August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Intercept exposes FBI informant owned gun in Red Fawn case at Standing Rock

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Article by Will Parrish, The Inter6

Heath Harmon, 46, tribal member from Fort Berthold, was an undercover paid FBI informant. He engaged in a relationship with Red Fawn. Heath owned the revolver that police claim Red Fawn fired during her arrest, reports The Intercept. He was at Rosebud Camp at Standing Rock.
The Intercept reports:

Heath Harmon
FBI informant 

Ninth Circuit Court Allows Desecration of Moadag at Gila River

9th Circuit Court Allows Desecration of Moadag
December 9, 2017
Contact: Andrew Pedro
Censored News

After years of opposition from the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC), both on the community and tribal government levels. The first lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Trasportation and the Federal Highway Administration by GRIC and Protecting Arizona’s resource and children(PARC) was conjoined by the district court judge Diane Humetewa. She is Praised for being the native American federal court judge. Yet she allowed construction to happen during the court proceedings, dismissing injunctions to halt construction until the case was over. In the end she ruled in favor of ADOT to continue construction of the freeway in the summer of 2016.
GRIC and PARC filed to appeal the ruling which lead to the 9th circuit court, the 3-judge panel rejected all arguments from PARC and GRIC. The court also barely addressed the arguments of Moadag(South Mountain) being a sacred place. This issue was brought to attention not only by GRIC but also in an amicus curia brief from the Inter-tribal council of Arizona which is comprised of 21 tribes, all saying the south mountain is a sacred place. On December 8th, the 9th circuit court of appeals ruled in favor of the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration allowing the ongoing construction of the South Mountain Loop 202 freeway. In a press release from GRIC they say they are considering further court review options.
In a recent meeting in GRIC, there was a presentation on Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) Enhancement and Evaluation for the freeway. There were four specific sites identified within ADOT’s right of way area that were considered TCP. These places are very sacred places for the O’odham and Piipassh.  Even though these sites do not lay in the blasting area, they are in close proximity and the vibrations from the blasts will affect them, the presenter said, “the results could be catastrophic.” While those are just few places they are other ancient trails and petroglyph sites that do lay in the blasting area. ADOT’s mitigation is to remove any rock art and place them somewhere else nearby.

 “anti-freeway fight appears dead” was the title of an article that came from Ahwatukee Foothills News on December 9th. It’s easy to look at this as a dead issue, being a settler, you can leave and find somewhere else to live. For us as O’odham this is our home, these places we call sacred are extensions of our identity, from mountains, water, and the land itself. Our very existence means the fight isn’t dead, it is not over until every O’odham is gone.

Sandoval County commissioners ordered oil and gas study they don’t plan to use

Pena Blanca Town Hall - Sandoval County Commissioner Holden-Rhodes; Oil & Gas Ordinance

Why did some Sandoval County commissioners order a $62,000 oil and gas study that they don’t plan to use? 

Contact: Mike Neas, Placitas resident,
Miya King-Flaherty, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Public Lands Fellow
Censored News

Why is the county spending $62,000 to pay for an oil and gas resource assessment of Sandoval County if it does not plan to use it?

In July 2016, the county entered into an agreement with New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology costing taxpayers $62,009.07. Services include assessing potential oil and natural gas resources throughout Sandoval County as well as mapping aquifer distribution and depth to understand the effects of modern drilling on groundwater (which 90 percent of New Mexicans depend on for their drinking water in Albuquerque Basin Aquifer). 

On Nov. 29, District 1 Sandoval County Commissioner James Holden-Rhodes released a public letter to his constituents outlining his concerns over inadequate water protection in the oil and gas ordinance currently under consideration in Sandoval County. In his letter, Holden-Rhodes wrote, “it needs to be forcefully stated that any drilling in this area poses an extremely high risk for contamination of the drinking water aquifers...”

While the New Mexico Tech Petroleum Recovery and Research Center is the research arm for the oil and gas industry in NM that trains students to work in oil, gas and other extractive industries, it is still critical to have its mapping and aquifer-impact information informing any oil and gas ordinance in order to safeguard residents’ drinking water. 

At the Nov. 16 County Commission meeting, Chair Don Chapman said the New Mexico Tech Assessment was only a “review” likely to be done by a junior geologist that will simply review data and provide a report to the county. He added that the report will not likely inform drafting the oil and gas ordinance and will be based on geology, not aquifer or surface-water distribution. 

“The Sandoval County Commission has not adequately addressed and assessed all aspects of future oil and gas development in the County prior to voting on an oil and gas ordinance,” said Sandoval County resident Mike Neas. “And they blatantly ignore the only scientific assessment they have commissioned at a taxpayer cost of $62,007.09.”

Commissioners Holden-Rhodes and Eichwald moved to table the ordinance until the assessment is complete and the commission has ample time to review it. The motion died in a 3-2 vote. The report is due in May 2018. 

In 2005, Chair Chapman retired from his previous work experience as VP of Global Sales from Dover Chemical Corporation--a company that sells drilling mud additives, which are known chemicals used for horizontal fracking.

Before the meeting, geologist Donald Phillips submitted comments to the commissioners that summarized the general geology of Sandoval County and risks for contaminating drinking-water aquifers from horizontal drilling and fracking. In summary, the report showed high risks for contaminating aquifers in the Albuquerque Basin and extremely high risks on the eastern side of the Albuquerque Basin.

“Due to the heavily faulted nature of the Albuquerque Basin in Sandoval County, unconventional drilling (which includes horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking) poses a significant threat to the quality of drinking water aquifers,” said geologist Donald Phillips. “In many locations, the Mancos Shale (proposed drilling target) is in direct fault contact with drinking water aquifers.  Elsewhere, the Mancos Shale is heavily faulted.  Such fault zones provide natural geologic conduits for oil, gas, and chemically-laced fracking fluids to move upward and contaminate aquifers.” 

In his letter, Holden-Rhodes called for his constituents to contact all county commissioners and request they table voting on the ordinance until the commission has had ample time to analyze the NM Tech study.

The commission is expected to vote on a motion to publish and post the ordinance at the Dec. 14 meeting. The commissioners could take a final vote on the ordinance as early as January 2018.

Community meeting with Commissioner Holden-Rhodes, December 9th:

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