Joe Biden Plans a 20-Year Drilling Ban Near Chaco Canyon During Energy Crisis

OKAWVILLE, IL - OCTOBER 10: Jerry McKinney (L) and Jeremy Beck work a drilling rig as they search for oil for Houston, Texas based Vintage Exploration in a corn field October 9, 2004 near Okawville, Illinois. High oil prices and low finding cost in the region which has relatively shallow …
Scott Olson/Getty

President Joe Biden will propose a 20-year drilling ban for oil and gas in the areas in and surrounding Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, according to reports, despite soaring energy prices in the United States.

The president plans to announce his plan during the White House tribal nations summit on Monday.

Biden has already suspended leases for drilling on federal lands, but his latest plan would remove any drilling from within a ten-mile radius around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, according to the Washington Post.

The park is in the home state of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a deeply personal issue for the former environmental activist.

“Chaco Canyon is a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors lived, worked and thrived in that high desert community,” Haaland said to the New York Times.

The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association told the New York Times there did not appear to be a “scientific or environmental rationale” for a drilling ban outside the park.

“No one is saying that we want to develop inside the park or that we need to be directly inside its boundaries,” New Mexico Oil & Gas Association spokesman Robert McEntyre said. “But the 10-mile number appears to be arbitrary.”

Under Donald Trump, the Interior Department released a plan to allow drilling of more than 2,300 oil and gas wells in the area.

But the Biden administration has made it clear that even areas surrounding national parks will be shut down to oil drilling, if environmental activists believe it is necessary.

 

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