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Senators Push for Hearing on Chaco Protection Legislation

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Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are pushing for a Senate hearing on legislation that would withdraw federal holdings from oil and gas development around Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The legislation was reintroduced earlier this year as environmentalists and Native American tribes seek to make permanent a 10-mile buffer around the park.

Supporters say it would protect culturally significant sites located beyond Chaco's boundaries.

Most of the land surrounding the park belongs to the Navajo Nation or are allotments owned by individual Navajos. The legislation would not affect development of those lands.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich are asking that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee take up the bill at its next meeting. Once the committee acts, the full Senate could consider the measure.

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