Friday, June 4, 2010

Las Vegas Optic Letter to the Editor: Let's prevent bomb with good process

By Pat Leahan
I am writing in response to a recent Optic article about the lop-sided membership of the San Miguel County Oil and Gas Ordinance Task Force.

Planning and Zoning supervisor Alex Tafoya was quoted as saying, in relation to the work of the task force, “It’s not like we’re creating a new nuclear bomb.” Mr. Tafoya is correct. We want an ordinance to prevent a bomb, not create one.

When I was a teenager, a natural gas pipeline exploded in our community. It was like a bomb was detonated. We lost two of our neighbors — a father running from the explosion with his child in his arms. They were killed by the fireball.

The video footage of the current environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico looks like a bomb in continuous-explosion-mode. And one of the options on the table to try and stop it is, ironically, a bomb. And the catastrophe itself is due, in large part, to weak regulations and lack of oversight (and greed, as well).

The job before our county task force is prevention and protection — an ordinance that provides oversight to prevent disasters, and includes strict regulations to protect our community.

We are not asking for much from our county commission — a balanced task force, transparency in the process of developing the ordinance, open meetings — you know, just the basics of fair and open government working with its citizens.

It’s not like we're asking them to create a new nuclear bomb.

Pat Leahan

Las Vegas

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