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Impacts of Fracking on Tribal Communities in New Mexico

Raised toward our $3,500 Goal
52 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on March 01, at 12:00 PM PST
Project Owners

Impacts of Fracking on Tribal Communities in New Mexico

Who We Are

The Chaco Region of Northwest New Mexico has been home to the rich cultures of many Indigenous Nations for thousands of years. Unfortunately, oil and gas extraction in this region has grown to pose a significant threat to these Indigenous communities. It is now the single largest source of air pollution in the state, resulting in negative health impacts in these communities.

Map of Fracking Site and Cultural Sites

As a group of environmental science students at UCLA, we think it is important to investigate oil and gas extraction in this region given the danger it poses to the health of tribal communities. We will be partnering with WildEarth Guardians, an environmental non-profit group dedicated to protecting and restoring the health of the American West, to aid in this investigation. A significant part of our investigation will involve traveling to New Mexico to build authentic relationships with local communities and learn about the problems they face first-hand.

Source: Molly Schaner

The Problem

Indigenous nations are disproportionately affected by oil and gas extraction. Oil and gas drilling has the potential to release massive amounts of toxic air pollution, resulting in health impacts such as asthma, heart disease, and cancer. For years, these communities have protested against the rampant expansion of drilling on their ancestral lands. The expansion has been in close proximity to sensitive areas of their communities, including schools, and residential areas. In addition to health problems, the drilling also poses significant threats to historic and cultural resources. 

Source: Frack Off Chaco

Source: Frack Off Chaco

However, the impact of these protests is limited due to the lack of available data to back up claims of harm. Current databases of permits, spills or releases, enforcement actions, and any other information may contain conflicting information, values that are hard to interpret, or may be missing information entirely. Furthermore, this information is often inaccessible to the individuals who need it most. In some cases, the regulatory system’s complexity may even be allowing oil and gas companies to release air pollution prior to obtaining the required permits.


Source: cc Andrew Kearns

Our Solution

Our team has two goals. The first is to determine if oil and gas operations are violating pollution regulations, including by operating before they have received required permits under the federal Clean Air Act that are designed to reduce pollution impacts. The second is to determine the extent to which  tribal communities are being-unjustly affected by these oil and gas operations. 


Our solution is to simplify complex regulatory and health information into an accessible database. This can be used to expose federal regulatory violations and to determine the extent of emission impacts on Indigenous communities.


In order to accomplish these goals, we plan to travel to New Mexico to meet and form relationships with community leaders, residents, and local non-profit environmental organizations that will help us assess impacts on the ground, evaluate the accuracy of information we have collected against conditions in the field, and deliver the results of our research to the people directly impacted by the problem.

Source: cc Andrew Kearns

Source: cc Andrew Kearns

We Can't Do This Alone

Your donation will support our group’s travel to New Mexico to meet with local indigenous communities and partner advocacy groups. We will spend 5 days speaking with local residents to understand what is actually happening in the Greater Chaco Region. You can have a direct impact on the lives of these individuals by help funding our research. 


Even the smallest donation can have a big impact -- impacts that can change US legislation and address environmental justice issues on a national scale.


Our way
of Thanking You


New Mexico Fun Fact

Our team will send you one fun fact about who we are as individuals or a fun fact about New Mexico!

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2020


Instagram Shout-Out

Five dollars gets you a personal instagram shoutout from our team!

2 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: April 2020


'8 Clap' from New Mexico

We will send you a video from New Mexico of our team doing UCLA's famous '8 Clap'!

5 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: April 2020


Photo of Our Team

As a thank you for your donation to students of UCLA's graduating class of 2020, our team will send you a group picture taken in the Chaco Region of New Mexico.

2 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: April 2020


Personal Thank You Letter

As a thanks for your generous donation, we will send you a personalized letter thanking you for your support.

3 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2019


Thank You Video

For $100, we will send you a thank you video from all of us for your kindness!

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2019


Behind the Scenes Video

We want to thank you for your generous contribution by sending you a video capturing our team's behind the scenes moments while traveling in New Mexico -- expect plenty of bloopers!

2 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: April 2020


Everything & More

We are so grateful that you chose our highest donation amount that you get all of the treats listed above. But that is not all, on top of our thank you notes and behind the scenes videos, we will list our specific thanks to you for your contribution on our research poster to be presented at UCLA.

2 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: May 2020
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