U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D.N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) issued the following statement supporting President Biden's announcement to ban oil and gas leasing for 20 years around Chaco Canyon and surrounding areas in northwestern New Mexico, a sacred site that that members of the N.M. Delegation have worked with Tribes to permanently protect:
"President Biden's executive order to ban leasing on federal lands around Chaco Canyon is a significant step forward in protecting this historical sacred site for generations to come," said the lawmakers. "As we continue to work to provide additional protection through legislative action, including through the Chaco Canyon Cultural Heritage Protection Act, this administrative withdrawal will provide protections while we continue to work to permanently protect the greater Chaco area, and address the environmental, health, economic, and cultural needs of this vibrant region."