US delays oil-and-gas lease sale near sacred tribal land
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – U.S. land managers no longer plan to move forward in March with the sale of oil and gas leases that include land near Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. They say they need to gather more information before they put the parcels up for bidding.
The decision Friday by the federal Bureau of Land Management comes after tribal leaders and others criticized the agency for pushing ahead with drilling permit reviews and preparations for energy leases near the site.
Numerous tribes in the region say the now-remote park recognized as a United Nations world heritage site had been a ceremonial and economic hub for their ancestors.
They expressed concern about federal officials’ plans to push forward with a lease sale despite the recent government shutdown.