Press Release

Statement: Biden administration announces withdrawal of Greater Chaco region from oil and gas development

Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, New Mexico

Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, New Mexico

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

The administration is pursuing a 20-year withdrawal of federal lands within a 10-mile radius around Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Today, President Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland announced the Department of the Interior will pursue a 20-year withdrawal of federal lands within a 10-mile radius around Chaco Culture National Historical Park, protecting the area from new federal oil and gas leasing and development.

In response to the announcement, The Wilderness Society released the following statement from President, Jamie Williams:

“Today’s announcement from the Biden administration is welcome news to ensure that the Greater Chaco region’s cultural, historical, and recreational resources are finally being protected. The Wilderness Society looks forward to continuing to work with Tribal leaders and New Mexico’s congressional delegation to ensure the sacred and cultural sites of this area are permanently protected once and for all from encroaching oil and gas development.”

The Greater Chaco region includes Chaco Culture National Historical Park and dozens of ancient villages, roads, and shrines that were built by the culture that emerged and flourished in Chaco Canyon from 850-1250 A.D.

These sites are culturally important to modern-day tribes, and several have been designated as World Heritage Sites. But unchecked energy development has long threatened the preservation of this irreplaceable area, with 91% of available lands in the Greater Chaco region already leased for oil and gas development.


CONTACT: 
Alex Thompson, Senior Communications Manager
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(860) 416-0564