Washington, D.C. – On June 2nd, Secretary Haaland and the Biden-Harris administration announced protections for the lands and cultural resources in the Greater Chaco region in northwestern New Mexico from new oil and gas drilling. This adds to the more than 330,000 acres of new lands and waters this administration has protected. In response, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV)and Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) released the following statements:
“LCV joins tens of thousands of Indigenous Peoples and many others in celebrating Secretary Haaland and the Biden-Harris administration’s decision to protect the lands and cultural resources in the Greater Chaco Region from new oil and gas drilling,” said Conservation Program Director America Fitzpatrick. “The Chaco region is home to current and historical tribal communities, countless sacred sites, and spectacular wildlife and ecological resources. This withdrawal is a critical first step in supporting Indigenous and locally-led efforts to permanently protect the greater Chaco landscape for generations to come.”
“There are many reasons to be thankful to Secretary Haaland for the moratorium on new drilling in the Greater Chaco region,” said Conservation Voters New Mexico Board Director Theresa Pasqual, a member of the Pueblo of Acoma. “It acknowledges the reality that there hasn’t been a new lease in the area in a decade, and it will begin to lessen the health impacts on the people forced to breathe toxic air and the damage to the environment that we all depend on. But most importantly, the moratorium is the beginning of a larger conversation on the conservation and restoration of a cultural landscape that puts the living essence of Chaco and its descendants at its heart.