The Navajo Nation

Office of the President

     The Navajo Nation

Office of the President

Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren meets Interior Secretary Haaland during Washington trip on roads, projects, carbon offset

WASHINGTON — Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren concluded his first trip to the nation’s capital by meeting the Interior Secretary, the U.S treasurer, Arizona’s newest congressman, New Mexico’s two U.S. senators and touring the Pentagon.

The president met with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary Brian Newland on Wednesday for the second time since their visit to Many Farms, Ariz.

He brought up three points requiring Interior’s action.

The first was the need to simplify Interior’s right-of-way process so that a wide host of construction projects can get underway on the Navajo Nation.

Most of the Nation’s land is held in trust by the U.S. Government which, by law, requires the secretary’s approval for a wide host of projects.

Among them, and the president’s second point, was gaining Interior’s needed approval so the Nation can develop sand and gravel pits that would provide sources for cost-effective material for road construction and repair.

The president asked for a single designee to be assigned to walk the Nation through the Interior’s lengthy process in order to eliminate and prevent years-long delays before hitting the secretary’s desk.

A third point the president pushed was the coming deadline for the Interior to issue a “carbon offset letter” allowing the Navajo Nation to participate in a California state carbon emissions reduction program.

The program would pay the Navajo Nation, if the Nation agreed and was certified by Interior, not to log its old growth forests.

Interior has certified carbon offsets for other tribes. One concern is the need for Interior to act soon before the California program deadline arrives and the program ends.

President Nygren said he’d been having many discussions this week about clean energy projects on the Navajo Nation. He acknowledged the multi-generational legacy of past uranium mining that was supported by the U.S. Government and the harm that abandoned mines caused Navajo families.

He said one of his highest priorities is to eliminate the decades-long roadblocks that have prevented hundreds of abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation from being cleaned up and closed.

President Nygren received the Interior’s offer for improved direct coordination on the status of the Nation’s projects going through the Interior’s process.

The president’s first trip to the U.S. Capitol concluded Thursday with meetings with other federal officials.