indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
GOP leaders release second draft of energy bill
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Republicans crafting the national energy policy bill released a new version of the controversial Indian energy title on Monday, saying they incorporated the suggestions of Democrats.

Key among the changes is language that seeks to reinforce the federal government's trust responsibilities. New provisions affirm an ongoing trust relationship with tribes that choose to speed up development of their lands.

Left unchanged, however, is the section that waives the Department of Interior's liability for mismanagement that might occur on those lands. This has been the most contentious part of the bill, raising charges by some Democrats and some tribes that it would undermine the entire tribal-federal relationship.

But the section has been modified to the point where the waiver only applies under a certain set of conditions. For example, if a tribe negotiates an agreement with a third party whose terms are not in compliance with pre-approved tribal regulations and federal law the government's liability remains intact.

Another revision calls on the government to protect the rights of tribes when third parties violate federal law or tribal agreements and that the government shall always "act in good faith and in the best interests of the Indian tribes."

In releasing the new set of changes, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) said they reflected "bipartisan input." "We have made excellent progress on this energy conference," they said in a joint statement.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Resources Committee, asked for, and received, language that requires Interior to develop regulations that allow for "site inspections" of tribal energy projects. Another Bingaman section allows tribes to receive federal funding to develop what are known as tribal energy resource agreements (TERAs).

The TERAs are at the heart of the streamlined process envisioned by the bill. Once a TERA is approved by Interior, tribes can enter into leases, business agreements and rights-of-way without seeking federal approval for each separate project.

Republican supporters, including Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) note that the TERA process is entirely voluntary. Tribes worried about releasing the government of its liability don't have to participate.

Some tribes and tribal organizations, including the Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT), back the new process. Waiting for federal approval can cause business deals to evaporate or go sour, they say.

Others believe the bill could have some negative impacts. The Navajo Nation, the largest tribe in the country, and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), raised concerns about the section on liability, charging that it would encourage Interior to shirk its responsibilities.

The Department of Energy estimates that 10 percent of the nation's untapped energy resources are on Indian land. Many tribes have eagerly tapped their coal, natural gas and other assets.

Relevant Documents:
Indian Energy Title | 2003 Energy Legislation

Relevant Links:
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee - http://energy.senate.gov
National Congress of American Indians - http://www.ncai.org
Navajo Nation - http://www.navajo.org
Council of Energy Resource Tribes - http://www.certredearth.com

Related Stories:
Energy bill process draws complaints from Democrats (09/25)
GOP leadership resurrects ANWR drilling provision (09/23)
GOP to add ANWR drilling provision to energy bill (09/22)
Democrats say Republicans hogging energy bill talks (09/12)
White House renews call to open ANWR to drilling (9/11)
Bush seeks speedy passage of energy legislation (08/20)
Navajo president still concerned about energy bill (08/06)
Senate scraps energy bill for 2002 measure (8/1)
Indian energy title being reworked in Senate (7/31)
Indian energy title up for debate in Senate (7/28)
Editorial: Senate should vote down Indian energy (7/25)
Campbell: The 'truth' about Indian energy bill (7/25)
Navajo Nation's Shirley slams energy bill (7/22)
Report: Campbell aide shuts down energy bill debate (07/08)
Senate takes up Indian energy title (6/12)
Navajo Nation opposes energy bill (6/6)
Indian energy title adopted without changes (04/30)
Tribes weigh effects of energy legislation on trust (03/20)
Navajo Nation tussles with new trust 'philosophy' (03/20)
Interior opposes oversight in energy bill (03/20)
High court ruling makes 'passive' trustee of U.S. (3/5)

Copyright 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Lummi Nation brings totem pole to fight Keystone (9/3)
Native Sun News: Film company aims to bring Native stories to life (9/2)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Native candidate joins rival in governor's race (9/2)
Walt Lamar: Tribes face problems dealing with legalized marijuana (9/2)
Jennie Stockle: Fans mock Cherokee people with Trail of Tears sign (9/2)
DaShanne Stokes: State-recognized tribes need eagle feathers too (9/2)
Indian studies professor denied position over remarks about Israel (9/2)
Alaska Natives excluded from secret military intelligence program (9/2)
Judge schedules hearing in Gun Lake Tribe's gaming land litigation (9/2)
Viejas Band looking to expand casino after reaching new compact (9/2)
California tribes are drawing large numbers of Filipinos to casinos (9/2)
Mohegan Tribe wants 'right-sized' commercial casino in New York (9/2)
Tim Giago: Oglala Sioux people aren't afraid to say no to easy cash (9/1)
Native Sun News: Release of secret uranium mining data ordered (9/1)
Mark Trahant: It's past time for tribal leaders to govern the nation (9/1)
Jennie Stockle: A safe space for opponents of offensive mascotry (9/1)
John Christian Hopkins: A big thank you to the friend I never met (9/1)
National Museum of the American Indian celebrates 10th birthday (9/1)
Mother arrested in connection with child's death on Navajo Nation (9/1)
Opinion: Energy development can help secure tribal independence (9/1)
Cherokee Nation announces $170M casino and retail development (9/1)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe won't be sharing gaming revenues this quarter (9/1)
Seminole Tribe on track to see gaming revenues increase to $2.1B (9/1)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to reopen gaming facility in February 2015 (9/1)
Editorial: Tohono O'odham Nation didn't play by 'rules' with casino (9/1)
Opinion: Gaming good for Eastern Cherokees but not for fellow tribe (9/1)
Opinion: Federal recognition only means more casinos in California (9/1)
Native Sun News: Tribes walk out of contract support cost meeting (8/29)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe spends $2.4M on property (8/29)
Mike Johanns: Retracing steps of great Ponca Chief Standing Bear (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: Racist mascot a sign of deeper problems in US (8/29)
Lauren Jones: Affordable Care Act benefits Native Americans too (8/29)
Gila River Indian Community to see $77.6M from Cobell buy-back (8/29)
Energy boom linked to rise in human trafficking in Indian Country (8/29)
Navajo man heads up Native American Homelessness Task Force (8/29)
9th Circuit hears case over Yakama Nation tobacco manufacturer (8/29)
WAER: ICWA matters handled in 'kangaroo courts' in South Dakota (8/29)
MPR: Red Lake Nation opposes liquor license near dry reservation (8/29)
Tule River Tribe helps remove marijuana operation on reservation (8/29)
Omaha Tribe signs agreement with EPA to improve utility services (8/29)
Las Vegas Paiute Tribe rejected 'gift' from NFL team's foundation (8/29)
KPLU: Spokane Tribe maintains close ties with baseball franchise (8/29)
Opinion: HUD loan program a small step to boost Indian housing (8/29)
DNA study finds distinct population of Native people in Arctic area (8/29)
Tribes closely watching Big Lagoon Rancheria casino land dispute (8/29)
Tohono O'odham Nation to build off-reservation casino in phases (8/29)
State questions Forest County Powatatomi Tribe's slot machines (8/29)
Quapaw Tribe eyes local support for commercial casino in Kansas (8/29)
Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (8/28)
Rudolph Ryser: Indigenous nations need leverage to bring change (8/28)
DOI extends $100M in Cobell buy-back offers on two reservations (8/28)
Cobell buy-backs could return over 38K acres to tribe in Montana (8/28)
Five-year-old Navajo boy sent home from school for his long hair (8/28)
Three charged with murder for death of Mississippi Choctaw man (8/28)
Lummi Nation seeks cooperation after ruling in treaty rights case (8/28)
Artist Gregg Deal takes on Indian mascots for performance piece (8/28)
Sports announcer won't use Washington NFL team's name on air (8/28)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.