Udall, Interior deputy secretary tour Chaco Canyon area

CHACO CANYON  — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says a hike through Chaco Canyon marks an important first step toward ensuring that oil and gas development in the region is carefully planned.

The New Mexico Democrat was joined Monday by Interior Deputy Secretary Mike Connor.

After touring areas beyond the park where drilling is proposed, they met with residents and local officials with the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The visit comes after Udall sent a letter to the Interior Department in which he highlighted constituent concerns development and potential effects on archaeological sites in the region.

Udall has said federal leasing activities should take into consideration the cultural, historical and ecological values of the area. Chaco Canyon is designated as a World Heritage site.

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