(August 19, 2015)—Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge James Browning rejected an effort by environmental groups to stop oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico. This ruling was a disappointment, because a break in the action would have allowed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to complete work on their Resource Management Plan amendment, potentially bringing additional cultural and environmental protections into place prior to drilling. Nevertheless, many informed people felt the lawsuit had little chance of succeeding, given the oil-gas juggernaut that prevails in most cases.
Archaeology Southwest and its partners continue our efforts to work out a solution to this problem—one that protects the health and safety of the Navajo communities at ground zero and enhances our understanding of the Greater Chaco Landscape and its long-term preservation, while engaging all stakeholders in the necessary dialogue to resolve these issues.
Science journalist Michael Balter just published an article, “Big Archaeology fights Big Oil to preserve ancient landscape,” in the latest issue of Science (August 20, 2015) featuring our work and discussing the issues involved. Science has graciously allowed us to link to that article, which you can read in full here.