fbpx
facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1
 
The All Pueblo Council of Governors is seeking an extension in the 90-day comment period to protect the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

FARMINGTON, N.M. — With the federal social distancing order in place because of the COVID-19, the All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) is seeking an extension for the 90-day comment period to protect the Chaco Culture National Historical Park that is under threat by the Trump administration.

Last month, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management Farmington Field Office and Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Regional Office released a draft Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA) with a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), triggering a 90-day public comment period ending May 28th.

Given drastic change in normal lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the All Pueblo Council of Governors says its ability to protect Chaco protection efforts has been significantly reduced.

“[The All Pueblo Council of Governors] and its member Pueblos play a critical role in the RMPA process, and meaningful consultation is required by multiple federal statutes and executive order. Currently, at the direction of the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and the recommendation of New Mexico Executive and Public Health Orders, many Pueblos and Tribes have closed non-essential tribal government operations and redirected time and resources to providing critical emergency and community services. 

“For many, this means staff who would be directly working on federal administrative processes related to the RMPA, including our Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and environmental department staff, are not available,” Chairman J. Michael Chavarria, All Pueblo Council of Governors said.

Last week, the  issued a letter to DOI Secretary Bernhardt requesting DOI act immediately to reassess tribal consultation and public involvement timetables and deadlines associated with the RMPA. In the letter, APCG urged DOI to take the following actions:

  • Extend the 90-day public comment period for the draft RMPA and associated environmental impact statement by at least 120-days and postpone any related meetings or calls set to take place in the near future;
  • Extend deadlines set related to the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Process, in particular the completion of the draft programmatic agreement, and postpone any related meetings or calls set to take place in the near future; and
  • Reevaluate deadlines in light of any additional changes to federal and state public health orders and guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The APCG was not alone in its call for an extension. The New Mexico Congressional Delegation, environmental and archaeological conservation organizations sent similar letters calling for extension of the comment period by at least 120 days.

More Stories Like This

Biden Nominates Salish & Kootenai Tribal Attorney Danna Jackson for Federal Bench
A Conversation With Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan: What We Can Celebrate Around the State
Return to the Heart Foundation Gives 44 Micro-Grants to Native Women Leaders
Indigenous Journalists Association President Addresses Members of the UNPFII
Inter-Tribal Council Passes Resolution Urging FCC to Establish Specific Event Code for Missing and Endangered Persons

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

 
About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].