Hydraulic Fracturing, or “Fracking,” is a process where dangerous chemicals are added to clean, drinkable water and injected miles deep to fracture shale bedrock. This is done to extract oil and natural gas.
Sexual Violence: Where fracking exists in Indian Country, the rates of already epidemic levels of sexual violence and exploitation have doubled and tripled. Sex crimes against women and girls has increased 300%. The number of Native women and girls being kidnapped, sold and trafficked has also increased, with girls as young as 13 years old disappearing. Over 70% of perpetrators of sexual violence against Native women are biligana men, while an even higher percentage of biligana men are working for the fracking industry in our territory. The Navajo tribe does not have criminal jurisdiction over these men, which means they can rape and hurt our Dine women and girls without punishment.
Uranium: Within the shale formations that are being fracked for natural gas & oil, there also exist high levels of uranium. All water, land, air, people, animals and plants that are contaminated by fracking are therefore exposed to dangerous radioactive byproducts. Our communities continued to be devastated by the impacts of past uranium mining. Fracking will cause even higher levels of radiation poisoning than uranium mining ever did, making our lands at-risk of no longer being safe to live on in the future.
Money: Right now, many Navajo families who own allotments in the checkerboard area of Nayeezi, Nageezi, Pueblo Pintado, Counselor and Lybrook area have signed contracts to allow fracking companies to drill on their land for $16,000-$100,000. This is not very much money in comparison to what these companies invest and are making off Dine lands: to drill one oil or gas well, it costs these companies $6 to $10 million. These families were also never told that they will have to pay taxes on the money they receive.
Water: 3 to 8 million gallons of water are used to frack just one well. The Navajo Nation is already facing a drought and water crisis. Other desert regions of the nation where water is also scarce have completely ran out of clean water due to the fracking industry using it all. This is the future for our tribe if fracking continues to develop on our lands.
When you or your family is approached by drilling corporations and the tribe, it is important to the risks, because they will lie to you and tell you there are no risks.