On October 31, community groups and advocates hand-delivered more than 10,000 comments from citizens protesting an oil and gas lease sale in Greater Chaco to the Bureau of Land Management’s office in Santa Fe. The lease sale, scheduled for December, would auction off close to 100,000 acres of public lands in New Mexico for industrialized fracking. Protest comments must be hand-delivered, as the New Mexico agency no longer accepts emailed or faxed comments (one of many ways the BLM has rolled back opportunities for the public to weigh in on this process).
In March, Interior Secretary Zinke deferred selling 4,334 acres of land in Greater Chaco, calling for more cultural study and consultation. No additional study or consultation has occurred, but the BLM now plans to auction off 43,268 acres of public and tribal land in the area. Local communities have long opposed fracking in the area, and have reported unsafe road conditions, poor air quality, light and noise pollution, respiratory problems, and more as fracking encroaches.
Read the press release.