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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fracking in Pueblo and Diné Communities

  • Author(s): Meyer, Melodie
  • et al.

Fracking must be regulated from a tribal perspective and ultimately phased out by renewable energy sources in order to prevent environmental contamination and threats to health and safety.  Like many other components of extractive industry, fracking disproportionately harms indigenous communities due to the socioeconomic status of indigenous communities, their unique relationship to the land (and specifically to water), and other harmful effects of colonization and racialization.  This Comment explores the proposed and ongoing fracking near Chaco Canyon and discusses the environmental justice issues this raises for indigenous communities in New Mexico.  This discussion is timely, as the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs recently released the long-awaited Farmington Mancos-Gallup Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement, which amends the original Environmental Impact Statement for the Chaco Canyon area.  This Comment highlights the unregulated nature of fracking (specifically the uncertainty of spills, cleanup and remediation), its exemption from several environmental statutes, and the threats it poses to groundwater and general water quality.  The pervasiveness of these issues suggests that the most direct solution lies in cultural sovereignty and decolonial approaches to land management.

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