EARTHblog » Gwen Lachelt

A new kid in town

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By Gwen Lachelt

October 2, 2012

When I fly across country I try to get a window seat so I can get a bird’s eye view of America. In the past 30 years that view has changed. Vast landscapes, once agricultural land, public land or neighborhoods, have been transformed into industrial zones for oil and gas production. For as far as the eye can see, large portions of Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and other states, are now industrial grids of well pads, pipeline corridors, compressor stations and roads. Sometimes it’s hard to see the homes, schools, farms, ranches, and in my part of the world, the Navajo Chapter Houses, for the oil and gas infrastructure.

In New Mexico, a state with tens of thousands of oil and gas wells already, the bird’s eye view is changing, dramatically. Layered on top of historical oil and gas fields is a new and more intensive development – shale. Once thought too deep and too expensive to produce, advances in horizontal hydraulic fracturing have allowed companies to tap shale oil and gas reserves thousands of feet below the surface. These wells require more land, more water and more chemicals for drilling and fracking. And apparently, they require bigger pits for drilling and fracking wastes. Actually, in southeastern New Mexico, they don’t call them pits anymore. They call them Frack Lakes.

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Tagged with: fracking, new mexico, pit rule

The Public’s Role Under Attack in New Mexico

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By Gwen Lachelt

August 29, 2012

In what can only be defined as industry’s fear of the truth coming to light – that pits have contaminated water and soil in New Mexico and that their proposed rollbacks will lead to further contamination – industry attorneys and Jami Bailey, OCC Chairperson - fought tooth and nail yesterday to prevent OGAP’s expert witness from testifying.

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Tagged with: new mexico, pit rule

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