Watchdog group files ethics complaint on Interior Secretary Haaland over New Mexico gas, oil leases

Watchdog group files ethics complaint on Interior Secretary Haaland over New Mexico gas, oil leases

  • August 17, 2023

The watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust filed a complaint Thursday against Interior Secretary Deb Haaland accusing her of an ethic violation in connection with her agency’s ban on oil and gas leases within 10-miles of New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon.

 

The complaint, which was filed with the agency’s inspector general’s office, includes a request for an immediate investigation and centers on potential conflicts of interest – considering Haaland’s involvement in an anti-fossil fuel film about Greater Chaco Canyon and her daughter’s involvement with lobbying groups.

 

“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,” the complaint reads.

 

The complaint also points out Somah Haaland narrated the anti-fracking film “Our Story: The Indigenous Led Fight to Protect Greater Chaco,” in which her mother participated prior to her nomination to be Interior secretary. It also argues the agency leader made public statements “opposing oil and gas development in this area.”

 

PPT, whose director is former Trump administration official Michael Chamberlain, filed a complaint last year against Haaland, for what the group said was her decision not to report “any personal bank accounts or investment accounts” despite living in a home worth over $1 million and having a $175,000 salary during her time in Congress.

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