Tribal energy efforts get federal boost

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced up to $11.5 million in new funding to deploy energy infrastructure on tribal lands.

This funding through the DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs will support Native American and Alaska Native communities interested in harnessing their vast undeveloped energy resources, the department said.

This funding opportunity announcement builds on efforts to strengthen tribal energy, economic infrastructure resource development and electrification on tribal lands. The effort will expand the potential for tribes to use the particular resources available to them. It also is “consistent not only with an all-of-the above energy policy.” with the principles of tribal sovereignty and self-determination,” the department said in a statement.

In all, 86 percent of Indian lands with energy or mineral potential remain untapped, as social and economic barriers have historically limited energy and infrastructure development on tribal lands, the department said.

Tribal lands comprise only 2 percent of U.S. land, but contain about 5 percent of all the country’s renewable energy resources, almost 30 percent of the coal reserves west of the Mississippi, 50 percent of potential uranium reserves, and 20 percent of known oil and gas reserves, the department’s data shows.

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