Protecting Chaco Canyon and the San Juan Basin From Fracking
With two mine-to-mouth coal-fired power plants and some 23,000 existing gas wells, New Mexico’s San Juan Basin is one of the areas in the U.S. most exploited for fossil fuel resources. Despite over a century of development, the type of unconventional drilling and modern fracking techniques needed to tap the area’s oil resources is relatively new. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) admits that shale oil development using these technologies has never been analyzed. As a result, the agency is amending its resource management plan (RMP). Nevertheless, BLM has approved more than 130 new drilling permits in the last year alone.
The greatest concentration of these is just outside Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a sacred ancestral place for the Hopi and Pueblo people. This development threatens the area’s rich cultural resources, treasured landscapes and native communities while ignoring federal law. WELC and our partners are taking the agency to court to protect human health, as well as resources like air quality, climate and water.
Save the Greater Chaco Canyon Region from Fracking
- Order “Previewing” NHPA Victory (3.31.18)
- Tenth Circuit Appeal Opinion (10.27.16)
- Tenth Circuit Reply Brief (12.18.15)
- Preliminary Injunction Reply Brief (8.25.15)
- Order Denying Preliminary Injunction (8.15.15)
- Letter to NM Delegation and Interior Secretary Jewell on Site Visit (6.22.15)
- Amended Chaco Complaint (5.21.15)
- Chaco Preliminary Injunction (5.11.15)
News & Updates
Statement from Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, the Western Environmental Law Center, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, WildEarth Guardians, and Natural Resources Defense Council: Taos, NM – New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and...read more
Santa Fe, NM – Over the weekend, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico issued a "preview" order indicating it will soon rule in favor of advocate groups challenging hundreds of federal fracking approvals in the Greater Chaco region on...read more
Taos, NM – Late yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management announced its decision to defer an oil and gas lease sale of 4,434.37 acres near Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for consultation with Tribal and local leaders. The surprise...read more