U.S. Sen. Tom Udall delivers remarks Tuesday at the Department of Energy Tribal Energy Office’s 2017 National Tribal Energy Summit. Courtesy photo
U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, delivered remarks Tuesday at the Department of Energy Tribal Energy Office’s 2017 National Tribal Energy Summit.
In his remarks, Udall spoke about the importance of nurturing strategic partnerships to help achieve Tribal energy independence by investing in renewable energy sources. Udall said that reaching energy sovereignty through renewables will strengthen Tribal economies and help protect sacred Tribal lands.
Udall also highlighted the challenges posed to Tribes by changing energy markets in places like the Four Corners region, which for decades has relied heavily on coal burning power plants to drive the local economy.
“We all know there is a big policy debate regarding coal,” Udall said. “[But] … the economics do not look good for coal to power the regional economy forever.”
Udall called on the Department of Energy and Department of the Interior to provide assistance in ensuring that Tribal workers in transitioning energy markets, like the Four Corners region, receive the help and retraining they need to secure good paying jobs in new energy fields.
“The prudent thing to do is plan for the future on a practical, cooperative basis. And I believe the federal government has a deep responsibility to help. The Four Corners area is one of the most economically depressed in the nation, and has one of the highest concentrations of Native Americans, and is dependent on energy for Tribal income and jobs.”
“We must make sure Tribal members are not left out in the cold. We need to make sure dislocated workers get help, retraining, and good jobs, and new industries can help provide the tribal governments with much needed revenue,” Udall continued. “Tribal Energy Office is well positioned to help with these transitions. DOE and the Department of Interior need to work together on plans to specifically target resources for the Native Americans communities facing these transitions.”
In his remarks, Udall referenced a map of energy resources on Tribal lands. The map can be found here.