The Biden administration proposed to block of thousands of acres from future oil drilling or mining in northern New Mexico in an effort to protect Native American lands.
According to the Department of the Interior (DOI), the proposal would ban new mining claims and oil and gas development across more than 4,200 acres in Sandoval County, New Mexico, located north of Albuquerque. If finalized and implemented, the action would remain in place for up to 50 years.
“Today we’re responding to call from Tribes, elected leaders, and community members who want to see these public lands protected,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “We look forward to hearing more from the public to inform decisions about how activities, like gravel mining, may impact these lands, including the important cultural and natural resources.”
“We recognize the importance of the Placitas area, both for Tribal Nations and for the local community who visit and recreate in this area,” added Melanie Barnes, the state director of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) New Mexico office.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, speaks during a news conference on July 22, 2021, in Denver. (AP