Mora Republican decries ordinance

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By Martin Salazar

Mora County’s Republican Chairman is decrying the ordinance banning oil and gas extraction in that county.

The law, dubbed the Mora County Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance, passed by a 2-1 vote of the Mora County Commission on Monday. The Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund said in a news release that Mora is the first county in the country to permanently ban oil and gas drilling.

Frank F. Trambley, the chairman of the Mora County Republican Party issued a blistering statement criticizing the move.

“It is a dire shame to see such a progressive movement here in our state,” he said. “Without the ability to explore extraction possibilities, Mora County residents are at a sincere disadvantage compared to other areas of the state.

“Such ordinances are a direct attack on jobs and on the oil and gas industry, whose revenues greatly contribute to bettering our education system for our children and to bettering our communities through capital outlay projects.”

Trambley goes on to state that the decision appears to have been made without any knowledge of the oil and gas extraction process and that it was done without consideration of the hard-working men and women employed within the industry.

“I urge all concerned citizens to speak out and contact the Mora County Commission to let them know that New Mexicans need jobs,” Trambley states. “In our economic climate, we simply cannot afford to needlessly throw the possibility for jobs down the drain.”

Proponents of the community rights ordinance argue that existing state and federal oil and gas laws do nothing to protect communities. They also argue that the county needs to protect its land and water and that any economic benefits from drilling are fleeting and realized by a select few.

Voting for the ordinance were commissioners John P. Olivas and Alfonso J. Griego.

Commissioner Paula Garcia voted against it, saying the ordinance violates existing law, and the county is being put at risk.