Interior Department Proposes Ban on Drilling Near Chaco Canyon

Pueblo Bonita, the largest great house in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, was planned and constructed in stages between AD 850 to AD 1150 by ancestral Puebloan Peoples.
Mobilus in Mobili via Flickr, CC BY-4.0

Over the decades, as new technologies have allowed for directional and horizontal drilling, resource extraction has moved closer and closer to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, an area of immense cultural importance to Native communities and anyone who cares about their histories.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, however, just this week proposed a 20-year ban on any new leases for drilling for oil or gas, within 10 miles of the park.

“Today’s announcement is the result of continuous prayers and the commitment to steward mother earth, our Sacred Trust,” said Wilfred Herrera Jr., chairman of the All Pueblo Council of Governors and a former governor of Laguna Pueblo, in a statement. “We cannot sustain our Sacred Trust when sacred sites like Chaco are destroyed—as the region is quintessential to our very existence.”

The proposal now waits for the BLM to perform an environmental review, consult with tribes, and solicit public comments.

For more, head to the New York Times for an in-depth report.



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