Not In My Back Forty: Tom Ford Thwarts Oil Plans

In a textbook case of NIMBYism, the fashion icon Tom Ford has launched a private campaign to prevent oil exploration near his New Mexico ranch. When Tecton Energy announced plans to drill exploratory wells near Ford's Gallisteo property, the designer asked the Land Office not to sell oil and gas leases on the public lands near his ranch. The Office was not persuaded by Ford's legendary charm, so instead he paid $84,000 to purchase the mineral rights to more than 1,400 acres in the public trust.

The quasi-irony and attending NIMBYism of the situation derives from an earlier controversy on the same parcel of land when Ford tussled with neighbors over plans to build a 14,000-square-foot hacienda on the property. Ultimately victorious, Ford won approval from the Historic Design Review Board to build the hilltop home.
Having grown up in Santa Fe, perhaps Ford has some unselfish motives for preventing the exploratory oil wells, but one wonders how deeply concerned he can be about the local ecology when construction on his house will permanently alter the natural landscape. Via::Luxist

Writer's query: After a bit of research I found myself puzzled by Ford's ability to "purchase mineral rights" on public lands and how that will prevent the Tecton explorations. How does this relate to the General Mining Act of 1872? As I understand it, one must prove that they've actually found valued ore to claim the property (and the right to purchase it for a pittance). If Ford doesn't prove ore value for the land on which he holds the mineral rights, will those rights be returned to the state? Can mineral rights be purchased on all public lands? And if so, are conservationists using this strategy to further protect public lands from mining claims?

Comments are much appreciated. I've never had much respect for the logic of maintaining the Mining Act, IMHO it's right up there with the second amendment as an antiquated law that does more harm than good.

Tags: New Mexico

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