Chaco Canyon Chetro Ketl great kiva plaza pictured here is part of a World Heritage Site consisting of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument and five smaller sites managed by the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which the bill H.R. 2181 seeks to provide protection from oil and gas withdrawal activities.

Courtesy National Park Service

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, D-NM, is asking for a long-term prohibition to oil, gas and mineral extraction development in the Chaco Culture National Heritage withdrawal area in northwest New Mexico.

After years of short-term moratoriums, Heinrich has asked U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for an administrative halt until legislation he has sponsored with colleagues from the New Mexico delegation calling for a permanent end passes in Washington, D.C.

"As you know, the Greater Chaco Landscape is home to innumerable sacred sites and cultural items of critical importance to Pueblo, Navajo and Apache communities," said Heinrich in a letter to Haaland.

"It is time to move from short-term policies that shift every year to the long-term certainty provided by an administrative withdrawal of the federal mineral resources in the vicinity of the [Chaco Culture National Historic] Park," said Heinrich.

Haaland, a Native American, served as U.S. representative for New Mexico's 1st congressional district from 2019 to 2021 before joining the Biden Administration.

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