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Raise your voice to protect Chaco Canyon

New Mexico needs to stand up against the predatory actions that threaten our pristine lands and waters. The Bureau of Land Management’s decision to allow oil and gas drilling permits around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a code red to protect our natural wonders from erasure.

Although the BLM argues that the approved permits are outside a 10-mile buffer zone surrounding the park, the act is a stepping-stone to more expansive drilling rights in the vulnerable area. Ninety-one percent of public lands in this area are already leased for oil and gas extraction.

Moreover, the BLM refuses to update the 2003 Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement as legally required. The agency must operate under accountability and accurate science that addresses hydraulic fracturing technologies.

Further, the Farmington field office manager Rick Fields only amplifies the anti-tribal, short-term economic mindset established by his predecessors. Disingenuous and box-checked “scoping meetings” with Indian Nations do not amount to consultations as legally required.

Inching closer to Chaco Canyon, the extractive industry is bent on deleting the pure night sky with light pollution, liquidating bobcats, pronghorn, and more with increased drilling rigs, and side-stepping Indian Nations’ centuries-old rights with an over-friendly BLM at its side.

Energy innovation and independence will occur if the BLM blocks the industry from continuing wasteful and unproductive technologies and practices. Treating special places like Chaco Canyon as off-limits will show that balance is possible and that the industry actually cares about the well being of the landscapes and communities it profits from.

The people of New Mexico must energize our determination to protect our natural heritage. It’s our duty to prevent the light of our state from burning out.

Joaquin Ray Gallegos

Delegate to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from the Santa Ana Pueblo and Jicarilla Apache Nation. 

Chama

Liberals foster government dependency

Referring to a color map of the county-level results of the recent 2016 presidential election gives a beautiful illustration of the wisdom of our country's forefathers in forming the Electoral College. This map portrays the U.S. as a sea of red, representing the counties that went for Republican Donald Trump, with a few blue islands here and there, which represent counties that went for Democrat Hillary Clinton. These blue areas include mostly densely-populated areas such as New York and Chicago, coastal areas, and areas that are largely populated by minorities and illegal immigrants.

This illustrates that, geographically, most Americans have a "rural mindset." They are still relatively conservative, responsible, independent, self-sufficient individualists, who are believers in small government, and were very tired of the failed liberal policies of Barack Obama, which Clinton was going to continue. Farmers and ranchers are a great example. They have to plan ahead, save in times of plenty, spend and invest wisely and sparingly, and hope that government gets out of their way.

Most people that gravitate to the big cities are more liberal and dependent on big government for their sustenance, or they've found ways to exploit their "victimhood" to receive government benefits.

We as American citizens do not directly elect our president. We indirectly elect our president in that we determine who wins in each of our states, but it is then our electors who vote for our states, and it is their votes that actually determine the winner. And the number of electors from each state varies according to the population of the state. New Mexico has very few electors compared to California, for example, but this system gives every state at least some degree of influence in each election. This system of proportional representation gives some degree of sovereignty to small, less-densely populated "fly-over" states like Kansas. Without this system, the big cities would determine all elections, leaving the majority of counties and states out in the cold.

Most of the pundits in the mainstream media still don't get it; they just can't understand and refuse to accept how "their candidate" — Hillary Clinton could have possibly lost to Donald Trump. They have exposed their bias and lack of objectivity, first in their support of costly and pointless Democrat recounts of votes, and in their continued opposition to the Electoral College results.

Robin Glass

Bloomfield

Remember to love your neighbor

The Presbytery of Santa Fe, a network of 40 Presbyterian Churches in the northern half of New Mexico, stands with all who feel anxiety about statements and conduct from the new administration.

This includes immigrants, refugees, women, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, those disabled, those suffering from sexual trauma, and the poor.

Members and neighbors of our churches express concern for themselves and others.  Though Presbyterians are not of one political voice and do not endorse political candidates, our Presbytery and the PC(USA) denomination speak in one voice, through faith, when it comes to upholding the commandment to love one's neighbor as oneself, and the emphasis upon justice reflected throughout the Bible and embodied by Jesus Christ.

Rev. Lorelei Kay
Moderator, on behalf of the Presbytery of Santa Fe

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