Biden admin proposes 50-year drilling, mining ban for thousands of acres of land in New Mexico

The ban would affect more than 4,000 acres within Sandoval County.

Published: September 18, 2023 8:59pm

The Department of the Interior on Monday announced a proposal to bar oil and gas development in large swathes of New Mexico in a bid to protect sensitive lands that some Indian tribes consider sacred.

The ban would affect more than 4,000 acres within Sandoval County, and aims to "safeguard sacred Tribal lands, boost important local recreation opportunities, and support wildlife habitat connectivity," the agency stated. Prohibitions would last for 50 years but not impact existing development rights.

"Today we’re responding to calls from Tribes, elected leaders, and community members who want to see these public lands protected. We look forward to hearing more from the public to inform decisions about how activities, like gravel mining, may impact these lands, including the important cultural and natural resources," DOI Secretary Deb Haaland said. 

The proposal will not take effect until the conclusion of a 90-day public comment period, which began Monday. The Bureau of Land Management further plans to hold a public meeting in November on the matter.

At issue are four separate land tracts within the Placitas area, which members of the Pueblo consider to be sacred. The areas contain "known archaeological resources."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

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