Press Release Feb 8, 2019

BLM Defers Oil and Gas Lease Sales in New Mexico, Temporarily Protecting Chaco Culture National Historical Park

National Parks Conservation Association celebrates temporary victory for public lands near New Mexico National Park, still concerned about overall leasing processes and lack of public input.

Santa Fe, NM - Today, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) New Mexico State Office announced it will defer 1,500 acres of land for its March 28 oil and gas lease sale. Development on land parcels would have directly impacted Chaco Culture National Historical Park and its surrounding landscape. While the nine land parcels were deferred, the BLM will still move forward with 37 parcels throughout New Mexico and Oklahoma, ignoring the concerns of local communities and tribes within the region.

This announcement comes just after the longest government shutdown in history, placing into question the BLM’s consideration of public input and resources dedicated to mandatory environmental reviews for the additional 37 parcels. National Parks Conservation Association recently led a coalition of more than 30 organizations, calling on Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to postpone all March oil and gas lease sales.

Statement by Ernie Atencio, New Mexico Senior Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association

“While we applaud today’s announcement to defer the sale of some lands mere miles from Chaco, these leases should never have been on the table in the first place. This administration continues to offer and then defer leases in the area surrounding Chaco and national parks throughout the west, playing a dangerous game of chicken with local communities and tribes. This decision only reinforces the need for permanent protection of these lands. At the very least, all leasing activity should cease immediately in the area until both the Resource Management Plan is updated and the tribes are consulted.”

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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 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.