Republicans Block Measure to Halt Fracking in Sacred Chaco Canyon
Every Republican Member of Committee Refused to Grant Fracking Moratorium Despite Cries About Health and Public Safety from Residents
Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, after lengthy and emotional testimony from residents about the effects that fracking has had on their health and livelihoods, a memorial to halt fracking failed to pass the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee (HENRC). In a 6-6 tied vote, every Republican on the committee voted against the measure to temporarily pause fracking operations in Chaco Canyon to allow for an assessment to study the full array of environmental impacts of fracking.
The memorial’s sponsor Representative Derrick Lente (D-Sandia), said he will not be deterred by this setback and will continue to fight to make sure the voices of indigenous people are heard. Making an impassioned plea, Representative Lente said the following:
“All 15 of the impacted tribal chapters have passed their own resolutions calling for a moratorium on fracking. To have this memorial fail in light of that, is a travesty. We have to help those who have been historically disenfranchised. At the end of the day this is about creating good public policy for the people that cherish Chaco Canyon and who call New Mexico their home.”
Residents at this afternoon’s hearing testified about the foul odors, fears of earthquakes, and other potential environmental effects of fracking on their land. Chaco Canyon contains some of North America’s oldest ancient pueblo ruins and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. HJM 5 proposed that the BLM conclude a thorough environmental impact study to determine how fracking operations will impact the surrounding communities before new fracking leases could be issued. Currently, 91% of the area surrounding Chaco Canyon has already been leased to oil and gas companies.