Contrary to New Mexico law which authorizes the Oil Conservation Division with the power to approve or deny drilling, the Mora County Commission has voted 2-1 to ban all drilling for oil and gas within its borders. Not ‘fracking’ which, while safe, has generated a great deal of concern among liberals and NIMBY types, but plain old oil and gas drilling.
Now, I honestly don’t have a moral problem with being against oil and gas drilling. It is illegal under New Mexico law and unfair even for, say 90% of the citizens of a given locality to tell the other 10% they can’t have a job, but it’s not inherently immoral. What is immoral is the fact that the folks in Mora County send their kids to schools that are funded largely by oil and gas, heat their homes and watch TV by the power of gas and/or some other nasty fossil fuel, drive on roads that have a petroleum base, and generally benefit from the fact that society around them embraces fossil fuels and oil and gas exploitation.
So, what can be done? First, it is time for our leaders to do everything possible to cut off severance tax dollars to the County. Secondly, I think Gov. Martinez and her Administration should do whatever they can to deny funding and services to the County. Need a pothole fixed or a road paved? Sorry, that requires petroleum…local welfare office or senior center not staffed appropriately…sorry, we just don’t have the money and you aren’t pulling your weight.
Freedom means responsibility. If Mora is free to deny basic economic activity on its hallowed land, then the leaders of the County should bear responsibility for those decisions and voters bear responsibility for allowing “Mora-ons” to represent them.