Dean Suagee: Tribes and the green energy revolution
"At the Sovereignty Symposium in Oklahoma City June 3, the keynote speaker, T. Boone Pickens spoke about the Pickens Plan for meeting America’s energy needs. He said his standard response to people who criticize his plan is to ask them, “What’s your plan?” He said most don’t have one.

Although he was talking to a gathering of tribal leaders and lawyers, he did not specifically suggest that each tribe should have its own plan. After that keynote address, I participated as one of the speakers in a panel “The Climate Crisis: Tribal Governments and the Green Energy Revolution.” Of course, as one of six concurrent sessions, we had only a fraction of the audience that heard Pickens.

According to his Web site, there are four basic components of the Pickens Plan, including: creating millions of jobs by expanding wind power to the point where it contributes about 22 percent of our electric power, and also expanding solar electricity generating capacity; upgrading the national electric power grid (i.e. the smart grid); providing incentives for improving the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings; and using natural gas to replace oil in many kinds of vehicles, including 18-wheelers. The site doesn’t provide much in the way of details, and I’m the kind of person who likes details. In generalities, I agree with the big points, although I think that for personal motor vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids are likely to become the standard rather than natural gas vehicles.

My point, however, is not to endorse or debate the Pickens Plan, but rather to suggest that it is important for tribal governments to have their own energy plans. Since so much economic activity in America involves the use of energy, and since the marketplaces in which energy goods and services are bought and sold have been shaped by governmental policies, unless tribal governments plan and implement policies to ensure tribal communities participate in the green energy revolution, I am afraid they will get left out."

Get the Story:
Dean Suagee: Tribal sovereignty and the green energy revolution: What’s your plan? (Indian Country Today 6/24)

Related Stories:
Dean Suagee: Part two of the tribal green revolution (5/12)
Dean Suagee: Tribes and the green energy revolution (5/4)