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Release Date: November 15, 2021

Media Contact: Emily Thompson; Em************@pr********.org

Coalition Applauds Plan to Protect Chaco Culture National Historical Park From Oil and Gas Drilling

Today, the Biden Administration announced that the Department of the Interior will initiate consideration of a 20-year withdrawal of federal lands within a 10-mile radius around Chaco Culture National Historical Park to protect the area from new federal oil and gas leasing and development.

Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, issued the following statement regarding the proposed plan:

“The stories and resources preserved at Chaco Culture National Historical Park have international significance and we applaud the Biden’s administration’s decision to consider a 20-year ban on oil and gas drilling near the park. This landscape and its irreplaceable natural and cultural resources must be protected.

Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1987, the park is the centerpiece of the Greater Chaco Landscape in northwestern New Mexico. Chaco Culture is part of a living landscape of sacred sites and cultural resources. It preserves the stories of the ancestral Puebloan people and protects thousands of archeological sites. Today’s action is important as this cultural site is still a sacred space for many tribal communities today.

Oil and gas drilling on the doorstep of this park threatens ancient archaeological sites and irreplaceable cultural artifacts representing more than 12,000 years of human history in the Chaco Canyon area. It could also compromise the park’s incredible dark skies, adversely impact air quality, and place the region’s immense biodiversity at risk.

We thank the administration for their plan to protect Chaco Culture National Historical Park. We urge them to move swiftly to enact more reforms of our country’s broken oil and gas leasing system for the good of our communities and the continued protection of our national parks and public lands as part of the America the Beautiful initiative.”

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