SANTA FE, NM – Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has signed Land Office Executive Order 2019-002, placing a moratorium on new oil and gas development on state trust land in a buffer zone around Chaco Canyon. The Executive Order, signed at the Navajo Nation Counselor Chapter House on Saturday, will protect 72,776 acres near the renowned World Heritage site. In addition to placing a moratorium on new leasing, the Order also creates the Chaco Canyon Land Office Working Group. The first meeting of the Group took place directly following the signing ceremony.
“Placing a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing in the Greater Chaco Region is a huge step forward in safeguarding archaeological and cultural resources of New Mexico’s tribes, nations, and pueblos,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said of the Executive Order. “The Chaco working group, comprised of tribal and environmental leaders, have already started important discussions about how we can protect the area and manage all of the land responsibly. Tribal members will lead the way in making sure their ancestral land can be revered for all future generations.”