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Author: Judith LeBlanc    Published: 11/16/2023    Native Organizers Alliance Action Fund

 

Native Organizers Alliance Action Fund

 

The Honoring Chaco Initiative (HCI) is a first of its kind effort to change the paradigm of public lands management in this sacred landscape and finally prioritize the health, economic and environmental justice, equity, and sustainability of the region.

To protect certain areas of Greater Chaco from industrial exploitation, we’ve join with partners, including Navajo NationDiné C.A.R.E.Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth, in support of the HCI to stop new oil and gas drilling and fracking in the region, phasing out existing extraction activities, and establishing Tribal co-management strategies for the future.

The Greater Chaco Landscape extends far beyond the boundaries of Chaco Culture National Park and holds environmental, cultural, and historical significance to Indigenous Peoples that must be safeguarded from further destruction.

Community protections must be put in place to ensure the health, wealth, and wellness of impacted Diné (Navajo) communities, and to protect these communities from the harms that come from leaking, venting, flaring, and spilling of toxic materials from an aging and industrialized oil and gas infrastructure.

Just transition efforts and community infrastructure investments must be funded to address the impacts of sacrifice zones and environmental racism, and to achieve an immediate phase out of fossil fuels.

The oil and gas industry must be held accountable for the cumulative impacts of nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells in the region. The legacy of pollution, including abandoned, orphaned, and non-producing wells must be addressed and fully remediated.

The Department of the Interior’s move to protect Chaco Culture National Historical Park by issuing a 20-year administrative withdrawal that bans new oil and gas drilling on unleased federal lands within a 10-mile buffer is a great start, but they can’t stop there.

Urge Secretary Haaland to complete the Honoring Chaco Initiative, end the legacy of broken promises, and address the impacts of sacrifice zones in the Greater Chaco region by adding your name now.

Full Petition:

Dear Secretary Haaland,

For too long, the Greater Chaco region has been ravaged by the oil and gas industry, putting Tribal communities at risk, undermining the cultural integrity of the landscape, and jeopardizing clean air and water.

Your efforts to champion Indigenous issues are admirable. I support the Department of the Interior’s move to protect Chaco Culture National Historical Park by issuing a 20-year administrative withdrawal that bans new oil and gas drilling on unleased federal lands within a 10-mile buffer.

I encourage you to continue moving forward with the Honoring Chaco Initiative, a first of its kind effort to change the paradigm of public lands management in this sacred landscape and finally prioritize the health, economic and environmental justice, equity, and sustainability of the region.

While steps have been taken to protect certain areas of Greater Chaco from industrial exploitation, more needs to be done to truly safeguard the safety and well-being of this cultural landscape and surrounding communities.

Since 2014, over two million people have called on federal agencies to address the impacts of sacrifice zones in the Greater Chaco region and pause all oil and gas proposals. Groups have called for meaningful tribal and community consultation at every stage of decision-making; for the cumulative impacts of oil and gas development to be considered, analyzed and addressed; and for the advancement of environmental and economic justice.

Looking ahead, we call on you to ensure the Honoring Chaco Initiative continues to progress and advance the following core goals:

  • Stop permitting new oil and gas drilling and fracking, and phase out existing extraction, across the Greater Chaco Landscape.
  • Develop and implement Tribal co-management strategies for the region’s public lands and resources.
  • Fully protect and restore the air quality, ground and surface waters, and healthy lands of the region.
  • Allocate resources to enable communities to achieve economic security and sustainability, including massive clean up efforts of failing oil and gas infrastructure.

The Honoring Chaco Initiative is an opportunity for the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management to finally end the legacy of broken promises and address the impacts of sacrifice zones and environmental racism in the Greater Chaco region.

I expect the Department of the Interior to fully follow through with its promises to safeguard and truly honor Greater Chaco.

Sincerely,