Department of Energy

Energy Department to Sign MOU with Interior Department to Assist Indian Tribes to Develop Energy Resources

November 5, 2015

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WASHINGTON, DC -- At the White House Tribal Nations Conference today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of the Interior to assist Indian Tribes throughout the United States to develop their energy resources.

The MOU will assist Indian Tribes to manage energy resources on approximately 56 million acres of land and natural resources. DOE and Interior will develop and share policies, technical information, strategic plans and best practices in Indian Country in the lower 48 states and Alaska to enhance the reliability and security of the North American energy infrastructure to better serve and create market opportunities for Indian Country. This will include exploring partnerships among DOE’s national laboratories, research institutes and other organizations to promote energy efficiency and clean energy development and deployment in Indian Country.

"Indian Country energy development has tremendous potential coupled with immense need,” said DOE Director of Indian Policy and Programs Christopher Clark Deschene. “By initiating a partnership with the DOI’s Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, DOE’s Office of Indian Energy is enhancing its mission to maximize the development and deployment of energy solutions for the benefit of tribal communities throughout the United States. We are proud to support joint efforts that serve Indian Country."

DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs initiated the cooperation with Interior’s Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development to lend DOE’s extensive energy expertise, since Indian Tribes control significant energy resources on Indian Lands which play a critical role in national and global energy production and demand.  DOE and Indian Tribes are also working together in responding to climate change challenges through planning, development and deployment of clean energy in Indian Country.  DOE’s primary commitment to tribes in this agreement is that they realize economic benefits (jobs and income) through the development of all of their energy resources. 

President Barack Obama is hosting the 2015 White House Tribal Nations Conference which reaffirms the President’s commitment to strengthen the government-to-government relationship with Indian Country and to improve the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives, with an emphasis on increasing opportunity for Native youth.

The MOU is expected to be formalized in early December, 2015. Learn more about DOE’s Office of Indian Energy and Policy Programs here.