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US to grant more time to consider New Mexico drilling plan

National Park Service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt says he'll extend the public comment period on a contested plan that will guide oil and gas drilling and other development in an area of New Mexico that includes a national park and locations important to Native American tribes.

A coalition of tribal leaders along with the state's congressional delegation, environmentalists and archaeologists had formally requested an extension weeks ago. They've pointed to the disproportionate effect the coronavirus outbreak has had on the Navajo Nation and other Native American communities.

Bernhardt tells the Albuquerque Journal that he'll like extend the comment period 120 days. The deadline was May 28.