On April 30, the BLM Farmington Field Office and Bureau of Indian Affairs denied requests to suspend the public comment period on the controversial drilling plan for the Greater Chaco region, instead the agencies are planning to hold 4 ‘virtual public meetings’ starting mid-May. The Navajo Nation has been seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, most families lack internet access to attend these ‘meetings.’
We Are Greater Chaco highlights grassroots Diné and Pueblo efforts to protect the Greater Chaco landscape and its living communities and cultures from fracking. More than 93% of the available lands in the Greater Chaco have already been leased for industrialized fracking. They are fighting for the last 7%.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Farmington Field Office and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) released their long-awaited Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan Amendment for the Greater Chaco region on Friday, February 28, 2019. With the release of this draft plan, it’s clear the agencies have broken their many promises.
Tribal governments, as well as thousands of people and more than a dozen groups representing over five million members called on the Trump administration to cancel its plan to lease nearly 15,000 acres of ancestral tribal and federal public lands in New Mexico for fracking.
On September 5, 2019, environmental advocates gathered in front of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Office in Santa Fe to protest the agency’s September 5 online auction of nearly 3,000 acres of public land in the Permian Basin of New Mexico’s Greater Carlsbad region for industrialized fracking.
The Chaco bill passed out of the Natural Resources Committee on July 17 and is another step further to becoming a federal law. Rep. Deb Haaland was excellent and a true champion for New Mexico in this Energy Dominance era. There is still much to get done and we continue to push and work on getting broader protections for the landscape, surrounding communities, and fight for environmental justice.
Members of the Congressional House Natural Resources Committee visited New Mexico from April 13 to 15 to learn more about the negative impacts of oil and gas drilling on sacred sites and air quality, especially in the Greater Chaco region of northwest New Mexico.
New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and Congresswoman Deb Haaland introduced the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act of 2019, which would withdraw federal minerals from oil and gas leasing in roughly a 10-mile buffer around Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
On February 20, 2019, crowds gathered at the New Mexico Legislature to celebrate the state’s public lands and call for their protection as a diverse coalition of tribal leaders, legislators, land users, and allied organizations showcased the delivery of 30,000 public protests to the BLM in opposition to its March 2019 oil and gas lease sale.
Despite protests from Navajo chapter houses, the All Pueblo Council of Governors, the Navajo Nation, Governor-elect Michelle Lujan-Grisham, hundreds of thousands of public citizens, and more than 100 organizations, the BLM proceeded with auctioning off 30 parcels for oil and gas extraction.