Press Release Oct 20, 2016

Joint Agency Oil, Gas Planning Good Step for Protecting Chaco Culture

Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management Collaboration will Benefit Historical Park

WASHINGTON –The Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs announced today that the two agencies will jointly consider oil and natural gas development around Chaco Cultural National Historical Park. Below is a statement by Jerry Otero, National Parks Conservation Association’s (NPCA) Four Corners Energy Program Manager.

“Today’s announcement is a commendable step toward protecting Chaco Cultural National Historical Park from the impacts of nearby oil and gas development. The vast network of connected historical sites making up the greater Chaco landscape protects the deep history of the expansive ancestral Puebloan culture. The collaborative process announced today supports participation by federal land managers, communities and tribes most impacted by nearby oil and gas development, as well as other local, regional and national stakeholders.

“We believe this plan is an opportunity to better protect the natural and cultural integrity of Chaco Culture National Historical Park by ensuring oil and gas development does not adversely impact this Southwestern landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site. We look forward to participating in this innovative landscape-level management plan for the landscape surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park.”

Background

Northwestern New Mexico has experienced a rapid increase in natural gas production in recent years, and development is encroaching on the ancient ruins of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Recent oil and gas leases have been issued as close as a half-mile from the park boundary, and this development threatens the air and water quality, viewsheds and visitor experience at this national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

NPCA and partners in the region have long advocated for the federal government to work with local tribes and communities on an oil and gas leasing plan that minimized impacts to Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

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About National Parks Conservation Association

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.