What is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) & What does it mean for Natives in the US?
-Secretary Flynn was confirmed as secretary of NMED yesterday
-The good uranium bill HB 343 is gonna die in limbo in the House Health Government and Indian Affairs Committee. There was a great conversation in the committee on Saturday when it was heard. Republicans were "shocked" that uranium isn't more heavily regulated. I was able to include some facts about the legacy, about Homestake, and about the lawsuit against Energy Fuels in Utah. The uranium lobbyist was furious.
-New good memorial, HM 95, attached. Is a good memorial, but has one major edit regarding the Homestake Site. After sorting it out with Candace and Paul, the radiation coming from the pile is not more than 18x times the limit, it is 5.5x times the limit, resulting in an increased lifetime cancer risk of 18x. We'll try to get this amended on the house floor, but we'll see what happens.
-SM 35- Expand RECA- on the senate floor waiting to be heard
-The house version of the RECA amendment, HM 36 passed the house 70-0
What is Fracking?
Fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing) is the process of shooting a highly pressurized liquid mixture into a drilled hole in the earth to create cracks in the bedrock. These cracks give access to fuels like natural gas and petroleum that we would otherwise not be able to harvest.
How does fracking impact drinking water?
Fracking doesn’t follow the Safe Drinking Water Act. There are a multiple reasons why fracking gets such a bad rap. The main reason is because the liquid injected into the ground and groundwater is infused with harmful chemicals, some are even known carcinogens. Shooting this liquid into the earth can lead to groundwater contamination. Another issue is that fracking requires an enormous amount of water. The water could be used for drinking or irrigation. Three to five million gallons of water can be used to frack a single well. For New Mexico, a state that experiences drought, an increase in fracking across the state – or even the continuance of a pro-fracking policy in the southeast area, could lead to devastating outcomes. The Bureau of Land Management’s regulations on fracking on public and tribal lands are more than 30 years old and were not designed to regulate today’s fracking technology.
Is there fracking in New Mexico?
The San Juan Basin in New Mexico is one of the most fertile areas in the world for natural gas. Fracking has occurred in New Mexico since the 1930’s. While the oil and gas industry has been fracking in New Mexico for decades, current techniques are more intensive and dangerous and have created a drilling frenzy facilitated by the lack of government oversight.
Is there fracking on Indian Land?
Absolutely. Approximately 500,000 oil and gas wells are active in the US. That includes 92,000 on public and tribal land, where about 13 percent of the Nation's natural gas and 5 percent of its oil are produced (according to statistics from the Interior Department). Ninety percent of wells that are drilled on Federal and Indian lands use fracking.
Is there fracking on Indian Land in New Mexico?
The Mancos Shale wells are in the Northwestern, New Mexico near Navajo Nation and Southern Indian Ute Tribe. The Mancos area is hardrock, and it was difficult to drill in the area. However, modern drilling techniques are helping. The new technology allows for horizontal drilling to reach trapped oil and gas. Companies from across the US have been targeting the Mancos Shale area. Eight companies have so far received permits to drill 45 wells in all three Mancos zones, with 22 now producing or ready to produce.
There are no fracking operations on the Navajo Nation, but the Tribe is active in oil and gas exploration. It owns and operates an 87-mile crude oil pipeline and is a retail and wholesale distributor of refined petroleum products. The tribe has rights to 150,000 acres of land on the reservation, where it plans to develop coal bed methane, oil and conventional gas resources. It also is exploring the feasibility of developing helium resources. Only allotted land is proposed to be fracked.
NAVA is hosting "Get Covered" this Saturday, February 15 from 10am - 2pm at the Cesar Chavez Community Center located off Louisiana & Kathryn. Come learn about coverage options available for you and your family. Be sure to bring: Proof of Income (monthly), Social Security Number(s), Date of Birth, and tribal membership cards for those enrolling in coverage. Hope to see you there!
Attention Tribal Leaders! OPPOSE HB-146
HB 146- Limits the Tribal Infrastructure Fund
This bill seeks to protect the Severance Tax Permanent Fund- but at the expense of the Tribal Infrastructure Fund. This bill will be heard tomorrow (Feb 12) at 1:30pm in Room 317 in the House Tax and Revenue Committee. The bill seeks to limit the TIF earmark from 5% to 4% bonding capacity, reducing this Fund by 24 million dollars. Please oppose this bill.
URGENT! Please call your Representative from the Tax & Revenue Committee to OPPOSE cuts to HB146
We have a lot of bills being heard in the final days of the session. Although we don't have room to detail all of these bills, we have listed several for your investigation. If you are interested in going to Santa Fe and speaking out on any of these bills, please give us a call at 505-246-1819. Minimum Wage Increase - SUPPORT SJR-13 & HJR-9
It's important to increase wages consistently- not to have to wait every 5-10 years before we receive another wage increase! That's why we are supporting SJR-13 which seeks to increase wages as the rate of inflation rises. Unfortunately, some of our allied legislators are not supporting SJR-13 because they oppose adding the increase to the NM Constitution. The reason to include this in the NM Constitution is to ensure a
consistent cost of living increase. If we don't get this added, there is no way to guarantee the increase. So here's the kicker - most of the legislators are from Indian country... So those of you living out West, please call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support SJR-13. Many are looking to support other wage increase bills, but most of those bills are not helpful for a variety of reasons.
We top the list of being worst in poverty, violence and child well-being. We believe that if the people could consistently earn more than $15,600 per year, there is a slightly better chance to begin a road to economic dignity. We need this in the NM Constitution to help Native American working families!
Attention Tribal Leaders! OPPOSE HB-146
HB 146- Limits the Tribal Infrastructure Fund
This bill seeks to protect the Severance Tax Permanent Fund- but at the expense of the Tribal Infrastructure Fund. This bill will be heard tomorrow (Feb 12) at 1:30pm in Room 317 in the House Tax and Revenue Committee. The bill seeks to limit the TIF earmark from 5% to 4% bonding capacity. Please oppose this bill.
Other Bills to follow!
We hope you had a great holiday season and have figured out your goals for the 2014 year! We wish everyone the strength and willingness to put an honest effort toward your goals! As for NAVA, we have a lot happening and we hope that you'll stay tuned for opportunities to get involved and make a real difference for Native communities throughout New Mexico.
Let's Welcome Bineshi Albert and Nadine Padilla!
Ozawa Bineshi (Albert, Yuchi & Annishinaabe) - Bineshi has officially started working with NAVA as our Operations Director. Bineshi begun organizing work as a young person working with the Native Lands Toxic Campaign via Greenpeace. She is a board member of the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Progressive Technology Project. Other cool organizations she worked at throughout her career, Southwest Organizing Project, Center for Community Change and SAGE Council. She's a rock star!
Nadine Padilla (Navajo, Laguna & Isleta) - Nadine will serve as NAVA's Political Director. She has a wealth of issue and electoral campaign experience beginning with the 2008 Obama campaign. She worked with the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) who've led the fight to halt uranium mining on Mount Taylor.
Health Care Guides!
Juliet Yazzie, Tasha Bergen, Laurie, Renaldo Chapman, Bineshi and Donna Tenorio - We have some great new folks helping us to enroll Native Americans in the Health Exchange. If you need help, have questions please give us a call. We are also doing presentations for groups and organizations interested in knowing more about the Heath Exchange and how to enroll. We will be having another enrollment clinic this Wednesday, Jan 15 @ 5:30 at the NAVA Office - 3415 Carlisle, NE. See you soon!
NM Legislative Session begins Jan 21st - Feb 20, 2014. Stay tuned!
Enroll in NM Health Exchange We have folks trained and ready to answer all the tough questions an Indian has regarding the NM Health Exchange.
Native American Voters Alliance