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Biden proposes 20-year ban on new oil drilling near Native American sites


In the coming weeks, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management will begin an agency process to effectively ban new oil and gas leases on federal lands within a 10-mile radius around the National Historic Park. Chaco culture. The park is just one of 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.

Home Secretary Deb Haaland said: “The Chaco Gorge is a sacred place of profound significance for the indigenous peoples whose ancestors lived, worked and thrived in that high desert community, Home Secretary Deb Haaland said. “Now is the time to consider more permanent protections for the living landscape that is Chaco, so we can pass on this rich cultural heritage to future generations.”

Biden announced the move as he hosted the tribal states summit at the White House on Monday. The Biden administration’s proposed drilling ban highlights key parts of the president’s climate agenda, including environmental justice.

“These attempts, to use the word my father would use a lot, are a matter of dignity,” Biden said Monday. “It’s the foundation of our national partnership.”

Additionally, Biden announced his administration will work with tribes to “comprehensively incorporate tribal ecological knowledge” into the federal government’s approach to combating climate change. Biden said his administration is the first to work with tribes in this way.

The process of stopping new oil and gas drilling on land will take a long time; The Bureau of Land Management said it plans to publish a notice in the Federal Register soon to kick off the two-year separation process for federal lands around Chaco Canyon. During this time, the office will conduct an environmental analysis and seek public comment on the oil and gas moratorium.

Additionally, the New Mexico State Bureau of Lands has also issued a moratorium on new state mineral leases within 10 miles of the historic park. Officials said the new federal proposal would not apply to individual Indian parcels of land or minerals in the area owned by private, state and tribal entities.

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BLM director Tracy Stone-Manning said: “Today’s announcement has been many years in the making. “We look forward to starting a broader regional conversation with many who are deeply interested in the Greater Chaco landscape about how we can best manage the unique cultural and natural values ​​of the site.” this special point.”

Native American tribes in New Mexico and Arizona have raised concerns about oil and gas developments in the area that threaten to threaten cultural sites and sacred lands near Chaco Canyon. But the move is expected to attract complaints from the oil and gas industry. New Mexico is an oil and gas rich state, particularly in the Permian basin in the southeastern part of the state.

Biden’s actions on Chaco Canyon come after the president also restored protections for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in Utah – national monuments of historic significance to the Native American tribes. However, other tribes in the Midwest harshly criticized The Biden White House for not stopping the Route 3 pipeline, which would carry black sand oil from Canada and pass through tribal lands in Minnesota.
While Biden and the Interior are moving to protect this site, there are still bigger questions about government strategy around oil and gas drilling. The Interior Department has been working on a major report evaluating the federal government’s oil and gas leasing program for several months. Originally slated to launch in the summer, there is still little sign of when the report will drop – to the approval of members of Congress.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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