Chaco Culture National Historical Park
The U.S. Interior Department announced on Friday that it would not issue new oil and gas or mining leases on federal lands within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.
The decision comes as a result of a public lands order from the department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which will remain in effect for the next 20 years.
“Efforts to protect the Chaco landscape have been ongoing for decades, as Tribal communities have raised concerns about the impacts that new development would have on areas of deep cultural connection,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
“Today marks an important step in fulfilling President Biden’s commitments to Indian Country by protecting Chaco Canyon, a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors have called this place home since time immemorial,” Haaland added.
The Federal Register published a notice of the proposed ban from the Bureau of Land Management in January 2022.
During the 120-day public comment period that followed the proposal’s publication, the BLM held six public meetings, including gatherings in Farmington, Nageezi, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. The agency received an overwhelming response, with over 110,000 verbal and written comments submitted during this extensive public outreach and review period.
Not all members of the tribe supported the ban, according to OANN.
The Navajo Nation has raised concerns about the moratorium. The Navajo tribe complained in May that its people would lose a significant source of revenue if the ban were to go into effect.
In 2021, then-President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer of the Navajo Nation wrote to Joe Biden to express their concern about the “devastating impact” the moratorium would have on tribal citizens.
On Friday, the current Nation’s President, Buu Nygren, stated on Twitter:
“Today, Speaker of the 25th Navajo Nation Crystalyne Curley & I, issued a statement denouncing Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s decision to impose a 10-mile freeze around Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Her decision undermines our sovereignty and self-determination.”
“Despite the Navajo Nation’s position, Secretary Haaland proceeded to issue this decision one day after the Navajo Nation commemorated our Treaty Day, which recognizes the Treaty of 1868 and the start of the government-to-government relationship between the Navajo Nation and the United States. The Secretary’s action undermines our sovereignty and self-determination,” Nygren said in a statement.
He is calling the Biden regime to reconsider its decision.
Today, Speaker of the 25th Navajo Nation Crystalyne Curley & I, issued a statement denouncing Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s decision to impose a 10-mile freeze around Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Her decision undermines our sovereignty and self-determination. pic.twitter.com/akD9wJHCN0
— Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren (@BuuVanNygren) June 2, 2023
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