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Sun Apr 4, 2021, 01:57 PM

'No one explained': fracking brings pollution, not wealth, to Navajo land

Source: The Guardian

'No one explained': fracking brings pollution, not wealth, to Navajo land

Navajo Nation members received ‘a pittance’ for access to their land. Then came the spills and fires

Jerry Redfern of Capital and Main
Sun 4 Apr 2021 10.00 BST

It’s not clear why the water line broke on a Sunday in February 2019, but by the time someone noticed and stopped the leak, more than 1,400 barrels of fracking slurry mixed with crude oil had drained off the wellsite owned by Enduring Resources and into a snow-filled wash. From there, that slurry – nearly 59,000 gallons – flowed more than a mile downstream toward Chaco Culture national historical park before leaching into the stream bed over the next few days and disappearing from view.

The rolling, high-desert landscape where this happened is Navajo Nation off-reservation trust land, in rural Sandoval county, New Mexico. Neighbors are few and far between, and they didn’t notice the spill. The extra truck traffic of the cleanup work blended in with the oil and gas drilling operations along the dirt roads in that part of the county.

Then three days after the spill, something ignited and exploded 2,100 feet away on another wellsite owned by Enduring Resources, starting a fire that took local firefighters more than an hour to put out.

The two accidents account for just 1% of oil- and gas-related incidents in north-western New Mexico in 2019, according to statistics kept by the New Mexico oil conservation division (OCD). Since those two, there have been another 317 accidents in the region as of 29 March, including oil spills, fires, blowouts and gas releases.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/04/navajo-nation-fracking

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