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US agency extends comment period on Chaco proposal

Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico.
Eric Draper
AP Photo
Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico

Land managers are extending the comment period on a proposal that would prohibit oil and gas development on federal land surrounding a national park in New Mexico that Native American tribes consider culturally significant.

The Bureau of Land Management made the announcement Friday, saying the deadline for comments is being pushed back to May 6.

Two more public meetings also have been scheduled. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has proposed withdrawing nearly 550 square miles of federal land holdings within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, making the area off-limits to oil and gas leasing for 20 years.