Tucson, Ariz. (November 29, 2021)—The U.S. Department of the Interior has released its report on the future of the federal oil and gas leasing program. With recommendations that will enhance consideration of cultural resources during the federal oil and gas decision-making process, the report signals the Department’s commitment to supporting the protection of cultural resources and preservation of sacred landscapes. After years of reckless leasing, which allowed oil and gas development to harm cultural landscapes through the West, including within New Mexico’s greater Chaco landscape, Utah’s Bears Ears region, and Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Chaco Canyon, the mandate laid out in this report will ensure the federal leasing program works for Tribes, not just oil and gas CEOs.
In response, Paul F. Reed, Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar at Archaeology Southwest, released the following statement:
“Today marks a turning point in the struggle to preserve and protect cultural resources on our public lands. After meaningfully gathering input from Pueblos, other Tribal communities, and a diverse range of public lands stakeholders, the Biden administration released a report detailing recommendations for updating the federal oil and gas leasing system that will help ensure sacred sites and rich cultural histories are protected for years to come. Thank you, President Biden and Secretary Haaland for taking the mission to restore and preserve our public lands seriously.”
About Archaeology Southwest
Archaeology Southwest is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that explores and protects heritage places while honoring their diverse values. For three decades, Archaeology Southwest has worked to break down barriers to understanding, respecting, celebrating, and finding inspiration in these places. Learn more at archaeologysouthwest.org.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2021
Press Contact: Paul F. Reed
Image: Drill Pad with Pierre’s site in the background. Courtesy of EcoFlight.