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How We Work With Tribes

We work Tribes to meet their energy and mineral development goals.

Before delving into the development of an energy initiative, the Division of Energy and Mineral Development (DEMD) knows that it is critical to first understand the end goal that a Tribe wants to achieve. 

DEMD believes that the best energy policy for Indian lands will assist Tribes in the development of a resource that a Tribe sees as the greatest benefit to their community.  

From many years working with Tribes, DEMD has found that the primary reasons behind a Tribe's desire to develop energy projects involve one or more of the following issues that often interconnected.

Economic Impact to Strengthen and Solidify the Tribal Economy 

Statistics show that unemployment rates are high on many reservations, and there is a strong desire to boost their local, Tribal economies through new job- creating projects.

Environmental Sustainability Benefits and Cultural Values

Tribes developing energy projects aim to do so in alignment with cultural beliefs that the earth and environment need to be taken care of for future generations.

Sovereignty

Tribes often see developing their own energy source as a way to exercise their Tribal sovereignty.

Dissatisfaction With the Current Electricity Supplier

Tribes may be experiencing unreliable energy service, and utility providers are often unwilling to expand service to outlying Tribal communities.  

Tribal Energy Development Challenges

  • Tribal leadership and project staff changes 
  • No commercial or business codes 
  • Business not separated from Tribal political arm 
  • Lack of resources like time, money and/or staffing 
  • Limited accessible financing
  • Projects that are not economically viable

Recent Support Projects

Some of our recent support projects include:

  • Lease Sale Assistance: DEMD staff assists in lease sales and provides recommendations for when to hold lease sales and where the focus of the marketing should be to create the most economic impact.

  • Right-of-Way Analysis: DEMD staff assists with right- of- way (ROW) analysis to determine if a Tribe is getting fair market value price for their pipeline use and access.

  • Seismic Acquisition: DEMD staff is assists and travels to reservations to ensure the seismic shoot is working properly and the full value of grant funding is used to obtain the seismic data to aid in future interpretation for hydrocarbon exploration.

  • Well Evaluation (Fluid Minerals): Due to the high helium content in granite rock, the DEMD staff assists in determining whether or not it is economically viable to try and recover more helium from the granite, or find another alternative to create value from the well. 

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