New Mexico

Oil and Gas Drilling: Carlsbad Caves and Rivers

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Oil and Gas Drilling: Carlsbad Caves and Rivers
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Gosia Allison-Kosior

Chihuahuan Desert wildlands and rivers are Too Wild to Drill

TWTDRampant oil and gas development threatens Carlsbad Caves and Rivers, a unique and highly threatened ecosystem in the Chihuahuan Desert.

We are working to ensure oil and gas drilling is kept away from wildlands surrounding the rivers, some of the most biologically rich places in North America.

Why these places matter

The public lands around Carlsbad Caverns National Park are home to a thriving Chihuahuan Desert river system that is one of the most biologically rich places in North America.

3rd most biodiverse desert
The Chihuahuan Desert is the 3rd most biodiverse desert on earth.
1,000+ plant species
The amount believed unique to the Chihuahuan desert alone.

The threat

In southeast New Mexico, the Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem, containing key habitat for fish and wildlife, is critically threatened by one of the country’s biggest oil and gas booms. The federal and state lands surrounding the rivers are largely leased for oil and gas. Twisted among the wells and pads is a spider web of pipelines and roads that contribute to habitat loss and fragmentation. The Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico is one of the most developed oil and gas regions in the western U.S., and continues to rapidly expand.

Oil and gas development can be devastating to places like  the Chihuahuan Desert Rivers. We work to influence management plans so that drilling is kept away from important habitat and any development is carried out in a way that avoids the most sensitive areas.

What we're doing

  1. Collaborating with partners

    We work with the Bureau of Land Management and local communities to develop land use plans that protect the region’s rare desert river systems and sensitive cave ecosystems.

  2. Raising awareness

    Through our “Too Wild to Drill” campaign and other efforts, we are working to raise awareness about the risks from energy development in Carlsbad Caves and Rivers and making the case for increased protections.

  3. Fighting against drilling projects

    We fight destructive oil and gas leasing and drilling proposals in sensitive wildlands and cultural areas.

What you can do
Tell officials the Chihuahuan Desert Rivers are simply "Too Wild to Drill."
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