oil and gas fossil fuels energy
Big Stock Photo

After a century, oil and gas problems persist on Navajo lands

The legacy of fossil fuel development on Navajo lands endures in leaks, spills and neglect, reports Jerry Redfern in Capital & Main.


In a nutshell:

Over a century of mineral extraction on Navajo land has raised a critical question: do the gains from extraction outweigh the toll on health and Native culture? Oil wells dotting the landscape are just one aspect of this ongoing tension, with new gas and oil developments and proposed pipelines further exacerbating the dilemma. The struggle for basic utilities persists, despite decades of mineral wealth extraction from Navajo territory.

Key quote:

“You can see the leak of crude oil right there. Lots of crude oil,” Joseph Hernandez, a local right organizer says. “And if you get closer, you can actually hear the venting. It’s straight venting. This is all methane that is going up in the air.” He holds a string in front of the pipe and records it fluttering for the video.

The big picture:

Fossil fuel development on Navajo lands has raised concerns about its potential health impacts. Residents in these areas often face exposure to air and water pollution, which can lead to respiratory illnesses and other health problems. Leaks from oil wells and pipelines can also contaminate local water sources, posing serious health risks. Lack of basic utilities like running water and electricity in many Navajo homes further compounds health challenges, leaving residents vulnerable to a range of issues, including increased mortality during events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the article in Capital & Main.

Gwen Ranniger argues that today, zip code is still the most potent predictor of an individual's health and well-being.

Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less
vermont farmers flood risks
Credit: Nicholas Erwin/Flickr

Vermont farmers face uncertain future amid increased flood risks

Vermont farmers, reeling from last summer’s devastating floods, now face an uncertain future as persistent rains continue to threaten their livelihoods.

Sarah Mearhoff reports for VTDigger.

Keep reading...Show less

Hurricane Beryl leaves millions of Texans without power amid soaring heat

Millions of Texans face a third day without power as Hurricane Beryl's aftermath coincides with dangerously high temperatures.

Pooja Salhotra, Emily Foxhall, and Alejandra Martinez report for The Texas Tribune.

Keep reading...Show less

Tim Dunn, evangelical oil magnate, aims to boost Trump’s campaign

Billionaire Tim Dunn, a Texas oil mogul, is using his wealth to support Donald Trump's bid for the White House, reflecting his desire to influence national politics with his religious and conservative values.

Mike Soraghan reports for E&E News.

Keep reading...Show less

Citizen scientists map New Hampshire’s beaches

Citizen scientists have spent six years helping to track the changes in New Hampshire's coastline, providing crucial data on how different beaches respond to weather events.

Claire Sullivan reports for New Hampshire Bulletin.

Keep reading...Show less

Texas’ new appellate court raises concerns for environmentalists

Texas Governor Greg Abbott's recent creation of the 15th Court of Appeals, a body seen as favorable to business interests, has sparked fears among environmental advocates who believe it undermines regulatory oversight.

Jim Morris, Leah Clark and Manuela Silva report for Public Health Watch.

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
WATCH: Enduring the “endless” expansion of the nation’s petrochemical corridor

WATCH: Enduring the “endless” expansion of the nation’s petrochemical corridor

As mounds of dredged material from the Houston Ship Channel dot their neighborhoods, residents are left without answers as to what dangers could be lurking.

US Steel pollution

Nippon Steel shareholders demand environmental accountability in light of pending U.S. Steel acquisition

“It’s a little ironic that they’re coming to the U.S. and buying a company facing all the same problems they’re facing in Japan.”

Another chemical recycling plant closure offers ‘flashing red light’ to nascent industry

Another chemical recycling plant closure offers ‘flashing red light’ to nascent industry

Fulcrum BioFuels’ shuttered “sustainable aviation fuel” plant is the latest facility to run into technical and financial challenges.

nurses climate change

Op-ed: In a warming world, nurses heal people and the planet

Nurses have the experience, motivation and public support to make an important contribution in tackling the climate crises.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.