DENVER -- Environment America Research & Policy Center delivered a petition with more than 12,500 signatures to the Department of the Interior on Tuesday, calling on Secretary Deb Haaland to prohibit future federal leasing of minerals within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. This would essentially establish a no-drill zone in Chaco Canyon.
“Chaco Canyon is an extraordinary place that should be protected,” said Environment America Research & Policy Center Public Lands Associate Virginia Carter. “Between the wildlife that lives there, the historical significance of the area, and the negative impacts that drilling has already had on local communities, it’s obvious that more jarring excavation and extraction should not be allowed. Protecting a 10 mile zone should be the first step toward more protections for the entire area. We hope that Secretary Haaland agrees and protects this precious space around the park.”
Featuring extensive cultural and historical significance, the Chaco Culture National Historical Park was established in 1907. Due to the protection, the park now provides critical habitat for elk, bobcats and more than 100 species of birds. More than 90 percent of the surrounding area has been developed for fossil fuel drilling and other damaging activities that pollute the air and water.
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