Proposed Chaco Canyon Protections Will Safeguard Sacred Indigenous Sites, Wildlife

SANTA FE, N.M. — A proposed buffer zone around Chaco Culture National Historical Park will ban oil and gas development that threatens wildlife, sacred Indigenous sites, clean air, and drinking water. The National Wildlife Federation applauded the Biden Administration for listening to local communities about the withdrawal of oil and gas leasing on federal lands around Chaco Canyon, as well as pledging to engage in further meaningful Tribal consultation before taking action.

“Chaco Canyon tells the story of the rich history, culture, spirituality, and resilience of Indigenous communities throughout the Southwest. For too long, this UNESCO World Heritage site has been harmed by the construction of nearby oil and gas wells, roads, pipelines, and other industrial infrastructure,” said Andrew Black, public lands field director at the National Wildlife Federation. “Beginning a thoughtful public process around the leasing withdrawal on these lands will ensure that this national treasure — with its robust wildlife populations and important archeological sites — will endure for future generations.”

The proposed leasing withdrawal was filed in the Federal Register, launching a 90-day public comment period.

 

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