Go here for current information as of September 15, 2020.
(March 27, 2020)—You can act now to help protect Greater Chaco.
The push is on to get the BLM-Farmington Field Office and BIA-Navajo Region to postpone the May 28 deadline for public input on their draft Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA). Archaeology Southwest is part of a coalition advocating the postponement. I’ve discussed the problems with the RMPA here. Now I’ll explain why the deadline must be postponed.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 virus crisis, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a stay-at-home and shelter-in-place order on March 24. The order requires non-essential businesses to close and employees to work at home. It also prohibits public or private gatherings of more than five people. Thus, this order prohibits the public meetings that are mandated for BLM and BIA’s planning processes. Because the public cannot, under present conditions, participate in the planning process, it is clear that the Agencies must extend the May 28 deadline for public comment and participation.
The entire New Mexico Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Interior Secretary Bernhardt on March 20 requesting an extension of the deadline by at least 120 days. At a minimum, then, the deadline should be moved to September 28. Similarly, the All Pueblo Council of Governors sent a letter to Secretary Bernhardt on March 25 with the same request for deadline extension (APCG press release here). Two archaeological organizations have joined the push to postpone the May 28 deadline, as well: the Society for American Archaeology (letter) and the New Mexico Archaeological Council (letter). The State of New Mexico Energy, Mineral and Natural Resources Department submitted its request for an extension on March 30.
We are asking our supporters to send snail mail or email letters to Secretary Bernhardt asking for an extension of the May 28 for at least 120 days.
Please address your letters (or email letters) to Secretary Bernhardt and copy the following people:
The Honorable David Bernhardt
Secretary of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
Bureau of Land Management Acting Director
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
New Mexico State Director
Bureau of Land Management
301 Dinosaur Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87508
BLM Farmington District Office Manager
6251 College Blvd., Suite A
Farmington, NM 87402
BIA Navajo Region Office
301 West Hill Avenue Room 262
Gallup, NM 87305
Thank you for helping to protect greater Chaco by insisting on a fair and open public comment period during these difficult times. Sample text to personalize and adapt is offered after this image.
Sample text to personalize and adapt:
I write to you as a [concerned citizen] [resident of New Mexico] to request that the May 28, 2020, deadline for public comment and participation in the BLM-Farmington Field Office and BIA-Gallup Region’s planning processes be extended at least 120 days.
The BLM and BIA released the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Resource Management Plan amendment (RMPA) for the Farmington Mancos Gallup project on February 28, 2020, triggering a 90-day period of public review and comment. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 virus crisis, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a stay-at-home and shelter-in-place order on March 24. The order prohibits public or private gatherings of more than five people, thus prohibiting the public meetings that are mandated for the BLM and BIA’s planning processes. As the participation of the interested public in the planning process cannot happen, the need to extend the May 28 deadline for public comment and participation is clear.
The New Mexico Congressional Delegation recently sent a letter to [you] [Secretary Bernhardt] asking for an extension of the deadline by at least 120 days. I wish to add my voice in this and ask for an extension of this deadline.