- Associated Press - Thursday, January 26, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Bureau of land Management has auctioned oil and gas drilling rights in northwest New Mexico despite protests from Native Americans and environmentalists.

The rights for drilling on 843 acres sold for $3 million on Wednesday. The sale of the parcels had been postponed on three occasions since 2012.

Critics contend the parcels are too close to Chaco Culture National Historical Park and that development in an expansive stretch they refer to as “the greater Chaco area” could damage cultural resources.

BLM spokeswoman Donna Hummel says the parcels are all outside of a 10-mile buffer that has been established around the park.

She also said the agency will not release the parcels to the winning bidders until several protests filed in connection with the sale are resolved. The names of the winning bidders will not be released until the payment process is complete.

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This story has been corrected to show that the parcels are not within Chaco Canyon or the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.


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