indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Supreme Court deals setback to tribes in labor sovereignty dispute (6/27)
Washington tribes win major fishing rights ruling at appeals court (6/27)
Shinnecock Nation hits the end of the line with ancestral land claim (6/27)
Supreme Court won't hear Pauma Band compact negotiation case (6/27)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on 3 bills (6/27)
Lakota Country Times: Teams compete for Indian horse relay title (6/27)
Native Sun News: Rebuilding the Lakota Nation through education (6/27)
Vi Waln: Don't be afraid to come pray with your Lakota relatives (6/27)
Clara Caufield: Out fishing on the Upper Boulder River in Montana (6/27)
Opinion: Supreme Court exposes Indian people to federal powers (6/27)
Anonymous: Fighting back against victimization in Indian Country (6/27)
Michael Sandoval: San Felipe Pueblo respects rights of neighbors (6/27)
Andre Cramblit: Fond memories of growing up with Muhammad Ali (6/27)
Linda Greenhouse: Supreme Court goes silent in high-profile case (6/27)
Partial land-into-trust fix being watched by non-Indian interests (6/27)
Omaha Tribe cooperates with federal investigation into payments (6/27)
Northwest tribes take a stand against oil terminal in Washington (6/27)
Indigenous Digital Archive Project wins grant for online database (6/27)
Donald Trump fares poorly against Hillary Clinton in national poll (6/27)
Senate provision targeted tribes with commercial gaming plans (6/27)
Poarch Creeks in deal to acquire commercial casino in Louisiana (6/27)
Kootenai Tribe hopes to lure Canadian customers back to casino (6/27)
Tribes rest easy as Supreme Court wraps up a surprising session (6/24)
Tribes in northern California take action to protect salmon runs (6/24)
Aaron Payment re-elected as chairman of Sault Ste. Marie Tribe (6/24)
Gun Lake Tribe hosts annual Sweet Grass Moon Powwow in July (6/24)
Native Sun News: First Native hockey referee 'Butchy' passes on (6/24)
Delphine Red Shirt: Lakota people denied voting rights on our land (6/24)
Ruth Hopkins: Saving sacred Bear Butte from a massive biker bar (6/24)
Terese Mailhot: Becoming a better ally after the Orlando shooting (6/24)
April Youpee-Roll: Elizabeth Warren owes more to Indian Country (6/24)
Another land-into-trust fix reportedly being drafted in the Senate (6/24)
Federal charges filed in kidnapping of girl on Fort Peck Reservation (6/24)
Non-Indian charged for trespassing at Nambe Pueblo in New Mexico (6/24)
St. Croix Chippewa Tribe warned not to launch marijuana operation (6/24)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe breaks ground on $34M expansion at casino (6/24)
Non-Indian gaming firm loses challenge to law for new tribal casino (6/24)
Grand Ronde Tribes to finish demolition work at site of old racetrack (6/24)
Supreme Court deadlocks in closely-watched tribal jurisdiction case (6/23)
Matthew Fletcher: 'Huge win' for Mississippi Choctaw court system (6/23)
Native American Basketball Invitational draws top talent to Arizona (6/23)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe almost done with long-awaited theater (6/23)
Susanville Rancheria thanks lawmakers for help with land-into-trust (6/23)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on three bills (6/23)
Supreme Court backs affirmative action policy in long-running case (6/23)
Native Sun News: Senate committee takes on Indian Health Service (6/23)
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.