Taos Factoids and Fractoids

By: Bill Whaley
23 December, 2010

 

Reading for a Long Winter's Night

 

Historically and currently, Taos is at the center of a national storm system with local ramifications. First the local, then the national. Think of the Plaza or Taos Pueblo as the Omphalos, then growing concentric circles create areas of influence and affinities as the circles grow larger, taking in greater parts of the County, State, and Nation. Below we post a few examples.

The passage of the “Peace in our Time” or “New Start” Treaty is a good example: It means billions for defense contractors in New Mexico and millions of pounds of pollution for residents. Expect more jeopardy in the world as plutonium pits are manufactured and nuclear weapons remodeled for modern duty in wars of opportunity, piloted hither and yon in unmanned drones. Polluted dust particles and downstream water have been documented ad nauseam. But we are citizens who live in a national sacrifice area and we must do our duty as patriots.

On the local level, KCEC Coop activists have selected a retired attorney with utility experience, a former Coop CEO, and Coop manager, and a powerful local elected official to present evidence and argue against rate increases at the Jan. 10 PRC hearing. Propelled by 317 local protesters the activists are organized, thanks to a certain local haberdasher who knows how to take inventory.

The groundswell of opposition to KCEC has been stimulated by Rabbit Reyes’ alleged callous disregard for members, while playing the trustees like so many piano strings. Due to the wild expansion and increasing debt at the Coop for diversification, members are crying out: No More! Just as the Coop has retaliated against the County and the increasingly popular leader of the grass roots rebellion, one Andrew Chavez, so la gente is being attacked by the Rabid Rabbit, according to anecdotal evidence. We are told employees are now being threatened with their jobs if their relatives don’t drop protests against rate increases. This a referendum on the follies of ego, the traveling trustees, and the big con, learned from the Wall St. Bankers.

AT TMS a bevy of younger bros, primos, and even a do-gooder or two, have filed for school board, offering youth and fresh air in comparison to the tried and true experience of an incumbent board member and veteran councilor, who has studied the problems of systemic failure at CRAB Hall in depth. The public will get a look at the issues and candidates on Jan. 13 at the TCA. Should be a night to remember if the Community Foundation can find a moderator who is quick on his or her feet.

Yesterday’s news from the pen of Andy Stiny in the Journal North focused on a pre-prosecution diversion program for a Taos Cop, accused of domestic violence by his paramour, who, according to reports, also works at the Cop Shop. While Chief Anglada and his sidekick Lt. Maggio dress for success, misogynists dressed in blue, tase or otherwise brutally break the bones of female arrestees, and bruise their lovers. Not to be outdone, the Town of Taos has failed to observe any number of laws and regulations governing annexation and acequias, according to lawsuits filed by the County and Parcientes. Meanwhile, the Council, Mayor, and Manager continue to fight about issues of contract and severance pay packages. Yet, amidst all this folderol, the Council has created a two-star FIFA field—thanks to cooperation from TMS board members and the Taos Sports Alliance. 

At TMS, the Taos Middle School Principal has forbidden Taos’s representative Rosa Parks from stepping on school property, according to a board member, who said this would never happen to a Hispanic or Anglo person. After abruptly shutting down Ms. Singleton’s career on trumped up charges and forbidding the longtime teacher, 82 years old, from even going to ball games—or to retrieve her personal effects, El Weston left on Christmas Vacation. He promised to take care of the Singleton matter but in a craven expression of passive-aggressive behavior apparently “forgot.” The Principal at TMS, Mr. Alfred Cordova apparently turned the matter over to the custodian and fled the premises for the holidays. 

Here’s the Good News:

(DALLAS – December 21, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took two major actions that will bring significant environmental benefits to the people of New Mexico. In the first action, EPA announced a $500 million clean up plan for the Molycorp Superfund site near Questa. In the second action, EPA announced a clean air plan, which will significantly protect public health and improve visibility by reducing pollution at a San Juan County power plant.

EPA’s first action is the clean up plan, formally known as a Record of Decision (ROD), for the Molycorp, Inc., site. The Superfund site is owned by Chevron Mining Inc. (CMI). The remedy selected by EPA includes the excavation of contaminated soil and waste rocks, interception of water draining from waste rock piles at the mine site, underground mine dewatering and water treatment, covering contaminated material at the tailings facility, and treating ground water at the tailings facility. EPA estimates the clean up will cost over $500 and could reach $800 million. Chevron Mining Inc. is expected to carry out the clean up.

The site includes an operational mine and milling facility, a tailing facility and a tailing pipeline running from the mill to the tailing facility. Contaminated material from the Molycorp site includes about 328 million tons of acid-generating waste rock, over 100 million tons of tailing, and acid rock drainage at the mine and seepage at the tailing facility. The site is near Questa, New Mexico.

EPA’s second action is the Federal Implementation Plan proposed under the Clean Air Act for the San Juan Generating Station power plant, which will significantly reduce harmful emissions and improve visibility and respiratory health for the surrounding area. The plant’s operators will be required to install the best pollution-control technology available for this type of facility, which uses four coal-fired generating units. The controls are expected to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by approximately 83 percent. Nitrogen oxides can react with other chemicals to form ozone and small particles, both harmful to public health.

In addition to public health benefits, the reduced nitrogen oxides emissions will also help improve visibility in the area by about 65 percent and decrease by over 80 percent the numbers of days the plant causes noticeable visibility impairment. The Plan would require San Juan Generating Station to install and operate additional controls to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions. This could be achieved through installation of selective catalytic reduction or other similar technology on all four coal-fired generating units at the plant. Selective catalytic reduction is a cost-effective technology and will bring about the greatest improvements. EPA proposes that the plant have three years to add the pollution controls.

EPA is protecting public health and improving scenic visibility under the requirements of the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze program. This program targets some of the oldest pollution sources in the country. The San Juan Generating Station was constructed more than 30 years ago and has not yet updated its pollution control technology to meet current air quality goals. The San Juan Generating Station is the only source in New Mexico covered by this action. Another nearby power plant on Navajo Lands was covered by a different EPA action earlier this year.

Publication of the EPA proposal in the Federal Register begins a 60-day public comment period. Additionally, EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposal in Farmington, New Mexico. The public hearing will be announced at a later date.

Upon publication in the Federal Register, additional information on the proposed rulemaking and opportunities to provide input will be available at http://regulations.gov (docket number EPA-R06-OAR-2010-0846). A copy is immediately available at http://www.epa.gov/region6.

Fight the Good Fight
STOP LOW ALTITUDE MILITARY FLYOVERS IN NM & CO

overview petition

Target: President Barak Obama, Lt.Gen.Donald Wurster Cmdr. Special Ops USAF, Sen. J.Bingaman NM, Sen.T.Udall NM, Rep. B.Lujan NM, Gov.S.Martinez NM, Sen. M.Bennett CO, Sen.M.Udall CO, Gov.J.Hickenlooper CO
Sponsored by: Peaceful Skies Coalition in collaboration with Code Pink

STOP LOW ALTITUDE TACTICAL NAVIGATION (LATN)

In 2010, the US Air Force announced a proposal for Low Altitude Tactical Navigation (LATN) flight training over a region of 94,000 miles encompassing Northern New Mexico and most of Colorado. The proposal calls for an average of three flights per night, or 688 training flights yearly of CV-22 Osprey and C-130 Tanker aircraft out of Cannon Air Force Base, NM with no proposed end date.

These aircraft will fly at altitudes as low as 200 ft. and will also practice mid-air refueling. The estimated flight cost of the Osprey is $11,000 per hour. With 688 five-hour flights, Osprey flight costs will total nearly $38 million per year, with additional costs for the much larger C-130 tankers that have not been disclosed.

This comes at the same time that President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is pleading for the cessation of Special Forces Night Missions and drone attacks, which have caused a high number of civilian deaths. The proposed LATN training is designed exactly for such night missions, which draw the US deeper into an unsustainable war.

The Department of Defense already spends over 1 trillion dollars per year on existing military ventures, exhausting the American economy. 
The proposed LATN flyover region includes cities, populated rural areas, Native American communities, protected wilderness, wildlife refuges, mountains, watersheds, ski resorts and recreation areas. While the Air Force says it will not fly over population centers, they fail to realize that the majority of the population in the LATN region lives outside of the cities in rural or forested areas. Residents and tourists cherish the peace and tranquility of this region.

The noise from the flights would not only destroy this peace, but could lead to health disorders from repeated noise stress and loss of sleep. Veterans who suffer from PTSD could experience a reactivation of their traumas. Residents who have already experienced military flyovers report an increase of fear and anxiety, being startled awake from sleep, and feeling they are in a war zone.

The loud noise vibrations from over flights threaten the structural integrity of both historic and new adobe buildings in the area, including houses, churches and ancient Native American dwellings such as Taos Pueblo. Snow packed mountains near the ski areas could experience avalanches resulting from the noise vibrations or a possible crash, and the drivers on the many mountainous highways could be harmed by boulders falling on to the roads, loosened by military aircraft. Livestock and wildlife could be harmed.

Deafening noise could cause panic-stricken animals to stampede into fences as well as miscarry their offspring. Many species of wildlife, including endangered species that inhabit this region, are at risk of being harmed. Flyways for migrating birds would be threatened. Federal laws protect wildlife from being harassed. Harm to endangered species is illegal. The military is not above the law.
 Our air; water and soil could become contaminated from toxic chemicals in the jet fuel emissions.

Burning jet fuel releases perchlorates and other contaminants, which can lead to long-term health disorders in humans and animals, including respiratory disorders, cancer and death. Jet fuel will almost certainly be spilled during LATNs low altitude refueling maneuvers. 
 There are municipal airfields within the LATN region, increasing the probability of catastrophic mid-air collisions, leading to death, destruction and the danger of wildfires. LATN aircraft would fly below radar at speeds up to 250 knots in challenging weather over mountainous terrain at night. Local hospitals and first responders are not equipped to handle military air crashes or wildfires ignited from jet fuel.

The LATN proposal threatens already overburdened local economies by reducing property values and discouraging tourism, which is the regions main source of income. A huge portion of the national budget is already spent on the military while urgent human needs for sustainable jobs, education, and health care are going unmet. The LATN proposal is wasteful, unnecessary and dangerous. 
Please ask your political representative to demand that the USAF Low Altitude Tactical Navigation proposal be withdrawn permanently.

Maine Objects

JOINT RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING THE MAINE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO OPPOSE LOW-LEVEL FLIGHTS IN WESTERN MAINE

WE, your Memorialists, the Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Legislature of the State of Maine now assembled in the Second Regular Session, most respectfully present and petition the Maine Congressional Delegation as follows:

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Air National Guard proposes to change the use of low-level training flights in the military operations airspace area in western Maine, known as “the Condor airspace”; and

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s proposal will allow for low-altitude combat simulation flights within the Condor airspace and the proposal has been met with opposition by the residents near the flight paths, as well as concerned citizens throughout the State; and

WHEREAS, the major problems are the low altitude of the jets, the potential of an increase in flights, the existing small private aircraft flights in the area and the increased noise levels that will disturb agriculture and wildlife, the serenity of the area and the quality of life for both residents and tourists; and

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s draft environmental impact statement for these flights is incomplete and fails to meet minimum standards for adequate research and publication, containing errors, omissions and unsupported conclusions related to flight safety, environmental damage and quality of life; and

WHEREAS, specifically, recent economic reports and recommendations on “quality of place” and the effect of low-level aircraft flights have not been addressed by the draft environmental impact statement; and

WHEREAS, another issue is that noise data for F-18, F-22 and F-35 aircraft are omitted from the draft environmental impact statement, despite the likely use of the airspace by these significantly louder aircraft, and independent analysis of the noise data has not been completed; and

WHEREAS, no meaningful mitigation measures have been considered or suggested to protect the people and environment regarding these concerns and the State would have no binding control over low-level flight activity; and

WHEREAS, the Penobscot Nation, a federally recognized sovereign Indian tribe, has serious concerns about the effects of this proposal, and the approximately 47,600 acres of tribal lands affected by the proposed expansion of military training flights are lands that were recovered by the Penobscot Nation under the terms of the federal Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, 25 United States Code, Sections 1721 to 1735; and

WHEREAS, this proposal may result in unintended restrictions on the uses of the tribe’s lands and resources, which may constitute a violation of the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, and an executive order of the President of the United States and federal law require that all federal agencies formally consult with federally recognized Indian tribes when their proposed actions potentially affect such tribes, and to date the Massachusetts Air National Guard has not initiated the required consultation process; and

WHEREAS, communication between the Massachusetts Air National Guard, the citizens of the State and the Governor of Maine has been incomplete and the Massachusetts Air National Guard has been unresponsive to questions and requests for information; and

WHEREAS, important environmental issues in the State have not been properly addressed, such as how these flights will affect endangered and protected species, such as the Barrow’s Goldeneye duck and the American Bald Eagle; and

WHEREAS, the impact of the flights on the locations of present and future wind energy sites has not been properly addressed and the safety of the aircraft flying out of local airports has not been properly addressed; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED: That We, your Memorialists, on behalf of the people we represent, take this opportunity to express our dissatisfaction with the present notification and hearing process for low-level flights over the western portion of our State and we urge the Maine Congressional Delegation to request that any action by the Federal Aviation Administration be delayed until the draft environmental impact statement is complete and addresses all the above identified concerns; and be it further

RESOLVED: That We call upon the Maine Congressional Delegation to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to hold a public hearing on this proposed airspace change and to request the Massachusetts Air National Guard to withdraw proposals to modify the Condor military operating areas until the previous requests are implemented; and be it further

RESOLVED: That suitable copies of this resolution, duly authenticated by the Secretary of State, be transmitted to the Massachusetts Air National Guard and to each Member of the Maine Congressional Delegation.

Maine can do it. Can New Mexico? Or are we the national sacrifice zone?

Class Warfare Against the Working Man and Woman

From: Bill Birkley
Date: December 21, 2010 7:47:50 PM MST
To: bwhaley@newmex.com
Subject: Unemployed beaten down by new legislation.

I do not know what is more shameful: The government’s betrayal of the unemployed or the lack of media reporting of these people being thrown under the bus. Yes, the unemployment benefits have been extended. However many people in New Mexico receive just a little over $100.00/week. This was supplemented with a $25.00 Federal subsidy. Well the new law does away with that subsidy. The following is from the New Mexico Dept. of Labor web site:

“The (new) legislation also does not extend the Federal Additional Compensation $25 payment. This payment will no longer be available after December 18, 2010; claimants who have been receiving these $25 payments will see a decrease in their weekly benefit amount. Note: This is not related to dependent allowance. “

This is a 25% reduction for most unemployed in this state. The rich get huge benefits under the promise that they will create jobs, and the poor have to line up at blood banks. The rich better produce.

What happened to America?

Bill Berkeley

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