(September 15, 2020)—We want to thank everyone for supporting us over the last seven years on our efforts to protect the Greater Chaco Landscape from encroaching oil-gas development.
Now it is time to get comments submitted to the Agencies (Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs) on the Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Comments must be received by the Agencies on or before FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2020.
Framing Your Comments
I would like to direct everyone to a “Writing Comments” webinar we put together with our partners at New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. The webinar explains the basics of what the RMPA and EIS documents are supposed to address.
In your comments, we ask that you emphasize the following points, as well as 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 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.
Submitting Your Comments
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!
Watch to Learn More
Last week, I was part of a panel discussion hosted by US/ICOMOS, “World Heritage Site at Risk: Chaco Culture National Historical Park.” The other panelists were Ernie Atencio (National Parks Conservation Association) and Kurt Riley (Pueblo of Acoma). The video of that webinar is now online here (opens at YouTube).
I encourage you to watch our discussion and read the follow up Q & A here (opens as a PDF). Both are highly relevant to consider as you prepare your comments.
Thank you again for your support and advocacy on behalf of the Greater Chaco Landscape.