Despite protests from Navajo chapter houses, the All Pueblo Council of Governors, the Navajo Nation, Governor-elect Michelle Lujan-Grisham, hundreds of thousands of public citizens, and more than 100 organizations, the BLM proceeded with auctioning off 30 parcels for oil and gas extraction.
Over 200 clean air and water advocates rallied in front of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state office in Santa Fe today to protest the December 5th and 6th online auction of over 89,000 acres of public and ancestral tribal lands, including over 44,000 acres in the Greater Chaco region, and over 40,000 near Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Tribal leaders, environmental groups, and advocates expressed growing outrage at BLM’s chronic disengagement with the public, its lack of meaningful tribal consultation, and its failure to consider the public health and environmental impacts of selling off federal and tribal lands for fracking.
Opponents will rally at the BLM headquarters in Santa Fe on December 5, one day ahead of Thursday’s planned online sale that includes 46,000 acres in the culturally significant Greater Chaco region.
At the Navajo Counselor Chapter, sitting at the intersection of Highway 550 and the county road to Chaco Culture National Historic Park, the air looks clean and the wind often blows strongly across the mesas and through the valleys. But for the past 3 years, residents have complained of chest pain, headaches, coughing, wheezing, sinus problems and skin and eye irritation.
A mixed bag of recent court decisions are key for determining the fate of fracking and drilling in New Mexico hot spots.
Lease sale targets the same region as a March sale deferred due to need for more cultural review and consultation
In an unanticipated move, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke cancelled a March lease auction of 4,454 acres in Greater Chaco to oil and gas companies.
On Dec. 19, the New Mexico Congressional Delegation released a letter to Bureau of Land Management State Director Aden Seidlitz that essentially calls for cancelling the March 8, 2018, lease sale until meaningful and thorough tribal consultation has occurred.
In August, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Farmington Field Office notified Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye that it intends to auction off 25 more parcels in Greater Chaco for fracking. These parcels are unnervingly close to the 10-mile buffer that protects Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
New Mexico Story Power amplifies voices from the front lines where extreme fossil fuel extraction threatens the lives and cultures of the people of New Mexico. It engages our necessity to protect our land, our water and our communities with personal accounts and visual narratives. In this interview, Story Power interviews Mike Eisenfeld, Energy and Climate Program Manager for San Juan Citizens Alliance in Farmington, New Mexico.