Park advocates push for master plan in Chaco Canyon

The greater Chaco area has been home to oil and gas drilling for decades, but improvements in technology have led to a boom in Mancos Shale development. The national historical park itself is protected from drilling, but the checkerboard of federal, state and tribal lands surrounding the park has seen a quick uptick in wells over the past few years (EnergyWire, July 13).

National parks “were never envisioned to be threatened like they are today by development right on the boundaries,” said Ellis Richard, founder of Park Rangers for Our Lands, during a press call yesterday.

The solution, the groups say, starts with getting the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, Navajo Nation and industry in the same room to work out a master leasing plan (MLP) that avoids sensitive areas. MLPs are a relatively new tool used by BLM in some sensitive landscapes to evaluate broad impacts of development and strike compromises on industry access and mitigation early on.

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