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Environment & Energy Report

Chaco Canyon Oil and Gas Leases Blocked on New Mexico State Land

April 29, 2019, 10:24 PM

New Mexico is halting new oil and gas leases on nearly 73,000 acres of state land near Chaco Canyon, a hub of archaeological sites in the northwestern part of the state.

The moratorium signed April 27 by State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard aims to “safeguard archaeological and cultural resources” through 2023 in an area sacred to many tribes for the ancestral sites there.

The move follows federal legislation (S. 1079) introduced this month to permanently withdraw federal land in the area from mineral development.

Supportive environmental and tribal groups hailed Garcia Richard’s executive...

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