Radio Forum Focuses on Environmental Issues

By: December 11, 2017 9:02 amViews: 83

On December 13th a radio forum titled “New Plans to Cut and Drill the Chuskas and Beyond” will be held on KTTN Radio. The forum is sponsored by Dine C.A.R.E. and the intention is to spread knowledge regarding natural resource extraction in the Chuska Mountains, which are situated in the central part of the Navajo Reservation.

New Mexico Tribune spoke with Robyn Jackson, who works with Dine C.A.R.E. and organized the forum. Jackson’s parents were among the founding members of Dine C.A.R.E. and her grandmother was a Navajo herbalist. Jackson says that she wants to help the community to get involved in environmental issues and to encourage them to participate in helping to protect land that is sacred to the Navajo People.

“The Chuska Mountains are sacred mountains in the Navajo culture and they have been extracting oil and natural gas since the 1970s. By the 1990s residents began to notice that natural springs were beginning to dry up and pine trees that had been logged were no longer returning.”

Jackson says that it is very important to understand what the long-term implications of resource extraction in this area will look like. She says that it is important to understand the larger ramifications of logging, drilling and fracking, which is going on in the area. Helium is also being extracted in the region.

“They are using pressure and dangerous chemicals, disturbing different layers, it is not precise and they don’t fully understand everything that they are doing, we have concerns about groundwater and mountain watershed. It’s a dry arid climate so we are worried about water. We should be aware of how we are disturbing the water cycle and the mountains ability to provide water to the downstream community.”

Natural resource extraction is complicated work and not without consequence and protecting this land from becoming so badly damaged that it cannot recover is of the upmost importance to communities of people living there.

“A key thing is understanding how our landscape is impacted, we need to set up different water protections, and understanding how we take care of our water.”

The forum will also discuss a New Management plan for resources in the area and how the new plan will affect the forest. The plan is drafted by members of the Navajo Tribe and will be submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approval.

Jackson hopes that this forum will help to spread awareness about natural resource extraction and get people engaged in caring for and protecting the land.

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