For me, great movies stick in my head for weeks after I've seen them. I like to chew on them for a while in my head to fully digest the themes and underlying meaning. There Will Be Blood,
starring Daniel Day Lewis, falls into that category. It's a profound saga of family and greed centered on one man's search for oil in the American west, and I've been chewing on it for a couple of months now.
I recently carved new meaning from the movie while reading about oil & gas wildcatting in our own backyard on Albuquerque's west side.
Have you heard?- it's true. Atrisco Oil & Gas, llc
has leased its mineral rights to Tecton Energy, a Houston-based petroleum exploration company that is also trying to open up the Galisteo Basin near Santa Fe
. The land is the 50,000+ acres under the control of SunCal
/Westland Devco- the out-of-state developer and new owner of the former Atrisco Land Grant property. Will Steadman, local boy turned SunCal operative, also sits on the board of trustees of Atrisco Oil & Gas.
SunCal is a company that has gone out of its way to fabricate this aura of "I'm your friendly developer" by hiring local young professionals to its development team and promoting sensitive "stewardship" of its newly-purchased "remarkable property" filled with "endless plateaus and breathtaking vistas [that] mirror the surrounding topography and where a sense of community fills the air and makes you feel right at home." - quoted from suncalnm.com
Yup. There's nothing like breathtaking vistas dotted with Tecton drilling rigs and poisoned aquifers. That's stewardship for ya'.
Behind the scenes, SunCal is dropping money all over the state, hiring a dream team of lobbyists, sponsoring high-dollar fundraisers for key legislators and Democratic party functions.
I know Suncal is in some financial uncertainty
, the housing market is tanking and they have investors who want a return on their dollars, but stooping to oil & gas? They're supposed to be creating "sustainable communities". The irony is appalling.
Here's where it gets bloody. A recent letter to South Valley residents from Atrisco O&G CEO Peter Sanchez urges people who want their interests protected to dig deep and support friendly incumbent legislators in the upcoming primary. Mr. Sanchez reminds readers of the important relationship with SunCal and relays the fear that if more people learn what they are up to, the better chance that "anti-development" interests will hinder their success. Ever-insightful mpyre blogger Marjorie had plenty to say as she dissected the letter in all its gall
What a glimpse into the dirty world of special interest money and politics! Oh yes, there is blood now. We can now see the inner workings of their greed-filled communications as if we are shining a light on some unsavory gathering of roaches around scraps of leftover pizza. The letter implies their acknowledgement that what they are doing is bad and that the only way to protect their interests is to keep their "influential friends" in office.
The bottom line-- SunCal and Oil, unlike water, do mix. It's a bold step for SunCal, a private development corporation, to put so much behind their hand-picked legislators. Then again- they have a lot at stake. With some well-placed contributions they hope to avoid having a reasoned, open debate about the impact of their development on the community and environment. SunCal and Atrisco O&G would much rather have their influential friends in the legislature handle things nice and quietly up in Santa Fe.
Please vote wisely on June 3rd!