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.
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.