Commenters demand more meaningful protections for Greater Chaco and greater involvement of impacted communities For Immediate Release: May 6, 2022 (Photos) Santa Fe, NM – Today, the Greater Chaco Coalition/Frack Off Chaco, composed of environmental justice advocates, Indigenous grassroots organizations,
The Greater Chaco Coalition and Citizens Caring for the Future jointly issued a statement condemning the Department of the Interior’s decision to resume oil and gas leasing on public lands across the United States, including in New Mexico.
Despite applauding President Joe Biden and Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s announcement in November to protect the Greater Chaco Landscape through a still-undefined “Honoring Chaco” process, members of the Greater Chaco Coalition are tempering their enthusiasm for the Department of Interior’s notice today of a 90-day public comment process surrounding the 20 year administrative withdrawal of federal minerals from future oil and gas leasing within a 10-mile buffer around Chaco Culture National Park, as the administration has reneged on its promise to end federal fossil fuel leasing, and as Bureau of Land Management moves to finalize its massive fracking plan for the region and broader landscape protection efforts have yet to begin.
Members of the Greater Chaco Coalition are applauding President Joe Biden and Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s announcement to finally address environmental justice and meaningful tribal consultation for the Greater Chaco region by launching a new collaborative landscape level planning process in 2022 with Tribes, elected officials, communities, and stakeholders.
On Friday, Oct. 1, members of the Greater Chaco Coalition delivered stacks of comments representing nearly 2-million protests collected since 2016 opposing federal fossil fuel leasing to the Bureau of Land Management’s state headquarters in Santa Fe. Representatives once again shared a timeline of extractive colonialism in New Mexico and once again, urged agency officials to stop sacrificing more New Mexico land for oil and gas.
In response to The Department of the Interior virtual public forum the Greater Chaco Coalition, a collaborative effort between over 200 Indigenous community leaders and groups, environmental justice advocates, and environmental groups representing thousands of New Mexicans and millions of Americans issued a public statement that the oil and gas leasing program must be fundamentally reformed.
The area in and around Counselor, NM is made up of a “checkerboard” of various jurisdictions; federal, state, tribal, private, and allotment. The people most impacted by decisions – the Navajo Nation – generally are excluded from the decision-making process.
On September 16, conservation groups joined hundreds of others in urging Gov. Lujan-Grisham’s state agencies to take advantage of the opportunity to slash our state’s climate pollution and make the air healthier for all of us.
As federal and state health guidelines were announced in March in response to COVID-19, New Mexico’s entire congressional delegation, Tribal leaders, Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Dept., and multiple groups called on Interior Secretary Bernhardt to extend the May 28 comment deadline to allow for the public and state and tribal governments to meaningfully engage. Instead of heeding pleas to extend the comment period, 15 days before the deadline the BLM and BIA held four virtual meetings. That did not go well.
This poem is about the original tour that led to Daniel Tso’s well-know fracking reality tour in Greater Chaco. Daniel recently was awarded the Sierra Club Distinguished Service Award.