City council gave a 6 month notice to revoke the license that staff signed with Desert Mountain Energy (DME), a mining company that they licensed to use city land to access State land for seismic testing. According to the City legal department the City is required by state law to provide access. So it is unclear what this revocation will actually succeed in doing. The mining company will do their tests on state land within the six months and if they find Helium or hydrocarbons, we can assume, as they have in Northeastern Arizona, they will begin extracting whatever they find. The risks associated with mining state land above the same aquifer that lies under Red Gap Ranch was never discussed though staff acknowledged there were risks.
The council seemed more concerned with one council member’s and the public’s anger at the lack of transparency with this process, insisting that the staff by signing this license did not create policy but followed the rules. The fact that fracking is a controversial issue should have alerted the staff that this may have been of concern to the public. The failure of the state to notify the city about the possibility of mining taking place adjacent to our potential water supply was also a lack of transparency that the staff should not have perpetuated.
At this point we must hold the council accountable if DME decides to extract in the vicinity of Red Gap Ranch. We are at risk for losing and contaminating the water and land that could be used by Flagstaff and the communities and land owners surrounding Red Gap Ranch, including the Navajo Nation. This is already happening to communities in Northeastern Arizona and following their experiences will tell us what is to come.
Watch the Council meeting here:
News articles about fracking in the Holbrook Basin here: