The inspector general of the Department of the Interior (DOI) has now reportedly received an ethical complaint against Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland from Protect the Public’s Trust, a watchdog and accountability group for the government.
According to the ethical complaint, Haaland may not have acted impartially while deciding on oil and gas leasing in the Chaco Canyon, and it asked the inspector general of the DOI to launch an investigation into any possible conflicts of interest.
Every individual appointed to the executive branch must sign an ethical pledge, according to an executive order signed by President Joe Biden in January 2021 and were supposed to make decisions “on the merits and exclusively in the public interest, without regard to private gain or personal benefit.”
The complaint claims that Haaland’s DOI’s June decision to ban fuel leasing on public lands within ten miles of the Chaco Canyon in New Mexico raises concerns about her objectivity because her daughter is a part of an activist group that worked to achieve this particular policy outcome.
While some Native American tribes, like Haaland’s Laguna Pueblo, supported her decision to stop leasing the 351,000 acres, others, including the Navajo Nation, objected to it and sought a settlement.
On the subject of a smaller buffer zone, Haaland decided not to make concessions to the Navajo and instead went with the more stringent choice.