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Appeals court: BLM violated law in issuing Chaco permits


Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero

Clouds move across the sky and over the Chaco Canyon National Monument on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Bureau of Land Management violated the National Environmental Policy Act when approving oil and gas permits near Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

It’s been an eventful and successful couple of weeks for those who have worked to stop future oil and gas extraction in and around Chaco Canyon. First, New Mexico State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard declared a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on state trust lands in the Greater Chaco area.

“The protection of Chaco is essential to safeguard archaeological and cultural resources of New Mexico’s tribes, nations, and pueblos,” stated Garcia Richard. “The Chaco Canyon working group, comprised of tribal and environmental leaders, has started important discussions about how we can protect the area and manage all of the land responsibly.”

On Tuesday, the news was released that Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Envirornment, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Wildearth Guardians, and the Natural Resources Defense Council had successfully appealed a 2018 decision concluding the BLM had not violated either the National Historic Preservation Act or NEPA.

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About The Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council and Office of the President and Vice President. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at


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