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Native Americans block Interior Sec. Haaland from entering event celebrating oil ban

Protesters said the ban on the oil leases is a big financial loss to surrounding, low-income communities.

Published: June 12, 2023 12:12pm

Updated: June 12, 2023 12:14pm

Biden administration officials were forced to temporarily postpone and relocate a weekend event to celebrate a ban on New Mexico fossil fuel development, after Native Americans blocked an access road and told officials to "go home" and stop "trespassing."

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Navajo Nation group shut down the entrance of Chaco Culture National Historical Park on Sunday to prevent Interior Secretary Deb Haaland from leading the event celebrating a newly-enacted, 20-year ban on oil leasing, covering hundreds of square miles of New Mexico land.

The event was moved to a nearby location where Haaland said what had transpired was "less than ideal."

The ban – implemented June 2 – ends natural gas leasing within 10 miles of Chaco Canyon's World Heritage site, a move landowners were adamantly against, arguing that doing so negatively impacts them and surrounding low-income communities who benefit from the leasing.

According to the Associated Press, the administration "ignored" attempts by the natives to reach a compromise.

Power The Future President Daniel Turner said the Navajo community handed the administration "a much-needed dose of reality."

"The decision to cut off their land from oil and gas development was opposed by the landowners and the leadership of the Navajo Nation, yet the green agenda always comes first for Biden and Haaland," Turner said. "We are grateful to these landowners for popping the distorted DC bubble where Joe Biden and Deb Haaland think they can ignore the voice of the people.”

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