Although BLM has deferred nine oil-gas lease areas in the ten-mile cultural protection zone around Chaco and one of its outliers, Archaeology Southwest and its partners insist on tribal consultation and permanent protection.
Taos, N.M. (February 8, 2019)—In response to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) announcement today that its New Mexico State Office has deferred nine parcels for its scheduled March oil and gas lease sale, Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar, has issued the following statement on behalf of Archaeology Southwest:
“I think this is probably a temporary victory, and the parcels will come up again in a future lease sale.
“I am still deeply disappointed that BLM continues to conduct quarterly oil-gas lease sales while the long-awaited Resource Management Plan (RMP) amendment and draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) sit unfinished. Given the delay in these important management documents and the fact that 91% of the Farmington BLM field office area has already been leased, I think BLM should cease all new leasing activity.
“Another very important issue with BLM’s leasing activities is the failure to conduct meaningful consultation with interested and affected Native American Tribes and Pueblos. BLM is required under the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act to consult with Tribes on the development oil-gas resources across the Greater Chaco Landscape. To date, most of the affected Tribes and Pueblos do not feel that BLM has fulfilled its obligations for in-depth consultation.
“I encourage folks to contact BLM to protest the March 28 lease sale, even with the near Chaco parcels removed.”
Next week, Archaeology Southwest will circulate information about how to write a protest.
About Archaeology Southwest
Archaeology Southwest is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that explores and protects the places of our past across the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest. For three decades, Archaeology Southwest has fostered meaningful connections to the past and respectfully safeguarded its irreplaceable resources. Learn more at archaeologysouthwest.org.
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Paul F. Reed