Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will initiate a 20-year withdrawal of federal lands near Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, which will bar new oil and gas leases within this perimeter.

“Shutting down safe, reliable pipelines, eliminating thousands of technical jobs, and thwarting energy development at every turn is apparently not enough for President Biden and his administration, as now they are continuing their war on American energy by banning all new oil and gas leases near Chaco Canyon. Note that I said ‘near’ – that’s because the heritage area itself is already protected, and has been for more than 40 years. In the Biden administration’s desperate attempts to appease radical environmentalists, however, they are expanding that protected perimeter to miles outside the park, jeopardizing the ability of Navajo allottees to develop their mineral rights. Clearly President Biden prefers relying on our foreign adversaries for essential energy rather than domestic producers.” – House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

“Today’s latest land grab by the Biden administration will strip hundreds of Navajo Allottees of their rights to their lands by imposing an unscientific and overreaching buffer around Chaco Canyon. We heard from these allottees directly and urged the DOI to listen and reject this reckless policy. This action is another attack on America’s energy independence by the Biden administration. They are determined to shut down federal lands to all energy development while begging foreign countries for more oil. Americans reject this America Last policy.” – U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

“Another day, another attempt by Joe Biden to take our natural resources offline. American families are struggling with inflation and rising gas prices, yet Democrats in DC are dead set on furthering our reliance on foreign nations for our energy. Instead, we should be developing our own resources, including oil and gas, critical minerals, and more so Americans can get some relief and not be at the whim of our foreign adversaries.” – U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.)

Tribal members who own allotments containing mineral rights are being ignored and excluded from the Chaco Canyon process. The 24th Navajo Nation Council has passed legislation supportive of energy development in the region and opposes the establishment of a 10-mile buffer around Chaco Canyon.

In fiscal year 2013, the combined revenues for the four counties that are near the proposed Chaco Canyon buffer area was $198.2 million, as well as 31.5 percent of New Mexico’s General Fund. Placing this buffer area will decrease these revenues and negatively impact the economy of not only the area surrounding the proposed buffer area, but also the entire state of New Mexico.

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