IPANM (Setbacks) – The Democrat-controlled U.S. House Natural Resources Committee passed Resolution 2181 today following a visit in June to Chaco Canyon. The resolution, introduced and co-sponsored by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.), calls for a 10-mile setback zone that would ban oil and gas drilling over approximately 300,000 acres of federal land, including land that already has been leased by the federal government. Democrats proclaimed the move is in response to support from within the community, despite not including tribal allottee mineral rights owners in the conversation during their site tour in June. Independent producers, who were also shut out the “collaborative” conversations with federal legislators during their tour, have surveys and technical data that already show drilling within the proposed zone has no environmental impact on the historical sites. The resolution also fails to point out that Chaco Canyon Historical Park already has protections in place that already do not allow drilling on sensitive archeological and cultural sites. Finally, the resolution also does not offer any technical data on the economic impact of the millions of dollars that will be lost in revenue that will negatively impact surrounding communities and the entire state.
Prior to today’s hearing, IPANM submitted formal comments to the committee in opposition of H.R. 2181.