The Native American Energy Act, legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ) that streamlines federal regulatory hurdles preventing tribes or individuals from profitably developing energy resources on their land, cleared the House last week despite a veto threat.
"While the administration supports the need to facilitate energy development in Indian Country, it does not support H.R. 538, the 'Native American Energy Act.'" the White House said in the days before the House vote. "The bill would undermine public participation and transparency of review of projects on Indian lands under the National Environmental Policy Act, set unrealistic deadlines and remove oversight for appraisals of Indian lands or trust assets."
Gosar, the lone co-sponsor of the bill introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), said that under current policy, potential resource development on tribal lands faces many obstacles that projects on private or state land do not.
“This process can be fraught with litigation and delays that chase away potential investments and crush otherwise viable projects," Gosar said.
Gosar, who works closely with Natural Resources interest groups, said the act “will provide tribes with greater control over how they develop their own natural resources and allow them to do so in ways that will best benefit their communities, not a DC bureaucrat’s ideology.”
Following the House's passage of the bill, Young noted how important The Native American Energy Act is for Native Americans, especially in his home state.
“The Judicial Review provisions are crucial for Alaska Natives, whose ability to develop their land claim settlement lands has been abused by special interest groups filing lawsuits from outside,” Young said. “These lands, given by this Congress to Alaska Natives, are now being interfered with by outside interest groups.”