U.S. Chamber of Commerce - S. 245, "Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017"

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - 1:15pm

The Honorable Rob Bishop
Chairman
Committee on Natural Resources
U.S. House of Representatives 
Washington, DC 20515 

The Honorable Raúl Grijalva
Ranking Member
Committee on Natural Resources
U.S. House of Representatives 
Washington, DC 20515 

Dear Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports S. 245, the “Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017,” which your committee is marking up tomorrow, Thursday, November 15.

If enacted, S. 245 would streamline and clarify how a tribe applies for, and how the Department of Interior approves, Tribal Energy Resource Agreements (TERAs), by “granting authority to [a] tribe to review, approve, and manage leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way for energy development on tribal lands, without the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.”1

The negotiation and approval process for a TERA was enacted into law 13 years ago as Title V of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (PL 109–58). However, because that Act did not make clear the process for obtaining a TERA, there has not yet been a single TERA submitted for secretarial approval.

In addition to the TERA-perfecting amendments, S. 245 includes provisions to reform and improve the trust asset appraisal process, to allow the Department of the Interior to enter into agreements with tribes to carry out biomass demonstration projects, and to authorize tribal involvement in the Department of Energy weatherization program.

The Chamber strongly supports S. 245 and urges the Committee to favorably report the bill so it can be considered swiftly by the full House.

Sincerely,

Neil L. Bradley

cc: Members of the Committee on Natural Resources


1 https://openei.org/wiki/Tribal_Energy_Resource_Agreements