ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says the state has brokered an agreement that stands to benefit Navajo landowners who want to lease their land to oil and gas developers.
Martinez visited Farmington on Thursday to announce the partnership between the state, San Juan College and the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Federal Indian Minerals Office.
The college will work with the agency to process signed lease agreements that have been stuck in the pipeline for months. Some Navajo allottees say they've had to wait years.
The backlog stems from federal budget cuts and staffing issues at the agency.
Dan Fine with the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department says the partnership is the first of its kind in the nation and could serve as a model in other western states.
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