Indian Law Partner Philip Baker-Shenk was quoted in a Daily Journal article titled "Proposed Rules to Expedite Renewable Projects to Tribal Land."
The article reports that renewable energy projects on Native American tribal lands may begin accelerating soon, thanks to new rules proposed by the U.S. Department of the Interior. According to Mr. Baker-Shenk, development of tribes' renewable resources – and other economic opportunities – has been held up by the federal government for too long. Very often, what you see is development right up to the exterior boundary, and once you're on the reservation, it's wilderness, or underutilized or undeveloped land," he said. "Far too often, it's not by choice, but a result of distant federal control, which despite the request of the local leadership of the tribe … slows down, if not completely paralyzes development." This situation could change if and when the new rules are adopted. Mr. Baker-Shenk believes new rules that make it easier to get approval for leasing tribal land could unleash existing potential for development of substantial renewable assets. "There are significant numbers of tribes that do have large land areas … generating areas that could do commercial scale [power production]. A number are developing solar commercial scale and wind production," he said.
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