FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2020
Contact: Alicia Ortega, APCG@indianpueblo.org
All Pueblo Council of Governors Applauds Extension of Comment Period on Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment for Sacred Greater Chaco Region
(Farmington, New Mexico) – On Thursday, Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt directed the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs to extend the public comment period for the draft Farmington Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The RMPA is a land planning document that will shape oil and gas development decisions in the sacred landscape of the Greater Chaco Region for several decades to come.
The Greater Chaco Region—a portion of which is now designated the Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Park) and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site—centuries ago was the center of a thriving civilization that flourished in the Four Corners region. This society left behind a vast and sacred landscape rich in cultural resources, which the Pueblos use today as integral to individual and collective living identity. Many of these cultural resources are located within 10 miles of the Park. For this reason, the Pueblos along with other stakeholders have prioritized protecting federal land in this area from new oil and gas development.
The announcement to extend the comment period followed a government-to-government discussion between the All Pueblo Council of Governors and Secretary Bernhardt. Secretary Bernhardt’s visit last year to the Greater Chaco Region was an important moment in the dialogue between our governments about the unique nature of the Greater Chaco Region. Among other issues, we reiterated APCG’s and individual Pueblos’ requests to pause the RMPA in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which the New Mexico Congressional Delegation, the State of New Mexico, several conservation organizations, and many other members of the public have echoed.
“On behalf of the All Pueblo Council of Governors, we thank the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, and the Department of the Interior for their government-to-government engagement with APCG and Pueblo leadership and their decision to extend the comment period. This extension was necessary to allow for close review by APCG and Pueblos of the draft RMPA and its implications, convening internally, and provision of meaningful comments in the midst of this national emergency. We are also grateful for the leadership of the entirety of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation as partners in this ongoing movement to protect the Greater Chaco Region as a living, sacred landscape for use by future generations to come.” – Chairman J. Michael Chavarria, All Pueblo Council of Governors
APCG appreciates the work of other tribes, the State of New Mexico, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders to ensure inclusion of critical cultural resource protections for the sacred landscape of the Greater Chaco Region.