To: The Bureau of Land Management

Don't let the fracking industry turn New Mexico's historic landmark into an industrial wasteland

Don't let the fracking industry turn New Mexico's historic landmark into an industrial wasteland

It’s unconscionable that the Bureau of Land Management is already leasing land for fracking around New Mexico’s Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Chaco NHP). It’s even worse that the BLM is now proposing to expand drilling through a vast new area --- potentially extending to millions of acres. This region contains thirty-five Chaco Great House ruins and a network of subtle and fragile ancient roads, sites held sacred by Native American descendants. Don’t allow fracking near Chaco NHP.

Why is this important?

The BLM has proposed massively expanded fracking on land surrounding New Mexico’s Chaco Culture National Historical Park. We cannot allow the BLM to turn Chaco’s invaluable historic landmark into an industrial wasteland.

The BLM is accepting public comments until May 28 on this deeply irresponsible proposal. We have to act now to urge the BLM not to frack on the lands of the Chaco culture and to make it clear that America’s national parks are worth far more than the dirty oil and gas underneath them.

A thousand years ago, Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico was the ceremonial center of ancestral Pueblo Indians, whose culture encompassed 75,000 square miles of the Southwest. Today, Chaco Canyon is a World Heritage Site, and one of the most important archaeological sites in the Americas. However, the Chaco cultural expanse reaches beyond this center into unprotected land on the verge of a blanketing of energy development, driven by new oil and gas extraction technologies.

The land now threatened by the BLM’s leasing plans holds irreplaceable information about the Chacoans’ culture. For many Pueblo people, whose Chacoan ancestors used no written language, these traces on the landscape are their history.

In 1977, while on a research project near the summit of a towering butte in Chaco Canyon, I discovered a spiral rock carving now known as the Sun Dagger site, a ritual calendar marking with light the cycles of the sun and the moon. My colleagues and I, through the Solstice Project, then went on to discover that twelve massive Chaco buildings are also aligned to the sun and the moon, establishing Chaco Canyon as an center of major astronomical achievements.

Now, in urgent response to the BLM’s proposal to expand fracking, we want to share our startling new findings about the ancient “roads” that exist throughout the vast Chaco region. The Chacoans engineered hundreds of miles of wide and astoundingly straight linear features which archaeologists are now clearly showing were not utilitarian. Native American people have expressed the profound spiritual significance of these features. For instance, the thirty-five mile Chaco Great North Road symbolizes for Pueblo people the connection to the North, their place of emergence. But oil and gas companies are now building access roads that crisscross the Great North Road.

The entire Chaco world is one of cosmological connections manifested in beautiful architectural and astronomical works. Chaco's roads and their associated shrines and ceremonial Great Houses define this greater Chaco world. These subtle features have been only minimally documented but the BLM has claimed there is little in cultural resources to be protected.

We created this petition to the Obama Administration to take responsibility to halt fracking on any further lands in the Chaco region. Please join with your support before the end of the “scoping period” for public input ending May 28th.

Watch a short video here : https://vimeo.com/95308696

Updates

2014-05-25 07:19:13 -0700

100,000 signatures reached

2014-05-22 06:45:05 -0700

50,000 signatures reached

2014-05-21 08:05:26 -0700

20,000 signatures reached

2014-05-21 06:40:10 -0700

10,000 signatures reached

2014-05-20 15:32:32 -0700

5,000 signatures reached

2014-05-20 06:36:44 -0700

1,000 signatures reached

2014-05-20 06:20:20 -0700

500 signatures reached

2014-05-20 06:09:21 -0700

100 signatures reached

2014-05-20 06:07:12 -0700

50 signatures reached

2014-05-20 06:05:30 -0700

25 signatures reached

2014-05-20 06:04:21 -0700

10 signatures reached