Press Release

BLM Puts Chaco Canyon in Jeopardy with Proposed Drilling in New Plan

Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, New Mexico

Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, New Mexico

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

Chaco Canyon targeted for harmful drilling in draft BLM plan

Last Friday, the Bureau of Land Management released a draft resource management plan amendment for the Farmington region in New Mexico. The plan includes a controversial “preferred” option to open up areas surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park to oil and gas leasing. 

Michael Casaus, New Mexico state director for The Wilderness Society said:

“After previously acknowledging support for preserving Chaco Canyon, we’re disappointed Interior prioritized an option that invites harmful drilling within a 10-mile radius of the historical park. Doing this would negatively impact the health of surrounding communities and threaten sensitive cultural resources. We stand with Tribal Nations and urge Secretary Bernhardt to stand by his commitment to protect Chaco Canyon.”

Last spring, Interior Secretary Bernhardt toured the region, and expressed in public statements that after witnessing it’s cultural resources, that he had a better understanding for the need to protect the area from harmful BLM oil and gas leasing on nearby public lands. The new Conservation in the The West poll found that 73 percent of New Mexico voters support protecting Chaco Canyon, with strong majorities in each political party.