On June 2, 2023, the Department of the Interior announced a historic decision to administratively withdraw 336,400 acres of public lands in Chaco Canyon from future oil and gas leasing for 20 years. This action will prevent further oil and gas leasing on federal public lands within ten miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park (NHP), protect invaluable cultural resources, and address significant impacts on the health and well-being of nearby communities and the environment. The 10-mile withdrawal provides protection for more than 4,700 known archaeological sites located outside of Chaco Culture National Historical Park and in 2022, there were more than 41,000 visitors to the park who helped boost the local economy.
The Conservation Alliance has supported protecting Chaco Canyon from oil and gas leasing since 2018 and has given $220,000 in grants to New Mexico Wild to support this effort. This is a hard-won victory for Pueblos and Tribes who have worked tirelessly for years to halt oil and gas development. This is a huge step towards permanent protection for the Greater Chaco Landscape.