The City of Las Vegas, NM has voted to ban the process of “fracking.” I’m not sure how much fracking could or would go on in the City, but it is big news and a big statement. Unfortunately, it is a statement of willful ignorance and dependency by one of the poorest communities in New Mexico.
For starters, fracking or hydraulic fracturing has been around since 1947. It isn’t new. What is new is that it has been used in new and innovative ways to squeeze oil and gas out of the ground. It is why President Obama can take credit for oil and gas production increasing even if he and his Administration opposes them.
Former Gov. Bill Richardson (who else?) decided to allow counties to regulate the oil and gas industry. This was, of course, a highly-political decision. But, with oil and gas generating $358 million annually for schools (not to mention all of the other tax revenues it generates), perhaps local governments that ban oil and gas from their communities should see a reduced allocation for their schools? After all, it is easy to generate opposition by scaring people about fracking if there are no costs (except potential new jobs in the community), but losing money for the schools would ensure that the NIMBY crowd understands that there are trade-offs.