BLM Rule, Good for Tribes

Laurie WeahkeeComment

December 20, 2016

Joe Calvello, (312) 399-3512

Veterans and tribal advocacy groups launch Navajo radio ad education effort highlighting benefits of cutting natural gas waste on tribal lands
FARMINGTON—The Native American Voter Alliance (NAVA) and the Vet Voice Foundation (VVF) launched a joint radio ad campaign today to educate Navajo citizens on the benefits of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) recently-adopted Methane Waste Prevention Rule.
The rule is aimed at curbing natural gas waste on public and tribal lands by reducing flaring and venting and ensuring regular monitoring and inspection to reduce leaks from equipment and infrastructure.
“Oil and gas development provides revenue for tribes, but for too long, companies have wasted our natural gas resources,” said Laurie Weahkee, director of NAVA. “Protecting Mother Earth and our air is our moral obligation. We need our officials to continue to defend these commonsense rules and put an end to waste.”
The ads are sponsored by NAVA and VVF and will run on radio stations in Northwestern New Mexico, including the Farmington, Aztec, and Shiprock markets, as well as parts of Northeastern Arizona.
“As a U.S. Army combat veteran, I believe that it is critical that we stop wasting our energy resources on public and tribal lands,” said Garett Reppenhagen, Rocky Mountain Director of VVF. “We must work together to defend these commonsense rules to cut natural gas waste and ensure a fair return to both tribal governments and communities across the West when American energy is developed.”
The ad campaign comes on the heels of the Navajo Nation Northern Agency Council voting unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of strong BLM natural gas waste rule this past Friday, December 16th by a vote of 39-to-0.
The Northern Agency Council represents 19 Navajo Chapter Houses (10 certified) from Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, including oil and gas producing regions in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin and Eastern Utah. Red Mesa Chapter House President Herman Farley sponsored the resolution.
The radio buys will take place over the course of three weeks. Tina Garnanez, a volunteer with Vet Voice Foundation and a former Army medic, reads the English version of the radio ad, and McKeon Dempsey, the 2015 Miss Navajo Nation, reads the Diné version. Diné is the native language of the Navajo people.
NAVA and VVF note that by reducing natural gas waste, more royalty revenue will be generated for local, state, and tribal governments that can be put toward education and local improvement projects such as roads and bridges. Also, the BLM natural gas waste rule has important co-benefits for public health such as reducing ozone pollution that can trigger asthma attacks and worsen emphysema.