GOP wants to extract and drill on tribal lands, Dems want tribes to pursue clean energy. What do tribes want?
Tribal energy resources become key point of co-management congressional hearing.
WASHINGTON — Here’s a simplified breakdown of the main news from the first panel of today’s U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing, titled, “Examining the History of Federal Lands and the Development of Tribal Co-Management”:
Republicans: Respect tribal consultation and the self-determination of tribes that support domestic energy resource extraction and drilling, especially given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and associated rising energy prices. Tribal co-management of lands and water is important to the extent that it agrees with GOP priorities, especially economic development.
Democrats: Respect tribal consultation and the self-determination of tribes that oppose domestic energy resource extraction and drilling, regardless of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and associated rising energy prices. Tribal co-management of lands and water is important to the extent that it agrees with Democratic priorities, especially green energy proposals.
Tribal leaders: If we’ve got natural resources, let us use them the way we see fit, in a sovereign way, with the least amount of federal government intervention possible. Drop rules that slow us down in comparison to non-tribal energy producers.
Biden administration: Opposes unlimited domestic resource production and sees clean energy as the path forward, including tribal co-management, given today’s climate challenges.
Unsaid but implied: Tribal consultation will probably be less robust on any so-called dirty tribal energy efforts that the administration opposes. Consultation will also probably be less robust when tribes oppose some federally-approved fossil-fuel energy infrastructure projects, such as those involving Enbridge Line 3.
Important: “Treaties may supersede some of our decision making,” said Chuck Sams, the first Native American director of the National Park Service. Courts may resolve issues on all sides of the above energy and co-management issues involving tribal treaties, he noted.
Quote of the morning: “Boy, the false choices are flying from our Republican colleagues this morning. Do we respond to Putin by cutting dirty oil deals with Iran and Venezuela, or do we develop oil and gas on tribal lands? ‘Our gas is cleaner than Putin’s gas.’ Our Republican colleagues just keep inviting us to pick our favorite Menedez brother, or pick the prettiest horse at the glue factory,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), the chair of the Water, Oceans & Wildlife subcommittee.
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