Making beauty for
Making beauty for
There will be a Medicine Water Wheel ceremony in Frenchy’s Park for the Full Moon on Sunday 19th June at 6 PM to bless the Full Moon, Summer Solstice and Father’s Day. Hope you can make it. Please join us. Here is the schedule for the upcoming water wheel ceremonies for the rest of the year:
FAN has been working for many years to raise awareness about the toxicity of fluoride, with the eventual goal of getting it removed from public water supplies. And its most recent efforts involving OEHHA could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak, as it has the potential to unleash the truth about fluoride on a massive scale, and spark a revolt against its use.
According to a recent FAN press release, OEHHA’s report was birthed out of an inquiry into the science of fluoride’s toxicity. It is also a prelude to the group’s scientific advisory board Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) meeting to be held on October 12 – 13, 2011, which will make a decision on the status of fluoride as a carcinogen.
The OEHHA report already states that “multiple lines of evidence (show) that fluoride is incorporated into bones where it can stimulate cell division of osteoblasts [bone-forming cells],” an admission that already recognizes fluoride as a cause of bone cancer. The report goes on to state that fluoride induces “genetic changes other cellular changes leading to malignant transformation, and cellular immune response thereby increasing the risk of development of osteosarcomas.”
To add to this, FAN presented OEHHA with additional studies from the National Research Council (NRC), the National Toxicology Program (NTP), and several esteemed universities that all illustrate a link between fluoride consumption and various cancers, including liver and oral cancers, and thyroid follicular cell tumors.
With this mountain of evidence, the only logical conclusion OEHHA can come to in October is that fluoride is a toxic poison — and just like lead and other known toxic chemicals already are in California, worthy of being publicly identified as dangerous.
“While we understand that there will be tremendous pressure put on the CIC and OEHHA by the proponents of fluoride and fluoridation, we ask that the Committee continue to rely on its high level of scientific knowledge and integrity when deliberating and reaching a final conclusion on the carcinogenicity status of fluoride and its salts,” wrote FAN as part of its official submission.
To read the entire FAN press release, which contains further details about the cancer studies included, visit:
Sarah Jane White’s walking to the top of a sandy hill near the eastern edge of the Navajo reservation. Along the way, she points to footprints in the sand. Her 4-year-old grandson, Albino, crouches to look. She shows him the prints of a horse, then a cow. Each time, he’s delighted.
It’s sunny and warm, though just a few days before the official start of winter. We walk past juniper trees, an old sweat lodge. Albino powers across the sandstone arroyo and on up the hill. The sky’s a deep blue. And depending on the breeze, the air smells like either sage or pine.
“Right now, there’s healthy people living here,” says White. “The air is fresh. It’s clean.”
White and her relatives are “allottees,” Navajo people living on lands deeded to them by the federal government.
The federal government deferred new oil leases near Chaco Canyon National Historical Park last month. But many people who live here are still worried about how development outside the park will affect their communities, their landscapes, and their children’s futures.
If you’ve driven Highway 550 between Cuba and Farmington recently, you’ve seen the oil rigs and flares on federal allotments along the road near Lybrook and Counselor.
But people like White – people who live here – seem surprised to see how fast things have changed. “When they’re done sucking everything out, everybody’s going to pack up and leave and leave their trash behind,” she says. “Nobody’s going to clean it up. That’s what bothers me.”
At the top of the hill, White looks out, across the landscape. From here, she can see four different wells in the distance. “I see the landscape looks really beautiful, but when you see all these oil tanks and fields, that’s not beautiful,” she says. “The flare, that doesn’t look good at all. And if we don’t stop this, it’s going to be all over the place.”
In the past two years, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved more than 100 new exploratory wells around here. Companies like Encana Corporation and WPX Energy have come in, offering tens of thousands of dollars to allottees willing to have a well on their lands.
Each well pad has its own road, waste pond, and tanks. During drilling, pickup trucks and semi-trucks run up and down the roads 24 hours a day.
Lori Goodman directs the nonprofit, Diné CARE – Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment. “The leases are being sold… grandma and grandpa are selling their leases, they get $60,000, $80,000. They’ve never seen money like that, and they’re not understanding the value of it, even.”
Oftentimes, she explains, people don’t understand what they’re signing, and they don’t understand what’s going to happen on their lands.
That’s also a one-time payment – even if the well runs for decades.
Many Navajo people who live here are upset that the roads leading to their homes are being ripped up by semi-trucks. They’re afraid of fracking fluids. They don’t know what’s coming out of the flares. And they worry about blowouts and accidents that happen far – very far – from emergency services.
Victoria Gutierrez is Sarah Jane White’s daughter. “Especially at night, it’s enough to make you just cry. One of the ladies (said it) looks like a war zone. It’s just completely lit up,” she says. “All you see is flames everywhere, you smell that gas, that burning, it’s just ugly.”
Guttierrez knows that the wells mean money: lots of cash for people working in the fields, and depending on land ownership and jurisdiction, hundreds of millions of dollars for the state of New Mexico, the federal government, or the Navajo Nation tribal government and millions more in profits for the oil companies.
But she’s angry that Navajo people are living with the trucks and the flares, the noise and the fear.
“I think indigenous people, Navajos, we’ve been pushed around enough. We were forced to live on land no one wanted, (and) now everyone wants it because we’re full of natural resources,” she says. “It’s not right. And so, leave it where it’s at. Leave it where it’s at. That’s what I say.”
Guttierrez’s mom, Sarah Jane White, says Navajo people live where they are born. “Like, if I was born here,” she says, pointing to the ground between her feet, “I would live here. And I would die here. And I would want to be buried here. You don’t leave your homeland.”
That’s why they are fighting, she says. Because what happens now will still matter to the children born here in a century.
Forwarded by Leslie Lakind from
When we began the ceremony, two golden Eagles or large Hawks appeared over the rim and a large yellow butterfly came by to say hello. then the tourists began to arrive!. We did a very lovely ceremony. 4 women and one man representative.ss
From Santa Fe New Mexican
Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013 10:00 pm | Updated: 11:24 pm, Sun Jun 2, 2013.
By Julie Cart
Los Angeles Times | 5 comments
OCATE — Sitting in the tidy living room of the home they built themselves, Sandra and Roger Alcon inventory what they see as the bounty of their lives: freedom, family, community, land, animals … and water.
“We’ve lived off the land for five generations,” said Roger Alcon, 63, looking out on a Northern New Mexico landscape of high mesas, ponderosa pines and black Angus cattle. “We have what we need. We’ve been very happy, living in peace.”
Wells are the Alcons’ only source of water. The same is true for everyone else in Mora County, which is why last month this poor, conservative ranching region of energy-rich New Mexico became the first county in the nation to pass an ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing, the controversial oil and gas extraction technique known as “fracking” that has compromised water quantity and quality in communities around the country.
“I don’t want to destroy our water,” Alcon said. “You can’t drink oil.”
In embracing the ban, landowners turned their back on potentially lucrative royalty payments from drilling on their property and joined in a groundswell of civic opposition to fracking that is rolling west from Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania in the gas-rich Marcellus shale formation.
Pittsburgh became the first U.S. city to outlaw fracking in November 2010 after it came to light that an energy company held a lease to drill under a beloved city cemetery.
Since then, more than a dozen cities in the East have passed similar ordinances.
The movement leapfrogged west last summer when the town of Las Vegas, N.M., took up the cause, calling for a halt to fracking until adequate regulations protecting public health are adopted.
It has now reached California, where communities are considering similar bans.
Culver City — home to the nation’s largest urban oil field — is drafting oil and gas regulations that call for a moratorium on fracking. Citizen groups in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara are preparing their own community rights ballot measures aimed at outlawing the procedure.
Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to fracture rock formations, releasing oil and gas that is hard to reach with conventional drilling methods. A blizzard of applications to sink wells using fracking is spurring a nationwide energy rush sometimes called the “shale gale.”
Among the leading concerns of opponents is the absence of any federal law requiring companies to fully identify the chemicals in their fracking fluids. Such formulas are considered by the industry to be a trade secret. Community-based anti-fracking campaigns — citing public health issues — call for complete disclosure of injection fluids.
Many New Mexico counties welcome oil and gas production, an industry that adds to the tax base and employment rolls. But in sparsely populated Mora County, where 67 percent of the 5,000 residents are Spanish-speaking, people cherish their culture and way of life.
Sandra Alcon said her neighbors don’t care about mineral rights or oil money. They are angry about the way energy companies’ “land men” treated them. Residents here are seen as easy marks for hustlers offering little compensation for oil and water rights, she said.
“They know we have a lot of elderly and rural people; some don’t speak English,” she said. “They don’t know that some of us went to college and some of us have the Internet.
“I may look stupid, but I’m not. I know what they are doing.”
Mora County, using its authority to regulate commercial activity, specifically barred corporations from fracking. The ordinance also established that citizens have a right to a safe and clean environment.
County Commission Chairman John Olivas said the ordinance is not a referendum on oil and gas. Rather, he said, it “is all about water,” estimating that 95 percent of the county’s residents support the ban, although some argue that the jobs and income that accompany drilling would help the depressed area.
Olivas, a hunting and fishing guide, said he grew up watching his parents work in the uranium mines of Eastern New Mexico. When the mines played out, towns shriveled up.
Chasing that boom-and-bust economy is not worth despoiling an environment that remains remarkably untouched and provides a sustainable living for most people here, he said.
“We are one of the poorest counties in the nation, yes, but we are money-poor, we are not asset-poor,” Olivas said. “We’ve got land, we’ve got agriculture, we’ve got our heritage and we’ve got our culture.”
The California community closest to adopting an anti-fracking ordinance is Culver City, which includes a portion of the 1,000-acre Inglewood Oil Field. More than 1 million people live within five miles of the field, where some 1,600 wells have been drilled since 1925.
The City Council is considering a fracking moratorium, even though only 10 percent of the field is within the city limits. The bulk of the wells are in unincorporated Los Angeles County.
City officials and residents say they are concerned about air and water quality, as well as about earthquakes being triggered by drilling at 8,000 to 10,000 feet — the depths where the untapped oil is found.
Low-magnitude earthquakes have been associated with fracking, but Ed Memi, a spokesman for PXP, which operates in the Inglewood Field, called suggestions that high-pressure drilling causes earthquakes “hysterical accusations.”
“There is no evidence that hydraulic fracturing has caused felt seismic activity anywhere in California,” Memi said. “The practice of hydraulic fracturing has been subjected to dozens of studies in recent years, and the fundamental safety of the technology is well understood by scientists, engineers, regulators and other technical experts.”
But Meghan Sahli-Wells, Culver City’s vice mayor, said the city needs to see more study of fracking’s impact before it could be allowed.
“I grew up in L.A. All my life I’ve heard about air-quality problems, earthquakes and water issues,” Sahli-Wells said. “It just so happens that fracking really hits on the three major challenges of this area. Frankly, I’ve been waiting for people to wake up and say, ‘We are fracking on a fault line? Is this really in our interests?’ “
If Culver City moves forward with a moratorium, it could take months to complete, she said.
Fracking is unregulated in California, and no accurate figures exist detailing how many of the state’s wells are completed using the technique.
A number of anti-fracking bills are pending before the state Assembly, and statewide regulations are being finalized by the state Department of Conservation.
Sahli-Wells endorses legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Culver City, that calls for a moratorium on fracking in California until a comprehensive six-year study can be undertaken.
“Look before you leap” legislation is pending in other states.
On a recent day back in Mora County, Roger Alcon drove his ranch with his herding dog, Pepper, at his side. He said the region’s aquifer has been depleted by oil and gas operations in the region. He sees no reason to hasten the water decline.
Alcon pointed out the truck window toward the snowcapped Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
“We have what we need,” he said. “To me, the fresh air and the land, and water. It’s better than money.”
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.
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:
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:…
New post on La Jicarita
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.
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