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State Lands: Protection or Provision?


Opinion Editorial by Marita K. Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998 or



State Lands: Protection or Provision?

"I voted for it before I voted against it" was one of the revelations that torpedoed the Kerry Presidential campaign. Voters do not like candidates who change positions for political expediency. Such candidates are called "flip-floppers."


Here in New Mexico, we have a flip-flopper and, regardless of your political persuasion, his actions are troubling.


Ray Powell is running for State Land Commissioner. Most are not aware of this office, but the commissioner's actions directly impact school funding-making it one of the most important positions in the state (especially when education budgets are suffering cuts).


Ray Powell was Land Commissioner for ten years in the 90s. It was under his watch that land known as Otero Mesa was opened up to drilling for oil-and-gas exploration. He did a study and determined that there were some areas that were "too sensitive" for exploration, but that other areas were appropriate. Leases were issued and wells were drilled.


This should outrage those in the environmental community who call the Otero Mesa "wild and beautiful grassland," and say: "It has become a tourism destination." With the support of our Senators and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, environmental groups have launched a campaign to protect the area from the oil-and-gas industry. A movement is underway to turn it into a national monument. Environmentalists believe "It will create a place that more people will take an extra day to visit." In reality, national monument status will lock up the natural resources forever (requiring an act of Congress to open them up). If Ray Powell had never issued those leases, the area would not be in need of protecting.


The political climate today is different than it was ten years ago. Now, Ray Powell declares that he supports turning the Otero Mesa into a national monument. His environmentalist base wants it protected-so he does too.


Ever the politician, Powell giving a straight answer is a challenge. I pressed him: "If the whole national monument thing doesn't go through and the leases expire while you are State Land Commissioner, would you re-lease them?" His answer? "We'd have to do a study." "Didn't you already do a study?" He did. While the land has not changed (and may in fact be more valuable-bringing more money to the state), politics have changed.


While those who are pushing to protect Otero Mesa should be angry with Powell over leasing it in the first place, those who are concerned about New Mexico's economics need to be aware of Powell's priorities. Even though he has personally had a study done and determined that Otero Mesa could support the development of natural resources, he no longer supports that. Otero Mesa is just one locale which represents his anti-development, job killing mindset. While other areas may not have Powell history, his intent is clear-and in total opposition to the mandate of the State Land Office.  Ray Powell views the state lands as something in need of protection, not a source for provision of revenue. Rather than adding to the permanent fund, he wants to live off of it.


At a time when New Mexico is badly in need of a cash infusion, we should not be saying "no" to responsible development. We have vast state lands (The State Land Office manages nine million acres of surface estate and 13 million oil, gas and mineral estate held in trust primarily for public schools.) and those lands fund New Mexico's schools-with $567 million being distributed in 2009 to the 21 beneficiaries, the majority goes to public schools. The state trust lands are to "generate the highest possible level of sustainable revenue for New Mexico's public schools, public institutions of higher learning, and other public institutions so that all New Mexicans can enjoy a higher quality of life."


I've been to Otero Mesa. I've stood on the gas wells that were drilled ten years ago. It is no wild and beautiful grassland, and no one will want to go there for a vacation. Despite government land grabs that have destroyed private business and enterprise initiatives, the ranching industry has survived there for 100+ years. There are known natural gas resources, and, more could be discovered if the lands are not locked up. We need a new land designation that doesn't destroy people and business.


Don't elect a flip-flopper who voted for it, before his political masters told him to vote against it.



Marita Noon is the Executive Director of Energy Makes America Great Inc., the advocacy arm of CARE (Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy), the New Mexico nonprofit organization advocating for citizens' right to energy that is abundant, available, and affordable. CARE works on energy issues state, region and nationwide. Find out more at



This editorial opinion article is brought to you as a courtesy to Marita Noon, Executive Director of Energy Makes America Great Inc., and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Albuquerque Tea Party.



In addition, if the next land commissioner works with the environmental lobby to get Otero Mesa made into a national monument, the resulting closing of the area to gas well drilling and production will most likely cause the state to have to greatly increase gross receipts taxes on the rest of us in order to make up for the loss of revenues from gas production committed to our public schools.



 Vote Early Today

After all the rallies, forums, town halls, meet-ups and other gatherings we have all participated in since our inception, these last few days are the most important!

Get out and vote!

Take a friend, family member, co-worker and other people you know that are legally registered to vote and do your civic duty! We only have Saturday, October 30th and November 2nd to do our part to decide between Liberty or Tyranny!

Early In-Person Voting: Saturday,
October 30th, is the last day for early voting!


8:00AM - 8:00PM

For more information: County Clerk's Office

First: Get Your Sample Ballot


Bernalillo County

Early Voting Locations


98th & Central Shopping Center

120 98th St NW, Suite B-5


Alameda West Shopping Center

10131 Coors Blvd NW, Suite B-1


Caracol Plaza Shopping Center

12500 Montgomery Blvd NE, Suite 101


Coors Plaza

3200 Coors NW, Suite A


Daskalos Shopping Center

5339 & 5339A Menaul NE


Goff Plaza

1720 Bridge SW, Suite G-1


Los Ranchos Villa

6601 4th St NW, Suites A, B, C


Mission Square Shopping Center

1331 Juan Tabo Blvd NE, Suite 2M

Montgomery Assets Shopping Center

6910 Montgomery Blvd NE, Suite C


Montgomery Crossing

8510 Montgomery Blvd NE


Paseo Crossing Shopping Center

8000 Paseo Del Norte NE, Suite B9


Petroglyph Plaza Shopping Center

8201 Golf Course Rd NW, Suite C4B


Rio Bravo Senior Meal Site

3910 Isleta SW


Siesta Hills Shopping Center

5405 Gibson SE


Tijeras City Hall

12 Camino Municipal - Tijeras


University of New Mexico

Student Union Building


For more information: County Clerk's Office


Sandoval County

Find locations at: Sandoval County Clerk


Valencia County

Find locations at: Valencia County Clerk

Poll Challenger Certification Training


Poll challengers and watchers are absolutely critical in this, and every election cycle.  The allegations of voter fraud in NM are rampant. We cannot allow the election to be stolen because we could not recruit and train enough challengers and watchers!
During the next few remaining days, there will be new training and certification sessions, two sessions on each day.
They will train Republicans, Democrats and Independents! Walk-ins will be accepted at any of the sessions.
People only need to attend one session to be certified. They can be certified as a challenger or a watcher.
WHEN:  Oct. 30th through Nov. 1st
              Morning Sessions: 10:00AM - 11:00AM
              Evening Sessions:   6:00PM -   7:00PM
                  Nov. 2nd
               Morning Session: 10:00AM - 11:00AM
WHERE: NM Victory 2010
               6001 San Mateo NE B-1
               (just north of Cliff's on Osuna)

We are sharing this special request from the Republican Party of Sandoval County
For those of you who have signed up to be poll watchers/challengers -
Credentials will be emailed to you in the form of a printable PDF file after 5 PM on Sunday, Oct. 31st
We still need more volunteers!

If you have any questions, call Todd Hathorne at (505) 292-9150


Our elections are being manipulated! Watch this short video and hear about the fraud in Texas: 
Stop Voter Fraud Now.

Please join us for this extremely important training and certification. Spread the word to others who might also like to volunteer.

rainees will receive their credentials after they attend one of these sessions.
For more information contact:

Updated Link!

Albuquerque Tea Party


Topics covered in the latest edition of The Local Exposure are:

The ATP Received Corruption Information: p2


A Patriotʼs Thoughts, 2010: p3


The Inspection of Public Records Act: p4


Tabulator Machine Certification: p5


Recruiting & Activation Team: p6


Roving Rallies: p7


Eye on Valencia County Commission: p8


Eye on Abq. City Council: p9


Quotes from: p12


Letters to the Editor: p13


Freedom is Not Free: p14


We hope you enjoy reading and learning from 
The Local Exposure.
If you'd like to be involved with the Patriot Action Team, please send an email to

Election Night Returns Party

You are cordially invited to come join us as we watch the Election Night Returns this coming Tuesday, November 2nd. Come and cheer on your favorite candidates and meetup with fellow ATP'ers!


We will be at the Fox and Hound Pub & Grill, in the upstairs mezzanine from 6 PM to 10 PM. There will be food and beverages available for purchase. We will have access to 2 large projection TV screens, in addition to 5 smaller TV's.

Space is limited, so get there early!




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