KUNM

Drilling Deep

Credit Laura Paskus

    

In this KUNM series, reporter Laura Paskus will be exploring natural gas drilling and the burgeoning oil industry in northwestern New Mexico--its benefits, impacts, and future.

Remember That Huge Methane Plume?

Aug 23, 2016
NASA

In 2014, NASA announced they’d found that the largest plume of methane gas in North America was right here in New Mexico.

At the time, scientists didn’t know exactly where the methane was coming from – but now they’ve completed some research and published their findings.

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.

Enviro Group Says Methane Rules Could Curb Smog

Aug 19, 2015
Ed Williams

The Obama Administration recently proposed new standards that would reduce methane emissions from natural gas operations across the country, and environmental advocates say the new rules could have some health benefits for people living near gas wells.

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.

VIDEO: Drilling Deep Series On NMPBS

May 4, 2015

Laura Paskus is reporting our Drilling Deep series on oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico.

She's looking at issues surrounding flaring, the cultural implications of the oil and gas development and environmental impacts, to name a few. Recently, NMPBS' Sarah Gustavus spoke with Laura about the series on a segment of New Mexico in Focus. Check it out!

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.   

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Oil Industry Creeps Up On Chaco Communities

Feb 9, 2015
Johnny Clark via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 2/12 8a: 

Oil and gas development may be moving closer to Chaco Canyon National Historical Park and the many tribal communities in northwestern New Mexico. Residents there, along with archaeologists and advocates, are questioning the burgeoning development. 

What effect might encroachment have upon these communities? What about nearby ancient sites? How can we strike a balance between modern day energy needs, healthy communities and the preservation of ancient sites? 

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.

Laura Paskus

    

In October, Pueblo of Zuni Councilman Mark Martinez and I viewed Chaco Canyon National Historical Park from above during an ecoFlight tour.

Martinez was interested in flying above the park to see the remains of ancient buildings and roads. And also to see nearby drill rigs, old and new.

The Pueblo of Zuni is just one of the tribes that asked the federal government to protect Chaco Canyon.

Laura Paskus

While reporting this series, it's really easy to end up with more voices and moments than can ever be plopped into the four-minute feature stories that air on KUNM. That's why over the course of this project, I'll be sharing some of those moments with you online.

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