New Mexico delegates push US official on Chaco protections

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation are putting more pressure on U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to take administrative action to prohibit oil and gas development outside the boundaries of Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The delegation sent a letter to Haaland this week. While there have been numerous short-term protections granted for the area over the years, they say an administrative withdrawal of federal mineral rights would provide long-term certainty – pending legislation that calls for permanent protections.

Haaland is from New Mexico and is the first Native American to be appointed to a cabinet position. She has yet to announce any decisions about the Chaco area.