Indian Affairs Senators Lead Oversight Hearing on Tribal Energy Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Committee, led an oversight hearing titled, “The Future of Tribal Energy Development: Implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” Principal Deputy Under Secretary and Acting Under Secretary for Infrastructure Kathleen Hogan from the Department of Energy and Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland from the Department of the Interior testified at the hearing.

“We pushed nearly half a billion dollars directly to Native communities for energy needs and made them eligible to apply for billions more,” said Chairman Schatz. “This down payment is supposed to begin addressing the United States’ history of actively exploiting Native energy resources for non-Native gain and willfully neglecting Native energy needs. We need a course correction to support Native energy development, and it needs to start with the agencies you represent. It’s been more than seven months since we passed the Inflation Reduction Act and nearly a year and a half since we passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill. It is time to implement.”

“Native communities pay more for electricity on average and are at greater risk for power outages due to their rural locations and vulnerability to climate change,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “Recently enacted measures, like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, offers tribes a real shot at improving the reliability, affordability, and access to electricity for Native communities. The energy and infrastructure needs are too great to let bureaucratic barriers get in the way of these once-in-a-generation investments in tribal energy production and electrification.”