Progress for Chaco Protection

Dear Friend,

The Greater Chaco Canyon landscape is deeply sacred to tribes across the Southwest. Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on legislation I introduced with Senator Tom Udall to protect the area surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historic Park from federal development of oil and natural gas.  

I hope you can take a moment to watch and share the video of my opening statement.

As development in the San Juan Basin moves further and further south, the air pollution, dust, and light pollution at the sacred sites within the park only increase. And fragile historical and cultural sites outside the park boundaries are directly threatened by new wells drilled without the benefit of a cultural resource survey based on the traditional knowledge of Pueblo and Navajo experts.

This 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 cannot rush into development in a place this important and this complex. Preventing development in the surroundings of the park will protect irreplaceable cultural sites, and ensure that the Greater Chaco Landscape remains intact.

The committee also considered the Buffalo Tract Protection Act, which would protect Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in southern Sandoval County, near the Pueblo of San Felipe, the Pueblo of Santa Ana, and Placitas, including the Buffalo Tract and the Crest of Montezuma, from any mineral development, including gravel mining. That legislation reflects the input of numerous local residents who have shared their concerns with me about the potential damage that would result from gravel mining on these lands.

I am grateful to all the New Mexicans who are making their voices heard in standing up for these treasured lands. I will keep doing everything I can to protect them for future generations.

Sincerely,

MARTIN HEINRICH

United States Senator