Local Sierra Club chapter takes up topic of endangerment of public land
The Daily Times
Nov 6, 2005
FARMINGTON -- Sitting in a large lecture hall in San Juan College's
Information Technology Center Friday evening, dozens of community members
gathered to listen to a presentation regarding the dangers facing state and
national public lands.
"We are removing protections of public lands that have existed for years,"
said Clayton Daughenbaugh, national conservation organizer with the Sierra
Club. "We are no longer progressing in conservation, but we are rapidly
moving in reverse."
Daughenbaugh stood in front of the crowd delivering information on both the
increase of energy extraction from public lands as well as how the
democratic process is changing because the government is increasingly
taking away citizens' right to know and give input on these decisions.
"I would like everyone to know their actions will make a difference," said
Daughenbaugh. "These policies and these actions are relevant to every
Many of the audience members said they were at Daughenbaugh's presentation
to both learn more and see how they could help.
Anne Coupland, 52, traveled with her husband from Aztec for the
"There is an assault on our land unlike any other we've seen," she said.
"Public land is definitely under threat from this administration. I want to
be better informed about this issue."
John Gadbois, 46, of Farmington, noted he was at the meeting because he is
a man who appreciates the land around him.
"I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, this topic is very interesting
to me," he said. "The more information I can get, the more I will be able
to stay on top of these issues."
According to Daughenbaugh, he has traveled around the country speaking to
various audiences about the public lands that are endangered because it is
such an important topic to him and he feels it is just as important to the
"America is strong and delicate," he said. "But a lot of the beauty is
targeted (by) oil and gas structures."
The Sierra Club is now in the process of asking New Mexico state
legislators for their help with the issue. The group is looking to pass
legislation that would require oil companies to compensate property owners
when they build a well.
They are also trying to protect the Valle Vidal, a part of the Carson
National Forest in northeastern New Mexico, from being drilled for oil.