Haaland smacked with ethics complaint over Chaco Canyon land grab

Haaland smacked with ethics complaint over Chaco Canyon land grab

  • August 22, 2023

Staff, Piñon Post

Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) has taken a significant step by filing an ethics complaint that calls upon the Department of the Interior (DOI) Inspector General to thoroughly investigate a potential ethics violation involving DOI Secretary Deb Haaland. The complaint arises from Secretary Haaland’s recent exercise of regulatory authority to implement a contentious moratorium on oil and gas leasing near Chaco Canyon National Historical Park. This move has raised concerns about pre-determined decision-making, prompting PPT to question whether the Secretary fulfilled her impartiality and ethics obligations.

Secretary Haaland’s involvement in the documentary film Our Story: The Indigenous Led Fight to Protect Greater Chaco, narrated by her child, Somah Haaland, has raised eyebrows regarding her impartiality in this matter. The film features footage of Secretary Haaland expressing opposition to oil and gas leasing at Chaco, including what seems to be a one-on-one interview near the site. PPT sought a comprehensive investigation into whether the Secretary adhered to her ethical responsibilities.

Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust, emphasized the importance of impartiality in governmental decision-making: “The American public deserves the assurance that official decisions at the Department of the Interior and other agencies are made in an impartial manner. Despite her unequivocal public statements as a federal official, her child’s leadership position at the loudest advocacy group calling for a moratorium, and even her ‘participation’ in a documentary arguing for such a policy, as Secretary, Deb Haaland pushed forward in the apparent misconception that people would believe she could be ‘impartial’ in the matter. Not only could people knowledgeable about the facts have reason to question her impartiality on this matter, many already have. Is it any wonder the public has so little trust in our government?”

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