On Tuesday, four Navajo Nation chapter presidents, impacted community members, and one NM State Representative met with State Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Amy Lueders. The group requested a cancellation of the January 2017 oil and gas lease sale in Greater Chaco. The leaders invited groups like the San Juan Citizens Alliance to organize a rally in a show of solidarity outside during the meeting; over 150 water protectors joined us!
On January 25, 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is scheduled to hold an online auction of 843 acres of public lands near Chaco Culture National Historical Park for oil and gas leasing. The proposed parcels have been challenged and deferred three times previously, on grounds of insufficient analysis and tribal consultation. (Learn More)
The BLM Farmington Field Office admits it never properly planned for oil and gas drilling in the Greater Chaco area and lacks proper protections for sacred sites, community health, clean air, and water. To address these concerns, the BLM is currently amending its 2003 Resource Management Plan (RMP); yet, the agency continues to lease public lands and approve drilling permits. This is illegal, as the BLM is not allowed to lease without a plan. The San Juan Citizens Alliance is currently in litigation with the BLM, but the agency is still leasing while the case moves forward. (Learn More)
“BLM refuses to listen to us,” said Kendra Pinto, Navajo community leader and Twin Pines resident who met with Director Lueders. “This lease sale is a direct assault and insult to our way of life. Our culture, our history, our health, our water, cannot be pushed aside for profit. A few designated archaeological sites in Chaco National Park are protected, but the landscape of Greater Chaco and the living cultural significance – the people, our land, and our water have been threatened for too long. We are coming together to protect all that is sacred.”
Representative Derrick Lente, District 65, who was present at the meeting, announced his intention to sponsor a Memorial in the upcoming legislative session supporting a moratorium on fracking development in Greater Chaco until BLM completes its Resource Management Plan Amendment.
The January 25th sale is the most recent attempt to sell off public lands in Greater Chaco for fracking at the expense of local communities, sacred sites, and the climate. We’re doing everything in our power to stop it. If you’d like to help, please submit comments on the RMP amendment process.