BLM Land Sale On Hold

Las Cruces – Thousands of acres will be up offered this week at the Bureau of Land Management's regional oil and gas lease sale, but some of the land near the Organ Mountains is being held back.

Fifty-one parcels will be available in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas and Kansas although the agency has pulled back a dozen parcels in New Mexico that are near a national park and proposed wilderness.

The agency says it's waiting for guidance from officials in Washington, D.C., on whether there should be a buffer between energy development and nearly 369,000 acres in southern New Mexico that the state's U.S. senators want to protect as wilderness and a national conservation area.

Conservationists had complained that four parcels were only seven miles from the proposed Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks wilderness area.

In northern New Mexico, the Hopi tribe of Arizona has concerns about eight parcels not far from Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.