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Towers of Toxic Fracking Waste - New Report & Call to Action



Yesterday three of our YUCCA spokes-team members joined NEE & WEG reps to deliver a new report to the Governor. The report published by the Earth Works Institute in collaboration with YUCCA, New Energy Economy, and Wild Earth Guardians highlights the need for urgent action to protect public health from toxic oil and gas waste. 

Along with the report we delivered a coverletter demanding urgent action and held a press conference outside the Governor’s office in front of a tower of over 300 “Toxic Produced Water” cans, symbolizing the more than 300 spills so far in New Mexico in 2020 - three spills each day - which are already contaminating land and water and creating a current public health crisis across New Mexico.

"It appears that all of the competent and decisive action, public health expertise and deference to science we see the administration modeling with its handling of the COVID-19 health crisis falls to the wayside when it comes to protecting the public from the health threats of oil and gas. Our leaders have fundamentally failed in their duty to regulate, “[t]o protect human health and the environment from the effects of development of the state’s oil [and] gas … resources”.[1]    Today we are here….again, to demand better....


The report presents evidence of the “more than 1.4 million gallons of produced wastewater that have ended up running over the surface of the earth from 327 spills in the first eight months of 2020 alone. The total volume spilled would cover 4.4 acres with one foot of liquid oil and gas toxic wastewater.” Only 40% of contaminants spilled into the environment were recovered. Horrifyingly, these spills are permitted, the cost of doing business-as-usual, and are largely preventable with the most frequently cited cause of discharges being equipment failure. 

Every day oil and gas waste is leaked, spilled, and exploded across New Mexico due to industry’s improper storage, processing, and disposal of its waste.

Finding regulations glaringly inadequate to address the current risks oil and gas waste poses to the environment, worker safety, and public health, we confronted the Governor with a wall of toxic fracking waste outside her window and called on her to use the report as an opportunity to course correct and direct her Oil Conservation Division (OCD) to adopt rules that address the public health crisis the mismanagement of “produced water” is posing. The OCD will have the opportunity tomorrow, October 15th, when they decide whether to hear Wild Earth Guardian's petition to adopt rules prohibiting spills of toxic "produced water."




  1. Print out your own copies of this amazing graphic from Navajo artist Remy here, or create your own (4"Hx2.75"W for standard tin can).

  2. Glue your art on to recycling cans or bottles.

  3. Include a personal note to the Governor about why you think toxic fracking waste has no place on New Mexico land and why spilling it should be illegal.

  4. Take a picture of yourself with your can and your note and email it to: so we can create a collage and digital collection. We are looking for 327 cans to represent each spill so far this year.

  5. Mail your recycled art and your message to the Governor at: 490 Old Santa Fe Trail #400, Santa Fe, NM 87501



concerning the petition filed with OCD that requests making the spilling of oil and gas wastewater explicitly a violation of law.


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