Native American Tribe Slams Biden’s Drilling Freeze as “Direct Attack” on Sovereignty


Following the Biden administration’s decision to halt permits for drilling oil, gas and coal on federal land, the Ute Indian Tribe and Ouray Reservation in Utah released a letter requesting the order to be withdrawn.

The letter condemns Biden’s decision as a “direct attack on the economy, sovereignty, and our right to self-determination.” Author of the letter, Luke Duncan, chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe business committee, wrote:

“The Ute Indian Tribe and other energy producing tribes rely on energy development to fund our governments and provide services to our members. Your order is a direct attack on our economy, sovereignty, and our right to self-determination. Indian lands are not federal public lands. Any action on our lands and interests can only be taken after effective tribal consultation.”

The letter calls for Biden to remove the order as it violates the principles of sovereignty:

“Order No. 3395 violates the United States treaty and trust responsibilities to the Ute Indian Tribe and violates important principles of tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Your order was also issued in violation [of] our government-to-government relationship, Executive Order No. 13175 on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, and Interior’s own Policy on Consultation with Tribal Government. The Order must be withdrawn or amended to comply with Federal law and policies.”


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