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Zinke delays controversial O&G lease sale near Chaco Culture NHP; more cultural surveys to be done

Updated: Mar 6, 2018

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Friday abruptly postponed an oil and gas lease sale for parcels near Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a sacred tribal site in northwestern New Mexico, saying a detailed analysis of more than 5,000 cultural sites will be done before lots are designated for auction.

The proposed lease sale, which includes 25 parcels covering 4,434 acres within New Mexico’s Rio Arriba, Sandoval and San Juan counties, has sparked an outcry from tribal officials and conservationists. They argue that drilling near a UNESCO World Heritage Site could damage prized cultural artifacts. More than 450 protests were filed against the auction.



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