Recommendations Target US Oil, Gas Leasing Across The West

Aug 24, 2021

An Indigenous leader from New Mexico and former U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt are calling on the federal government to overhaul its oil and gas leasing program to ensure the protection of cultural resources. 

In this Wednesday, May 19, 2021, photo, pump jacks extract oil from beneath the ground on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation east of New Town, North Dakota. On oil well pads carved from the wheat fields around Lake Sakakawea, hundreds of pump jacks slowly bob to extract 100 million barrels of crude annually from a reservation shared by three Native American tribes.
Credit AP Photo/Matthew Brown, file


Acoma Pueblo Gov. Brian Vallo and Babbitt highlighted the recommendations outlined in a report released Tuesday that looks at government leasing policies across the West. The recommendations are focused on how land managers can incorporate tribal expertise into decision-making and better protect places such Utah’s Bears Ears region and land surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. Besides planning for future development, Vallo said, previous damage also needs to be addressed.