Senate unanimously passes Tester’s bipartisan tribal energy bill

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan legislation that reduces red tape and provides more resources to tribes to further develop their natural resources has unanimously passed the Senate.

The Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act clarifies and streamlines the Department of Interior process that tribes must go through to develop energy projects. The bill establishes deadlines and approval criteria that the Interior Secretary must follow.

“Tribes should be in control of their energy resources,” said Tester, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “This bipartisan bill increases self-determination and allows tribes to build a sustainable energy plan that will create good-paying jobs and a more stable economy.”

Tester’s bill would also provide greater federal technical assistance to tribes for developing their energy resources.‎

In October Tester expressed frustration over the federal government’s failure to uphold its trust responsibility and assist tribes who are pushing to increase energy development on tribal lands at an Indian Affairs Committee hearing.

The Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act is cosponsored by Senators Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Bennet (D-Colo.), Enzi (R-Wyo.), Fischer (R-Neb.), Gardner (R-Colo.), Hoeven (R-N.D.), McCain (R-Ariz.), Moran (R-Kan.), and Murkowski (R-Alaska).