Letters: Readers weigh in on issues of the day
Farmington, please annex Aztec
The best thing that could happen for the residents of Aztec is if the City of Farmington would annex all of Aztec. This would be a win-win situation for both the residents of Aztec and the City of Farmington.
On Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, the City of Aztec approved a new electrical contract during a little known special session just as Christmas week commenced. The real winners of this new contract are Guzman Energy and the power elite at Aztec City Hall. The latter group proved again that they could do anything they wished, despite the urgings of its citizens.
The citizens of Aztec lose with this new electrical contract. Every residence, business, and government facility will continue to pay higher rates than our Farmington neighbors. San Juan County buildings and all of Aztec schools will pay virtually as much as they have previously for the next seven years. Aztec Schools estimated that $250,000 was wasted annually due to the expiring contract; these lost funds could have been directly used in the classrooms.
The proposed site for the solar panel farm is just a few feet higher than the Animas River. Let’s hope that the Animas does not flood like it did in 1911 because this $2 million dollar infrastructure investment will take a river trip through Farmington headed for Lake Powell.
The City of Aztec also approved diverting $35,000 from the Electrical Department to maintain the old Hidden Valley Golf Course. Instead of having an extra worker trim trees out of the power lines, this employee will trim greens.
Now if Farmington annexed Aztec, everyone except those at Aztec City Hall wins. Citizens would not only have lower utility bills, but because other government entities would also have lower electric bills, the tax payers will again save. Farmington Electric Utility employees have a reputation as professional, safety conscious public servants. I personally would welcome Farmington as liberators, just like when the people of Europe greeted our troops when the Nazis were retreating.
High schools put on a good music show
On the evening of Dec. 12, I attended a concert hosted by the Piedra Vista and Farmington high schools
Guitar Departments at San Juan College. It was a beautiful experience due to great selections and also fine playing by the students. In addition, Ian Kee performed a wonderful solo. It speaks well of the teaching abilities of the guitar directors of both schools as well as the efforts and hard work of the students and they are to be commended.
Fracking water contamination rare
I would like to respond to the recent letter from Mike Eisenfeld. Mr. Eisenfeld asks why the oil and gas industry is allowed to use vast amounts of scarce water for fracking that results in water contamination. A study by Duke University published in September 2015 reported water used for fracking amounted to less than one percent of total industrial water use nationwide. The study used water data from 2005 through 2014 for the ten major shale basins in the U.S. Also, the EPA has studied the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania where many claims of groundwater and water well impacts due to fracking were made, but could not find any evidence of a link between those impacts and fracking.
There are impacts to our rivers in San Juan County. The main impacts are elevated levels of fecal coliforms, due to faulty septic systems and agricultural runoff. Yes, we had a release into the Animas River this summer, but it was from a mine in Colorado, not from oil and gas activity. As an environmental engineer who worked for the oil and gas industry I worked on many sites with water impacts from releases or leaks from surface equipment, but I am not aware of any groundwater remediation sites where the impacts were due to fracking. If Mr. Eisenfeld knows of a site in San Juan County where fracking caused water impacts I would like to know where it is.
In regard to Mr. Eisenfelds’ attacks on Ms. Noon and questioning why the Daily Times prints her weekly column, I look forward to reading her column. It is well written and based on facts, as opposed to the baseless and exaggerated claims we see in letters and columns from the environmental groups that show up frequently. Some of these letters are from people who live in the “safe confines” of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Does that mean their comments should be ignored? If Ms. Noon lives in a “safe confine” then how could she have inhaled too many hydrocarbon vapors, as Mr. Eisenfeld’s insulting comment suggests?
I am grateful the Daily Times carries the weekly column by Ms. Noon. It provides a welcome balance to those who continually attack the oil and gas industry.