Conservation Groups, Public Support Increased Protections for Chaco Canyon

SANTA FE, N.M. – The National Wildlife Federation, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors), and thousands of the organizations’ members urged the Biden Administration to safeguard Chaco Canyon for future generations by prohibiting new oil and gas development around the national historical park.   

“Chaco Canyon is a spectacular landscape that tells the story of the rich history, culture, spirituality, and resilience of Indigenous communities throughout the Southwest and it remains a sacred place for Indigenous people today. It is also home to a diverse array of wildlife and remarkable biodiversity. The Biden Administration’s proposed protections from future oil and gas development around Chaco are critical to safeguard this treasure for future generations,” said Andrew Black, public lands field director for the National Wildlife Federation. “Nearly 17,000 of our members spoke out in strong support of the administration’s common-sense plan and we urge the Department of Interior to swiftly implement these protections.”

 “The Biden Administration’s proposal to protect the public lands surrounding Chaco Canyon from future oil and gas development will safeguard some of the oldest and most well-preserved dwellings and artifacts that remain from the thriving Indigenous communities that lived in the region a thousand years ago and that continue to have cultural significance today,” said Jesse Deubel, executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “The New Mexico Wildlife Federation applauds Interior Secretary Haaland for protecting this irreplaceable landscape and ensuring the long-term health of the wildlife and communities that depend on it.”

“For far too long, oil and gas development has polluted the air and water supply for communities living near Chaco Canyon. The administration’s 10-mile buffer zone will ensure the safety of humans and wildlife alike, while also protecting more than 2,000 archaeological sites and artifacts,” said Camilla Simon, executive director of HECHO. “We urge the Bureau of Land Management to quickly move forward with its proposed mineral withdrawal for the benefit of all who live, work, and visit this sacred area.” 

The Biden Administration has proposed a 10-mile buffer zone around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park to prevent oil and gas leasing for the next 20 years. A public comment period on the proposal ends at midnight on May 6.



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