FARMINGTON, NM -- Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held two public meetings regarding the withdrawal of 325,000 federal oil and natural gas acres within a ten-mile buffer of Chaco Culture National Historical National Park. Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma attended both sessions to provide support to the Navajo Nation’s proposed five-mile buffer, a better option that would balance the goals of greater protection of cultural resources while enabling Navajo mineral owners to develop their energy resources and support their families.
“The session was attended by many members of the Navajo Nation who live near Chaco park. They expressed grave concern that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s action to withdraw federal leases would impair their ability to develop the energy they own and provide for their families,” said Sgamma. “Despite the narrative from the department that only federal leases will be affected, companies are not able to develop isolated parcels of individual Navajo land adjacent to off-limits federal lands. The Navajo Nation Council has passed legislation to reduce the size of the ten-mile buffer to five-miles, a balanced compromise that respects the cultural ties of the distant Pueblo peoples while still protecting the livelihoods of local Navajos.”
See the letter from Navajo President Jonathan Nez to President Biden. Approximately 5,500 Navajo mineral owners rely on over $6 million a year in royalties to support their families.
BLM is holding another online public meeting today at 6:00 p.m. MT. For more information and register to attend, visit https://www.blm.gov/press-release/blm-host-public-meetings-proposed-public-land-withdrawal-surrounding-chaco-culture
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