Take Action: Greater Chaco Landscape

Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist
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(Original post dated 2/7/17 follows)

First, thank you to everyone who has contacted me and Archaeology Southwest about taking action on behalf of the Greater Chaco Landscape.

To review our overall goals regarding this effort, please visit the website of the Coalition to Protect Greater Chaco here.

Here is the background on the current action item (deadline February 20):

The Bureau of Land Management Farmington Field Office is amending their Resource Management Plan (RMP) to address issues related to oil and gas development in the Mancos Shale/Gallup Formation, which includes the Greater Chaco Landscape. Now is the time to contact BLM-Farmington and BIA-Gallup and make your voices heard. The deadline to comment on the BLM–BIA partnership and Resource Management Plan (RMP) amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is February 20, 2017.

Here’s a blog post from October in which I explain this in greater detail: https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/2016/10/21/department-of-interior-announces-blm-bia-cooperative-effort-on-oil-gas-leasing-across-the-greater-chaco-landscape/

Here is a link to the BLM’s web page for the project: https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/plans-in-development/new-mexico/farmington-rmp-mancos-gallup-amendment

If you decide to comment—and we hope you do—here are some points to consider including in your comments on the Farmington BIA/BLM Plan Scoping:

  • We support the joint Farmington Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Indians Affairs (BIA) planning process to manage new oil and gas development across the Greater Chaco Landscape. This effort joins the BLM’s current amendment process for the 2003 Resource Management Plan (RMP) and creation of a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
  • We urge BLM and BIA to close off the remaining unleased lands in the Greater Chaco Landscape to future oil-gas development.
  • If a complete deferral of new leasing is not possible, we ask that BLM and BIA implement the following measures:
    • Make the current, temporary 10-mile protection zone around Chaco Culture National Historic Park permanent for the life of the plan;
    • Work with local Navajo communities to reduce the health, social, and economic impacts of oil-gas development;
    • Create larger protection zones (with no new leasing) around the significant, sensitive cultural and archaeological sites and TCPs in the RMPA area;
    • As part of the planning process, implement a Master Leasing Plan that will bring all stakeholders to the table to address concerns prior to the issuance of new leases.

Please direct your comments to:

BLM Farmington Field Office, Attention: Mark Ames, Project Manager, 6251 North College Blvd., Suite A, Farmington, New Mexico 87402; by email to BLM_NM_FFO_Comments at blm dot gov, or by fax to 505-564-7608

For the BIA, contact Harrilene Yazzie, BIA Regional National Environmental Policy Act Coordinator at 505-863-8287, P.O. Box 1060, Gallup, New Mexico 87301, or harrilene dot yazzie at bia dot gov.

Great North Road

Looking north, down the Great North Road from behind Pueblo Alto, Chaco Canyon. Photo by Paul Reed.

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4 Responses to “Take Action: Greater Chaco Landscape”

  1. Katherine C McKinney Says:

    Protect the Chaco Area! Please!

  2. DJ Davis Says:

    Could you provide a script to use when commenting? I live in San Juan County and take my students to Chaco every year. It is quite literally my favorite place on earth. I will write, email, call daily until February 20th. Just tell me what to say, besides, “PROTECT CHACO.” Thanks.

  3. Nate Francis Says:

    Please protect the Greater Chaco area. Protect our ancestral land of my hewend’intowa. Chaco is a very special place that is still very well alive, don’t destroy it please.

  4. Joan McHugh Says:

    Please protect Chaco. Protect and preserve thousands of years of cultural and historical artifacts and sites. The “value” of this archaeological site far outweighs any $$$ value from oil and gas drilling.

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