US Senate Indian Affairs Committee passes bill that would give Indian tribes more tools to develop energy resources, provide access to more reliable and potentially long-term supplies of woody biomass materials, says US Sen. Barrasso who introduced bill

WASHINGTON , May 23, 2014 (press release) – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) praised the Senate Indian Affairs Committee’s passage of the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2014 (S. 2132). The bill will give Indian tribes more tools to develop their energy resources and to remove unnecessary barriers to economic development.

“With today’s unanimous bipartisan vote, we’re now one step closer to breaking down barriers to energy and economic development in Indian Country,” said Barrasso. “Streamlining the approval process and eliminating unnecessary regulation will give Indian tribes greater control of the management and development of their energy resources. This will give folks in Indian Country the tools they need to increase our nation’s energy security while creating good paying jobs in their communities. Congress should waste no time in passing this legislation and moving tribes toward energy self-determination.”

Background

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 included an Indian Energy title—Title V. Title V was enacted to deal with the delays and uncertainties that are inherent in the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ energy leasing process. Title V was intended to provide Indian tribes with an alternative way to develop their energy resources.

More than 8 years after the enactment of this legislation, it appears that no Indian tribe has yet availed itself of that energy development process.

The Barrasso bill includes a number of amendments to the process established in 2005. His legislation cuts red tape and make it easier for the Indian tribes to develop their own resources.

The bill addresses other aspects of Indian energy development, including a “biomass demonstration project” for biomass energy production from Indian forest lands, rangelands and other Federal lands in accordance with program requirements developed by the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture after consultation with Indian tribes. The bill would facilitate the development of tribal biomass projects by providing Indian tribes with access to more reliable and potentially long-term supplies of woody biomass materials.

Senator Barrasso originally introduced the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2011 on October 12, 2011.

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