Fine: President Biden's 60-day federal land closure mark a new relationship with our public lands Dan FineSpecial to the Daily Times

Dr Fine's full article


The Biden Administration is here and the Republican Party is fractured — as I projected in my last column in these pages. Now the issue for the San Juan Basin and the Four Corners around it is the future of land which the national government owns and manages.  

It collected revenues of nearly $10 billion per year before the Pandemic from oil leases which are worked privately in oil and liquids extraction. All this now is in a 60 day “freeze” as the Biden Administration installs new Interior Department Management.

The Interior Department should soon have a Secretary and a new and different bureaucratic team. The 60-day “freeze” allows for  a transfer of power over 245 million surface acres of the United States. 

Others are reading: New Mexico senators, advocates back Biden oil and gas plans

The holdovers from the Trump Administration in the Bureau of Land Management have been preempted from all authority.

For 60 days, the Four Corners community and the Navajo Nation might begin to adjust to a new relationship to federal land. 

The Trump Administration, doubtless, is the final 19th century vision of the West and the use of this Land. It was part of the “Manifest Destiny” and settled through displacement by millions before and after the War Between the States.

It is now to be managed consistent with its original people, as a characteristic of the Biden Administration

Daniel Fine

The Navajo Nation's future has been changed by the pandemic. San Juan County can merge with security and equity in building a Four Corners defense, storage, manufacturing and transportation hub with a changed Window Rock government.

And more. 

Native American communities have survived across many centuries of discrimination, assaults on lives and culture and, lately, a pandemic. Now U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, is nominated by President Joe Biden for Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior to manage public lands and trust obligations to American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives."

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