BLM To Limit Drilling Leases Near NM's Chaco Park

Sep 3, 2013

Credit Tim Brown Architecture via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

Federal land managers have proposed limiting the number of parcels to be leased for oil and natural gas development near the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico.

The Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday released its environmental assessment for the lease sale that will take place in January. The agency has proposed cutting the number of available parcels to just four.

The industry initially nominated 38 parcels totaling more than 19,000 acres. One of those was less than a quarter-mile from the park's boundary.

BLM officials say the proximity of the parcels to Chaco was one of the considerations. The agency also consulted with Native American tribes in the region.

The parcels that will be up for lease are several miles from the park and adjacent to existing oil and gas operations.