July 24, 2020

Luján Touts New Mexico Wins in Minibus I, Secures Key Provision to Protect Chaco Canyon

Washington, D.C. – U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) applauded the passage of the “minibus I” appropriations package in the House of Representatives, which includes Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations for the departments of State, Agriculture, Interior, and Veterans Affairs as well as other critical needs. 

Congressman Luján secured the inclusion of a one-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands near Chaco Canyon, which is sacred land and the ancestral homeland of thousands of New Mexicans. He also scored key victories for New Mexico’s Tribal and traditional communities. 

“Chaco Canyon is one of the places of greatest historical and cultural significance in our state, and New Mexicans understand the importance of protecting it for generations to come. I am proud to have secured this one-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands at this sacred site, and I will continue laying the groundwork for permanent protection of Chaco,” said Luján.

“New Mexicans have a great respect and appreciation for our natural and cultural resources. This legislation also addresses the need for clean water, empowers traditional communities, and helps Tribal members stay connected with their ancestors and their past. I’ll continue fighting to ensure that the voices of New Mexicans are heard in Washington and reflected in critical legislation like today’s.” 

Minibus I includes the following provisions secured by Congressman Luján: 

  • A one-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands near the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

  • $1.8 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to enable farmers, ranchers, foresters, and communities to implement conservation practices.  
  • $117 million for EPA Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) Grant Program, which supports New Mexico Environment Department efforts to monitor drinking water systems for the presence of PFAS and other contaminants.  
  • Over $19 million dollars to bolster Tribal Epidemiology Centers’ work to protect public health, including preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • $4 million for a long-term water quality monitoring program ?related to the Gold King Mine spill.

  • $1 million dollars for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) enforcement. 
  • Language requiring the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to recognize and provide for the traditional uses of community land grants and acequias within federal land management planning processes.

  • Language requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide relief to Rio Arriba farmers harmed by inappropriate Agency actions while administering the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
  • Language requiring a study to ensure that the Bureau of Indian Education’s (BIE) annual budget includes sufficient funding for teacher and counselor pay increases required by law, ensuring teachers and staff are paid fairly and alleviating pressure on BIE schools to divert limited classroom resources and other student services.

Press Contact

Monica Garcia (202) 225-6190