The National Trust for Historic Preservation has shared the following information about current legislation to protect the lands around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park and World Heritage Site. Please join in this effort!
On November 17, 2022, members of the New Mexico congressional delegation re-introduced legislation, the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act (H.R. 9344/S. 5124), to prevent future oil and gas development, as well as coal and uranium mining, on federal public lands within a roughly 10-mile radius of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Chaco Canyon and its surrounding landscape in northwest New Mexico hold remarkable examples of ancestral Pueblo ceremonial buildings, distinctive great houses, and an elaborate network of engineered roads. Recently, the Biden Administration moved forward with a twenty-year moratorium on development in the 10-mile buffer zone. This legislation would provide urgent and permanent protections by banning oil, gas, and mineral development on federal lands in the Greater Chaco Region. This incredible landscape—designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and included on the National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2011—is threatened by encroaching oil, gas, and mineral development. A previous iteration of the legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019. Encourage your members of Congress to support this legislation.