A Living Landscape

Dear Friend,

Last week, I walked over to the other side of the Capitol and watched all the members of New Mexico's Congressional Delegation work together to pass the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act in the House of Representatives. Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Lujan and Congresswoman Deb Haaland led the debate and Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small was engaging and whipping votes up and down the aisles.

I hope you can take a moment to listen to the story on KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio about what this vote means.

PHOTO: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, May 28, 2019.

This historic vote was a critical step forward for protecting this living and sacred landscape. Chaco Canyon holds deep meaning to New Mexico's Pueblos, the Navajo Nation, and the Hopi Tribe. These tribes trace their history back hundreds of years to thousands of ancestral sites in the Greater Chaco landscape. Chaco continues to serve to this day as a living and sacred landscape.

If you have never seen Chaco in person, it can be difficult to describe the grandeur of the Chacoan great houses. When you hike up to Pueblo Alto, which sits up on top of a steep mesa, you can see unobstructed views in all directions of mountains and ancestral sites that remain sacred to tribes. Chaco is also recognized as an International Dark Sky Park. At night, the night skies there are like nothing else in the world.

Chaco Canyon is one of the most precious landscapes on Earth, not just New Mexico. This is not a place for oil and gas development. Advancing protections for the Greater Chaco region is about listening to tribal leaders and all of the New Mexicans who are calling on us to preserve the integrity of Chaco's irreplaceable resources. We have a responsibility to protect its integrity for future generations. Now that this legislation has passed through the House, I will do everything I can to ensure swift passage in the Senate.

Sincerely,

MARTIN HEINRICH

United States Senator