Why Clean Energy on Tribal Land isn’t Excess-it’s Essential

Imagine, for a moment, that wind power installations went up on tribal lands all across the U.S. And that those green machines supplied 14-percent of the national energy consumption annually.

Says a report released by the Department of Energy, this is no farfetched fantasy—it’s actually feasible.

Not only that, but if tribes invested in solar power, that the same land could provide 4.5 times the amount of power needed for the entire country. So why aren’t we jumping at the chance to put our money where our mouth is and take renewables to the next level?

Currently, there is only one large-scale clean energy installation operating on tribal land, despite the fact that the majority of tribes are more than willing to invest in eco-friendly energy.

In truth, they would benefit from the cultivation of renewables through higher profits and more jobs that honor their desire to protect the environment.

The problem lies with bureaucratic red tape that many aren’t willing to cut through. There are a variety of outdated laws that make building anything on tribal land a near impossibility.

When enough of these obstacles are in place, developing these installations becomes significantly less cost-effective.

Recently President Obama began his attempts to get rid of such regulations that prevent these and other growth-promoting projects from moving forward.

Obama is calling for a 21st-Century Regulatory System, which would launch an audit of all obsolete laws—including the regulations in question.

Amazingly, about one in seven American-Indian homes do not have electricity. For those that do, they pay 10-percent more than the country’s average.

Add to this an astounding poverty rate of 27-37 percent, and these renewable energy projects become necessity—not excess.

Photo Credit: Chauncey Davis via Flickr CC

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