Chaco will be protected

Dear Friend,

Since I’ve been in Congress, I’ve worked with Tribal leaders and New Mexicans to secure a series of actions that have prevented new oil and gas leasing in the vicinity of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. I’m proud to welcome the Biden administration’s announcement today at the Tribal Nations Summit that it will begin the process to withdraw federal minerals within the Chaco Culture Heritage Withdrawal Area from future mineral development, including new oil and gas leasing. Today marks the beginning of the end of short-term policies that shift every year to the long-term certainty that this unique place will be protected.

PHOTO: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Photo Credit: Annie Olson.

In May, I was the first member of the New Mexico congressional delegation to request this administrative withdrawal. I sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland asking that she begin the process, which will protect the area within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Culture National Historical Park from new federal oil and gas leasing and development for the next 20 years.

I am grateful for Secretary Haaland’s leadership and all of the New Mexicans who have worked to preserve the integrity of Chaco’s irreplaceable resources. I will keep doing all I can to permanently protect the important cultural and religious sites and the sacred landscape of the greater Chaco region. That includes reintroducing legislation with my colleagues from the New Mexico delegation to permanently withdraw the federal lands around Chaco Canyon from further mineral development.

Chaco Canyon is one of the most precious landscapes on Earth and holds deep meaning for Tribes, Pueblos, and communities in northern New Mexico. We must protect it for future generations.

Sincerely,

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator