Letter to the Editor (12/14/2012)

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Resident hears people speak out
Editor:
The folks from Agustin Plains Ranch invited everybody to an open house in Magdalena. They want to draw huge amounts of water from a poorly understood aquifer to make money for a fellow in Italy. They wanted to make nice with the folks in the neighborhood.
I was late; any drinks and canapés were gone. But the rancor was still flowing. I heard a woman threaten to kill a man if he did not shut up. Interestingly, both were eloquent opponents of the plan. People shared deep concerns.
Our hosts answered questions with sympathy or with no answer at all. In exchange for $500 million, Bruno, the businessman, only wants to make money, but he was happy that the five-foot pipeline running through Magdalena would do some good as well. Nice fellow, I guess. The mayor said the town was not for sale as she left.
The pipeline would run under the highway’s edge (mostly). We would not even know it was there. The highway between the Plains of San Agustin and Socorro borders extraordinary wildflower displays, so I imagine a lot of the $500 million will be spent in ecological restoration.
We heard so much that I can’t relate it all. Mostly I heard the hosts say not to trust them but look to science and any problems will be solved by hydrologists and such. Ah, the cornucopia of science will carry us all to a better life.
I love when people speak from their hearts (or spleens as it were). The question and answer was a masterful show with deflection, reassurance and sleight of hand. My favorites from the audience were, “Why must this be done?” questions. The majority of the responses seemed to be, “Because we can.”
The dry West grows, demanding and using more water. Economic potential ensures that businessmen will meet the need until something in the equation changes. It sort of seems to be the same business model as the inner city heroin market. The dealers will keep dealing as long as the addicts keep paying or until the law comes down hard.
John Wilson
Magdalena