metals contamination of foods, conducted the research.

Research summary and results

To conduct the research, Natural News acquired “pure” sodium fluoride from six chemical manufacturers in China who export fluoride for use in municipal water supplies and other industrial applications (such as pesticides).

Roughly 500 grams of white crystalline powder was acquired from each of the six companies in China.

From those original samples, approximately 0.5 grams of each sample was carefully weighed in laboratory vials, then digested using high purity “trace grade” acids suitable for ICP-MS analysis.

Following digestion, the samples were normalized using laboratory-grade water (in an acid matrix), then dilution factors were calculated in the ICP-MS control software.

Samples were then run via ICP-MS, following strict quality control procedures including the use of acid blanks, mid-range calibration checks, NIST-traceable standards and verifying the conformity of calibration concentration curves.

The results of the six sodium fluoride samples are shown here in parts per billion (ppb)

MAX aluminum: 283,218 ppb
MAX arsenic: 137 ppb
MAX strontium: 9417 ppb
MAX lead: 988 ppb
MAX uranium: 1415 ppb
MAX tungsten: presence confirmed in 2 of 6 samples but quantitative analysis not conducted on tungsten

AVG aluminum: 69364 ppb
AVG arsenic: 70 ppb
AVG strontium: 1751 ppb
AVG lead: 299 ppb
AVG uranium: 239 ppb

As with everything tested at the Natural News Forensic Food Labs, all samples are held in storage for future validation.

Comments from lead researcher Mike Adams

We now have irrefutable scientific proof that the sodium fluoride used in U.S. water supplies is contaminated with toxic elements, heavy metals and other elements which have radioactive isotopes (strontium and uranium) that are present in the environment at trace levels.

The presence of these elements in water fluoridation chemicals cannot be refuted by any informed person, as the evidence is easily confirmed by any competent laboratory running ICP-MS instrumentation.

We also know that U.S. cities which foolishly engage in water fluoridation almost never test their raw materials for heavy metals contamination. After all, there is no law against dumping toxic heavy metals into public water supplies as long as the bags of powder are labeled “sodium fluoride.” While the EPA does require municipal water suppliers to test their water for overall heavy metals concentrations, in reality the samples acquired for this testing are often acquired upstream from the fluoride insertion point, thereby excluding the fluoride contaminants from the tests.

My laboratory testing shows that metals contamination varies considerably from one source of fluoride to the next. For example, while 988 ppb of lead was found in the sodium fluoride from one source, another source showed as little as 53 ppb. But that low-lead source contained over 1,400 ppb of uranium, a potentially concerning figure considering the amount of lingering radioactive uranium still found on the planet thanks to decades of atomic weapons testing. (The most abundant forms of uranium are non-radioactive, of course.)

The industrial heavy metal tungsten, which I have confirmed exists in imported rice protein products, was also found in two out of the six samples tested (33 1/3rd percent). This indicates a very high likelihood that people who are drinking fluoridated water from municipal water supplies may also be drinking tungsten (which has been linked to increased stroke risk at high concentrations).

Why fluoride advocates are forced to lie about what’s really in the fluoride

Fluoride advocates have always used dishonest language to try to deceive the public about fluoride. I remember seeing an advertisement from a pro-fluoride city which claimed, “Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. Water fluoridation simply restores the natural level of that mineral in the water to protect public health.” Such a claim, we all know, is blatantly false in both its literal wording and its implied claim.

For starters, just because an element is “naturally occurring” does not make it healthy. Arsenic is also a naturally-occurring mineral in many water wells, but arsenic causes cancer and death. If the argument of fluoride proponents is that all “naturally-occurring minerals” should be “restored” to public water supplies, then by their logic we should also be dumping arsenic into the city water.

Secondly, sodium fluoride imported from China’s industrial chemical factories is not at all the same as a fluoride mineral found in groundwater. There are many different chemical compounds which contain fluorine elements in various configurations. Some are far more toxic than others, and all of them are, by default, labeled “fluoride” for purposes of municipal water fluoridation. This dishonest labeling is of course entirely intentional.

Thirdly, fluoride contamination of water wells around the globe is a very large and widespread problem. This is what gives rise to the epidemic of dental fluorosis, affecting tens of millions of children across the globe. Just because fluoride is found in some wells doesn’t mean it should be added to all other water supplies. The idea is ludicrous, and anyone who argues such an invalid point only admits they are irrational or unintelligent to begin with.

When they push “fluoride,” they don’t tell you about the toxic heavy metals you’re also drinking

The other dirty little secret of the fluoridation industry, we now know for certain, is that when fluoride proponents say children need to drink “fluoride,” they never mention the lead, tungsten, uranium, aluminum, strontium and other elements found in common fluoridation chemicals.

What is the public health impact of millions of children around the world drinking trace levels of lead with fluoride? It can’t be good: lead is well known to damage children’s IQs and impair learning. Even though the levels of lead in public water caused by contaminated fluoride are likely to be very small, they still contribute to other sources of lead exposure such as lead alloys in brass pipe fittings — which are still common in residential plumbing.

Important questions about fluoride and public health

Here are several crucial questions for us all to consider:

1) If water fluoridation is supposed to be about protecting public health, then shouldn’t fluoride be free from toxic heavy metals?

2) Why don’t cities which are engaged in water fluoridation test their raw materials for heavy metals and publicly share the results with residents?

3) Why isn’t there a national law requiring purity minimums for fluoride added to public water supplies?

4) If all the doctors and dentists who promote fluoride claim to be protecting public health, why have NONE of them ever tested fluoride for heavy metals contamination?

6) What are the ethical implications of mandating public consumption of a substance known to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals? Doesn’t making fluoride mandatory in the water supply also mean heavy metals consumption also becomes mandatory when the fluoride is contaminated?

Don’t expect anyone from the mainstream media to answer any of these questions, however. They’re still pretending fluoride is good for you!

See also:
http://fluoridealert.org/issues/fluorosis/

 


JourneySantaFe Collected Works

In the wake of the news that New Mexico’s drought is the worst in the nation, and Mora County’s decision to impose a moratorium on fracking, comes this Sunday’s meeting of Journey Santa Fe at 11 AM at Collected Works Bookstore and Café. This is the first of a series on water in New Mexico.Journey Santa Fe presents:
Overview of Water Law, Water Rights and Water Conflicts in New Mexico
with water law specialist Peter White.

Attorney Peter White will present an overview of water law, water rights, and water conflicts in New Mexico. He will follow up in two or three subsequent Journey Santa Fe gatherings to discuss in more detail New Mexico’s water problems, summing up of his work over the past 40 years.

Co-presenter attorney Denise D. Fort, Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law and Director of the School’s Utton Center, will discuss her booklet WATER MATTERS.
If you get that water is pivotal to our state’s existence, especially during this drought, you will want to attend. See you there.

Albuquerque Journal:

New Mexico’s drought worst in the country

By on Thu, May 2, 2013

POSTED: 7:54 am
LAST UPDATED: 12:07 pm

New Mexico this morning rose to the top of one of those lists of US states that you don’t want to be on. Drought conditions here are now the worst in the nation, according to this morning’s federal Drought Monitor:

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

The analysts who develop the weekly monitor significantly expanded their designation of “exceptional” drought, their worst category, to include much of the Rio Grande Valley, the state’s most populous region:…

Avoiding Priority Calls for the Right and Wrong Reasons

New post on La Jicarita

Avoiding Priority Calls for the Right and Wrong Reasons

by lajicarita

By KAY MATTHEWS

As April slides into May in the upper Sangre de Cristo watershed I’m thankful for whatever green I get: the pasture grass first, emerging almost overnight into clumps of mixed brome, rye, timothy, and various unidentified shoots. The apricot trees in the orchard are just breaking into bloom, with an intrinsic knowledge that any flower display before the end of April is a fool’s game (and they were indeed zapped last Thursday night). The ornamental forsythia at the front door flaunts this rule but unlike the apricot doesn’t have to prove its worth in fruit; its justification is its persistent yellow beauty. The unrelenting wind makes Eliot’s declaration of April being the cruelest month manifest by threatening to rip the hoop house plastic from its tenuous hold on its PVC frame.

The irrigation water in my first-in-line village starts flowing around the same time, depending on the commissioners’ adherence to formal tradition—the water isn’t released until the acequia is cleaned—or informal tradition—whoever has a direct line to the commissioners gets the water whenever they don’t have it.

Although my village lies only a few miles away from Picuris Pueblo, whose priority date is “time immemorial,” there is no question that we are literally ”first in use” in my valley, as the New Mexico water code defines priority administration of water rights. With a priority date in 1700s this village on the Rio de las Trampas gets the water first as it flows from the high Pecos peaks directly through the pastures and gardens of the village parciantes. We are allotted a certain amount for irrigation, although no meters, only gauges measure the circos that traditionally correspond to shovel widths of water flowing through our three presas, or diversion dams, on the river.

Yet the concept of “priority date” implies that the water we use we own, which is contrary to the way the acequia communities throughout northern New Mexico have always managed their water. José Rivera, in his book Acequia Culture, Water, Land, & Community in the Southwest, quotes from an affidavit submitted by acequia commissioners in the early years of the Taos Valley adjudication to determine priority dates and ownership of water:

“the aforesaid acequias by and through their fully elected commissioners agree that they will continue to follow and be bound by their customary divisions and allocations of water and agree that they will not make calls or demands for water between and among themselves based upon priority dates.”

In accordance with the traditional practice of repartimiento, or water sharing, the acequias did not want to establish a practice whereby a priority call could shut off water to “junior” water rights holders in times of drought.

The Office of the State Engineer (OSE), the agency that administers water rights in New Mexico, has also been reluctant to issue priority calls to junior users but not with such altruistic motives: junior water rights largely belong to urban areas developed after the establishment of Pueblo and Hispano acequia communities and a priority call would generate a political nightmare.

But now the Carlsbad Irrigation District (CIB) has issued a priority call on the Pecos River against the Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District (PVACD) and we’re going to witness a legal process that won’t be as messy as if city wells were being threatened but will provide plenty of action.

This isn’t the first time the CID issued a priority call. As I wrote about in my article “How Not to Manage for Drought in New Mexico” the state paid Texas the big bucks back in the 1980s to prevent the CID from making that call. In that case, which lingered in court from 1974 to 1988 during the infamous State Engineer Steve Reynolds’ tenure, Texas claimed that New Mexico failed to deliver required water under the terms of the Pecos River Compact. Instead of complying with the condition by enforcing the state’s priority system, which would have required acknowledging Carlsbad Irrigation District’s senior water rights by shutting off Roswell area junior wells to get water to the Texas state line, the New Mexico state legislature bought and retired enough water rights to meet the Texas water demand. It cost $100 million.

The CID has late 1800 senior surface water rights as opposed to the Roswell area farmers in the conservancy district with junior groundwater rights that, as the CID claims, are being pumped while the irrigation ditches go dry. The attorney for the CID seems to think that this time around the OSE, instead of the state legislature, is going to come to the rescue. That’s because of the Active Water Resource Management (AWRM) rules (recently upheld in a decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court), which will allow an appointed water master to implement an administrative priority cut-off date. All water rights holders whose priority date is later than the administrative date must stop using the water. This would, of course, cut off water to the PVACD, just as enforcement of the priority system would require, except that AWRM would enforce it more expeditiously and also allow the PVACD to file a replacement plan: the junior water right holder could temporarily use other senior water rights that aren’t being used, assuming it’s hydrologically viable.

When AWRM was first promulgated in 2004 many expressed concern that replacement plans denied the due process of formal water transfer protests and hearings and that it expedited the marketing and leasing of water (acequias and community ditches are expressly exempted from expedited marketing and leasing provisions). According to the OSE, replacement plans “do not adjudicate your water rights but are only an interim determination for administration and can be superseded by the courts.” Replacement plans would be limited to two years, which the OSE claimed would prevent developers from transferring water rights without a full public hearing.

So while the state moves further away from priority administration—although many would say in the wrong direction—the worsening drought continues to count coup on all our efforts at water management and distribution. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) the April streamflows remain dismal. The Rio Grande Basin streamflows range from 57 percent of normal for Rio Lucero near Arroyo Seco, to 11 percent of normal for the Jemez River below Jemez Canyon Dam. At Otowi Bridge, flows are forecast at 30 percent of normal, or 192,000 acre feet (af), and San Marcial is also 11 percent of normal or 53,000 af. March precipitation was 32 percent of normal, drier than 2012. Year to date precipitation is at 60 percent, also lower than last year at this time. While snowpack is below average at 55 percent, a little better than last year, much of the low to mid elevation snowpack has already melted, much earlier than average. Total reservoir storage in the basin is 614,300 af, down from last year’s 974,400 af.

 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association releases graphs showing precipitation outlooks several times a month. Here’s the April 29 to May 5 forecast.

So far our solutions to this extreme drop in participation and surface water storage are to pump more groundwater and import surface water. Texas continues to seek redress in the Supreme Court over alleged violations of the Rio Grande Compact, claiming that New Mexican groundwater pumping below Elephant Butte Reservoir is preventing Texas from getting its required water delivery. All the water settlements thus far negotiated rely on imported water, either San Juan/Chama contract water or transferred rights, usually from agriculture.

What I also see happening, as a member of the Taos County Public Welfare Advisory Committee, which reviews all water transfer applications within or from Taos County, is that as surface waters dry up and irrigation seasons shorten, even small water rights holders are applying to transfer their surface water rights to groundwater so they can continue to irrigate via pumps instead of acequias. It all adds up, folks, and no amount of wheeling and dealing is going to change the fact that we’re in an extreme drought, the planet is warming, and climate change is upon us. I got the water last night to irrigate my field, orchard, and garlic patch, but we’ll see how long it lasts as the summer progresses. You might say my village is a kind of indicator species: when it goes dry up here it’s a sure sign there’s not much hope below.

 

Comment    See all comments

Thomas Linzey on The Journey Home

Tune in and listen to Diego Mulligan interviewing Thomas Linzey,
the senior legal counsel for the Environmental Legal Defense
Fund, CELDF, during his radio show.

DATE:  Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
TIME:  5:00-6:00 pm Mountain time
WHAT:  “The Journey Home” radio show, hosted by Diego Mulligan
RADIO:   KSFR 101.1 FM – Santa Fe Public Radio
Tune in live/streaming

http://www.ksfr.org/

Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil, CELDF, will be presenting a
Democracy School in Santa Fe the week of April 19th-20th.

Las Vegas challenges mayor

Subject: “Recall Effort Under Way for Mayor [City of Las Vegas, New Mexico]”  Optic, NM

EXCERPT:
“….people upset at the mayor for refusing the Community Rights
Ordinance [banning drilling and fracking and asserting people’s
rights to a sustainable future and democracy in their community]
that seeks to make it unlawful for any corporation to engage in
the extraction of oil, natural gas or other hydrocarbons within
the city and its watersheds.

Ortiz, who doesn’t have veto power, has refused to sign the
controversial law, saying it’s unconstitutional because it
seeks to strip corporations of their rights.

The mayor brought up that issue Wednesday night, reiterating
that he opposes oil and gas drilling in the community but
didn’t sign the ordinance because of the language in it.”

COMMENT:
The Community Rights Ordinance that the City of Las Vegas City
Council passed into law, April 2012 by a council vote 3:1, does
not challenge the State or Federal Constitution, as Mayor Oritiz
is stating above.

The Ordinance challenges a Supreme Court’s interpretation and
ruling that in 1886 set precedent giving corporations the same
rights as people–giving “personhood” to a corporation.

In the 2013 court ruling Judge O’Dell-Seneca challenged and
denied corporation’s protection under the Constitution as
“persons,” citing sections of the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution
in support of her contention that corporations were never
intended to be constitutionally protected “persons.” She
declared that “an even more dubious proposition is that the
framers of the Constitution of 1776, given their egalitarian
sympathies, would have concerned themselves with vesting, for
the first time in history, indefeasible rights in such entities.
. . that language extends only to natural persons.”

She went on to declare that “it is axiomatic that
corporations, companies, and partnerships have no ‘spiritual
nature,’ ‘feelings,’ ‘intellect,’ ‘beliefs,’
‘thoughts,’ ‘emotions,’ or ‘sensations,’ because
they do not exist in the manner that humankind exists. . . They
cannot be ‘let alone’ by government, because businesses are
but grapes, ripe upon the vine of the law, that the people of
this Commonwealth raise, tend, and prune at their pleasure and need.”

(For the full editorial on this recent ruling, see attached pdf
“A New Civil Rights Movement:  Liberating Our Communities from
Corporate Control A Pennsylvania Judge Holds That Corporations
Are Not “Persons” Under the Pennsylvania Constitution” by
Thomas Alan Linzey, Esq., Executive Director
March 28, 2013

Drilling Mora County

http://www.lasvegasoptic.com/content/recall-effort-under-way-mayor

Recall Effort Under Way for Mayor

By Martin Salazar
April 11, 2013

A notice of intent to recall Mayor Alfonso Ortiz was filed with
the city clerk’s office late Wednesday, setting in motion a
process that could lead to an election at which voters would
decide whether to oust Ortiz before the expiration of his term.

The effort to remove Ortiz from office is led by longtime
activist Lorenzo Flores, who has been critical of the mayor’s
actions in the past.

Flores announced that he had filed the notice during the public
input portion of Wednesday evening’s City Council meeting.

“I’ve come before you like David before Goliath,” Flores
said. “… Enough is enough.”

“Let nature take its course,” Ortiz later responded, saying
that Flores has a right to circulate the recall petition.

“As mayor of the city of Las Vegas, I’m not impressed with
the title,” he said.

“There’s a lot of responsibilites. I have stretched myself
physically; I’ve stretched myself financially to do as much as
I can for the city. My interest is to be very visible, make the
city look very positive.”

Flores didn’t specifically outline why he is targeting the
mayor for recall during his remarks.

“The people have to do what they have to do,” he said in
Spanish. “It’s nothing personal.”

City Attorney Dave Romero cut Flores off when he began talking
about the mayor’s appointments and their connections to a
hotel owner who Flores alleged is exploiting members of the community.

He said people in Las Vegas are struggling to pay their bills
and getting cut-off notices. Flores said city government needs
to help the people. He, along with his Brown Berets, left the
Council chamber after speaking.

Flores didn’t immediately respond to a message left for him
Thursday morning.

But in a letter to the editor published in the Optic in
February, Flores criticized the mayor for his continued support
of City Manager Timothy Dodge.

“Apparently, the mayor will not nor cannot function without
Tim Dodge,” Flores wrote.

“We are not better off with Dodge at the helm,” Flores
wrote. “Despite the mayor’s praise for him, Tim has divided
our business community, he continues to blabber-mouth our
chamber of commerce and the Las Vegas economic development
people. He has done nothing for the over 3,000 at-risk youth in
our city. He has done nothing for infrastructure improvements on
the west side.”

The notice of intent to file a petition of recall has 30
signatures, including several people upset at the mayor for
refusing the community rights ordinance that seeks to make it
unlawful for any corporation to engage in the extraction of oil,
natural gas or other hydrocarbons within the city and its watersheds.

Ortiz, who doesn’t have veto power, has refused to sign the
controversial law, saying it’s unconstitutional because it
seeks to strip corporations of their rights.

The mayor brought up that issue Wednesday night, reiterating
that he opposes oil and gas drilling in the community but
didn’t sign the ordinance because of the language in it.

Under the new city charter, 25 signatures are required on a
notice of intent to initiate recall in order to start the process.

The first signature on the petition is that of Francisco Lorenzo
Flores, and Mayor Ortiz asked the city attorney to explain why
that’s problematic if the signature belongs to the Flores who
appeared at the council.

Romero said Flores has previously been convicted, and as such,
he isn’t a qualified elector under the city charter and
isn’t allowed to sign the petition.

If 25 valid signatures are contained on the document, then the
next step is for a recall petition to be submitted to the clerk
for her approval as to form.

Organizers of the effort would then have 60 days to gather
signatures. In order to force a recall election, organizers must
gather enough signatures to equal or surpass 25 percent of the
people who voted in the last regular city election.

If enough signatures are gathered, an election will be held,
with voters deciding by a simple majority whether to recall or
keep Ortiz.

Ortiz said he’s trying to do the best he can for the
community, noting that he’s sacrificing time with his family
to do the job.

“I’m not here for the money,” he said. “I’m not here
for the $10,000 annual salary.”

He said he has worked hard to move the city forward on a number
of issues, including trying to improve its water infrastructure.

“The reason we’re working so earnestly to help the people
with this water issue, for example, is we’re looking ahead,”
Ortiz said. “I’m really concerned about the situation with
water. I’m saying without water we’re not going to survive.”

Comment

FINAL EDITORIAL ON PA COURT RULING THAT CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PERSONS MARCH 28 2013.pdf FINAL EDITORIAL ON PA COURT RULING THAT CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PERSONS MARCH 28 2013.pdf
157K   View   Download