Beneath a giant methane gas cloud recently identified by NASA, the oil and gas fracking industry is rapidly expanding in northwestern New Mexico. Flares that light up the night sky at drilling sites along the stretch of Route 550 that passes through the San Juan Basin, which sits on top of the oil rich Mancos Shale, are tell-tale indicators of the fracking boom.
Much of the land being fracked belongs to the federal government. The rest is a mixture of state, private and Navajo Nation land.
Flares burning at fracking industry site on federal land near Counselor, New Mexico ©2015 Julie Dermansky