New Mexico

Oil and Gas Drilling: New Mexico

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Oil and Gas Drilling: New Mexico
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Gosia Allison-Kosior

New Mexico wildlands, rivers and cultural sites are Too Wild to Drill

Rampant oil and gas development threatens New Mexico’s cultural heritage, wild landscapes and rare ecosystems, from the Chihuahuan Desert to Chaco Canyon.

We are working to ensure oil and gas drilling is kept away from wildlands, sensitive habitat and important Native American archaeological sites and prevented from polluting the air and water of nearby communities. By doing this, we can help preserve New Mexico’s ecology, economy and abundant recreation opportunities.

Why these places matter

Lands at risk include world renowned archaeological sites, important pronghorn and raptor habitat and some of the most biologically rich places in North America.

3rd most biodiverse desert
The Chihuahuan Desert is the 3rd most biodiverse desert on earth.
1,000+ plant species
The amount believed unique to the Chihuahuan desert alone.
Archaeological sites
1,000-year old sites include are at risk in Chaco Canyon.

The threat

Wildlands and significant cultural sites alike are imperiled by drilling and energy infrastructure throughout New Mexico.

In the southeast, the Chihuahuan Desert Rivers’ thriving ecosystem, containing key habitat for fish and wildlife, is critically threatened by one of the country’s biggest oil and gas booms. Nearby, the wild grasslands of Otero Mesa, which features large expanses of unprotected wilderness-quality lands, has been targeted by the oil, gas and mining industries for years. Up north, Chaco Canyon, a rich source of Ancestral Puebloan history, is being crowded by oil and gas leases on neighboring land. Those drilling projects, with their noise, light and air pollution, also threaten some of the best stargazing spots in America.

Oil and gas development can be devastating to these places. From the Chihuahuan Desert Rivers to Otero Mesa and Chaco Canyon, we work throughout the state to influence management plans so that drilling is kept away from important habitat and cultural sites and any development is carried out in a way that avoids the most sensitive areas.

What we're doing

  1. Raising awareness

    Through our “Too Wild to Drill” campaign and other efforts, we are working to raise awareness about the risks from energy development on sensitive lands and making the case for increased protections.

  2. Collaborating with partners

    We work with the Bureau of Land Management and local communities to develop land use plans that promote a balanced approach to energy development, mitigate climate change impacts and protect public lands resources.

  3. Fighting against drilling projects

    We fight destructive oil and gas leasing and drilling proposals in sensitive wildlands and cultural areas.

What you can do
Tell officials the Chihuahuan Desert Rivers are simply "Too Wild to Drill."
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