February 08, 2019

Udall Statement on BLM Deferring Chaco Lease Sales

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement in response to BLM’s announcement that it will defer leases within the 10-mile buffer zone surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park for the upcoming March lease sale:

“The BLM did the right thing by deferring these parcels from being leased on culturally-significant and fragile land in the greater Chaco area, a UNESCO world heritage site. However, this is the third time under this administration that BLM has chosen to defer parcels in this area – and this stop-start, shoot-from-the-hip approach is not sustainable or in anyone’s best interest. The administration should take the next step and agree to not lease any parcels within 10 miles of the National Historical Park until a real joint management plan that includes robust and meaningful Tribal consultation has been implemented, health impacts are assessed, and a thorough ethnographic study of the area’s cultural resources is conducted.

“Oil and gas production is a major source of economic benefits in New Mexico, but that does not mean we should develop without taking into account the concerns of the public and Tribes, public health, and our history and culture. Some places are just too special to lose. I look forward to the BLM taking the right step and ceasing leasing in this important area until they can complete a full and meaningful assessment that listens to public and Tribal voices.”