Tó Nizhóní Ání strongly opposes H.R. 4374

House Committee on Natural Resources

Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

1324 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

July 12, 2023

Tó Nizhóní Ání is a 501(c)3 organization located on the Black Mesa Plateau in Northeast Arizona on the Navajo Nation. Tó Nizhóní Ání was organized to protect the water source of Black Mesa from Industry use and waste. Our goal is to bring power back to our Indigenous communities impacted by coal while maintaining a balanced environment with the elements of life – water, land, air and sunlight.

Tó Nizhóní Ání strongly opposes H.R. 4374, which would nullify Public Land Order No. 7923, withdrawing certain land in San Juan County, New Mexico, from mineral entry. The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) recently finalized withdrawal of public lands from future mineral development on federal lands within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park (CCNHP) for the next 20 years is an important first step in protecting the people, health, land, and water in the region, and we support real solutions in ensuring a just energy transition.

Introducing this resolution (H.R. 4374) is Representative Elijah Crane’s first major legislative blunder. Representative Elijah Crane’s – who was elected only after redistricting occurred – exposes his inexperience working with a large Indigenous constituency. We urge him to learn to engage the communities he’s working for, instead of being influenced by his Republican colleagues, particularly with reckless fossil fuel development greatly contributing to climate change, which majorly impacts Indian country.

Decades of fossil fuel development, and corporations manipulating and taking up space on Navajo land is evident in actions by the Navajo Nation Council’s Resources and Development Committee to continue pushing for false support and false solutions from within the Republican Party – a party which is not interested in real solutions, only in fueling and perpetuating extractive and harmful development.

Crucially, the Department of the Interior and the Resources and Development Committee have stopped short of actions to support public health, cultural and ecological sites and resources, and economic development.

To truly protect the Greater Chaco Landscape, the DOI must robustly continue the Honoring Chaco Initiative, to involve impacted communities in decision-making about the broader interconnected landscape, and cumulatively assess the impact of extractive development on health, culture, environment, and climate. Support should be offered to allotment owners from these decision makers; it is false to perpetuate a disingenuous, zero-sum narrative and that there is no recourse besides more oil and gas development, where neighbors are left breathing toxic emissions. It is time for leadership to step up and provide creative and genuine solutions such as development of wind and solar on these lands. Crucially, the development of projects that will help protect our limited water supplies.

Nicole Horseherder

Executive Director

Tó Nizhóní Ání

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Tó Nizhóní Ání “Sacred Springs Speaks”