Interior Advances Drilling Near New Mexico National Park

by | May 19, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management published a draft drilling plan and environmental impact report involving 4.2 million acres of public and Navajo-held lands in northwest New Mexico on February 28, 2020. The plan would allow drilling within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site sacred to the Navajo and other Native Americans. The agency held five virtual public hearings in mid-May, as nearby Navajo communities reeled from the coronavirus crisis, and despite the fact that most Navajo households do not have broadband internet. The New Mexico congressional delegation, nearby Native American communities, and environmentalists called on the BLM to slow the project down. Status: On May 21, 2020 the BLM announced without explanation a 120-day extension of the deadline for public comment on the drilling plan, from May 28 to September 25, 2020.

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Amy Westervelt is the editor-in-chief of Drilled News, creator and host of the Drilled podcast, and founder of the Critical Frequency podcast network, named AdWeek's Podcast Network of the Year in 2019. An award-winning print and audio journalist, Amy has contributed to The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, as well as KQED, The California Report, Capital Public Radio, and many other outlets. She is the 2015 winner of the Rachel Carson award for "women greening journalism," and a 2016 winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. In 2019, the Drilled podcast won the Online News Association's "Excellence in Audio Storytelling" award.

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Emily J. Gertz is senior editor of Drilled News. A longtime environmental reporter and editor, her work has appeared in HuffPost, Reveal, Arctic Today, The Guardian, Popular Science, Scientific American, Sierra, and more.