Monday, June 2, 2014

Localities Say Frack You

There's some interesting push-back against fracking occurring in rural New Mexico. Interesting for historical, colonial reasons related to the annexation of parts of Mexico during the mid-19th century; and interesting because the use of local and state laws to challenge federal power has traditionally been a conservative tactic (one that has met with considerable success).
Rural New Mexico is a very interesting place. It’s basically the only rural area of the United States that is militantly pro-Democratic. When I lived in Albuquerque and Santa Fe from 2000-07, I’d be driving up there and see “Bush is a Murderer” graffiti and other similar things on pipes, buildings, and the such. This is a majority Latino place where people are VERY VERY ANGRY that white people stole their land after 1848, flushing the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo down the toilet and eliminating their land grants.
So I am not surprised at all that Mora County would take the lead in anti-fracking cases, basically ignoring a federal law the country frankly doesn’t have much respect for and banning energy companies from fracking public lands in the county. But this is more interesting than just some people sticking it in the eye of the energy companies. Mora County knows it will lose but are trying to clarify the law so have more concrete standing for other actions going forward. 
The full piece at the Nation is worth checking out. I think broadly deciding to ignore federal laws is obviously problematic (see Cliven Bundy and public school integration for e.g.), but when federal laws basically grant corporations personhood to run roughshod over actual, you know, people, citizens at the community-level should have the right to push back.

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