Senators push for hearing on Chaco protection legislation

New Mexico

CORRECTS TO CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK -FILE – In this Nov. 21, 1996, file photo, tourists cast their shadows on the ancient Anasazi ruins of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. Advocates for greater restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling near ancient Native American cultural sites in the Southwest are urging […]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation are pushing for a Senate hearing on legislation that would withdraw federal holdings from oil and gas development around Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The legislation was reintroduced earlier this year as environmentalists and Native American tribes seek to make permanent a 10-mile (16-kilometer) buffer around the park. Supporters say it would protect culturally significant sites located beyond Chaco’s boundaries.

Most of the land surrounding the park belongs to the Navajo Nation or are allotments owned by individual Navajos. The legislation would not affect development of those lands.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich are asking that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee take up the bill at its next meeting. Once the committee acts, the full Senate could consider the measure.

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