Indians express concerns about Chaco drilling plans
albuquerque» Leaders from several American Indian communities want federal land managers to consider the cultural significance of a large swath of land surrounding Chaco Cultural National Historic Park as they plan for more oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico.
The All Pueblo Council of Governors recently passed a resolution calling for the Bureau of Land Management to make permanent a 10-mile buffer around Chaco park.
They’re also asking for the federal agency to develop a master leasing plan that takes into consideration the significance of the region.
The governors stated they understand the need for energy development but that drilling should not threaten “our ancestral graveyards, sacred sites or water sources.”
The resolution comes as the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs held the last of several public hearings Friday on the Navajo Nation as part of an expanded review of management in the area that was sparked by oil and gas development concerns.
Some Navajos have been outspoken about development in the San Juan Basin, one of the largest natural gas fields in the nation. They have attended the public meetings, armed with signs that state “No leases, no pipelines, no drilling.”
They’ve also voiced their solidarity with the hundreds of protesters fighting a proposed pipeline in North Dakota.
“Water protectors up north are showing the world the true power we have always held as Native Americans,” said Kendra Pinto, Navajo community leader and Twin Pines resident.
“We know we must protect Mother Earth.”