indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Indian energy title adopted without changes
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2003

A Senate panel approved a broad Indian energy package on Tuesday over concerns that it could undermine the federal government's trust responsibilities.

On a straight party-line vote, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee killed an amendment that would have stripped the bill of its most controversial provision. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the panel's ranking member, said some tribes and environmental opposed a section that limits federal review of energy projects.

"There's an abdication of federal trust responsibility embedded in this provision and we need to rethink how we structure it," he said.

But Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), the committee chairman, spoke against the proposal and said it would defeat the goals of tribal self-determination. "Sen. Bingaman's amendment would essentially gut this bill in terms of giving the Indian people of this country an opportunity to proceed to develop their energy resources for the first time in history," he argued.

Other Democrat members of the panel voiced objections on grounds that the section waives the federal National Environmental Policy Act. Their 11 votes, however, weren't enough to overcome the 12-member Republican majority and the committee adopted the chairman's mark of the Indian Energy Title.

"With tribes suffering from 50 to 70 percent unemployment," said Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, "I think this section not only helps alleviate some of the job losses on Indian reservations but the nation at large at getting us less dependent on foreign energy."

The Indian energy package was developed in conjunction with Campbell's committee. At a hearing last month, tribal representatives said they were worried that it absolves the Department of Interior of its trust obligations and prevents them from recovering damages for breach of trust.

Their testimony came in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Navajo Nation, which said the federal government wasn't liable for an coal development lease the tribe said wasn't in its best interests.

The Navajo Nation, the largest tribe in the nation, and the Jicarilla Apache Nation of New Mexico, another resource-rich tribe, submitted letters in opposition to the provision Bingaman tried to strip. But the Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT), which represents more than 50 tribes with significant trust assets, offered its support. The Navajo and Apache tribes belong to the organization.

The provision in question is aimed at eliminating bureaucratic hurdles to tribal development. It allows tribes, on a voluntary basis, to submit a tribal energy resource plan to the Department of Interior. The secretary has 180 days to approve or deny it.

After that, the tribe can undertake projects, enter into leases and agreements and grant rights-of-way pursuant to the resource plan without additional federal review. In light of the concerns about the Supreme Court ruling, Campbell's committee inserted language that would appear to preserve the secretary's trust responsibilities.

Domenici was optimistic yesterday that the full bill, including the Indian title, will make it to the Senate floor. Last year, national energy policy legislation failed to make it out of joint House-Senate conference committee.

"This will not be an extremely limited authority," Domenici said of the Indian section. "It will be a total panorama of energy potential projects."

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, coalbed methane, oil, natural gas and other assets.

Relevant Documents:
Summary of Indian Energy Title III | Indian Energy Title III | Amendment 34

Relevant Links:
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee - http://energy.senate.gov
Council of Energy Resource Tribes - http://www.certredearth.com

Related Stories:
Some tribes concerned about Indian energy bill (4/29)
Energy bill will streamline Indian development (04/15)
Tribal energy bill limits environmental review (03/24)
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)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribal college geologist tackles uranium mine (1/30)
James Giago Davies: Let's hurry up and hate the Muslim people (1/30)
Luis Alejo: Apologize to the Chumash Tribe for 'hurtful' remarks (1/30)
Mark Anthony Rolo: Declaration of war against Keystone Pipeline (1/30)
Senate passes bill to approve controversial Keystone XL Pipeline (1/30)
DOI signs land buy-back cooperative agreements with two tribes (1/30)
Company claims harassment after racial incident at hockey game (1/30)
Quapaw Tribe interested in cultivating marijuana for medical uses (1/30)
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes declare war on methamphetamine (1/30)
Lawmakers introduce bill to allow Miami Nation to revoke charter (1/30)
Chairman of Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe resigns after seven years (1/30)
Another guilty conviction and indictment for Chippewa Cree Tribe (1/30)
Warm Springs Tribes play host to unmanned drone test grounds (1/30)
Eastern Cherokees still working to improve dangerous highway (1/30)
Key lawmakers remain opposed to Yucca Mountain nuclear site (1/30)
Kootenai Tribe: The truth about the regulation of Indian gaming (1/30)
Mike Hoeft: Bingo games brought Oneida Nation together again (1/30)
Menominee Nation won't give up on off-reservation gaming plan (1/30)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community approves casino market study (1/30)
Seminole Tribe wins preliminary approval for New Jersey gaming (1/30)
Native Sun News: Alcohol a common factor in Rapid City murders (1/29)
Ivan Star: Ignoring alcoholism leads to destruction of the Lakota (1/29)
John Barrasso: Empowering Indian Country in the GOP Congress (1/29)
Criminal charges possible over mistreatment of Indian students (1/29)
Seneca Nation doesn't foresee taking action on legal marijuana (1/29)
Elderly member of Colville Tribes seriously injured in hit and run (1/29)
Fifteen charged over theft of Yakama Nation scholarship money (1/29)
Judge orders self-proclaimed 'shaman' back to custody in Texas (1/29)
Nevada City Rancheria objects to leasing of land to another tribe (1/29)
Mississippi Choctaws to hold grand opening for new $55M hospital (1/29)
Opinion: Celebrate the Native origin of the Seattle Seahawks logo (1/29)
First Nations Experience to grow with $6M from San Manuel Band (1/29)
Governor won't rethink Menominee Nation off-reservation casino (1/29)
Cayuga Nation back in court to defend Class II gaming operation (1/29)
Mohegan Tribe reports increase in revenue at gaming enterprise (1/29)
Gaming machines at non-Indian tracks stir controversy in Idaho (1/29)
Native Sun News: Tribes ask Obama to deny Keystone XL permit (1/28)
Native Sun News: Native youth take stand against Keystone bid (1/28)
Tara Houska: Respect treaties and reject Keystone XL Pipeline (1/28)
Mark Trahant: Obama administration steps up for environment (1/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee holds first meeting & hearing (1/28)
House committee won't restore Indian and Alaska Native panel (1/28)
Opinion: Affordable Care Act offers behavorial health services (1/28)
Sami Jo Difuntorum: Support needed for Indian housing update (1/28)
Albert Bender: Stop glorification of Indian killer Andrew Jackson (1/28)
Amanda Blackhorse: Navajo leader defends racist NFL mascot (1/28)
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Our kids should be able to go anywhere (1/28)
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.