To the Editor: Denish calls Hilcorp plan a bad idea

Farmington Daily Times
Letters to the Editor

The recent article “Hilcorp applies to change well density….”  is an important call to action for New Mexicans – not just to Attorney General Balderas and environmentalists but for all of us who call New Mexico home.  

I grew up in the Permian Basin (SE New Mexico) and was at one time a  7-year resident of the San Juan Basin where Hilcorp and the OCC and the Martinez administration are trying to pull a fast one – a move that disregards transparency and public input.   

And, the article fails to mention that Energy Secretary Ken McQueen and OCC Director Heather Riley both used to work for WPX Energy, which was active in the San Juan Basin for years. Other members of the commission are also right out of the oil and gas drilling sector. The deck is clearly stacked against protecting the land, the air, the vistas, water, and multi-use nature of the San Juan Basin.  

Hilcorp and the OCC know this is wrong.  Why else would they have tried earlier in the year to allow OCC Division Staff to make decisions and bypass the public input process?  Why else would they publish notice over a holiday weekend, allowing only minimum time for any intervention?   

Like many other New Mexicans, I watch the New Mexico True tourism commercials and take pride in the fact that we can enjoy beautiful terrain, clean air, blue skies, and invite others from around the country to join us. 

This proposal, if passed, will continue to increase the high methane levels in the air of the Basin, solidifying it designation as a methane hot spot, destroy some of the worlds’ best fly fishing and hunting, and take San Juan and Rio Arriba counties off the NM True list of best places to visit.   

It will continue the destruction of the environment and the rural exodus which has plagued the area for years. And, as Don Schreiber said – it will have lasting impact for years to come. 

Don Schreiber and I share with others the pride of being born and raised in New Mexico. Our parents came here with their parents or on their own because this was the land of enchantment, opportunity, open spaces, and blue skies. We are also the parents of three children who have children of their own – all of whom live in other places.  Should they decide someday to return to NM we want to be able to say we did everything we could to protect the place they call home.  

Diane D. Denish

Life-long New Mexican and Lt. Gov. of New Mexico, 2003-2010