Letters: Readers weigh in on issues of the day
A pending blow to organic farming
I wanted readers of the Daily Times to be aware of the pending loss of funds to continue New Mexico's vital organic inspection program. The vitality of many of our rural farmers and sustaining their enterprises are at stake.
According to Stacy Gerk, the NMSU head of the organic program, the N.M. Department of Agriculture no longer has funds to cover the deficit of the organic inspection program. Accordingly farmers will have to find out-of-state certification agencies if they are to continue to use the NOP Organic label on their produce.
Unless the legislature and the governor all agree to an appropriation of at least $125,000 this session, it is very likely New Mexico will lose an important complement of our growing organic farm produce, and restaurants, school children and their families will be less safe in the choice of local organic produce.
It is important to contact legislators when they convene in January!
Oil and gas industry takes advantage
What a GREAT article George Sharpe wrote recently for the oil and gas industry. This is an industry that has been in a slump for at least five years, due to Obama, environmental extremists, and native peoples on land protesting further intrusion by the largest industry in the world.
This is the industry that for decades has made unimaginable profits and been awarded government incentives and tax loop holes allowing them to pay little to no corporate taxes. This is also the industry that when hard times came laid off thousands of employees, shut in wells, and lived off the billions in profits they had already earned. This is an industry that does not take care of its people. This is an industry that is driven by the bottom line and welfare of the few at the top.
George is certainly right in one statement “all of which (we) bear in one way or the other” the excesses of the industry. If protesting the right to defend our land, water, air and other resources is so repugnant to the industry, and then maybe they should look at the way they do business. Point by point on George’s article is maybe helpful.
1. The existing regulations are tromped into the ground in the San Juan Basin and disregarded as a suggestion not an enforceable regulation. Drive on any of the roads in our county that are “supposed” to be maintained by oil and gas. Look at erosion, noxious weeds, and fragmentation of the land. Regulations are often disregarded, so how could they be a burden.
2. Oil and gas spends millions advertising to promote their agenda and assure the populace of the sanctity of the industry’s goodwill. Maybe the oil and gas industry should have spent its millions to help all those employees left without a job in the down market, instead of hunkering down in their cushy world waiting for a turn around.
3 The lawsuits and restraining orders that the oil and gas industry file number in the thousands every year against small landowners who don’t have the millions to fight this industry. George do you actually think those who oppose what is happening on the ground shouldn’t use the courts as a way to protest the industry’s actions?
4. Let’s move our lawsuit issues back to San Juan Basin where most of us live and work. The lawsuits of the industry have been a major player in our courts for generations. This industry instead of doing what is right is constantly opposing the simplest of regulations proposed by individuals cities, county, state or the federal government. Thinking must be ”if we allow any changes then these people will want more.” So the millions in damage to the roads, water, and air in San Juan County go unabated, because big boys in oil and gas don’t really live here.
5. Finally we are back to San Juan County and those pesky Navajos who want to protect their lands, water and air — not to mention their sacred cultural sites. Protest of this issue is really paid for by the federal government or radical environmental extremists so the Navajo standing and concerns should somehow be ignored according to George, which implies that all the Navajos involved in the protest are less than citizens with a concern. (Incidentally if anyone is interested I can put names and faces to those pesky Navajos who have very legitimate concerns.)
6. Now we get to the bottom line and labeling all the people protesting as deadbeats, on welfare, have food stamps and no jobs. The sheriff’s office is called on to manage the crowds that are protesting for the preservation of Chaco and the ancestral lands. (Not that I have heard of.) I don’t have the numbers but here is betting the sheriff’s department has had more calls by citizens protesting abuse of the land around the county by oil and gas than they have with those pesky Navajos. WE in San Juan County paid for that.
What probably WON’T happen is that oil and gas will decide to be a good neighbor and work in a business-like manner, following the existing regulation, with all the resources. We need the products that oil and gas produces and we need the resources on the public lands to be utilized for all Americans. We need our men and women to have jobs in this industry. We don’t need an elitist attitude that somehow diminishes any of our citizenry. We don’t need an industry that is represented by those who have little regard for the views of others. We don’t need to be less than American by belittling those who disagree.