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.
Though these operations so far are 20 miles from Chaco Canyon, they are encroaching ever closer.
In 2011 the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the Greater Chaco Landscape of New Mexico as “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.
“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.”