WASHINGTON A House energy subcommittee Thursday approved a measure that would renew program to help Native American tribes with energy education, planning and management.
The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy sent the measure, for action introduced by Reps. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla, to the full committee.
O’Halleran, whose district is home to 12 Native American tribes, said the bill would increase the funding available for energy projects to $30 million from its previous $20 million. There also would be a cut in the cost for a tribe to conduct in a renewable energy project.
“These resources will help them advance their energy development initiatives,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with our tribal allies and to ensure the bill meets the needs of Indian country.”
He also said the funding will help tribes become part of the energy market, which can help to create jobs and supply energy to more communities as tribal lands in the Great Plains alone can create enough power for 50 million homes.
While there have been advancements in renewable energy on tribal land, he explained that as many as 15,000 Navajo families in his district are still without consistent and reliable power. The bill would help to reduce this number.
This bill could help federal agencies like the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs that work with American Indian tribes and Alaskan Native Americans to maximize the value of their energy resources.
Since 2010, that office has assisted in the funding of over 170 energy projects and installation of over 32 megawatts of power on tribal land, which has saved tribes more than $14 million on energy.