Chaco Canyon oil rights sell for $3 million despite protests

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The Bureau of land Management has auctioned oil and gas drilling rights in northwest New Mexico despite protest from Native Americans and environmentalists.

The rights for drilling on 843 acres in the Chaco Canyon sold for $3 million on Wednesday. The sale of the parcels had been postponed on three occasions since 2012.

BLM spokeswoman Donna Hummel says the agency will not issue the parcels to the winning bidders until several protests filed in connection with the sale are resolved. The names of the winning bidders will not be released until the payment process is complete.

The sale faced significant opposition from environmental groups and members of the Navajo Nation, who say the area of Chaco Canyon National Historic Park has particular significance for Native communities.