Biden’s America: Native American tribe calls president’s drilling freeze ‘direct attack’ on sovereignty

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FORT DUCHESNE, UT — In another hit to the U.S. economy, the Biden administration ordered the halting of permits for drilling oil, gas and coal on federal lands, including Native American tribal territories. Now, one indigenous tribe has lashed back, saying in a letter that the order is a direct attack on their economy, sovereignty and right to self-determination.

On the first day of the Biden administration, Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega issued an order on Jan. 20 suspending agency action on permits, leases and easements on federal lands and waters while the department conducts a “targeted and time-limited” review of at least 60 days.

The next day, the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, which has run an oil-and-gas operation on its 4.5-million-acre reservation for more than 70 years, fired off a letter requesting an exemption for tribal lands, according to Washington Times.

The Jan. 21 letter was written by Luke Duncan, chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee, and read in part:

“The Ute Indian Tribe and other energy producing tribes rely on energy development to fund our governments and provide services to our members.

“Your order is a direct attack on our economy, sovereignty, and our right to self-determination. Indian lands are not federal public lands. Any action on our lands and interests can only be taken after effective tribal consultation.

“Order No. 3395 violates the United States treaty and trust responsibilities to the Ute Indian Tribe and violates important principles of tribal sovereignty and self-determination.

“Your order was also issued in violation [of] our government-to-government relationship, Executive Order No. 13175 on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, and Interior’s own Policy on Consultation with Tribal Government.

“The Order must be withdrawn or amended to comply with Federal law and policies.”

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Interior spokesperson Tyler Cherry claimed that the order does not halt all permitting, but “temporarily elevates review of relevant agency decisions” to “Department leadership for the purposes of reviewing questions of fact, law, and policy they raise.”

According to Ute Indian Tribe’s website, mining oil and natural gas is “big business on the reservation.” In addition, the Utes have a tribal membership of 2,970, and over half of the members live on the reservation.

Reuters reported the tribe produces about 45,000 barrels of crude oil per day in the Uintah basin, along with about 900 million cubic feet per day of natural gas, according to a document it filed with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2017.

On his first day in office, President Biden also revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, eliminating 11,000 direct jobs and another 60,000 indirect ones with the stroke of a pen.

Breitbart’s senior editor Joel Pollak noted:

“The Association of Oil Pipe Lines complained, as did the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters — though the union may only have itself to blame: it endorsed Biden in August, after he had promised to kill the pipeline in May.

“Biden also halted the construction of the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico boundary on Wednesday. While the projections for jobs there are somewhat unclear, one analysis (by an opponent of the wall) in 2017 estimated that the wall, if fully constructed, would create 10,500 jobs.

“Moreover, on Thursday, the Biden Administration announced that it had suspended oil and gas permits on federal land Wednesday. It is unclear how many jobs that will cost — but the outlook is not good.

“Most presidents promise to create jobs. Biden killed up to 70,000 jobs in his first 24 hours — and the true total may be even higher.”

The irony is that while President Biden’s policies are destroying the U.S. oil and gas industries, as vice president during the Obama administration, Biden was a pipeline of access for his family members, especially his son, Hunter Biden. Family business deals have turned out to be worth billions.

Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, noted the lucrative business deals that Hunter acquired from foreign companies in China and Ukraine despite lacking expertise in private equity or energy sectors:

“Before Joe Biden becomes vice president of the United States, Hunter is a lobbyist for online gambling companies in Europe. That’s what he’s doing. That’s his professional background.

“Once his dad becomes vice president of the United States, he suddenly starts doing a whole host of global deals beginning with China. He flies with his dad on Air Force Two to Beijing China in December 2013.

“Within 10 days of that trip, Hunter Biden joins the board of directors and gets an equity stake in a Chinese government-financed investment firm called BHR Partners, Bohai Harvest RST.

“He has no background in private equity. He has no background in China. They put him on the board precisely because his father is vice president and precisely because his father is taking pro-China positions on the global stage.”

Schweizer also identified Hunter’s previous position on the board of directors for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, as further evidence of Joe Biden’s monetization of political influence through his son:

“[Hunter] was getting a million dollars a year from a corrupt Ukrainian energy company. He had no background energy. He had no background in Ukraine.

“We now know with emails that have been released that he was working at Burisma’s direction to try to deflect investigations into Burisma, which is a very corrupt company run by corrupt oligarchs.”

In 2018, Joe admitted he pressured Ukraine to terminate Viktor Shokin during his vice presidential tenure. At the time, Shokin was a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating corruption at Burisma.

The Biden family’s lack of expertise in fields within which they have been paid millions of dollars from foreign governments and interests reveals their sale of political influence through Joe Biden, Schweizer suggested:

“What are the Bidens selling? What product or what service are they providing these Chinese companies [or] a Ukrainian energy company? They don’t know anything about the energy business.

“They don’t know anything about private finance [or] equity companies. They don’t know anything about that, so the point is these foreign entities are paying the Bidens money — millions of dollars. The question is, what are they getting in return?

“These are not charities. These are not philanthropies. They are expecting and they are getting something in return, or they would stop paying.”

Schweizer also discussed four other family members. Regarding Joe’s youngest brother, Frank, he said:

“[Frank] basically was a real estate agent — not very successful — in Florida. Suddenly decides he’s going to go into the renewable energy business. [He had] no background in any of that.

“He set up companies in Costa Rica [and] sets up another company in Jamaica, and lo and behold, gets involved in deals that get taxpayer-backed loans from the U.S. government — or more specifically, from the Obama-Biden administration, to do renewable energy projects in Costa Rica and Jamaica.”

Frank’s business interests also received millions of dollars in grants from the Department of Education towards the construction of charter schools.

ABC News noted that Frank “leveraged” his family name as a “tremendous asset” that delivered “automatic acceptance” for government approvals of school projects and securing public funding.

Schweizer said:

“These are our grants that are discretionary, which means the Department of Education can decide who they want to give them to. [Frank] took in millions of dollars from the Education Department while his brother was vice president of the United States.

“[Frank] actually had a meeting involving his companies in the Oval Office with Barack Obama and just a couple of other individuals. If his name had been Frank Jones instead of Frank Biden, I doubt any of that would have happened.”

Joe’s other younger brother is James, who worked as the executive vice president of HillStone International, a firm that received $1.5 billion in government contracts during the Obama administration, including a contract to build 100,000 homes in Iraq as part of an international development project, according to Breitbart.

Conflicts of interest were noted by Schweizer since Joe had oversight of presumably humanitarian government-funded development projects in Iraq during his vice presidency.

Kevin Justice, founder and president of Hillstone International, visited the White House in 2010 and met with Michele Smith, a top aide to then-Vice President Joe Biden who worked as a liaison to “global government officials and business executives.”

Like Hunter and Frank, James Biden had no background in construction or international development when he joined the company. Hillstone International’s company profile of James Biden touted his familial connection to Joe as a professional attribute. Schweizer said:

“Within six months [of HillStone’s founding], they land these billion-dollar contracts to build homes in Iraq. This is part of the Iraqi reconstruction after the war, and who is in charge of the Iraqi reconstruction at the time? Joe Biden, his brother.

“Now we have a third member of the family, who because of Joe’s position, is cashing in. In this case, taxpayer money is flowing to a member of the Biden family.”

Biden’s sister and daughter were also implicated by Schweizer in taking money for the benefit of the Biden family. Joe’s sister, Valerie Biden, previously managed Joe’s senatorial campaigns in Delaware, and Breitbart reported she financially benefited  from donations to her brother’s later presidential campaigns.

In 2008, she sent $2.5 million to her political communications firm from Citizens for Biden and Biden for President Inc.

Schweizer described Valerie’s enrichment via Joe’s campaign funding as “legal graft” and said:

“When Joe Biden ran for the senate in Delaware — obviously a very safe for him, there hasn’t been a Republican in there for 40 years — what does Joe do? Joe hires his sister to run his campaigns [and] hires her firm as a consultant. As a result, millions of dollars flow to Valerie Biden.

“It speaks to the pattern [of] the Bidens looking at opportunities to take money, whether it’s taxpayer money, political money, or business money, and steer it to their family members for their benefit.”

Finally, Schweizer spoke how Joe assisted his daughter, Ashley Biden, by helping her husband, Howard Krein, launch the healthcare company StartUp Health in 2011. He arranged a meeting with former President Barack Obama in the Oval Office weeks after the company’s founding.

StartUp Health’s meeting with Barack Obama was a “huge hookup,” Schweizer explained, noting StartUp Health’s securing of an invitation to Health Data-Palooza, a joint conference run by federal government and health industry:

“Health Data-Palooza is very prestigious and very hard to get into. They get hooked up and they are put front and center in this very important conference, and that’s the beginning of the favors that happen.”

Breitbart reported that Joe gave several private speeches and briefings to the partners and investors of Howard Krein’s business and that his inside knowledge regarding the Obama administration’s planned healthcare policies gave Ashley’s husband a competitive advantage over competing healthcare companies.

Politico noted that Krein is now advising Joe’s campaign on coronavirus matters while StartUp Health plans to invest $1 million in companies developing goods and services pertaining to the virus:

“Krein simultaneously advising the campaign and venturing into Covid investing could pose conflict-of-interest concerns for a Biden administration or simply create the awkward appearance of Krein profiting off his father-in-law’s policies.”

Schweizer summarized his thoughts on the Biden family and their incredible access to huge amounts of money:

“The Bidens, to me, are unprecedented in the extent and scope of the corruption, because I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve exposed Republicans and Democrats. The most that I’ve ever seen up to this point was a Republican senator from Missouri that had three family members engaged in this kind of behavior.

“The Bidens now have five, making the Biden Five, in my mind, the the reigning champs when it comes to corrupt behavior in Washington, D.C.”

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