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Press Release

Committee Considers Legislation Nullifying Disastrous Chaco Canyon Mineral Withdrawal

Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on H.R. 4374, the Energy Opportunities for All Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.).

"The federal land withdrawal around Chaco Canyon is just the latest entry on a long list of anti-energy actions by the activist Biden Administration. This action will decrease domestic energy production, hurt our national security, and have a devastating economic impact on Navajo allotees who own mineral rights in the area and depend on these revenues. We must pass the Energy Opportunities for All Act to overturn this withdrawal, get shovels in the ground and restore economic opportunity to local communities." - Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Pete Stauber (R-Minn.)

"The Department of Interior’s decision to impose a 20-year energy and mineral withdrawal within a 10-mile radius of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park represents Mr. Biden’s latest effort to impose his radical agenda by locking up our nation’s land and water while further crippling domestic energy production and pushing the United States into greater dependence on foreign sources for energy. This decision will impact the Navajo Nation across all boards, from infrastructure to permits for tribal ranchers and jeopardizes private mineral rights while completely ignoring the many concerns raised by the Navajo Nation. There was no consultation and no answers provided to the Navajo’s many questions. H.R. 4373 rightfully negates Biden’s latest land grab. Our tribes deserve consultation for rules that will affect their daily lives for 20 years." - Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

"I’m proud to introduce this bill that would void the Biden Administration’s ban on mineral leasing that violates Native sovereignty and cripples their self-sufficiency. President Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland are shamelessly broadcasting their alleged support for Tribal communities while simultaneously implementing a chokehold on Tribal revenue and economic prosperity. I will continue to push this Administration to respect Tribal sovereignty as this bill moves through the legislative process." - U.S. Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.)


In June 2023, the Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a Public Land Order officially imposing a 10-mile buffer zone around Chaco Culture National Historical Park, thereby preventing oil and natural gas leasing in the area for the next 20 years. The withdrawal would prevent 233 horizontal wells and the production of 86 million barrels of oil and 25.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas, costing the federal government $51 million annually in lost royalties, or $1 billion over 20 years. Navajo mineral owners, who rely on income from responsible energy development, would lose an estimated $194.3 million over that 20-year period. 

During his entire time in office, President Biden has repeatedly attacked American energy and minerals. The first two years of the Biden administration leased fewer acres for oil-and-gas drilling offshore and onshore than any other administration dating back to the end of World War II. Additionally, in President Biden's first year in office, oil production on tribal lands experienced its first decrease in several years, dropping 11 percent from 101.8 million barrels in 2020 to 90.8 million barrels, and down again in 2022 to 80.8 million barrels. The Biden administration’s actions have resulted in energy prices increasing by 37.2 percent, a larger increase than any of the last seven presidents. Last year, nearly 34 percent of American households reduced or skipped basic expenses to pay energy bills.

Numerous allegations have also surfaced around DOI Secretary Deb Haaland's conflicts of interest regarding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Committee Republicans sent a letter conducting oversight and requesting documents on June 5, 2023, and have still received no information from DOI.

The Energy Opportunities for All Act would nullify the mineral withdrawal in New Mexico and restore decision-making authority to the communities impacted the most. To learn more, click here.