For Immediate Release
March 30, 2022
- Mario Atencio, Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, (505) 321-9974 firstname.lastname@example.org,
- Julia Bernal, Director, Pueblo Action Alliance, (505) 220-005, email@example.com,
- Corn Howland, Diné Allottees Against Extraction, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mike Eisenfeld, San Juan Citizens Alliance, (505)-360-8994, email@example.com
- Miya King-Flaherty, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, (505) 301-0863, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kyle Tisdel, Western Environmental Law Center, (575)-613-8050, email@example.com
- Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians, (303) 437-7663, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Do Better” Says Groups of Honoring Chaco Initiative
Greater Chaco Coalition sends follow up letter to Interior calling for a pause on fracking, meaningful consultation, and better process
Farmington, NM— In another letter today, the Greater Chaco Coalition reaffirmed its call to Secretary Deb Haaland to immediately stop new oil and gas drilling in the region while the Interior Department’s “Honoring Chaco” Initiative gets underway, noting concerns about the Honoring Chaco process thus far and offering substantive suggestions to improve this process.
Citing the Department’s failure to meaningfully involve Tribes and impacted communities thus far, the letter offers six concrete steps to improve engagement, and underscores the need for the Honoring Chaco initiative to address legacies of exploitation and extraction within frontline Indigenous communities.
Responding to the threat of unchecked fracking in the region, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland last year kicked off the “Honoring Chaco” initiative, a two-part process involving the withdrawal of federal minerals within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park and a new collaborative process to address the need for landscape-level management reforms. Today’s letter comes as the Interior Department announced a 30-day extension and two additional public meetings as part of its proposed mineral withdrawal.
Within the mineral withdrawal area alone, at least 90,000 acres and 800-1,000 allotment parcels are already leased to oil and gas, allowing for unabated drilling to continue regardless of the proposed buffer. With the majority of lands across the region already leased for fracking, today’s letter affirms the “deep concerns that a leasing buffer around Chaco Culture National Historical Park alone will not result in the type of meaningful transformation this region demands.”
For nearly a decade, the Greater Chaco Coalition has called on federal and state agencies to stop papering over problems in the region, and to finally fulfill promises to address the cumulative impacts of fracking, and to implement effective laws and regulations to protect the Greater Chaco Landscape and the people who live there.
In spite of the Honoring Chaco initiative, reports indicate the Greater Chaco landscape remains more threatened than ever by oil and gas drilling, fracking, and associated development. In their letter today, the groups cited four new fracking projects currently being considered by the Bureau of Land Management since 125 groups called for an immediate pause on February 22 to truly “Honor Chaco”, reaffirming the need for the agency to stop approving oil and gas activities across the Greater Chaco Landscape until the Department’s protection effort is complete.