Chaco Culture National Historic Park, a World Heritage Site, preserves a major prehistoric center of ceremony and trade in the Four Corners region. Natural beauty and cultural significance meet in this corner of northwestern New Mexico where ruins, artifacts, and other archeological sites radiate from Chaco Canyon’s cultural epicenter. Chaco and many sites in the Greater Chaco Region continue to be sacred for modern-day Pueblo, Navajo and other tribes who share a connection with this landscape through their cultural ties that are woven into it.
Proposed expansions of oil and gas development on nearby Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands continue to threaten special cultural areas both within and outside of the Park. Infrastructure such as roads, powerlines, pipelines, pump jacks, tanks, generators, and processing plants fragment wildlife habitat and impact the cultural landscape while flaring of oil and gas wells results in air pollution and impacts the dark night skies Chaco and the Four Corners region currently boast. With a majority of BLM lands here already leased to industry, let’s tell the BLM and State leaders – NO MORE!
We, the undersigned, support enhanced protection of the Greater Chaco Landscape. During its plan amendment process, the Farmington BLM Field Office should ensure BLM lands surrounding Chaco Canyon are sufficiently protected from the impacts of oil and gas or other development either through managing for lands with wilderness characteristics and/or designation of Special Management Areas to protect Chaco's unique cultural and natural resources. Furthermore, we call on Congress to introduce and pass legislation to permanently protect the Greater Chaco Region as soon as possible. Legislation should include a permanent mineral withdrawal of BLM lands to prevent future oil and gas leasing in the area
The Greater Chaco Landscape is an asset to native culture, science, New Mexico, and all Americans. Administrative land protections and special management will ensure the cultural and natural heritage of the Chaco area are not further degraded by development.