(May 21, 2020)—Everyone’s efforts to get the May 28 deadline extended have paid off! We now have until September 25, 2020, to work on comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Department of the Interior on the draft Resource Management Plan amendment (RMPA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). (But, if folks are ready to send comments now, please do so.)
Senator Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued a statement welcoming the 120-day extension.
Again, comments must be received by the Agencies on or before FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2020.
I would like to direct everyone to a “Writing Comments” webinar we put together with our partners at New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. The webinar provides background so folks can understand the basics of what the RMPA and EIS documents are supposed to address.
For comments, we would ask everyone to emphasize the following points, as well other concerns:
- In a field of bad alternatives, Alternative B-1 is the best choice, given that it calls for protecting a 10-mile zone around Chaco and two of its Outliers. B-1 is the most similar to the pending congressional legislation that would provide permanent protection for a 10-mile zone, excluding the Federal surface lands from all future oil-gas development.
- Rushing to finish environmental and cultural planning documents that will guide development for the next 20 years is a terrible decision, because the Department of the Interior has commissioned two distinct ethnographic cultural studies focused on Native American ancestral ties and connections to the Greater Chaco Landscape. The results of these studies will allow for vastly improved decision-making regarding cultural use of the planning area.
- None of the alternatives provide the Native American communities, particularly the Pueblo Tribes of New Mexico and Arizona and the Navajo Nation directly affected by oil-gas development in the Mancos Shale, with the necessary decision-making roles that are a critical aspect of their sovereign status.
Our Chaco Coalition, in conjunction with the All Pueblo Council of Governors, has created a portal for providing comments:
Comments may also be made directly on the BLM website at:
This page has a “Comment on Document” button to provide comments.
Or, to comment by snail mail:
BLM Farmington Field Office, Attn.: Sarah Scott, Project Manager, 6251 College Blvd, Suite A, Farmington, NM 87402
BIA Navajo Regional Office, Attn.: Robert Begay, Project Manager, P.O. Box 1060, Gallup, NM 87301
COMMENTS BY POSTAL MAIL MUST BE RECEIVED BY SEPTEMBER 25, 2020, OR THEY WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED!
Thank you, as ever, for standing with Tribes and protecting Greater Chaco.
If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-486-4107.