- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Federal land managers in New Mexico are planning their first online oil and natural gas lease sale later this month.

The Bureau of Land Management announced the Jan. 25 sale on Wednesday. Under the new system, each parcel will have its own unique open bidding period and the entire bidding process is expected to last three hours.

The parcels include more than 842 acres in Sandoval and Rio Arriba counties.

Environmental groups, Navajo tribal members and others are planning to protest the sale, saying the parcels are near Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Federal officials say the land is beyond a 10-mile buffer around the park. For example, one parcel is more than 15 miles from the Pueblo Pintada area while the main park boundary is about 19 miles from the nearest parcel.

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