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Heinrich Supports Confirmation Of David Bernhardt For Interior Secretary, Stresses Importance Of Protecting Public Lands Including Chaco Canyon

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 4, 2019 - Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, voted to support the nomination of David Bernhardt to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

"I have had the opportunity to work with Acting Secretary Bernhardt for the last two years," said Heinrich. "While we do not -- and will not -- agree on many issues or policy decisions, I have found that Acting Secretary Bernhardt has always kept his word. He understands the importance to New Mexicans of protecting our public lands and cultural resources and he has been supportive of efforts to advance protections for White Sands and unlock public access to the Sabinoso Wilderness."

During Bernhardt's confirmation hearing last month, Heinrich secured a commitmentfrom Bernhardt to visit New Mexico and meet with tribal leaders who have called for the protection of cultural resources across the greater landscape surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park. 

"I look forward to the Acting Secretary joining me in New Mexico to see Chaco Canyon for himself," said Heinrich. "He needs to hear directly from tribal leaders who are calling loudly and clearly for this invaluable, sacred landscape to be protected."

Heinrich has challenged the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) plans to move forward with leasing lands surrounding Chaco Culture National Historic Park for oil and gas development. Heinrich plans to reintroduce legislation -- along with U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) -- to prevent any future leasing or development of minerals owned by the U.S. government that are located within a protected radius around Chaco. 

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