This is one of six fracking sites in the Greater Chaco Area brought to our attention by Navajo Nation Members. The region is known to the Diné (Navajo) as Dinétah, the land of their ancestors. It contains sacred sites and is home of the Bisti Badlands and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a World Heritage Site.
Drone surveys show 3 well heads, crude tanks, and compressors north of Hwy 550 in Nageezi, NM. The location is of importance because it shows how flaring is used to burn off methane caused by fracking and the transportation processes of crude oil. The River Healers droned this site when workers were not present and the flare tower was turned off for safety concerns, but the flame can usually be seen all the way from Hwy 550 tucked into the distinct hills of the Bisti Badlands. Such methane hotspots are of concern because methane causes severe health risks for individuals living near crude oil facilities. NASA has identified two large methane gas clouds in new Mexico. The methane gas is concentrated above fracking occurring in the San Juan Basin and Permian Basin and disproportionately affects the air quality of Greater Chaco, Four Corners Region, Farmington, and South East region of New Mexico.
Two unlined wastewater pits can be seen on the edge of the fracking pad near the well heads and compressors. Erosion caused by water drainage can be seen leading from the well heads and compressor areas directly to the wastewater pits. Drainages can also be seen coming directly out of the waste water pits and going into the Upper Kimbetto Wash, a tributary of the Chaco River. It is illegal for fracking companies to keep fracking wastewater in unlined pits in the state of New Mexico. The River Healers reported this possible water violation to the EMNRD Oil Conservation Division (a state regulatory body for the fracking industry). The Oil Conservation Division has only eleven full time employees that are in charge of overseeing 20,000 fracking sites scattered throughout New Mexico. EMNRD replied that WPX Energy maintains that the wastewater is caused by stormwater runoff and contains no fracking contaminates. This is the first time we have heard of the fracking industry creating stormwater runoff pits and find the practice to be unusual. Further skepticism that these runoff pits are not contaminated comes from research about the site. In June of 2016, WPX Energy reported a spill of 600 gallons of crude oil at this site because of a fire. WPX maintains that no groundwater was impacted and marked the incident as not an emergency.
Skepticism of EMNRD’s ability to regulate the fracking industry not only comes from being short staffed. Ken McQueen, Cabinet Secretary of EMNRD formerly served as Vice President of WPX Energy. Governor Susana Martinez appointment of McQueen severely compromises the state's ability to impartially oversee WPX Energy and regulate the fracking industry. New Mexico needs a Cabinet Secretary that is not tied to the interests and history of the company that it is supposed to regulate. Ken McQueen managed WPX Energy’s assets in the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Colorado, and in addition, part of Wyoming. Governor Martinez needs to clean up the EMNRD, get rid of cabinet members that have shown they are more interested in protecting the assets of WPX than the health of New Mexicans. Until this happens the EMNRD will remain an unreliable regulatory body.
We need oversight on the systematically abusive fracking industry. Stop fracking!
See all 6 videos at newmexicoriverhealers.com
Thank you to all that helped in the production of this video.
Love and solidarity to members of the Navajo Nation that invited us into their communities and lives. #DontFrackChaco #DoodaFracking #ProtectGreaterChaco #WaterIsLife #FrackOffChaco
The River Healers
More site information at newmexicoriverhealers.com
We also want to thank Center for Western Priorities for helping us obtain the data we needed to survey these sites. Thank you for your work!
Music by MORS 'Serpent'