In March, US authorities plan to move forward with the sale of oil and gas leases that include land near Chaco Culture National Historical Park and sites sacred to Native American tribes.
The sale comes as tribal leaders and environmental groups have criticized the government for pushing ahead with preparations for energy leases and drilling permit reviews.
Officials decided to push back the lease sale to accommodate a public protest period. The Bureau of Land Management confirmed on its website it would accept comments starting February 11 with the sale scheduled for March 28.
Depending on what happens in the protest period, it’s possible the land could be withdrawn, including areas near Chaco, a world heritage site that archaeologists believe was of religious significance.
More than 50 areas in Oklahoma and New Mexico will be up for sale.