Tribes push to protect sacred New Mexico site from drilling

ACOMA PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — Native American leaders are banding together to pressure U.S. officials to ban oil and gas exploration around a sacred tribal site that features massive stone structures and other remnants of an ancient civilization.

Creating a formal buffer around Chaco Culture National Historical Park has been a long-running issue.

But tribes face the Trump administration’s pro-drilling stance as they push for further protections surrounding the world heritage site. They’re meeting Thursday at Acoma Pueblo, a Native American community in New Mexico.

Federal officials are revamping the management plan for the area around Chaco. They repeatedly have denied drilling leases within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the park.

Tribes, environmentalists and archaeologists have raised concerns about the potential effects on culturally significant sites like ceremonial structures called kivas outside the park’s boundaries.

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