New Mexico Official Stops New Oil, Gas Drilling On State Land Near Chaco

"State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has put a halt to new oil and gas leasing on some 73,000 acres of state trust land near the Chaco Culture National Historic Park in Northwest New Mexico, saying the move will help protect archaeological and cultural resources of the state’s pueblos and tribes.

“We are focusing on this particular area because it is so significant to all Native populations in New Mexico and has such a cultural and historical value to them,” Garcia Richard said by phone Tuesday.

She signed an executive order for the moratorium Saturday at the Navajo Nation Chapter House in the town of Counselor. That order also creates the Chaco Canyon Land Office Working Group, composed of tribal and environmental activists who are tasked with finding ways to protect the Chaco area from further development or drilling."

Robert Nott reports for the Santa Fe New Mexican April 30, 2019.

Source: Santa Fe New Mexican, 05/02/2019