Washington, DC — Today the Biden administration announced a proposal to ban new oil and gas drilling within a 10 mile radius around Chaco National Historical Park. In response, Mary Kaszynski, Vet Voice Foundation’s Director of Government Relations, released the following statement:
“President Biden and Secretary Haaland have consistently expressed their commitment to listening -- to business owners, recreationists, Tribes, veterans, and community leaders. Today, they acted on what Tribes and others have been asking for for years and set in motion a proposal to safeguard the Greater Chaco Landscape, putting the needs and wishes of local communities ahead of the interests of oil and gas corporations.
"The Greater Chaco Landscape is both an ancient and historical site, sacred to Tribes and Pueblos, and an awe-inspiring landscape. It’s also the place that, due to plundering in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, led to the creation of the Antiquities Act of 1906 -- first employed to protect public lands by military veteran and president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt.
"Today President Biden and Secretary Haaland took a vital step toward providing much-deserved protections to the sacred sites, cultural resources, and Tribal communities of northern New Mexico. This should also be seen as another step by the Biden administration towards achieving the goals they put forth as part of their America the Beautiful initiative which calls for conserving thirty percent of our nation’s lands and waterways by 2030. We look forward to working with them to protect more irreplaceable resources and landscapes and confront the nature-crisis with the urgency that it requires.
"Veterans and military families have long-championed environmental stewardship and safeguarding our nation’s public lands. We understand the importance these spaces serve as -- for healing, reunion, and reflection. And we understand our responsibility to help protect them for present and future generations."