Monday, September 1, 2014

Fracking in the Chihuahuan Desert: A Letter Requesting Support from Anti-Fracking Activists in Mexico

Photo David Lauer

According to the American National Park Service, the Chihuahuan Desert is among the most important ecosystems in the world for determining the effects of climate instability. With respect to what the Chihuahuan Desert Network refers to as vital signs--seeps and springs, groundwater, rivers, upland vegetation and soils, invasive exotic plants, and landbirds--the fact is that desert ecosystems are the canaries in the coal mines of climate change:

The Chihuahuan Desert Network is currently developing protocols to monitor several vital signs that may reflect current and future impacts of climate change. This brief offers a summary of how Chihuahuan Desert Network monitoring will detect future change. (Climate Change and the Chihuahuan Desert). 
Besides being essential to monitoring climate instability, the Chihuahuan Desert is simply a magnificent ecosystem:

[It is] bordered on the west by the extensive Sierra Madre Occidental range, along with overlaying northern portions of the Sierra Madre Oriental. On the U.S. side it occupies central and southernNew Mexico, the portion of Texas west of the Pecos River, and southeastern Arizona; on the Mexican side, it covers the northern half of the state of Chihuahua, along with the majority of Coahuila, north-eastern Durango, the extreme northern part of Zacatecas, and small western portions of Nuevo León. With an area of about 362,000 km2 (139,769 sq mi), it is the third largest desert of the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in North America, after the Great Basin Desert.[1] (Chihuahuan Desert - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Photo David Lauer

It's thus particularly insane that any company would  imagine fracking it. Yet, here we are--from the El Paso Times:

Mexico energy officials said Chihuahua and three other northern border states are ripe for fracking, a controversial and widespread method that is used to extract shale gas and oil from the ground. 
Pemex (Petroleos Mexicanos), the state-owned oil company, previously identified Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, in addition to Chihuahua, as the states where fracking could be used to obtain new energy sources. The other Mexican states that officials identified are Puebla, Oaxaca and Veracruz.
Mexican officials said Pemex has drilled nearly 30 exploratory wells along the border with Texas, near Ojinaga and Presidio. In Texas, fracking is taking place in the Eagle Ford oil field that straddles the border with Mexico. 
According to the Texas Railroad Commission, the oil and shale gas field is about 50 miles wide and 400 miles long and has an average thickness of 250 feet. Eagle Ford is a rich energy source that is responsible for creating new jobs in Texas...
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Mexican government approved constitutional reforms last year that ended the 75-year monopoly of the Pemex state-owned oil company.
The reforms will allow foreign companies to invest in oil and gas production and development at a profit, and petroleum giants such as Exxon, Shell and Chevron are lining up to offer their services and expertise.
(Fracking may be coming to the Chihuahua border, Mexican officials say - The Daily Planet).
Photo David Lauer

It's hard to know even where to begin here--and I will have more to say later. But for right now, it is very clear that there is resistance to this potential for ecological holocaust among the Mexican people: 

Foes of fracking came together in Mexico with the Mexican Alliance Against Fracking (, an organization that compiled more than 10,000 signatures against fracking. The petition failed to persuade Mexican federal legislators last month from forbidding this method of obtaining oil and gas under Mexico’s energy reforms. The group noted that Germany and France have banned fracking.  (Fracking may be coming to the Chihuahua border, Mexican officials say - The Daily Planet)

I am also honored to be able to bring you a letter from my friend and fellow activist David Lauer of Chihuahua Vs. Fracking--who also took these gorgeous pictures of the Chihuahuan Desert. 

David has a specific request: If you represent a group, coalition, or organization that can send your own brief letter of support for Chihuahua VS. Fracking, that would be exceptionally helpful.

Please send those letters to David Lauer:

Alternately, you can post your letter to the Chuhuahua VS. Fracking Facebook page (and make sure to "like" it):

This is a fantastic opportunity to do something in support of our friends internationally, and to defend one of the most beautiful, fragile, and important ecosystems on the planet.

Photo David Lauer

Here's David's letter:

Chihuahua vs. Fracking To all U.S. anti-fracking organizations: We send you greetings and solidarity from Chihuahua, Mexico´s largest state, bordering on New Mexico and Texas, home to a vast array of endemic desert flora and fauna.  The Chihuahuan Desert is number three in biodiversity in the world, and is now firmly in the sights of the fracking industry. The Mexican Constitution was recently “reformed,” though many of us would say that it was deformed, to allow foreign oil corporations to “invest” in what has been a national industry until now.  One provision allows all types of land to be effectively expropriated in order to encourage the production of hydrocarbons.
Photo David Lauer
 Faced with the depletion and contamination of our scarce water resources, the long-term threats to our sources of clean, safe drinking water, the threats to agricultural production and to the water the desert needs to survive ecologically, we became convinced that any possible benefits fracking may offer in the short term, are grossly outweighed by the environmental, social, health and economic costs it implies over time. 
 As citizens, it is our duty to ensure that we, our children, our children’s children, and all future generations will have access to clean water and a healthy environment.   For these reasons and others, we came together and formed a citizens collective in order to educate our fellow citizens about what fracking is, why it is being imposed on us and what its implications are for future life along the border region; for example, few studies have addressed how environmental degradation drives emigration. Our organization, Chihuahua vs. Fracking, is part of the National Mexican Anti-fracking Alliance, and has also entered into contact with organizations in Argentina and other parts of the world.  Our collective is made up of several local and national organizations and concerned individuals who are committed to breaking the barrier of media silence by taking the information directly to the people through workshops and other activities.  We wish to be considered as members of your movements and invite you to become part of our struggle, because together will become much stronger.  In this war of public opinion, laws, information and counter-information we all need to be interconnected just like the water that flows through us and into the clouds.
Photo David Lauer
 In the near future we hope to organize important events and would like to be able to invite people with direct experience with fracking and its consequences to come and share what they know and understand with the public at large.  We also have a constant need for the latest information on the subject so that we can integrate it into our workshops.  Our movement is in its early stages and has already created a reaction in the media and in government circles.   We need to be efficient, intelligent and relentless if we are to stop this tragedy before it ever gets started.  
 Our next action will be to make a courteous, public presentation of information regarding fracking to César Duarte, the Governor of the State of Chihuahua, because his press declarations demonstrate that he is blissfully unaware.  Other members of the Alliance will repeat our initiative all over the country on the very same day. If you agree with our request for membership, please send us a copy of your logo, the name of your organization, contact information and anything else you would wish to ask us or share with us, then copy our logo from this letter and we will be bound in solidarity. I was commissioned by the organization to enter into contact with US groups.  You can write back to me directly and I will relay your messages in Spanish to members of our collective. 
 We also want you to know that other organizations exist who deeply appreciate the sacrifices you have already made, the information you have gathered and everything you have done to stop fracking.  Together we will prevail. 
In solidarity,  
David Lauer

1 comment:

David lauer said...

Yesterday an informational packet was given to the Governor of Chihuahua and to the Congress so that they could evaluate fracking more responsibly before making ludicrous public declarations. Lots and lots of photos were taken, many by unknown people, a tactic often used to intimidate social movements. That´s why your solidarity is important. I hope your readers seriously consider our request and join us in solidarity. The request is nothing more than that, a show of support. We will continue to inform you about developments in the desert.