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Native American Energy Act (H.R. 3973)
Status: Passed in Committee on May 16, 2012 by voice vote. Placed on the House Calendar.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2012 -
  • The Native American Energy Act streamlines burdensome and duplicative government regulations and increases the opportunity for Indian tribes to develop energy resources on their own land to create jobs and increase American energy production.
  • The bill addresses specific concerns from various Indian County leaders about getting approval from the Secretary of the Interior for energy development, while promoting and encouraging increased energy production on tribal lands by reducing government barriers and streamlining burdensome procedures.
  • Specifically, H.R. 3973:
    • Streamlines the appraisal process to allow for more expedited appraisals of Indian land by the Secretary of the Interior and respects sovereignty of Indian tribes by directly involving affected tribes to participate in the environmental review processes.

    • Establishes no less than five Indian energy development offices across Indian Country to help better facilitate the tribal relationship with federal regulators during the process of exploration, development and energy production on Indian lands.

    • Lowers the cost for Indian tribes to produce energy on their own land by prohibiting the Bureau of Land Management from collecting application for permit to drill fees.

    • Reduces unnecessary and frivolous lawsuits that are specifically designed to prevent Indians from producing energy on their own land and eliminates taxpayer compensation to those filing lawsuits to prohibit energy development on Indian lands.

    • Allows the Navajo Nation to conduct their own mineral leasing without involvement of the Department of the Interior as long as the leasing is conducted under Navajo tribal leasing laws that received prior approval from the Secretary of the Interior. This provision effectively removes Interior from the day-to-day management of Navajo energy leasing and increases Navajo sovereignty over its natural resources.

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