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US: Oil, gas leases on hold around New Mexico's Chaco park

National Park Service

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of the Interior says oil and gas leasing within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico will be prohibited for the next two years. The temporary moratorium announced Monday will allow time for the agency to consider a proposal that would withdraw federal land holdings from development in northwestern New Mexico for 20 years. The announcement comes as environmentalists, some tribes and Democratic politicians pressure Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to take administrative action to protect areas outside the park's boundaries. Haaland is the first Native American to hold a cabinet position and is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico.