Press Release Oct 30, 2019

House Advances Legislation to Protect Grand Canyon and Greater Chaco Area from Reckless Energy Development

NPCA and tribal communities celebrate key win in ongoing fight to protect water, wildlife and sacred lands 

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to protect the landscapes that surround Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Grand Canyon National Park. If enacted, these bills would provide permanent protection from destructive energy development for both national parks, which are home to sacred sites and critical waterways, as well as the cultural lands and tribal communities that surround them.

  • H.R. 1373 – Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act: Grand Canyon National Park and its watershed are vital to the Havasupai people and provide important habitat for a variety of wildlife from condors to bighorn sheep. This legislation makes permanent the current 20-year ban on uranium mining for one million acres of land neighboring Grand Canyon National Park, preserving tribal land and water within and around one of America’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.
  • H.R. 2181 – Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act: Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a unique landscape that tells the story of one of North America’s oldest cultures. This legislation withdraws the lands within an approximate ten-mile Chaco Protection Zone around the park from further oil and gas development, ensuring protection of the park’s exceptional resources and scared sites and the health of neighboring communities and tribes.

Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association:

“Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Grand Canyon National Park are two of our nation’s most unique and beloved landscapes, meant to be protected for and enjoyed by all, not sacrificed for destructive mining and drilling for the gain of a few. For years, NPCA has worked alongside indigenous communities and other conservation groups to defend these iconic landscapes from short-sighted energy development that would destroy countless cultural treasures and devastate local economies. And today, members of the U.S. House of Representatives from both sides of the aisle came together and joined the fight to defend these public lands, and the cultural resources, wildlife and critical waterways they safeguard.

“We commend Representatives Raul Grijalva and Ben Ray Luján for their leadership in championing these commonsense, bipartisan bills that provide vital protection for our national parks, and the visitors and indigenous communities that rely on them. Chaco Culture and Grand Canyon are now one step closer to receiving permanent protection from reckless mining and fossil fuel extraction that would jeopardize what tribes and other conservation groups have worked centuries to protect.

“Now it’s up to the Senate to prioritize the protection of our national parks and the health of our wildlife, the air we breathe and the water we drink above industry interests and profit.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 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/100.