Entries in New Mexico (2)


In Oil and UFO Country, Obama Says, ‘I Come in Peace’

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(MALJAMAR, N.M.) -- President Obama had a simple greeting for his New Mexico hosts when he arrived at a Roswell airfield Wednesday afternoon: “I come in peace,” he said.

The words -- a playful reference to the famous 1947 Roswell UFO incident that continues to capture imaginations -- could have as easily been directed to skeptics of his energy policy.

Obama’s visit to an active oil field on federal lands was squarely aimed at countering criticism from the right over rising gas prices and claims that domestic oil production is declining on his watch.

“We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high. More than 70 of those rigs are right here in this area,” Obama said in a speech before a ConocoPhillips rig, idled for the event.

“In fact, business is so good that today the biggest problem is finding enough qualified truck drivers to move all the oil that’s coming out of these wells down to the refinery.  Too much oil -- that’s a good problem to have,” he said.

Domestic oil production overall in the U.S. is at its highest level in the past eight years, according to the Energy Department.

But production on federal lands was down 14 percent year-over-year in 2011, and overall remains 13 percent lower than it was in 2003.

Still, Obama -- who has made renewable energy a hallmark of his administration -- insisted he’s not backing away from drilling or searching for more oil.

“You wouldn’t know it from listening to some of these folks running for office, but producing more oil here in our own country has been, and will continue to be, a key part of our energy strategy,” Obama said. “We’re drilling all over the place.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Coming Soon: A City in a Petri Dish

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Twenty square miles of land in New Mexico are set to be turned into a real-life Sim City by one Washington D.C.-area company. But there’s a catch: it will be a ghost town.

Pegasus Global, a telecommunications and technology testing company, announced Tuesday that it planned to invest $200 million in this city simulation, which will operate as a functioning city, complete with urban canyons, suburban neighborhoods and rural communities. It just won’t contain any people.

The city will mimic the mix of old and new infrastructure found in most mid-sized U.S. cities, said Pegasus CEO Robert Brumley in a statement.

“[It] will allow private companies, not-for-profits, educational institutions and government agencies to test in a unique facility with real-world infrastructure, allowing them to better understand the cost and potential limitations of new technologies prior to introduction,” said Brumley.

Anthony Rufolo, a professor urban planning at Portland State University, said the announcement left him with a lot of unanswered questions -- and he suspects Pegasus Global has plenty too.

“It sounds like a risky concept to me,” Rufolo said. “Obviously some things, like the canyon effects of broadcast could be tested, but I don’t know how you could test recycled water without people there to generate waste water.”

Rob Melnick, dean at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, disagreed and called the project “long overdue.”

“It’s a very smart platform to test and advise city governments,” said Melnick.  He said that even without a population, the faux city will be able to provide some real insight for city governments, adding: “I have high hopes.”

The company is currently conducting a five-month feasibility study of where in New Mexico the city should be built.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department said Pegasus anticipates the private test city will create 350 direct jobs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio