New Mexico Indigenous leaders criticize oil and gas industry in forum

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland speaks during a forum on federal oil and gas leasing hosted by the Interior Department, March 25, 2021 via zoom.

Tribal communities from New Mexico and across the nation labeled the federal government’s past oil and gas polices as “environmental racism” amid a lack of consultation with Indigenous groups in decisions that could be devastating to sacred lands.

The arguments came at the opening of a Thursday forum held by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on its ongoing review of the federal fossil fuel program amid a temporary halt of new oil and gas leases enacted via executive order by President Biden.

Environmental groups also expressed concerns alongside the Tribal groups during the forum for pollution brought on by fossil fuel development in both the northwest San Juan Basin and the southeast Permian Basin region. 

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