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BLM Postpones Oil and Gas Lease Sale Near Chaco

Claudia Zimmer
Creative Commons

The Bureau of Land Management has decided to defer an oil and gas lease sale near Chaco Culture National Historic Park in northern New Mexico. The sale had been proposed for more than 4,400 acres but reportedly will be postponed pending consultation with tribal and local leaders. Environmental and Native American groups had vocally opposed the sale, which was also opposed by both of New Mexico’s senators. In a release, Kyle Tisdel of the Western Environmental Law Center said, “Necessary safeguards, analysis and Tribal consultation must take place” before any further energy development occurs in the Greater Chaco area. The law center represents a number of drilling opponents in a lawsuit challenging the BLM's approval of leases in the Greater Chaco area. The law center says the agency is writing an amendment to its 11-year-old management plan to update guidance on oil and gas and says the BLM should not continue to lease land until the amendment is completed.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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