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Snapshots

The Battle for Chaco

[ mexika.org ]

Santa Fe, NM — Today WildEarth Guardians is declaring the number of administrative appeals, also called “protests,” received in response to the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to auction off public lands near Chaco Canyon “unprecedented.”

“By sacrificing the Greater Chaco region to the oil and gas industry, the Bureau of Land Management is just inciting opposition,” said Rebecca Sobel, WildEarth Guardians’ Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner. Sobel has been working on Guardians’ Greater Chaco campaign since 2014. “This is the most appeals ever received around an oil and gas lease sale in New Mexico and this unprecedented show of opposition is a clear sign that the Bureau of Land Management has no regard for public concerns.”

The protests highlight growing controversy and unrest over oil and gas development in Chaco Canyon and the surrounding Greater Chaco region. In December, members of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation called for the agency to reconsider its plans. Also in 2017, the Navajo Nation, All Pueblo Council of Governors, and National Congress of American Indians called for a moratorium on new fracking in the region.

The New Mexico BLM received 120 protests opposing some or all of the 25 parcels offered for auction in the upcoming online oil and gas lease sale.

Protestors were required to mail or fax each protest to the BLM state office. By contrast, the January 2017 oil and gas auction of 843 acres of Greater Chaco land received 7 protests. For the March 2018 lease sale, the agency plans to auction off 4,434.37 acres of Greater Chaco for more drilling and fracking.

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Kurly Tlapoyawa is an archaeologist, author, and ethnohistorian. His research focuses primarily on the interaction between Mesoamerica, Western Mexico, and the American Southwest. Kurly has lectured at UNLV, University of Houston, and Yale University on topics related to Mesoamerica. His recent book, “Our Slippery Earth: Nawa Philosophy in the Modern Age” was published in 2017. In addition to his work in Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Kurly is a professional stuntman with over 35 credits to his name.

Follow Kurly on twitter @KurlyTlapoyawa

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