Oil and gas health impact series gets underway

The Daily Times staff
The Step Back Inn in Aztec will serve as the site of a series of free monthly events that focus on the potential health effects from local oil and gas development.

FARMINGTON — An examination of the potential health effects from oil and gas development in the Four Corners will be the focus of a series of free monthly events that kicks off Thursday in Aztec.

Called "Health Impacts of Oil & Gas in the Four Corners," the series begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Step Back Inn, 123 W. Aztec Blvd., and is presented by the Sierra Club.

Jordon Johnson, the Gallup-based executive director of the NM Equity and Social Justice Institute, will talk about health issues related to oil and gas development in the region and how communities can address them.

Afterward, there will be a demonstration of an interactive online "threat" map launched earlier this month by a coalition of environmental groups.

Step Back Inn owner Tweeti Blancett said she is offering her hotel for the meetings to raise awareness.

Blancett, who is a sixth-generation New Mexico rancher and former state legislator, said she hopes to also help people better understand how to track down information on oil and gas wells, and learn where to turn if a well pad is in close proximity to their home.

"I think it's important for the public to know and to get the word out in the community because oil and gas basically is not always as forthright as it should be," Blancett said. "As a result, we don't get the whole picture. This series gives you a chance to hear about the other side of the story."