Sandoval Signpost

 

An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  The Gauntlet
 

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letters, opinions, editorials

re: immigration reform

I am a retired professor, and my youngest son is just about to begin his career as a professor. He lives in southern California and his discipline takes him across the border often. His is an international family; he has dual citizenship, as do his children. My forty-year career in working with people who have disabilities, and my son’s career in working with indigenous people across the border, have made me more certain, decade by decade, that families should not be divided. The U.S. has always been a nation of immigrants. Since its founding, people from all over the world have put everything on the line for a chance to make a better life for themselves and their loved ones. This spirit of courage, entrepreneurialism, and risk-taking is, and always has been, the driving force of American progress and economic growth. Our current broken immigration system flattens rather than fosters these qualities, putting America at risk of falling behind in today’s global economy. We need reform that can put us back on the right track. Families matter.

—Linda McClain, Placitas


re: saving the Gila

Grass root activism surged alive in New Mexico’s environmental community in response to the upcoming deadline for a decision to dam and divert the Gila River. The December 31, 2014, deadline is specified in the 2004 Arizona Water Settlement Act. The decision will be made by New Mexico’s Interstate Stream Commission, a state agency seemingly hell bent on using obfuscation, intentional omission, and advocacy science to support their forgone decision to dam and divert their Gila River. While engineering reports show there is little usable water available from the project, an ISC decision to proceed with a dam/diversion project could mean a billion-dollar boondoggle for New Mexico taxpayers and skyrocketing water bills for customers in southwestern New Mexico.

The Interstate Stream Commission has:

  • Repeatedly mischaracterized the water as “New Mexico’s water” when New Mexico only has the right to buy expensive water to trade with Arizona tribes under the Arizona Water Settlement Act. New Mexico will pay the Bureau of Reclamation in advance $146 dollars for every acre-foot of Gila River water diverted. The Bureau will then deliver an equal amount of Colorado River replacement water in advance to Arizona tribes.
  • Understated and buried the cost of the project. Bureau of Reclamation’s July 2014 report shows the project will cost $1.1 billion dollars for construction and operation. The ISC has never publicly addressed either this cost or the fact that project is totally unaffordable. Water bills in Deming would have to increase more than ten fold even if the Legislature kicked in $250 million dollars of State taxpayer funds for construction.
  • Failed to show any real need for the water.
  • Failed to address the amount of water the project would produce for people. The ISC’s engineer recently admitted that the reservoir sites would not hold water. It appears no usable water is available.
  • Calculated the amount of water that New Mexico could divert but has kept that calculation secret. The actual amount is lower than the ISC’s misleading description. There is no water in many years and often none in consecutive years.
  • Failed to reveal that 78 percent of the irrigated pasture along the Gila River proposed for additional irrigation with diverted water is owned by Freeport McMoRan, one of the largest gold and copper mining corporations in the world. The ISC is proposing that New Mexico taxpayers and southwestern New Mexico municipal water customers pay for more water for the lands of this huge international corporation.
  • Denied the environmental destruction of its proposed damming and diversion of the wild Gila River and the impacts on habitat and species.

The Gila Conservation Coalition is spearheading efforts to oppose the project. To voice opposition, they recommend writing the Governor in opposition to this pork           project. Resources, fact sheets, a petition, and information are available at           www.gilaconservation.org/.

—JoAnne Allen, Albuquerque

 
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