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U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Protect National Park in New Mexico

Thursday Apr 11, 2019

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are renewing a call for the creation of a formal buffer around a national park held sacred by Native Americans.

A measure reintroduced Tuesday would prevent future leasing or development of minerals on federally-owned land within a 10-mile (16-kilometer) radius of Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

A world heritage site, supporters say they want to protect the sense of remoteness that comes with making the journey to the park. They're also concerned about the preservation of ancient stone structures and other features outside the park's boundaries.

The lawmakers and tribal officials are worried about the potential of expanded drilling despite repeated decisions over the years by federal land managers to defer oil and gas interest in parcels that fall within the buffer.

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