Moratorium on Oil Leases Around Chaco Canyon Benefits Tribes, Wildlife

SANTA FE, N.M. — The 20-year moratorium on oil and gas development around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park will protect significant Indigenous sites and safeguard diverse wildlife populations. The Department of Interior’s order is in response to decades of advocacy by regional Tribes and local communities.

“Chaco Canyon tells the powerful story of the culture, spirituality, and resilience of Indigenous communities throughout the Southwest. The area surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park contains thousands of Indigenous artifacts that could be destroyed by oil and gas drilling. That development would also threaten diverse wildlife populations that live in the region,” said the Rev. Andrew Black, public lands field director at the National Wildlife Federation. “We applaud the Biden Administration for announcing this moratorium and urge the administration to continue robust consultation and collaboration with Indigenous communities about how to best manage these sacred lands.”

Last year, more than 250 faith leaders from around the nation wrote to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, urging her to prohibit oil and gas drilling from the 10-mile area surrounding the park.



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