Heinrich Welcomes Extension Of Chaco Canyon Public Comment Period

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, issued the following statement in response to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s announcement that the comment period will be extended for the Farmington Mancos-Gallup Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement. The extension will allow for increased public engagement on issues that affect Chaco Culture National Historical Park and its surrounding region.

“I thank Secretary Bernhardt for extending the public comment period for decisions that affect both Chaco and the surrounding region. Northwestern New Mexico is in the middle of a devastating public health crisis and the tribal communities that have the most at stake in the management of Chaco cannot possibly be expected to participate in a robust public comment period while they are focusing their efforts on saving lives during this emergency,” said Heinrich. “As we move forward, I will continue to impress upon Secretary Bernhardt the importance of meaningful consultation with tribal leaders and taking the time to get this right. Chaco Canyon is one of the most precious landscapes on Earth. I hope this extension will allow for more meaningful engagement with tribal nations and all of the New Mexicans who are overwhelmingly calling on us to conserve Chaco's irreplaceable resources."

In May 2019, Senator Heinrich secured key commitments from Secretary Bernhardt that included a one-year moratorium on leasing within a 10-mile perimeter of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Senator Heinrich is also a sponsor of the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act, S. 1079, legislation to withdraw the federal lands around Chaco Canyon from further mineral development.