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Biden Orders 20-Year Ban on Oil, Gas Drilling Around Tribal Site in New Mexico

The Biden administration has ordered the withdrawal of hundreds of square miles of land in New Mexico from further oil and gas production for the next 20 years. The affected area is located on the outskirts of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, which holds significant cultural and spiritual importance to tribal communities. The order applies to public lands and associated mineral rights within a 10-mile radius of the park. Existing leases and privately, state-, or tribal-owned entities are not impacted. Chaco Culture National Historical Park is considered a hub of Indigenous civilization, and the decision aims to protect the sacred site and honor commitments to Indian Country. However, the plan has raised concerns among some tribal communities, such as the Navajo Nation, due to potential economic impacts and restrictions on public land. The withdrawal is expected to result in fewer wells being drilled and aims to protect thousands of archaeological sites in the region.

Photo Credit: Zbynek Burival

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