Haaland Hit With Ethics Complaint After Stripping Oil And Gas Opportunities From Navajo Nation
- August 18, 2023
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was hit with an ethics complaint Thursday over her controversial decision to choke off hundreds of thousands of acres in New Mexico from oil and gas development.
The government watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) filed the complaint with the Interior Department inspector general’s office, citing the secretary’s prior activism to eliminate opportunities for exploration in the same area.
“In June 2, 2023, Secretary Haaland withdrew public lands from future fuel leases within the Greater Chaco area,” read the complaint. “Somah Haaland, Secretary Haaland’s child, is a prominent member of an activist organization that lobbied federal officials seeking to restrict oil and gas leasing in the area.”
Somah Haaland works for the Pueblo Action Alliance (PAA), an Albuquerque-based climate group. Prior to Deb Haaland’s cabinet appointment, the secretary gave testimony to a film narrated by Somah that opposed drilling in the area.
“Given her past statements, participation in this film, and her child’s active role in lobbying against oil and gas development in the region, reasonable observers could question Secretary Haaland’s impartiality in the matter,” wrote PPT.