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We don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution

By   /   September 28, 2012  /   No Comments

“Sometimes we have to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution to get things done.”

That’s the quote that almost jumps off the page from an environmentalist discussing a controversy in the northern New Mexico town of Las Vegas over hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.”

Hydraulic fracturing

Back in April, the city council in the town of 15,000 passed an ordinance banning oil and gas companies from fracking in the town’s limits or its watershed. It’s largely a symbolic measure since practically nobody in Las Vegas thinks workers will start drilling within the city limits but Mayor Alfonso Ortiz has refused to sign the ordinance.

Why?

Because, “The way it reads, it will supersede everything — our city charter, state and federal laws,” the mayor told the Journal Santa Fe this week. “It’s one of those things where the demand is unreasonable.”

The city attorney agrees. “To sign a document that declares those sacred documents — the city charter, the New Mexico Constitution and the US Constitution — are inapplicable would violate the oath of office [the mayor] swore to uphold,” Dave Romero told the Journal, adding that most people in the town are against hydraulic fracturing but “hidden within the ordinance are radical, inappropriate statements that essentially claim that no other entity governs when it comes to this particular ordinance … It takes away rights of due process and property.”

Enter Paula Hern, a board member of the Community for Clean Water Air and Earth, which drafted the anti-fracking ordinance with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, based in Pennsylvania. The environmentalists are frustrated with the mayor’s refusal with Hern telling the Journal:

“What people don’t understand is sometimes we have to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution to get things done. Laws are made to protect corporations and we need laws that protect Mother Earth — earth, air and water.”

Hern and her group plan to encourage the county commission in San Miguel County to adopt a similar measure.

Click here to read the entire Journal article. (Sorry, subscription required.)

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Since 2010, Rob Nikolewski has covered New Mexico politics and investigated fraud, waste and abuse in government. He also writes an opinion column in the Sunday editions of the Santa Fe New Mexican. Rob joined New Mexico Watchdog after 20 years in television as a sports anchor and reporter. He anchored at MSNBC, New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Reno and Boise, winning three regional Emmy awards along the way. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in public administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio.

  • Bill hilbert

    Step outside the Constitution! That Paula should get down on her knees and thank God there is a Constitution other wise her butt you would thrown in Jail

  • Don

    Finally, an environmentalist whacko reveals the true nature of their conspiracy. They have never been about anything but accumulating power unto themselves to tell everyone what they can and cannot do.

    To them, and to all leftists, anything that gets in their way is to be swept aside, in the same manner as the bolsheviks swept aside all laws and killed everyone who stood in their way.

    It is no wonder they consider the constitution an “inconvenient truth” to be abrogated at the first opportunity.

  • Rober

    It’s hard to imagine anyone that does not appreciate a good attempt to stay well within the bounds of the U.S. Constitution for the benefit of all of us. With, of course, the exception of the White-house wherein screwing about with the meaning of the document is perfectly fine. That to be expected from a Marxist wannabee, I suppose. (Affirmative action is a terrible force when it goes to the polling place.)

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