Energy Boom in West Threatens Indian Artifacts





The dusty documentation of the Anasazi Indians a thousand years ago, from their pit houses and kivas to the observatories from which they charted the heavens, lies thick in the ground near here at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

Or so archaeologists believe. Less than a fifth of the park has been surveyed for artifacts because of limited federal money.

Much more definite is that a giant new project to drill for carbon dioxide is gathering steam on the park’s eastern flank. Miles of green pipe snake along the roadways, as trucks ply the dirt roads from a big gas compressor station. About 80 percent of the monument’s 164,000 acres is leased for energy development.

The consequences of energy exploration for wildlife and air quality have long been contentious in unspoiled corners of the West. But now with the urgent push for even more energy, there are new worries that history and prehistory — much of it still unexplored or unknown — could be lost.



comments powered by Disqus