Hundreds attended the scoping meetings. Navajo residents, Pueblo tribal members, and various groups gave public comment to protect the local communities’ culture and climate from fracking impacts. The comments shed light on the real and everyday impacts that fracking is having in the Greater Chaco area. They also received an additional 15,000 comments.
Navajo tribal members commented on the desecration of sacred sites, increased rates of cancer and asthma, unsafe road conditions, noise and dust pollution, soil contamination, and constant exposure to toxic fumes. Groups demanded that new planning efforts must assure Indigenous interests, include community health and safety safeguards and that real balance must be restored in the area.
On February 28, 2020, the BLM and BIA released their long-awaited draft Resource Management Plan Amendment. The plan is a pure disappointment and does nothing to address the many concerns brought up by the public during the scoping period. Furthermore, in light of the COVID-19 crises, the BLM and BIA are holding firm to the May 28 comment deadline, despite requests from the entire New Mexico Congressional Delegation and the All Pueblo Council of Governors for a comment extension, and pleas from Indigenous, environmental, and community groups for the agency to pause its plans.