House committee raises concern over U.S. Interior Secretary and activist group

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Biden Administration took major steps to protect the greater Chaco area last week. 

Now, that action has a House committee taking a closer look at former New Mexico Congresswoman and current Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. 

A letter was sent to the Office of U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on Monday. It’s signed by 11 Republican members of the House Committee on Natural Resources. 

In the letter, members raise concerns about Haaland’s ties to activist group “Pueblo Action Alliance.” 

Haaland’s daughter is reportedly employed by the activist group which has called for a ban on new oil, gas, and mineral leases within the greater Chaco area.

Members also raised concerns about Haaland’s husband’s employment by the Pueblo of Laguna. 

The letter comes after the Interior Department under Haaland’s direction announced a 20-year ban on new oil and gas leases within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. 

Friday’s announcement only applies to new leases, and only on federal land. It’s an expansion of a two-year ban put in place by the Biden Administration in 2021. 

“With these protections we will continue to ensure that visitors from around the world experience the wonder within these boundaries that Pueblo in Navajo communities can continue to pray in the spiritual place, and families living in this area will know that the Department of the Interior is consistently working to ensure that families can breathe clean air,” said Haaland in 2021. 

In their letter, the Republican House members say Haaland may have violated ethics rules. They’re asking Haaland’s office to hand over paperwork related to ethics pledges signed by Haaland by June 26.

They’re also asking for documents related to communication Haaland may have had with her daughter, and husband related to the PAA and oil, gas, and mineral leases, and the Ppueblo of Laguna. 

The members set a deadline of March 16 for those documents. 

In the meantime, Haaland is set to visit Chaco Canyon this Sunday to celebrate the 20-year ban on new leases.