Tester legislation would remove hurdles for energy development on Indian lands

Measure removes bureaucratic obstacles, opens up tribal access to capital

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester has introduced legislation to boost energy development on Indian lands by removing burdensome regulations and improving tribal access to capital financing.

Tester worked closely with Montana’s tribes while drafting the Indian Energy Parity Act, which would remove bureaucratic hurdles for Indian tribes seeking to develop energy production.  The bill would also provide loan guarantees and technical assistance to tribes.

“If we can get rid of some of these bureaucratic obstacles, then folks in Indian Country can help Montana realize our state’s great potential with energy,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.  “And if our Indian communities have the tools to get to work on energy development, that’ll mean a better shot for them at jobs and economic success.”

Indian tribes currently must seek official permission from the U.S. Interior Secretary to begin preliminary work on energy development.  Tester’s legislation would eliminate that hurdle.

The measure would also:

  • Promote biomass projects on Indian land
  • Provide weatherization grants directly to tribes, instead of awarding them through state governments
  • Set up demonstration projects to increase energy resources available to Indian communities
  • Put Indian tribes on equal footing with states and municipalities when applying for hydroelectric energy permits
  • Require the U.S. Secretary of Energy to explore the potential for electrical power generation on Indian lands
  • Open up energy efficiency grant opportunities to tribes

Tester last month introduced legislation to bolster geothermal energy development across Montana.

The Indian Energy Parity Act is available on Tester’s website, HERE.