It is completely indefensible to continue to lease parcels in Greater Chaco to oil and gas without having a plan in place to ensure protections for air, water, public health, and the rich history embedded in the landscape. TheBureau of Land Management (BLM) is working on completing a Resource Management Plan amendment to for managing the impacts of horizontal drilling, but it still has not been released.
Nonetheless, BLM offers up new parcels to industry every 6 months. Tens of thousands protest, but the government continues to ignore the public and serve industry. We will continue to fight this with every tool we have. Below is a press release on the protest for this upcoming March lease sale. We were joined by conservation and tribal partners as well as elected officials.
Celebrating Public Lands, Federal, State, Tribal Leaders and Allies Call for Protection From Fracking
Over 30,000 Protests Delivered Opposing Oil and Gas Lease Sale
- Daniel Tso, Navajo Nation Council Delegate, (928) 318-0039, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jesse Deubel, Executive Director, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, (505) 440-2621, email@example.com
- Rebecca Sobel, Climate and Energy Senior Campaigner, WildEarth Guardians, (267) 402-0724, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Miya King-Flaherty, Our Wild New Mexico Organizer, Sierra Club-Rio Grande Chapter, (505) 301-0863, email@example.com
Santa Fe, N.M. — Crowds gathered today at the New Mexico Legislature to celebrate the state’s public lands and call for their protection as a diverse coalition of tribal leaders, legislators, land users, and allied organizations showcased the delivery of 30,000 public protests to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in opposition to its March 2019 oil and gas lease sale.
An outside rally celebrating the value of New Mexico’s public lands moved inside the Roundhouse as federal, state, and tribal leaders called for the protection of these lands from unfettered and industrialized oil and gas development.
A record-breaking 33,000 protests – three times the amount of protests submitted for the December 2018 NM lease sale – were hand delivered to BLM state headquarters opposing the March 28th online auction of 11,000 acres of public and ancestral lands that includes over 10,000 acres in northwest New Mexico’s Greater Chaco region and 1,000 acres in southeast New Mexico’s Greater Carlsbad Caverns region. The formal 10-day protest period – reduced from 30 days – which started February 11, ended today.
The BLM deferred 9 parcels – approximately 1,500 acres – earlier this month that were within 10-miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the third time in two years the agency has nominated, only to defer leasing parcels within close proximity to the Park. Previous deferrals cited the need for more cultural analysis of over 5,000 cultural sites, yet no cultural review or consultation has taken place to date, as the BLM Farmington, Rio Puerco, and Carlsbad Field Offices tier to decades-old Resource Management Plans that fail to analyze the impacts of multi-stage fracturing and horizontal drilling (2003, 1992, and 1988 respectively).
The March 2019 lease sale has drawn condemnation from Senators Udall and Heinrich, Representative Haaland, and Arizona Representative Grijalva. The Navajo Nation and All Pueblo Council of Governors, National Congress of American Indians,15 Navajo Chapter Houses, the New Mexico Legislature, more than 100 organizations, and over 500,000 public citizens in total have requested a moratorium on drilling until the BLM updates its Resource Management Plans.
More than 93% of available lands in the Greater Chaco region and 97% in the Greater Carlsbad region have been sold to the oil and gas industry already and more than 64,000 wells are operating on New Mexico’s public and tribal lands without care to community health or environmental justice. More than 500 new industrial wells have recently been drilled and fracked near Chaco Canyon, the heart of the Greater Chaco region.
Speakers included: Navajo Nation Council Delegate Daniel Tso, State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, New Mexico Senator Antionette Sedillo Lopez, Santa Fe County Commissioner Anna Hansen with statements from U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and Congresswoman Deb Halland.
The event was hosted by 350NM, Food and Water Watch, Frack Free Four Corners, Frack Off Greater Chaco, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, Trout Unlimited, and WildEarth Guardians.
WildEarth Guardians’ map of the proposed sale is available here: https://bit.ly/2TW9Cwz
“We must continue to safeguard the greater Chaco Canyon area. Our coalition of tribes, pueblos, local residents, and organizations here today have succeeded in forcing the Bureau of Land Management to defer oil and gas lease sales – three times — within the 10 mile buffer area. Please know that I will continue to push my legislation to protect this sacred area from development of federally-owned minerals . . . and for a regional planning process with meaningful tribal and public input that will ensure better protections — unlike the current administration’s indiscriminate leasing process.”
– From U.S. Senator Tom Udall’s statement today
“As New Mexicans, we love our public lands, we love our open spaces, and we care about the future we’re going to leave for our children, but we’re in an era when a presidential administration puts profits over people. Our communities are standing up for our land, air and water, because the alternative energy sources make so much more sense for New Mexico. If we move toward a Green New Deal, we can create jobs and support our economy while ensuring our state’s beauty is around for generations to come.”
– Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Vice Chair of the full House Committee on Natural Resources and chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.
– Jesse Duebel, Executive Director, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, (505) 440-2621, firstname.lastname@example.org