The renowned Native astronomical and sacred site of Chaco Canyon and its environs may be in danger from encroaching fracking wells, environmental groups fear.
“They are not thinking about the spirituality of those lands,” said Jemez Pueblo governor Joshua Madalena to the Durango Herald in New Mexico, referring to the companies that are conducting hydraulic fracturing in the area.
With companies on the verge of investing millions of dollars into fracking enterprises, a group calling itself the Partnership for Responsible Business took journalists and others on an aerial tour of the region to draw attention to the proximity of proposed wells to sacred sites, and the need for unified planning given that the land involved has a hodgepodge of owners.
The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) owns 19 percent of the land in question, the Durango Herald noted, while the rest is controlled by a mixture of tribal members, tribes and others, BLM field manager Gary Torres told the newspaper. One of the major companies planning to work in the region is Encana, which is aiming to drill 45 to 50 exploratory wells, spokesperson Doug Hock told the Durango Herald. He added that company plus WPX Energy and Logos Resources plan to invest heavily over the next 12 to 18 months.
The key, those who want to curtail the gas rush say, is to step carefully so as to avoid decimating or damaging sacred sites, or impeding the view of the starry night skies for which Chaco is famous.
Read the Durango Herald’s report Wells Creep Toward Chaco: Advocates Fight for Better Planning Near Ancient Sites.