- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The leaders of several Navajo communities are asking federal officials to cancel an upcoming oil and natural gas lease sale over concerns about the protection of cultural resources in northwestern New Mexico.

Nine Navajo chapter presidents met with the Bureau of Land Management in Santa Fe on Tuesday as dozens of supporters turned in petitions and letters in opposition to the Jan. 25 lease sale.

The four parcels up for bid include more than 842 acres that opponents say are part of the “greater Chaco area” that surrounds Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Land managers say the land falls outside of a 10-mile buffer around the park.

The period to protest the sale ended in early December. The agency has yet to make a decision on the seven formal protests that were submitted before the deadline.

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