Chacoan Outliers - Erasing History
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which governs land use
throughout much of the Greater Chaco Landscape, has estimated that a combination of
horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, enables profitable extraction of oil and gas from tight
shale deposits beneath Chaco Canyon and it's environs. The BLM’s
Farmington office estimates about 40 percent of the nearly 10,000 additional wells
forecast for the basin will be drilled near Chaco Canyon.
The BLM acknowledges that despite the precautions energy companies are
obligated to take, the likelihood of damage to ancient sites will
increase with more roads, traffic, workers, construction — and later, new service roads can make the countryside around Chaco more accessible to
vandals and looters. All that, in the words of an agency analysis, will
probably cause “a general downward trend of site integrity and
scientific potential.” The agency, nonetheless, has rejected requests to
postpone a March 2018 lease auction.
With over 40,000 wells in the Greater Chaco Landscape many Chacoan outliers are currently adjacent to well operations. Click to see and hear The Sound of Sacred Sites.
“Chaco left no written language. The history is written in the
landscape,” said Acoma Pueblo archaeologist Theresa Pasqual. “When we
disturb the landscape, we erase the pages of the history book.”
be strong, be safe, Carlan