Wednesday, May 21, 2008

SunCal State Senate "Friends," and more revolving doors

marjorie says...

Here is the accompanying letter to the invitation posted on the NMI site. Click on it to see it big.

Here are some excerpts, with my commentary interspersed:

Whether we like it or not, our business will at times become political. I would prefer to conduct business and leave politics to the politicians, but if we are operating in a practical fashion, we know that with one comes the other.

Is this how you describe campaign contributions?

In Atrisco Oil & Gas we have been diligently working to develop our mineral rights. So far, we have been without challenge or interruption. I am concerned, however, as our efforts become more widely known, we will become a target of anti-development groups who will attempt to disrupt our activities or even shut us down.

Why would your activities being more widely known cause folks to want to shut you down?

It sounds extreme, but moratoriums on drilling activity have already taken place in both Santa Fe and Rio Arriba Counties. It could happen here. In addition, other commercial opportunities may prove worthy of pursuing as a result of our hydrocarbon exploration. These other opportunities may, too, become controversial.

Wow, now I'm really curious. Just what else do you guys have planned, other than oil & gas drilling in Albuquerque???

Gathering political support from a number of State Representatives and Senators who believe, as we do, in responsible development for this area. Many of these friends, however, are in political elections where a victory by their opponent would result in the loss of an influential friend to our Company and a replacement who stands for anti-development positions. Undoubtedly, this would present obstacles to our goals. We cannot allow that to happen.

In furtherance of that goal, Atrisco Oil & Gas along with SunCal Companies has arranged a rally in support of candidates friendly to our cause.

Who are these friends of SunCal & Atrisco Oil & Gas? The invitation specifically identifies James Taylor, Linda Lopez, Dan Silva, Kiki Saavedra, Bernadette Sanchez, and Ernest Chavez.

The first three of those are running contested primary campaigns.

And what do they mean by "anti-development"? Are they talking about the smart-growth crowd? The one that wants to see non-polluting businesses and people friendly development that fosters folks being productive at work and at home rather than sitting in their cars for a couple of hours a day? I'm confused. Last time I checked that crowd was pro-development. But not so hip to large scale oil and gas drilling on the old Atrisco land grant.

Well, here's what I do know:

Atrisco has leased their rights on the 50,000 acre parcel to Tecton Energy, LLC, which is actively exploring it for oil and gas. Here is what we are talking about in land mass:

That parcel is also being developed by SunCal Corporation. Lots of words have been written about SunCal and that piece of property over the past couple of years...but, in a nutshell:

1) should that much land be developed on Albuquerque's west side? Look at it--where's the water going to come from?

2) SunCal is throwing major bucks around and lobbying hard to get their TIDDs--which means they want the state to give them authority to issue bonds worth 100s of millions to pay for their infrastructure, and then let the bonds be repaid out of future tax revenue. This is what I've heard many refer to as a "boondoggle"

Someone pointed out this other little tidbit to me today also. Apparently, James Taylors campaign manager, Sisto Abeyta, used to work for SunCal. In fact, he was responsible for the field campaign that convinced Atrisco heirs to sell their land grant to SunCal.

How's that for a revolving door?