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Press Release

Bishop Statement on House Passage of Bill Benefitting Indian Tribes

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) issued the following statement today after the House passed S. 245, which benefits Indian tribes developing energy resources and forest management procedures.

“Indian tribes are an integral part of our country’s culture and economy, and this bill provides them with the resources necessary to stimulate energy development and improve forest management. I applaud my colleagues in both the House and Senate for their work on these issues.” – Chairman Rob Bishop

“We’ve seen catastrophic fires in the Pacific Northwest, devastating our public and tribal lands. When we use excess forest products for biomass production, we can reduce forest fire risk by keeping our lands healthier and also create a stable energy source. I believe our tribes can and should be taking a leading role in this effort. That’s why I was proud to support the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act, and specifically the tribal biomass demonstration provision, to help make that a reality.”U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)

“Promoting energy projects is critical for economic development throughout Indian Country. Native communities face a significant number of obstacles to developing and delivering energy on their land. I have always said that Alaska Natives and American Indians are the best caretakers of their lands. Tribal self-determination is all about empowering Native communities with the tools and authority to manage their resources, which this legislation will promote. I am particularly pleased that the bill includes a tribal biomass demonstration program, which mirrors a provision in my Native American Energy Act. I appreciate Chairman Hoeven’s willingness to continue working on Indian energy and his commitment to hold a hearing on my Native American Energy Act next Congress, and I thank him for his leadership on this issue. With the President’s signature on S.245, Native communities across the country are one step closer to energy independence.”U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)

“Indian Country should have the opportunity and autonomy to develop natural resources to boost tribal economies. Empowering tribal communities and streamlining the energy development application process is a win-win, and I am pleased that this bipartisan legislation is headed to President Trump for his signature into law.”U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.)


The bill would amend certain provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, primarily impacting the process by which a tribe may obtain Tribal Energy Resource Agreements (TERA). Additional provisions in the bill would provide tribal energy activities and projects with greater access to Department of Energy technical and scientific resources, establish a biomass demonstration project, and streamline the energy appraisal and permitting processes. The provisions contained in the bill are intended to help tribes exercise greater self-determination in the production of energy on their lands.

S. 245 would also remove other federal disincentives to developing tribal trust energy resources and assist Indian tribes interested in pursuing the development of these resources consistent with the federal policy of promoting Indian self-determination. 

Stakeholder Support for S. 245:

“The Intertribal Timber Council supports this legislation because it will help protect Indian trust lands from threats of wildfire while promoting economic opportunities in Indian Country.”Intertribal Timber Council