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Young’s Native American Energy Act Approved in Committee

Empowers Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations to Better Manage and Develop Their Lands


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Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passedH.R. 210, the Native American Energy Act, legislation sponsored by Alaska Congressman Don Young that addresses the federal government’s overregulation of Indian lands and promotes energy development by Indian tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.


The House Committee on Natural Resources considering H.R. 210, the Native American Energy Act. Click here to watch Congressman Don Young speak on behalf of his legislation.


“The Native American Energy Act is critically important to Alaska Natives and American Indians because it levels the playing field for responsible resource development, an essential step towards self-determination,” said Congressman Don Young. “The bill contains a number of policy improvements to reduce the hurdles and obstacles for energy and resource development imposed by the federal government, while empowering Native communities to better manage and develop their lands. This legislation contains important permitting and Judicial review provisions for tribes and Alaska Native Corporations that work to eliminate attacks by outside special interest groups. Overall, this bill is based on the principle that Native communities, not the federal government or special interests, are the best stewards of Native lands. I’m encouraged by the strong support my legislation has received from tribes and Native organizations throughout the country and thank Chairman Bishop for making this issue a top priority.”

“This bill turns the page on the federal government’s culture of paternalism and empowers Indian tribes and Alaska Natives to develop their own natural resources. Thankfully, as this bill moves through the legislative process, less time will need to be spent educating the executive branch on the virtues of responsible energy development, and more can be spent finalizing this package with the Senate. I thank Rep. Don Young for his continued leadership on this issue and look forward advancing this bill through the House and to the President’s desk.” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) stated.

 

Background

H.R. 210 works to resolve longstanding resource and economic development issues for tribes, which have regularly encountered obstacles not found on private or state lands. By developing this legislation to streamline and standardize duplicative federal processes, deter frivolous lawsuits and prevent exorbitant federal permitting costs on Native lands, Young hopes to increase opportunity for Native communities to govern more aspects of energy development on their lands.

Beyond the many provisions that assist lower 48 tribes, this legislation contains important Judicial review provisions for both tribes and Alaska Native Corporations that work to eliminate attacks by outside special interest groups. Overall, this bill is based on the principle that Native communities, not the federal government or special interests, are the best stewards of their lands.

The federal government currently holds roughly 56 million acres of land into trust for the benefit of Indians. There are also 44 million acres of lands owned in fee by Alaska Native Corporations.  These lands are estimated to hold more than 10% of the nation’s energy potential, yet tribes are far behind non-Indian landowners in terms of producing energy from their lands. 

The bill incorporates various policy improvements that Alaska Native and American Indian leaders have brought to the attention of the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs in previous hearings and consultations.

Last Congress, this legislation passed the House with bipartisan support and was included as an amendment to the Senate energy bill, S. 2012, the “North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016,” and for consideration as part of the Energy Conference Committee.

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