October 25, 2019
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Support H.R. 1373, the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act; H.R. 2181, the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act of 2019; and H.R. 823, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works to turn environmental values into national priorities. Each year, LCV publishes the National Environmental Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of Congress on environmental legislation. The Scorecard is distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide, and the media.
We urge you to vote YES on H.R. 1373, the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, which would permanently ban mineral extraction in 1 million acres north and south of Grand Canyon National Park; YES on H.R. 2181, the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act of 2019, which would establish a 10-mile buffer zone from oil and gas development around Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Chaco Canyon); and YES on H.R. 823, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act (CORE Act) which would establish new wilderness, conservation, and recreation sites in the state of Colorado.
The Grand Canyon is one of our country’s most iconic landscapes and the ancestral home to the Havasupai, Hualapai, Hopi, and the Navajo, who have protected this sacred land for hundreds of years and continue to rely on this land for sustenance and safe drinking water. As a region already coping with the toxic legacy of decades of uranium mining, we must protect and cherish these lands from further desecration. H.R. 1373 would permanently withdraw nearly 1 million acres north and south of the Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining and other mineral extraction activities to prevent further exploitation of these lands; protect tribal nations and their sacred places; and secure the lands, water, and ecosystems of the Grand Canyon from further deadly pollution.
Located in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico, Chaco Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to ancient indigenous structures and artifacts sacred to many tribes including the Pueblo People. Currently, about 90% of the San Juan Basin has been leased for oil and gas development leaving only a few undeveloped lands in the region: the areas surrounding Chaco Canyon. In the past decade, indigenous communities and leaders in New Mexico and Arizona have been sounding the alarm on the encroachment of oil and gas drilling getting closer and closer to Chaco Canyon and the possible destruction of ancestral structures. H.R. 2181 would create a buffer zone around Chaco Canyon by permanently withdrawing lands within a ten 10-mile radius of the park to protect this historical and ancestral site from oil and gas development and mineral extraction.
The Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act would protect approximately 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado by establishing new wilderness areas within existing federally-owned lands rich in history and wildlife habitats, vital for watersheds that provide clean water to communities across Colorado, and ripe with diverse opportunities for the recreation economy. The bill would also protect 200,000 acres from future oil and gas development and safeguard existing outdoor recreation sites. Finally, it would designate Camp Hale as a National Historical Landscape to preserve, promote, and honor the legacy of the 10th Mountain Division of the Army.
Together, these crucial bills would protect some of our country’s greatest natural treasures in the Southwest; cultural and ancestral lands for Native American communities; and establish new wilderness, conservation, and recreation sites in the state of Colorado for future generations to enjoy. For these reasons, LCV strongly urges you to support H.R. 1373, H.R. 2181 and H.R. 823 and to oppose any amendments that undermine these bills. We will strongly consider including vote(s) on these bills in the 2019 Scorecard. If you need more information, please call my office at (202) 785-8683 and ask to speak with a member of our government affairs team.