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Ban Fracking Campaign, from Ireland to New Mexico

Energy
Ban Fracking Campaign, from Ireland to New Mexico

Drilling Mora County

By Kathleen Dudley

A number of  local grassroots groups fighting fracking in New Mexico are launching a billboard and yard sign campaign. Citizens from the New Mexico Coalition for Community Rights, Drilling Mora County, and Committee for Clean Water, Air and Earth completed the Water, Not Fracking, Community Rights for Mora and San Miguel Counties yard sign and billboard campaign this month. Today citizens are installing graphic Coca Cola red and white cows with strong pronouncements that industry is not welcome to frack their counties.  

Joining in solidarity with the work of citizens in Ireland, people in New Mexico are getting the message out that they do indeed have the rights to protect their communities from industry's assaults against their pristine rural agricultural towns. While the majority of citizens in both counties support "no drilling or fracking," the billboards and yard signs create a powerful visual representation of the citizens' voices. They pound the message out more loudly to  the State of New Mexico legislators, government agencies, and Royal Dutch Shell and their subsidiaries who, through Dillon's Rule and pre-emption, can decided what is good for Mora and San Miguel County over the decision of the majority of citizens.  

This campaign is an assertion of democratic voice and of the citizens' rights to a renewable, sustainable future. Currently state law makes such pronouncements and actions on the local level, illegal. Local Community Rights Ordinances with a Bill of Rights protecting citizens and nature's rights is an "out of the box" approach which is gaining momentum across the U.S. and specifically in Northeastern New Mexico where citizens are standing up to the powers of the status quo and their bullying efforts. More than 50 communities across the U.S. have passed such Community Rights Ordinances thanks to the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

The City of Las Vegas, New Mexico in San Miguel County, passed the first Community Rights Ordinance banning fracking last April. This city law has a Bill of Rights protecting the citizens rights to clean and ample water, air and land while writing out corporate personhood. The City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania passed a similar Community Rights Ordinance banning fracking in December 2011, and is the largest city in the U. S. to take such protective actions.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

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Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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