Monday, September 28, 2009

Opera: "No choice but to lease mineral rights" (Podcast)

(KSFR) - -- The Santa Fe Opera's general director says they "had no choice" in the question of whether to lease out or sell the mineral rights that were donated to the Opera.

Charles McKay says the Opera had a responsibility to "do something" to get value from the donation of some of the mineral rights beneath more than 26,000 acres of land in Mora and San Miguel Counties. McKay also says the Opera owned only 1/5th of the mineral leases under any particular acre. Another nonprofit owned the other 4/5ths. McKay was not asked whether the other nonprofit compelled the Opera to sell its smaller share.

The donor made the contribution to support the Opera's apprenticeship program for young opera singers.

Leasing the mineral rights has raised questions among Santa Feans who have been against oil and gas drilling in their backyards.

McKay told KSFR that the Opera could have had different options if it owned the land itself. But since only a portion of the leases were in the Opera's portfolio, the options narrowed.

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