On behalf of the GCAS general membership, on September 4, 2020, a quorum of the GCAS Board of Trustees submitted a comment to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management opposing a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that proposed additional oil and gas development in the Greater Chaco Landscape/Region. The GCAS comment addressed eight issues:
- Supporting the All-Pueblo Council of Governors’ separate request that a Supplemental EIS be issued;
- Asking on our own behalf that a Supplemental EIS be timely issued and made fully and fairly available for public comment, to correct the Draft EIS's exclusion of the Native tribes and pueblos directly affected by this project; and further advocating that:
- The ethnographic/cultural studies currently underway in the area must be completed and not be impeded by any action taken under the proposed oil-gas development project;
- A Supplemental EIS must incorporate within all its proposed alternatives, realistic decision-making roles for the Native communities directly affected by the proposed project;
- A Supplemental EIS must provide a thorough analysis of the changed economic circumstances of the oil and gas extraction industry and how those changed economic circumstances apply to the proposed development project;
- The B-1 alternative as described throughout the Draft EIS is the one and only currently available alternative that causes the least harm to the Greater Chaco Landscape area's ancestral burial grounds, and historical and archaeological sites and features;
- A 10-mile protective buffer zone must be established in which oil and gas development is prohibited, and must encompass the area of the Chaco Culture National Historic Park, two Chaco Outliers, and three additional contiguous, similarly-situated land areas (500-acre addition to Bisti Wilderness, LWC2, and Split Lip Flats); and
- Funds should be allocated and prioritized for archaeological and cultural research surveys within the proposed project area, and for any excavations or mitigation such surveys deem necessary, before any other decision or action be taken under any of the draft RMP/EIS’s proposed alternatives.
To read the entire 4-page GCAS comment, click here: Download GCAS-comment-Chaco.pdf (164.7K)
To submit your own email comment before the September 25, 2020, deadline you are welcome to use the GCAS comment as a guide while you go through The Chaco Coalition's easy comment portal here.