Native American Tribe Calls Joe Biden’s Drilling Freeze a ‘Direct Attack’ on Sovereignty

Oil rigs extract petroleum as the price of crude oil rises to nearly $120 per barrel, prompting oil companies to reopen numerous wells across the nation that were considered tapped out and unprofitable decades ago when oil sold for one-fifth the price or less, on April 25, 2008 in the …
David McNew/Getty Images

A Native American tribe this week criticized the Biden administration’s order halting agency approvals for oil, gas, and coal permitting on federal lands including tribal lands.

As the Washington Times reported Friday:

The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, which has run an oil-and-gas operation on its 4.5 million-acre reservation for more than 70 years, requested Thursday an exemption for tribal lands from the Interior Department order that halts agencies from issuing permits and leases on mineral production for 60 days.

In a letter Thursday, chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee Luke Duncan wrote, “The Ute Indian Tribe and other energy producing tribes rely on energy development to fund our governments and provide services to our members.”

Duncan called the order “a direct attack on our economy, sovereignty, and our right to self-determination,” adding, “Indian lands are not federal public lands. Any action on our lands and interests can only be taken after effective tribal consultation.”

According to the tribe’s website, mining oil and natural gas is “big business on the reservation.”

“The Utes have a tribal membership of 2,970 and over half of its membership lives on the Reservation. They operate their own tribal government and oversee approximately 1.3 million acres of trust land,” the site continued.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline during his first day in office, wrote Breitbart News’s Joel B. Pollak:

In so doing, he killed some 11,000 direct jobs that the pipeline’s construction was to have created, and an estimated 60,000 indirect jobs in secondary, related industries. Over 1,000 workers already on the job — mostly union workers — will be laid off as a result of the decision, even if it is litigated, as many expect it will be, in the courts.

In his letter Thursday, Duncan said the order “must be withdrawn or amended to comply with Federal law and policies.”

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