Environment | Opinion

White House Blog: Moapa Band turns to renewable energy

David Agnew Meets with Leaders of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the Moapa Solar Project
David Agnew, Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, meets with leaders of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the Moapa Solar Project. Photo by Eric Lee

David Agnew, the director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, discusses solar energy plans of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians in Nevada:
The Moapa Solar Project, on the Moapa River Indian Reservation, is a 350 megawatt solar energy project that will help power over 100,000 homes and generate 400 jobs at peak construction. The Moapa Paiute tribe has set aside approximately 2,000 acres of their 72,000 acre Reservation for the project, including some acreage to ensure a protected habitat for the endangered desert tortoises living near the project. A commitment to protect their tribal homelands from the effects of existing power sources led this tribe to gain approval from the Secretary of the Interior in 2012 for construction of the first utility-scale solar project on tribal lands. As part of the President's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Moapa Solar project will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil while creating good jobs in the heart of Indian Country - jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.

The 56 million acres of tribal lands in the United States hold great potential for solar, wind and geothermal projects, and the Obama Administration remains committed to working with tribes on a government-to-government basis to help break down the barriers to clean energy development. The passage of the HEARTH Act and the recently updated Department of the Interior regulations to streamline leasing on tribal lands are returning greater control over land use decisions to tribes, and individual landowners are already helping to promote housing and economic development throughout Indian Country. The Moapa Solar Project holds valuable lessons that we will look to as we seek to encourage additional clean energy projects on tribal lands.

Get the Story:
David Agnew: Responsibility to Future Generations: Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands (White House Blog 6/25)

Related Stories:
Moapa Band hosts 16-mile walk to promote renewable energy (4/23)

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