Drilling Towards Disaster: Powerful Report on Impact of Fracking Nationally & In NM

Every Saturday, we hope to make a habit of your writing to a friend and/or to your local newspaper: a productive way to ground your activism & create a habit of engaging others. We also include excerpts from Drilling Towards Disaster.

Events & Opportunities appear at the end of the blog, including a heads-up about today’s radio show, a reminder of the produced water hearing schedule, and info on how you can go on a Fracking Tour of Greater Chaco Canyon

Saturday: The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword

Is Using Produced Water in Agriculture a Good Idea? How Do We Most Effectively Move Democratic Party leadership to change course?

The purpose of Retake Our Democracy is to engage, educate, organize and activate.

We try to make it as easy as possible for you to advocate effectively. But since there aren’t events and actions happening every day or every week, we want to offer a way for you to express your activism on a regular basis.

There is no better way to collect and organize your thoughts and feelings about the world around than you than through writing–even if you never share what you write with others. And there is no better way to help build a movement than for members to engage others through personal notes or through putting those thoughts out into a public forum. Hence, The Pen is Mightier than the Sword.

So this week, we offer two possible topics from which to choose and we encourage all of you to pick one and to put together your thoughts in 150 words or less….and please don’t think that someone other than you will do this. It needs to be you.

Topic # 1: Should New Mexico allow the gas and oil industry to use toxic waste water produced from fracking (AKA produced water) for irrigation and agriculture? Make this very personal, you don’t need a ton of stats or lists of all the chemicals the use of produced water would introduce into our food and dairy. You may want to address your thoughts to the Governor, as she signed the damned bill (HB 546). And if you think that the concept of using produced water is so preposterous that it couldn’t possibly be permitted, I actually think that there is better than a 75% chance that the final regs will allow for this practice. There is a reason the language was introduced in the bill in the first place. So, unless we raise the ruckus of all ruckuses toxins au salades may be coming soon.

Should you want to reference, yesterday’s report on produced water and the plans to “regulate” its use….which, of course implies that it will be used…click here. By going to yesterday’s report you can also get the email address where you can make submit your writing as public comment that will be incorporated in the rule making process.

Topic # 2: Given New Mexico’s strong economic incentive to continue gas and oil operations, the power of the gas and oil lobby, and the degree to which Democratic Party leadership is disinclined to explore viable ways to keep it in the ground, what is the most effective course of action for activists?

If you choose to submit your writing for publication, we ask that you put Retake Our Democracy after your name. For those of you who may never have written a letter to the editor, we provide a guide that includes contact info and rules for submitting letters to the ten largest circulation newspapers in NM. Click here.

Drilling Towards Disaster

Oil Change International has published a remarkably articulate report that is worth sharing with others. Their most recent publication is part of an Oil Change International series of national and sub-national reports based on its global analysis of our position and options in relation to climate change.

Drilling Towards Disaster: Why U.S. Oil & Gas Expansion Is Incompatible with Climate Limits outlines the critical need for the US (and NM) to figure out how to keep it in the ground. It also makes clear that what NM does has the most significant impact of any other region in the US, with the Permian Basin having over twice the impact of any other region in the country. NM must figure out how to keep it in the ground. It is that simple.

In a series of very clear charts, you see the contribution to continued global warming from different aspects of gas and oil production and use and from different regions of the country. The report outlines that by phasing out the use of fossil fuels and eliminating fossil fuels by 2050, it could be possible to meet the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. But the report also makes clear that:

Unfortunately, existing climate measures aren’t cutting it – literally. Current national policy pledges under the Paris Agreement would put the world on course for 2.4 to 3.8°C of warming, a catastrophic outcome. “

The report cites Climate Tracker as its source for this projection. Click here to review the Climate Tracker study.

The report outlines the elements of a just transition, the barriers to achieving it and how the failure to make the necessary changes will lead to inevitable economic collapse and climate chaos. I think this document could be a very powerful tool for engaging NM politicians and the media to educate them about the inevitable consequences of being slow to action and the options and benefits to acting more quickly.

To read the full report, click here. However you keep valuable documents for reference, I’d highly recommend doing so with this. It provides a very grounded reality of how oil and gas production and use is driving climate change. Interestingly, it doesn’t reference the other major driver of the climate crisis–industrial meat production–a topic for a future post.

Actions & Opportunities

Saturday, October 12, 8:30am on KSFR 101.1 Retake Our Democracy. Saturday’s guests are Kathy and Corinne Sanchez, leaders of Tewa Women United. Our discussion went on for just over an hour, so 29 minutes will be aired live with the second half available by podcast. Last week I spoke with Roxanne Barber, co-founder and co-director of Retake Our Democracy. We spoke about a just transition, fracking in the greater Chaco area, and climate-related legislation for 2020.  So if you missed it you can find last week’s show and all our shows by podcast at KSFR.org>Program Menu>Podcasts>Retake Our Democracy.

Produced Water Hearing Schedule

For background information on the reason for the hearing and how to submit written comment, please click here.

ALBUQUERQUE: Tuesday, Oct. 15, 6pm-8:30pm, National Hispanic Cultural Center Grand Hall, 1701 4th St. SW, Albuquerque

SANTA FE: Wednesday, Oct 30, 6pm-8:30pm, St. Francis Auditorium, 107 West Palace Ave., Santa Fe

CARLSBAD: Thursday, Nov. 14, 6pm-8:30pm, Pecos River Village Conference Center, Carousel House 711 Muscatel Ave., Carlsbad

FARMINGTON: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 6pm-8:30pm, San Juan College Little Theatre, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington

LAS CRUCESMonday, November 25, 6pm-8:30pm, New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Ventana Room, 4100 Dripping Springs Rd. Las Cruces

The agenda for each meeting is as follows:

  • 5:00 pm Doors open
  • 6-6:45 pm Presentation by NMED, EMNRD and OSE
  • 6:45-7:15 pm Question-and-answer session
  • 7:15-7:30 pm Break
  • 7:30-8:30 pm Public input session 

Fracking Tour of Greater Chaco Canyon

Fracking Tour of the Greater Chaco Canyon Area, Sunday October 27, 9:15am-4:00pm. This is the tour that Roxanne and I went on last month. The tour is being conducted solely for Retake Our Democracy supporters. It will be hosted by Daniel Tso and Samuel Sage, elders, leaders and advocates of the Navajo Nation.

The start time is from the Counselor Chapter House, 2 hours and 15 minutes from Santa Fe. A caravan will assemble at 6:45am at Starbuck’s at 4960 Promenade Blvd, Santa Fe, NM 87507, a short jump to I-25. We will depart promptly at 7am with a projected arrival back in Santa Fe of 6pm. There are no long hikes or treacherous paths. It is a car tour with 6-7 stops at various fracking sites.

This is an extraordinary tour that will give a very intimate and powerful understanding of what a sacrifice zone really is, not from dry statistics but from personal stories told at one fracking site after another. You will have a changed view of what we are doing to our land, our air, our water and our people, a view that could not possibly be achieved no matter how much you read. We have a very limited number of slots remaining.

The only way to attend is to RSVP by writing to us ant RetakeResponse@gmail.com. When you RSVP please provide your name and the names and email addresses of anyone else in your party. We will be sending more information as we near the tour date.

We will also be asking that you bring a check for $50 or more made out to Dine C.A.R.E. This is the Navajo advocacy group that leads the efforts to protect the Greater Chaco Canyon Community. For more information on the tour, click here to read our blog on the experience.

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1 reply

  1. The “produced water” debacle, was a very effective propaganda campaign, designed to mislead the populace. They cleverly took toxic fracking waste, brine, and salt water, and mixed them all up together. They introduced the idea that it could all be used for agriculture. Of course desalination is very expensive, too expensive for agriculture. What we should be asking is where are they getting the freshwater, needed for fracking, and where and what are they doing with the salt water.

    Across the Permian Basin, springs, seeps and other sources of fresh water have dried up, over the last century. This was due to farming, and development, which drew down fresh water sources. Farms were abandoned as the water became more saline. Places where there was fresh water for millennia, are now dried up and abandoned. These were little oasis’s in the desert where wildlife and humans frequented the water sources.


    Our good friends at the NM Legislature are already lined up at the trough, https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/lobbyist-money-rolling-in-outside-of-new-mexico-s-legislative/article_bcd9fe00-bfb3-59cd-a756-79c5a6a1d666.html

    Chrevron,and Humana are at the top of the list.

    • More than $40,000 from health care and pharmaceutical companies. All but $63 of this was for political contributions. The largest was $5,000 to Lujan Grisham from United Healthcare Services. The governor got another $1,000 from Merck Sharp & Dohme, a pharmaceutical company.

    The Fix is already in!

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