Paul Moorehead: Indian Country an untapped energy source
"Sen. Byron Dorgan, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, has been waging a lonely battle to enable Indian tribes across the country to develop what could be vast gas, coal and oil resources on their lands. Standing in the way of Senator Dorgan—and the Indian tribes—are a huge series of uneconomic and anachronistic laws and regulations that taken together render Indian lands disadvantaged compared to state or private land. At a time when we are desperately seeking domestic energy sources, this situation badly needs to be remedied.

To enable Indian tribes to compete (and to tap into wind and solar not to mention rich sources of oil and gas), Senator Dorgan has drafted legislation—the “Indian Energy Promotion and Parity Act of 2010”—that is intended to overcome outdated restrictions and regulations and to encourage Indians to develop their resources in a sustainable way. The draft will also expedite Department of Interior’s processing of key energy related documents by establishing one stop shops to ensure more rapid permitting, licensing and other energy related documentation.

Clearly, recognizing Indian communities and lands should be part and parcel of our national and regional energy planning. And yet, as of now, it is not an integral piece in our overall national energy assessment. Senator Dorgan’s draft would address this staggeringly serious omission and would also ensure that energy development on Indian lands is undertaken with an eye toward the long term. The draft would also enable Indian tribes to reach across the spectrum of agencies to integrate what are now disparate and separately managed energy related funding and programs.

Also included in the draft are provisions for “Indian Energy Resource Plans” that would take into account transmission, environmental considerations and management elements on a reservation-wide basis. Such plans would be arrived at collaboratively with participation by the tribes and the Secretary of Interior. The Dorgan bill would prohibit the imposition of a $6,500 per application fee now required for permits to drill on Indian land—fees that discourage energy exploration and which are not required on state or private land."

Get the Story:
Paul Moorehead: Harnessing untapped energy by empowering Native Americans (The Daily Caller 5/13)

Committee Hearing:
LEGISLATIVE HEARING on a Discussion Draft of the “Indian Energy Promotion and Parity Act of 2010" (April 22, 2010)

Relevant Documents:
Discussion Draft | Press Release

Related Stories:
Opinion: Dorgan draft energy bill limits tribal sovereignty (4/28)
Audio: Senate Indian Affairs hearing on draft energy bill (4/22)
Witness list for Senate hearing on draft Indian energy bill (4/21)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on energy bill (4/19)
Blog: Tribes looking for renewable energy tax incentives (4/16)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on energy draft (4/13)