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Campbell's soup

Dear Editors,

What would I name the A-LP Reservoir? Here's my contribution. Visualize the route up along County Road 211 into Ridges Basin. Along the road are a series of Burma Shave signs ...

Attorneys Lining Pockets

Accountants' Laughable Projections

Absolutely Lousy Porkbarrel

A Lack of Purpose

Absent Lines for Power

Anti Logic and Practicality

A Landscape Plundered

Another Lost Paradise

Then finally, in view of water, is a sign reading Campbell's Soup, or perhaps Nighthorse Nightmare. At low water maybe that could be changed to Maynes' Muck Tamarisk Nursery.

What A-LP really stands for is All of us, Like it or not, Paying for power to pump water uphill in perpetuity.

Sandy Bielenberg,


Stage fright

Dear Editors,

A few years ago, a group of young men formed a rock 'n' roll band called "The Not Worthies." They were all in their late teens and early 20s, and they played real good. Two of them, the bass player and the drummer, were sons of mine. The other two played guitars and traded off lead and rhythm parts.

They had a few original tunes and also played covers of classic rock and some more modern stuff like The Beastie Boys and Phish. One of the guitar players, who shall remain nameless, was so shy that he would play with his back to the audience. Even though he was quite proficient on the guitar, he just couldn't get the confidence to face the crowd. The boys and I tried everything we could think of to help him over his shyness, but as soon as people started showing up to listen, he would turn around and face the back of the stage.

The band started out playing at private parties and soon began getting gigs at some of the local bars, and still Nameless would turn his back. It started to become a problem and an embarrassment for everyone. Here's the band playing real nice and having fun, but still he couldn't face the audience.

I was looking through a guitar magazine one day and found an article about Eric Clapton. The article said that when he first started playing professionally, he had the same problem. Clapton, believe it or not, was embarrassed by how few chords he 4 knew and even in some huge arenas would play with his back turned. I though to myself, all right, here's the ammo I need to get Nameless to face the crowd.

We talked about the Clapton article and the upcoming gig the boys had booked for the 4th of July. The gig was to be at a party at a place called "Pyrate Orchards" out near Navajo Lake.

There was one song in which Nameless had a great lead solo worked out. I was able to convince him that this was where he should "come out" and turn around. We worked on the move during rehearsals and he said he was finally ready.

It was just starting to get dark when the boys hit the stage. The stage lights came on and after a few warm up tunes they were ready for Nameless' face-to-face debut. They started playing the song and right before the big moment, the fireworks show kicked off out over the lake, which was directly opposite the stage. The song reached the point of Nameless' solo right as the first fireworks went off perfect. Nameless jumped in the air, hit the first note of his solo and turned around, about 10 seconds after the entire party had also turned around to watch the fireworks. All he saw was the audience's backs.

D.B. Finn,


Good oil and gas news

Dear Editors,

Creating conflict-avoidance projects in the 1960s in California and in the 1990s in the Middle East, I moved in 1998 to what I thought was La Plata County's "piece of paradise" unaware that middle-earth was teeming with riches and above-ground "pissing contests" being energetically engaged in.

My first oil and gas meeting (2000) was at Ignacio's casino. When folks weren't screaming and cursing, they were calling for lynchings and well-head sabotage. I believed I could be useful out of my decades of dealing with difficult people, places and things.

Marching in Los Angeles against the Vietnam War, my unique placards showed the "Rapists of the Earth the Oil & Gas Companies and their South East Asia Oil Leases." When I married a Texas oil-man in 1974, I was embarrassed to tell anybody where his money came from.

At last month's Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference in Farmington, I continued my search for what I call "Energy Good News." During my 40-minute presentation, I flashed on my Los Angeles war placards and it seemed like I was "on-drugs." The energy industry committee members had invited me to speak, knowing months in advance that 90 percent of my talk was my constructive criticism of industry and regulators regarding unnecessary conflicts with stakeholders.

In Jackson Hole, Wyo., last September, I produced a three-hour workshop on conflict avoidance at a coal-bed methane conference. My rhetorical question was: "Do you producers and regulators REALLY want to have better relations with stakeholders?"

From my presentation at the 2002 Rocky Mountain Gas Symposium to today, I continue to question why there continues to be growing opportunities for conflicts.

Where others see problems, I often see opportunities for innovation. As the 2003 BLM/Farmington's Record of Decision slated more than 10,000 more wells for the southern San Juan Basin, I pitched the BLM on an all-day workshop for New Mexico citizens and folks working in the energy sector. My oil and gas overview will be completely independent of the BLM. It will address potential and actual conflicts. It was recently "green-lighted" for Sept. 18 at San Juan College.

Success stories include news of what industry and regulators call "Best Practices" and "Best Available Technology." For example, Acting Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Stephen Johnson, in his keynote address at last month's energy conference, announced: "As of May 11, EPA will regulate reductions and eventual elimination of sulfur from diesel fuel which causes black smoke emissions. (EPA's) analyses indicate many premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospital visits nationally will be avoided."

Johnson said an unprecedented 2002 Memorandum of Understanding was struck between the EPA and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. The MOU calls for looking at "opportunities for collaboration (to improve) communication and ways we do business."

A first-of-its-kind program in America was reported at the conference by BLM's Farmington manager, Steve Henke. It is funded by voluntary energy producer contributions ($400,000 to date) for improving land health standards, studies, monitoring and special management areas, including aerial reseeding, rain-catcher tanks and riparian fencing.

Collectively, producers have joined BLM's San Juan Basin Weed Management District to change the trend, as industry has had a huge hand in spreading noxious and invasive weeds.

Southwest producer, Pure Resources, reportedly doesn't use products from suppliers who won't identify hazardous chemicals. Oklahoma-based Williams Energy uses state-of-the-art odor-control devices on residential-area production facilities. An energy official said, "There are legitimate complaints and bad actors. There's a lot (industry) can do with engineering today."

"The reality we have created as a result of the level of thinking we have developed so far creates problems we cannot resolve from the same level of thinking," wrote Albert Einstein.

Stakeholders thinking that handshakes seal a deal need to expect that anything only orally agreed to may not be honored. Regarding surface-use agreements, include in writing everything that's important.

Although San Juan Basin oil and gas production is in "decline," technological advances and high energy prices will ensure that the next few generations will be dealing with lines of communication about our lands with pump jacks and pipelines.

Susan Franzheim,

Durango, via e-mail




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