WildEarth Guardians and the San Juan Citizens Alliance fired back late March 5 against the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plans to open the door for a massive new fracking project in northwestern New Mexico that threatens clean air, wildlife, and the climate.
“Drilling for oil and gas has already taken a tremendous toll on the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the outdoors that we depend on,” said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program director. “This latest proposal threatens to push us over the brink, giving industry unfettered permission to undertake massive fracking at the expense of our environment.”
The groups are challenging the first proposal ever approved by the Bureau of Land Management to allow the oil and gas industry to tap shale gas using horizontal drilling in the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. Although the region has been drilled extensively, the practice of horizontal drilling to access shale gas has never before been commercially viable.
In a Statement of Reasons filed as part of an appeal of the Middle Mesa Plan of Development, the groups pointed out that the proposed fracking project would allow Williams Production (now called WPX) to drill 53 new shale gas wells and undertake a total of 636 fracking jobs over a five-year period. According to the Bureau of Land Management, each fracking job will require 420,000 gallons of fluid for a total of 267,120,000 gallons.
The fracking would occur near the Navajo Reservoir on the San Juan River and in an area that is facing increased air quality challenges. And in allowing WPX to undertake the project, the Bureau of Land Management waived seasonal restrictions on drilling meant to protect deer and elk.
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(Photo by SkyTruth)