Action Alert: Protect Greater Chaco
UPDATE: The BLM has extended the comment period to May 6
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing withdrawal of 351,479.97 acres of public land from future mineral leasing within approximately 10-miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, within the Greater Chaco Landscape, for a period of 20 years. BLM has initiated a 90-day public comment period on this mineral withdrawal, with comments due by May 6, 2022.
The Greater Chaco Coalition, of which Tewa Women United is a member, is supportive of protecting lands within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park from future oil and gas leasing and drilling. But much more must be done to assure the protection of the Greater Chaco region at large and the meaningful involvement of impacted communities and Tribal Nations in this process. Take action today and tell BLM that while a ban on fracking within 10 miles of Chaco Canyon is helpful, ultimately we need landscape-level safeguards to protect and restore the cultural integrity of all Greater Chaco and its communities.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1) Submit your comment by May 6, 2022, to: BLM_NM_FM_CCNHP_Area_Withdrawal_Comments@blm.gov
2) Sign this letter on the Action Network Platform
Talking points to include in your comments:
- The Greater Chaco region is a living and ancient cultural landscape, sacred to Indigenous Peoples. Chaco Canyon is a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the Americas. Yet the federal government has treated the Greater Chaco landscape like a national energy sacrifice zone.
- We are deeply concerned that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is currently weighing the approval of dozens of new oil and gas development proposals that collectively could lead to the drilling of more than 100 new wells, the construction of miles of new roads, and new irreparable heavy machinery disturbance across hundreds of acres of lands in the Greater Chaco region, impacting the health and safety of Native people and others who live in these areas.
- We call on Interior Secretary Haaland and Bureau of Land Management Director, Tracy Stone-Manning, to temporarily halt the approval of any new oil and gas development in the Greater Chaco region pending the completion of the Honoring Chaco initiative.
- While a ban on fracking within 10 miles of Chaco Canyon is helpful, ultimately we need landscape-level safeguards to protect and restore the cultural integrity of all Greater Chaco and its communities.
“From what I know and have experienced, the Greater Chaco area is well over the 10-mile radius from national park boundaries. One indication of this is the relationship between the Indigenous people and rare plants that are present such as the Clover’s Cactus, Mesa Verde Cactus, Savinski Blazing Star, and the Mancos Salt Plant. There are small populations that have been found from Chaco Canyon to Mesa Verde to Chimney Rock, to Mt. Taylor, to the Gila, to the Chuska Mountains. These rare plants are very tiny and easy to miss. In order for them to grow, there needs to be specific soil and minerals present, but if this is overlooked, we could possibly be destroying something quite precious.”– Talavi Denipah Cook, TWU Environmental Health and Justice Program Manager