4 Investigates: Haaland Questions if Oil and Gas Workers Solicited Sex from Navajo Women
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a recent public meeting, Congresswoman Deb Haaland said New Mexico oil and gas workers may be soliciting Navajo women and girls for sex.
"One of the Navajo Nation Council delegates said that representatives from oil and gas companies are going door to door of the Native American allottees and soliciting women and girls for sex," Haaland said during a hearing on natural resources in Santa Fe last week.
"My question is, can anyone on the panels speak today on the social impact the industry is having on New Mexican communities, like missing and murdered indigenous women?" Haaland asked. She was met with silence.
No one on the panel had any answers to offer.
The comments came as a total surprise to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.
"It's irresponsible for a member of Congress to bring these allegations, undocumented, unverified to a congressional committee – and at a minimum, Congresswoman Haaland owes the public an explanation," said Robert McEntyre, the spokesman for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.
Haaland's staff told KOB 4 the information came from Navajo Nation Council Delegate Daniel Tso.
"It appears that raising this issue in a political venue, instead of a legal venue," McEntyre said. "It appears to have the sole objective of maligning and slandering the industry that employs thousands of New Mexicans."
A few years ago, 4 Investigates aired a story about the increase in man camps in southeastern New Mexico. Man camps are clusters of trailers or small dormitories to house gas and oil field workers since housing or hotels can be hard to come by.
McEntyre questions any notion that man camps around the Navajo Nation even exist.
"The vast majority of man camps are located in southeast New Mexico, I'm not aware of any located in the San Juan Basin or in northwest New Mexico at this time," McEntyre said.
Since taking office, Haaland has taken the lead in addressing the large number of missing and murdered Indigenous women.