Feds to launch expanded review of drilling in Chaco region

By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

The federal government is planning an expanded review of public lands management in northwestern New Mexico to address concerns about oil and gas development surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The federal government is planning an expanded review of public lands management in northwestern New Mexico to address concerns about oil and gas development surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

A World Heritage site, Chaco includes the remnants of an ancient civilization whose monumental architecture and cultural influences have been a source of mystery for years.

Native American groups, archaeologists and environmentalists have been pushing for years for the Bureau of Land Management to consider the historical and cultural significance of the area as it develops a new resource management plan for the region.

U.S. Deputy Interior Secretary Mike Conner announced Thursday that the agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Navajo Regional Office will take a closer look at management across federal and tribal lands.

A series of public meetings are planned next month.

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