On May 22, Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats from New Mexico, introduced the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act. If passed, the Act will prohibit oil and gas development on federal land and minerals within a roughly ten-mile buffer zone surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
The proposal drew praise from the All Pueblo Council of Governors, the Navajo Nation, and other historical preservation and conservation groups. Yet others say that while it was a positive first step toward protecting cultural resources from the onslaught of oil and gas drilling, it simply doesn’t go far enough, particularly when it comes to looking out for the Navajo communities that are currently bearing the brunt of drilling.
Journalist, editor and writer focusing on the Western United States and its landscapes, communities, and cultures. Creator of Land Desk. Author of "River of Lost Souls: The Science, Politics, and Greed Behind the Gold King Mine Disaster" (Torrey House Press 2018), "Behind the Slickrock Curtain" (Lost Souls Press 2020), and the forthcoming "Sagebrush Empire: A journey into the heart of the public land wars" (Torrey House 2021).
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