Thousands of protests submitted against New Mexico oil sale

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Thousands of protests have been lodged with U.S. land managers in opposition of next month's oil and natural gas lease sale despite a decision to remove from the offering several parcels near a national park in northwestern New Mexico.

Environmentalists say they turned in 33,000 protests to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday, the last day of the protest period.

It will be up to the federal agency to review the information ahead of the March 28 sale. The agency earlier this month deferred nine parcels that were within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Aside from ongoing criticism over development in the Chaco region, environmentalists also voiced concerns about parcels up for bid near Carlsbad Caverns National Monument in southeastern New Mexico.