KUNM

Laura Paskus

Independent Journalist
Laura Paskus

As high winds whipped dust, Siberian elm seeds and recycling bins around Albuquerque Thursday afternoon, dozens of people filed into the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Albuquerque office to hear the agency’s 2018 forecast for the Rio Grande.

“I’ll be the bearer of bad news,” said Reclamation’s Albuquerque Area Manager Jennifer Faler. “This is the most extreme shift we’ve had from one operating plan meeting to another.”

Let's Talk Water Rights And The Rio Grande

Mar 6, 2018
Paul Tashjan, USFWS

Let's Talk New Mexico 3/8 8a. Call 277-5866. A U.S. Supreme Court case could threaten New Mexico’s use of water from the Rio Grande. This week, justices allowed the federal government to join in a case brought by Texas, which alleges New Mexico has been taking more than its fair share and not letting enough flow downstream.

Laura Paskus/KUNM

The New Mexico Environment Department released a new rule protecting groundwater from copper mining three years ago. The copper rule was one that state officials, mining companies, and environmentalists had spent more than six months writing. When released by the state, though, key provisions had been changed.

Laura Paskus/KUNM

New Mexico’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is late paying out millions in federal disaster relief money it owes local governments and contractors.

That money came to the state through FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and is meant to help communities clean up after natural disasters such as wildfires and floods.

Laura Paskus/KUNM

New Mexicans have needed help after wildfires and floods in recent years. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has done its part: sending money to the state of New Mexico. But the state has not released tens of millions of dollars for contractors who did disaster recovery work.

Laura Paskus

Everyone’s heard how oil and gas production dropped in New Mexico last year. Low prices hit industry – and the state’s budget – hard.

During that same time, the state saw a bump in the number of oil and gas spills. That’s according to a new report from the Center for Western Priorities, which crunches data from the state's Oil Conservation Division

Laura Paskus

Away from any cities or streetlights, the nights here at Chaco Culture National Historic Park are dark. Looking up, it takes a little longer than usual to spot even the most familiar constellations. That’s because there are so many more stars visible across Orion’s shoulders or surrounding Gemini’s twins.

Laura Paskus

There used to be big talk about a big boom coming to the San Juan Basin. Industry thought they’d sink 20,000 new oil wells. Companies wanted to take advantage of oil deposits squeezed into tiny fissures in tight shale deep underground.

Laura Paskus

Thanks to technologies like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, New Mexico is one of the top natural gas producers in the world – 27th according to the latest annual numbers from 2012 just released by the American Petroleum Institute. But there’s more to the economics of drilling than just counting rigs and tallying profits.

Laura Paskus

Last month, citizens, local officials and state regulators from New Mexico and Colorado gathered in Farmington, N.M. to learn more about the methane anomaly over the Four Corners that is being studied by scientists across the nation.

NASA

Scientists published a paper on methane levels across the globe last year—and their satellite images show the largest methane anomaly in the United States hovers over northwestern New Mexico. Now, some of the nation’s top scientists have come here to figure out where all that methane’s coming from.  

Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Inevitably, when talking about oil and gas development, the word fracking comes up in conversation.

In the coming weeks, KUNM will be airing more feature stories on oil development in northwestern New Mexico. And I'll be posting here about some of the more technical issues I explore, such as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. 

Laura Paskus

When the US Bureau of Land Management's Farmington District Manager, Victoria Barr, came into the KUNM studio for the Call In Show, she brought a brand-new map with her. She sent along the PDF, for those who would like to take a look at the active leases and special designated areas near Chaco Canyon National Historical Park.

Laura Paskus

UPDATE 2/12: All told, the BLM ended up receiving about 30,000 comments on the proposed Piñon Pipeline. That's according to Victoria Barr of the BLM's Farmington Field Office who discussed oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico on the KUNM Call In Show.   

+++

Laura Paskus

Etta Arviso is one of the Diné – or, Navajo – women who I met last year in Counselor, New Mexico. She is an “allottee,” which means her family lives on land adjacent to the Navajo reservation that is held in trust by the United States government. 

In this audio clip, she introduces herself, talks about the history of her homeland and people, and voices her opposition to increased oil and gas development on the checkerboard lands of the eastern Navajo Nation.

Pages