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New Mexico Tribes Step Up to Protect Land Before Fossil Fuels Vote

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Native American tribes are voicing concerns and demanding input on regulations on fossil fuel development in a New Mexico county, in the latest wave of tribal voices growing louder on oil and gas development across the country.

Sandoval County, home to 12 Native tribes, will hold a final vote in January on a draft ordinance to regulate oil and gas development in the county. In packed public meetings over the proposed ordinance last week, tribal leaders called out the lack of tribal input in the draft ordinance and raised concerns over the ordinance's lack of protections for water, air and land resources.


Santo Domingo Pueblo Gov. Robert Coriz, who says he was one of the leaders not consulted on the ordinance, told the AP the decision must be based "on honest, open, respectful communication" with tribes.

As reported by the Washington Post:

"At a contentious meeting late last week, Ahjani Yepa of Jemez Pueblo spoke about the connection between her people and the land, spurring fellow activists in the crowd to raise their fists in solidarity.

'As with many cultures and religions, we do not have a book to guide us. The land is our Bible. Once it is gone, you cannot print another copy,' she told members of the Sandoval County Commission."

For a deeper dive:

AP, Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican

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