June 2010 Update

The Chaco Alliance continues to expand its role in protecting and preserving Chaco Culture National Historical Park. BLM OIL/ GAS LEASES: We have been accepted as a Consulting Party by the Farmington Field Office of the BLM on all oil and gas leases within ten miles of Chaco. The Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, and New Mexico State Preservation Office unanimously supported our acceptance. Along with the Hopi, National Trust for Historic Preservation, San Juan Citizens Alliance, and other groups, we have successfully petitioned to have eight leases close to Chaco withdrawn from sale (see link below). We are part of a working group that will determine the extent of the area to be protected and the kind of impacts that are of concern to all who cherish the park.
CHACO ROAD: We remain committed to transparency and proper procedure in the on-going National Environmental Protection Act/ National Historical Protection Act (NEPA/ NHPA) process that will ultimately culminate in an Environmental Assessment (EA). Our understanding is that the EA has been put on hold while the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, San Juan County, and the Navajo Nation attempt to come to an agreement about the road. We have formally asked to be included in their discussions about the road, but that request has been denied. We continue to be concerned about a process that ignores the input of many of the concerned parties and that appears to function outside the requirements of NEPA and NHPA. We have seen no written agreement, but we remain opposed to any additional paving of the Chaco road because of adverse impacts to the park from increased visitation and from increased potential for energy development near Chaco. We re-affirm our demand for a thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), not the lesser level of analysis of an EA.
CHACO GENERAL MANAGEMENT PLAN AMENDMENT and EA: Chaco Culture National Historical Park is re-doing its management plan in an attempt to respond to the possibility of increased visitation. The new plan could significantly restrict and alter visitor experience at the park. Our understanding is that the required EA is in its early scoping stages, but we responded in detail in February 2010 (see link below) to a flawed visitation study produced for the NPS by Evans and Associates that will underpin that management approach. We have yet to receive a reply to our corrections. The visitation study significantly underestimates the impact to park visitation that will result from any amount of paving of the remaining thirteen miles. Contact Chaco Culture National Historical Park directly to become involved in the management plan EA process.
We appreciate your support in all three of these related endeavors. Our hope is that the on-going discussions can be elevated to the level of transparency, inclusion, and thorough procedure that is necessary when considering actions that can forever impact this treasured World Heritage Site. We can be reached at our old email address: (dontpavechaco@gmail.com), or at a newly added address: (chacoalliance@gmail.com). We welcome your comments. Please write to the individuals linked below requesting no more paving, strict adherence to all NEPA/ NHPA procedures, and a full EIS for the Chaco Road. Thanks again.
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