August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

New Report: Dine' in San Juan Basin Live Dangerously Close to Oil and Gas Wells

These natural gas wells in the San Juan Basin of northwest New Mexico glow as excess gas is flared from the wells.
Credit: WildEarth Guardians/flickr

May 24, 2022
Contact: Alan Septoff for Earthworks,, 202-271-2355
Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club - Rio Grande Chapter, 505.715.8388

NEW ANALYSIS: 144,377 New Mexicans, including 38,749 children, Threatened by Oil and Gas Industry Air Pollution

Map Data Shows EPA Must Strengthen Newly Proposed Safeguards to Protect Public Health, Climate, following New Mexico’s lead

Carlsbad, NM - A new geospatial analysis released by Earthworks today shows 144,377 New Mexicans including 38,749 children, reside near or attend schools or daycares within a ½ mile threat radius of active oil and gas operations. In the San Juan Basin nearly 80% of the population lives within this radius. In the NM Permian Basin the map shows a nearly 40% increase in Eddy County alone of people living within the threat radius since 2017. This analysis comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to finalize their widely supported proposed safeguards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and associated toxic air pollution from new and existing oil and gas facilities and as they prepare to introduce a supplemental rule to address routine flaring and smaller leak-prone wells. New Mexico's recently finalized methane and ozone precursor rules set a strong floor for federal rules that would protect all communities like those in Texas, where regulations are limited, and along its border in New Mexico.

Dine' Elsie Begay honored with Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award at International Uranium Film Festival

Navajo Grandmother Elsie Begaye honored with Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award
by International Uranium Film Festival

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Watch video of the presentation
Watch the movie 'The Return of Navajo Boy'

"The people could have still been alive," says Dine' Grandmother Elsie Begay as she describes how Dine' were never told about the dangers of radiation and uranium mining. 

"This movie not only brought back my brother, but it is helping people," Begay said of the movie, 'Return of Navajo Boy.'

Dine' grandmother Elsie Begay, 83, of Monument Valley was honored with the Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Uranium Film Festival. Begay received her award in Dine' and English languages yesterday.

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