Sunday, October 4, 2009

Opera Is Shirking Its Responsibility By Linda Spier

"As a lifelong resident of Santa Fe, New M. who remembers the beginnings of the Santa Fe Opera, I find it unbelievable and unacceptable that the Opera leased mineral property within the highly sensitive, pristine and fragile ecosystem of the cultural- and water-rich Las Vegas Basin.

News is traveling that Mr. MacKay did not put his signature on the line without the urging and backing of the mostly out-of-state board.

MacKay stated that the Opera "had no recourse other than to sell or lease these rights in order to maximize their benefit to the Opera and to meet the organization's fiduciary obligations."

Mr. MacKay needs to do his homework and the board needs a reality check. Mineral rights owners can negotiate for higher royalties. All four leases pertaining to this mineral property are exactly the same, with the most basic royalty interest agreed to — one eighth of a share. Three leases are signed on the same day. The missing link is whether or not the College of Santa Fe signed a lease also and, if so, who signed it on behalf of the College and who is the beneficiary?

There are no surface protection agreements: This can only be understood as a callous disregard for the citizens of New Mexico by each and every person who signed these leases.

The Opera's lease flies in the face, not only of the people of Mora and San Miguel, but also of the people of Santa Fe County who gave two years of their lives working with Santa Fe County elected officials and staff to help put into place safeguards for the Galisteo Basin that resulted in the strongest local oil and gas zoning ordinance in the United States. The Santa Fe Opera is a direct beneficiary of our efforts to protect northern New Mexico and the protection of the $5.1 billion New Mexico tourist industry — of which about $1.1 billion was generated, in 2008, by Santa Fe County alone.

Does the board not consider whether — if most of northern New Mexico become a natural gas, coalbed methane and carbon dioxide production region with smog-pink air, poisoned water and fragmented vistas — opera lovers will still want to come to Santa Fe? Does the board know that the leased area is just east of Santa Fe, as a redtail hawk might fly on the other side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains? " More: Journal North Link>>>> pdf link>>>>

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