Chaco Canyon is home to numerous ancient archaeological sites, including astronomical wonders.

Groups File Suit to Protect Chaco Canyon From Fracking


Environmental groups including the Navajo organization Diné CARE filed suit against two federal agencies on March 11 in an attempt to keep fracking from harming the ancient astronomical site of Chaco Canyon.

The suit was filed by the Western Environmental Law Center and WildEarth Guardians against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of the Interior on behalf of Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment (Diné CARE), the Natural Resources Defense Counsel and the San Juan Citizens Alliance, among other groups. The groups are objecting to the approval over the past two years of more than 130 proposals for fracking operations, the Western Environmental Law Center said in a release.

RELATED: Oil Leases Proliferate in Northwestern New Mexico as Diné and Pueblo Call for Oversight

Though these operations so far are 20 miles from Chaco Canyon, they are encroaching ever closer.

RELATED: Fracking Operations Creep Ever Closer to Ancient Astronomical Wonder Chaco Canyon

In 2011 the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the Greater Chaco Landscape of New Mexico as “endangered.”

RELATED: Two Native Sites Make List of 11 Most Endangered

The recent upsurge in leases being sold by allottees, who some say are ill-informed as to the ramifications, has caused concern among Navajo citizens, and calls for more oversight.

In addition, citing the global warming dangers that fracking poses, the groups expressed concerns about the methane emissions in the San Juan basin that are visible from space.

RELATED: Methane 'Hot Spot' Seen From Space Hovers Over Four Corners

“The Bureau of Land Management is not taking serious consideration of the sacredness of the greater Chaco region and the impacts on surrounding Diné communities as they continue to approve more drilling and fracking,” said Colleen Cooley with Diné CARE, in a statement. “It’s time to account for what really matters: our health, our environment and future generations.”

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



MarinDemSolstice's picture
Submitted by MarinDemSolstice on
The government granting fracking rights anywhere near Chaco Canyon is akin to ISIS destroying ancient artifacts in Iraq. We must fight hard and stop this madness by any means necessary to preserve Chaco Canyon. Where do I sign up to help?

Deb E Dee
Deb E Dee
Submitted by Deb E Dee on
This is a storm of the all consuming nothing. We must not be discouraged by it's monstrous no-face. We need strong leaders among our people, and strong hearts. May Great Spirit strengthen us, and may those who ravage Earth Mother understand quickly that by doing so they ravage themselves and all life.