Interior secretary steps into Utah public lands tug-of-war – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico 2021-04-08 09:25:54 –

This visit highlights her unique position as the first Native American to lead a sector with broad authority over tribal nations, energy development, and other uses of the country’s vast federal territories.

“She brought something that other cabinet secretaries didn’t bring, which means that her indigenous community will come to the room with her,” said Charmiller, a professor of environmental analysis at Pomona College. “.

Mr Miller said the outcome of the negotiations could reveal how the Biden administration would respond to other public land disputes and could affect subsequent conversations with other states on natural resources. Said.

Harland faces competing interests: Tribes across the United States welcome her confirmation as an opportunity to hear their voice and protect their land and rights, and Republican leaders call her a “stunt”. Develop and destroy thousands of jobs that could stunt oil and gas with President Joe Biden.

Pat Gonzales-Rogers, secretary general of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, said he was looking forward to Harland seeking the opinion of a tribe that his predecessor to the Trump administration called a “distant cry.”

He pointed out that Harland is familiar with the landscape-the Bears Years include many places of spiritual importance to Pueblo, New Mexico-but she is responsible for hearing from all sides. I admitted.

“She is the Secretary of the Interior of all of us, which also requires her to engage with other groups.”

The coalition wants the monument to return to its original size or expand further, but Gonzales Rogers said he hopes that Harland’s visit will at least be a step towards a more certain one.

“All parties want some degree of permanence and don’t want it to fluctuate between either the administration or political ideology,” he said.

Prominent Utah Republicans, including US Senator Mitt Romney and new governor Spencer Cox, expressed concern over the review under the Biden administration and demanded the involvement of state leaders. Harland is expected to meet with Vice-Governor Daedra Henderson and US Congressman Blake Moore during his visit.

Romney said the conference would give Haaland an opportunity to receive valuable feedback from local officials and residents.

“This visit is not a one-sided action, but a cooperation with Congress towards a permanent legislative solution for the boundaries and management of the monument that reflects the views of Utah, local and tribal leaders. I hope to emphasize the importance to the Secretary, “he said.

Former President Barack Obama declared Bears Years a national monument in 2016. This place was first designated at the specific request of the tribe.

The border was reduced by 85% under the Trump administration, but the Grand Staircase-Escalante was cut by almost half. This reduction paves the way for potential coal mines and oil and gas drilling on previously off-limits lands. Activities were restricted due to the power of the market.

Environmental, tribal, paleontological and outdoor recreational organizations are calling for the restoration of the original boundaries of the monument. The president claims that he has no legal authority to modify the monuments created by his predecessor. Republicans, on the other hand, said the Democratic president abused ancient law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt to specify a monument that went beyond what was needed to protect archaeological and cultural resources. Insisted.

Harland plays an important role in deciding what will come next.

She said she would follow Biden’s agenda, not herself, regarding oil and gas drilling, and told reporters at a briefing last week that her report to the president knew and understood the area. He said it would reflect conversations with people.

“It starts with listening,” she said, adding that she had been to Bears Years and knew “how special it was.”

The Biden administration said the decision to review the monument was part of an extensive plan to tackle climate change and overturn the Trump administration’s “harmful policies.”

But Mike Noel, a former state congressman who criticized the expansion of the monument, said it was a mistake for the administration to “go back and rub salt on the wounds” by overturning Mr. Trump’s decision.

He said not allowing local and state officials to make these decisions would only divide the parties further.

“When such a decision is made from Washington, DC, it’s never a good thing,” Noel said. “I think it’s done wrong, and I hope the new secretary admits it.”

Wilfred Elera Jr., chairman of the Governor’s Council of All Pueblo and former Governor of Laguna Pueblo, said places like Bears Years and Chaco Canyon in New Mexico have linked tribal members to their ancestors. I did. He said it was the council’s highest duty to protect them.

“Our current challenge-this threat to our cultural survival-is symbolized by many other areas that are as important as these two examples,” he said.


Eppolito is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues. Associated Press author Susan Montoya Brian of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Matthew Daily of Washington contributed to the story.

Interior secretary steps into Utah public lands tug-of-war Source link Interior secretary steps into Utah public lands tug-of-war

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