Once again our water is under threat, this time, not from a Chromium plume, but from a devious plan hatched by the gas and oil industry under the ever so unvigilant gaze of the EPA and the NM Environment Department. Our new Governor must replace leadership at the help of NMED as soon as she is in office. Until then, we protest.
Before we dive into a very serious issue related to fracking and water contamination, I want your help in finding a time for the Roundhouse Advocacy Team that works for the most people. Based about a dozen emails today, either Thursday doesn’t work or times during the workday don’t work. We are committed to making it work somehow, even if that means staging the same meeting twice (at different times/days) each time we hold one. So those of you who would like to be involved in this process, please write to me and tell me the times you can attend and those times you simply can’t. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will keep tomorrow’s meeting at 4:30-6::30, but once I get a better handle on alternatives, we’ll let you know. If you missed yesterday’s post about our Roundhouse Advocacy Strategy, click here to review it. I have created a page for this under the Actions Menu. Thanks. Paul
You Can’t Make This Up: The Gas & Oil Industry and Their Cozy Arrangement with the EPA
On November 15 and 16 at Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda and Spa, officials from the state, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Interior (DOI) will gather with representatives from the oil and gas industry to discuss “produced water.” As this post describes, this meeting is designed to parcel out agreements not just related to the use of scarce NM water for the purposes of fracking, but also to allow gas and oil industries to then reintroduce that contaminated water (AKA “produced water”) back into the watershed, while making even more money on that process. It looks like they are planning a tidy little private affair where they can do their business out of the public eye. But The Red Nation has other ideas. At the end of this post you can find out more about The Red Nation’s plans to disrupt this tidy arrangement with a protest, press conference and attempt to deliver their demands (listed below) at 2pm on Friday the 16th at Santa Fe Hacienda Hotel. Please share this information via email, social media and other communication and encourage friends to join us in joining with The Red Nation. Read on for details.
Sometimes it is better to just let the impacted communities step forward and raise their voice or to let others deeply involved with an issue, to speak for themselves. Two weeks ago, I extracted much of the LANL Chromium plume hearing background information from the work of TEWA Women’s United and Community for Clean Water. Last week, I turned the blog over to Ken Baumann who outlined the elements of the Health Security Act, its benefits and how we can get it passed in 2019. Today, The Red Nation provides a concise and clear delineation of yet another threat to our water, this time from the extractive industries and our failing regulatory agencies that are in bed with gas and oil: The Environmental ‘Protection’ Agency, New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources, the Dept. of the Interior and the New Mexico Environment Department .
I am going to reach out to Democratic leadership and to Steve Fischmann, incoming PRC commissioner, to see what is possibly by way of undoing the damage that will undoubtedly be agreed to before the Democrats take power, but in the meantime, it is time to show up yet again. At the end of this post is information on The Red Nation’s plans to spoil the party. I have placed my very few, largely sarcastic comments in italics. Otherwise 100% of what follows came from The Red Nation.
On November 15 and 16 at Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda and Spa, officials from the state, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Interior (DOI) will gather with representatives from the oil and gas industry to discuss “produced water.” Produced water is a euphemism for water that has been used for hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). According to the conference website, attendees will “clarify the existing regulatory and permitting frameworks related to the way produced water from oil and gas extraction can be reused, recycled, and renewed for other purposes.” As The Red Nation (TRN) affiliate Berkley Carnine writes, attendees will “rewrite regulations in order to guzzle up the region’s scarce and sacred freshwater resources for fracking and then “re-introduce” dirty water back into the hydrological cycle.” This means that water used for fracking, which is contaminated with brine, toxic metals, and radioactivity, will be dumped into fragile watersheds and, potentially, municipal water supplies. There is almost nothing that shocks me anymore about the degree to which corporate greed can trump the public’s and the planet’s well-being.
If they go without challenge, these plans will forever change New Mexico’s water. The EPA recently issued a Draft White Paper that shares the oil and gas industry’s plan for addressing water scarcity and drought in New Mexico by ‘cleaning up produced water.’ Research has shown that it is impossible to clean up water once it has been poisoned with the chemicals required for fracking. Yet our government officials are willing to negotiate deals with extraction corporations to sell off our water and poison future generations. Why? Because they want to rake in billions from the produced water industry on top of the billions they have already made from oil and gas. All at our expense. You can’t make this up. First they extract sacred land and make billions, then they take their toxic waste and return it to our watershed and make more billions while poisoning us with both ventures.
Prominent state officials are already in the pocket of big oil and gas. New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Ken McQueen is a past vice president of WPX Energy, one of the largest companies fracking in the San Juan Basin and Greater Chaco region. And Tom Blaine, the New Mexico State Engineer who administers water code and has the final say on all water-related decisions for the state, is facing several lawsuits for illegally selling permits for 415 million gallons of NM water to oil and gas industry.
As TRN Editor Nick Estes stated in our most recent newsletter, “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a dire warning last month: there is no safe level of global warming, and to stave off the most deleterious effects of climate change, nations have only twelve years to transition out of a carbon economy. Those measures should have been taken yesterday.”
We are on the precipice of a change we cannot reverse. Whether it be in Oak Flat (2015), Standing Rock (2016), or Eastern Navajo (2018), Indigenous people are taking power into our own hands and mobilizing in unprecedented numbers to confront climate change. We are on the frontlines of an epic struggle that will determine the future of all. TRN rises alongside our people to demand an end to all forms of exploitative resource extraction that benefit the profit-motives of the few at the expense of the many. We call upon all our relatives–including our newly elected officials–to take action and join us in demanding:
- A complete moratorium on all BLM oil and gas leases in New Mexico including the BLM Farmington Field Office and Rio Puerco Lease Sales scheduled for December 2018 and March 2019
- Permanent protection of the Greater Chaco Region from all future oil and gas extraction activities
- Requirement that local NM governments notify and consult with tribes and local tribal governments including Navajo chapter houses, 20 Pueblos, and Hopi tribe on oil and gas leasing activities and regulations
- A comprehensive environmental impact assessment of hydrologic fracking on water and air quality
- A comprehensive health impact assessment on communities already impacted by produced water
- A halt to Holtec International’s construction of a nuclear fuel storage facility in an area where there is “increased seismic activity” due to the injection of produced water
- State moratorium on use of freshwater for fracking
- Open to the public all intergovernmental workgroup meetings and/or conferences hosted by state agencies regarding streamlining of existing regulatory and permitting frameworks for re-use and recycle of waters originating from oil and natural gas activities
- Replace New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Ken McQueen, New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary Butch Tongate, and State Engineer Tom Blaine with appointees who do not have conflict of interest by having worked for or are heavily invested in and paid off by the oil and gas industry#NoNewLeases #ProtectChacoCanyon #FrackOffChaco #FrackOffNM #WaterIsLife #KeepItInTheSoil #CantDrinkOil
For a complete analysis about the dangers of produced water, see:
For up-to-date information about the press conference and rally, visit Red Nation’s Facebook event page at:
Public ‘input’ can be emailed to email@example.com by December 10th, 2018. Click here for more information on the Memorandum of Understanding between the State of New Mexico, the EPA, and the Governance of Produced Water in NM.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.therednation.org Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therednation/ Twitter: @The_Red_Nation Instagram: @therednationmovement
Let’s show up on Friday at 2pm and support our Indigenous brothers and sisters who are leading the protest against this absolutely obscene miscarriage of climate justice and incursion on Indigenous sovereignty.
Paul & Roxanne