Advisers to US President-elect Donald Trump wants to privatise 56m acres of Native American reservations to gain access to their resources.
Although reservations cover just two per cent of the US, they are thought to contain up to a fifth of the country’s oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves. A group of Trump’s advisers on Native American issues wants to put the lands in private ownership, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters, though the leaders did not say how they propose to allocate ownership of land or mineral rights.
In 2009, energy resources beneath reservations were estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion (£1.2 trillion), according to the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, a tribal energy consortium.
"We should take tribal land away from public treatment," said Markwayne Mullin, a Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma and a Cherokee tribe member who is co-chairing Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition. "As long as we can do it without unintended consequences, I think we will have broad support around Indian country."
The plans dovetail with Trump’s wider aim of slashing regulation to boost energy production. His transition team did not respond to multiple requests for comment.