Marita Noon: Colorado Dems Frack Backtrack is all about November

Commentary by Marita Noon - In June, in a sparsely populated county in northern New Mexico, a primary election surprisingly unseated an incumbent County Commissioner. No one seemed to notice. But, apparently, high-ranking Democrats to the north were paying attention.
     The northern New Mexico county is Mora. The high-ranking Democrats: from Colorado. The election upset was about Mora County’s oil-and-gas drilling ban.
     In April 2013, the Mora County Commission voted, 2 to 1, and passed the first-in-the-nation county-wide ban on all oil-and-gas drilling. It was spearheaded by Commission Chairman John Olivas—who also served as northern director for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Since then, two lawsuits have been filed against the little county because of the anti-drilling ordinance.
     A little more than a year after Olivas’ pet project, the Mora County Water Rights and Self-Governance Ordinance, was passed, he was ousted. Olivas didn't just lose in the Democrat primary election, he was, according to the Albuquerque Journal, “soundly beaten” by George Trujillo—59.8% to 34.2%. 
     Both Olivas and Trujillo acknowledged that the ban had an impact on the outcome, with Olivas saying: “In my opinion, it was a referendum on oil and gas.” Trujillo campaigned on a repeal of the ordinance (which, due to the language of the ordinance will be difficult to do) and has said he is open to a limited amount of drilling in the eastern edge of the county. Read full column