Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued a moratorium on oil and gas leasing within a 10-mile radius of New Mexico's Chaco Culture National Historical Park for at least a year after touring the park last week with Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)! In the meantime, Heinrich and Udall’s legislation to permanently protect federal lands inside this same 10-mile buffer zone is working through the Senate, while a companion bill works through the House.
For Senator Heinrich’s press release, see here.
Last month, the 10th Circuit Court reversed or suspended hundreds of leases for oil and gas drilling in the nearby Chaco Canyon region, which is another gain for its protection. However the BLM had been approving thousands of leases without assessing their cumulative impact as required by law, so we need to continue our vigilance to protect Chaco and require the BLM’s leasing plan for public review.