"Haaland Orders 20-Year Oil Leasing Ban Around Chaco Canyon"

"Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday ordered a 20-year moratorium on new oil and gas leasing within 10 miles of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, protecting lands sacred to many Native American communities in New Mexico and northern Arizona.

The move, which still allows drilling near the park on existing federal leases, represents the culmination of a yearslong campaign to preserve ancient sites of cultural importance in the region by tribes, conservation groups and New Mexican politicians.

“Efforts to protect the Chaco landscape have been ongoing for decades, as Tribal communities have raised concerns about the impacts that new development would have on areas of deep cultural connection,” Haaland said in a statement. “Today marks an important step in fulfilling President [Joe] Biden’s commitments to Indian Country, by protecting Chaco Canyon, a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors have called this place home since time immemorial.”"

Heather Richards reports for E&E News June 2, 2023.

Source: E&E News, 06/05/2023