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Well, thank you, Karen, and also let me thank all of my Administration colleagues here who are, indeed, great colleagues to work with on this and many other issues. First, let me just say that the Department of Energy really interacts with our tribal communities in two different ways. One is historically at our far-flung Department of Energy sites across the country, many of those sites are nearby, contiguous with tribal lands, and so we have those partnerships that we continue to develop.
Second, in 2011 the Department established the office of Indian energy to provide a focal point for focusing on clean energy and its deployment on tribal lands. Just last year, we consolidated our tribal programs to have more streamlined management and perhaps more importantly in our request for fiscal year 2015 funding to congress, we increased our request by just about 50%. I might say that request was well received in both chambers. Now we need to have them come together and actually pass a budget so that we can use those funds to deploy. And I can assure you, we remain interested in continuing our growth in these programs.
I'm not going to go into the issues of climate change. We've just heard some of those. I just to say that at the Department of Energy, one of our very special roles, clearly, is to work on developing, demonstrating and deploying the energy technologies that we will need to address climate change but also to address the economic needs in tribal lands and, frankly, across the country and across the world.
We know that often we see in our tribal lands and certainly in our Alaskan native communities’ tremendously high prices or energy. So there's also an important economic advantage here in addressing these technologies. Let me just very briefly mention four, four things, four announcements if you like.
Today the Administration has been announcing the first round of climate action champions, 16 communities recognized for their ambition and first steps in addressing climate change. I'm pleased to say that two of those are the tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan and the blue lake Rancheria in California. So in these months, these tribes and the other champions of climate change -- and there'll be more rounds, so hang in there -- so they will be receiving technical assistance around pollution mitigation, climate resilience, and each will be assigned a federal coordinator to help leverage resources to support the implementation of their climate strategies. That's good news.
Secondly, our Alaska START program which is Strategic Technical Assistant Response Team program. So today, again, we are announcing a new round. Since its start in December 2011, the program has helped 11 Alaska native communities advancing clean energy, technology and infrastructure projects. So this third round of assistance, again, will add to that increasing resiliency, local generation capacity and energy efficiency and the like. Also creating local job opportunities.
In addition, I might say something which was another important program is as the United States heads into the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, that we are developing a ten-year plan to support and accelerate deployment of renewables throughout the arctic region, and our Indian energy program, for example, just did seven consultations with Alaska native Tribal leaders, Tribal governments and villages and regional corporations. And this is the kind of outreach and consultation that we need more of not only in this program, but across the board.
And third is that today the Indian energy office has launched a new web site providing a one-stop shop for federal funding and technical assistance programs to support development for tribes, Alaska native villages and corporations.
And fourth, next spring the Department will host a tribal nations summit, and in preparation for that, actually next week, we'll be in Indian country in Arizona to have a two-day working group to help plan out that summit for next year. The exact place and date we will be letting you know of wherever it is and whenever it is. We hope to see some of you there. So thank you very much.