Press Release Nov 15, 2021

Biden administration announces new protections for sacred Chaco Canyon landscape

New protections will prohibit new oil and gas drilling within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Washington DC – The Biden administration today announced new protections for the sacred Chaco Canyon landscape that would prevent new oil and gas drilling on federal lands within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historic Park for 20 years.

Statement from Theresa Pierno, president and chief executive of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA):

“The Greater Chaco landscape is a culturally important area that extends far beyond the existing national park site’s boundaries. President Biden and Secretary Haaland’s decision to safeguard this beautiful and world-famous sacred land from damaging new oil and gas drilling is an important step toward protecting the region’s culturally important lands, communities, and climate.

“Having visited Chaco just a few short weeks ago, I was reminded just how special this land is. You feel the vastness of the landscape and sacredness of the site. And that is something worth protecting now, and for generations to come. NPCA has worked for years alongside Indigenous communities to defend this historic landscape and today’s decision is an important step in ensuring these sacred places are preserved.”

Statement from Kurt Riley, NPCA board member and former Governor of the Pueblo of Acoma with direct cultural ties to Chaco:

“Chaco Canyon has been a hugely important region for Tribal people for centuries, but oil and gas drilling has desecrated parts of this sacred landscape, which extends far beyond the protective boundaries of Chaco Culture National Historic Park. These broader and long-lasting protections will finally preserve a far greater amount of this world-famous region and ensure it remains a special place for Pueblos, Tribes and nations for generations yet to come.”


About the 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 nearly 1.6 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

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