No group of Americans has created and cared more about preserving what we inherited than the tribal nations. We have to continue to stand up for the dignity of sovereignty of tribal nations. — President Joe Biden
No group of Americans has created and cared more about preserving what we inherited than the tribal nations. We have to continue to stand up for the dignity of sovereignty of tribal nations. — President Joe Biden
Biden Plans to Bar New Drilling Around Chaco Canyon in New Mexico
President Biden announced on Monday that his administration was moving to block new federal oil and gas leasing within a 10-mile radius around Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, one of the nation’s oldest and most culturally significant Native American sites.

The move, announced at a tribal nations summit meeting at the White House, dovetails two of Mr. Biden’s top policy priorities: working to limit climate change and addressing injustices against Native Americans.

It also generated significant pushback from Republicans and from New Mexico’s oil and gas industry.

As Mr. Biden pushes his ambitious climate agenda, he has sought to highlight both the role of Native Americans in protecting the nation’s landscape, and the disproportionate impact of climate change on tribal populations.

“No group of Americans has created and cared more about preserving what we inherited than the tribal nations,” he said on Monday. “We have to continue to stand up for the dignity of sovereignty of tribal nations.”

At the White House meeting with tribal leaders on Monday, Mr. Biden also signed an executive order directing four federal agencies to create a strategy to improve public safety and justice for Native Americans and to address the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous people.


... The administration’s move to protect Chaco Canyon and the area around it, known as Chaco Culture National Historical Park, came after years of tribal requests.

It followed Mr. Biden’s decision in October to restore and expand protections to Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante, national monuments in Utah that are sacred to Native Americans and that had been opened to mining and drilling by the Trump administration.

The Chaco Canyon park, an area of roughly 30,000 acres in the high desert mesas of northwest New Mexico, was established in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is home to a vast network of pre-Columbian ruins. Between the ninth and 13th centuries, the area was home to a large, complex society of Pueblo culture, with multiple settlements of multistory houses and sacred sites. But for the past decade, Pueblo and other Native groups have expressed concerns that oil and gas development was encroaching on the borders of the park.

While Congress has enacted some short-term drilling bans around the park, there has been no long-term or permanent policy to block drilling at its edges.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American cabinet secretary, will enact the new plan to protect the area. Ms. Haaland, a former environmental activist, is a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo, a sovereign nation near Albuquerque.

“Chaco Canyon is a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors lived, worked and thrived in that high desert community,” Ms. Haaland said. “Now is the time to consider more enduring protections for the living landscape that is Chaco, so that we can pass on this rich cultural legacy to future generations. I value and appreciate the many tribal leaders, elected officials and stakeholders who have persisted in their work to conserve this special area.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/climate/biden-bans-drilling-chaco-canyon.html