Flawed Federal Oversight Hinders Tribal Energy Development

Flawed Federal Oversight Hinders Tribal Energy Development

Jun 26, 2015


Co-Author, Law360, June 26, 2015

Despite significant potential for resource development on tribal lands, tribal energy resources remain largely undeveloped. To understand why, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., requested that the Government Accountability Office examine barriers to energy development on tribal lands.[1] This June, the GAO released its report with a telling title — “Poor Management by BIA has hindered energy development on Indian Lands.”[2] The report found that “Bureau of Indian Affairs’ management shortcoming, and other factors — such as complex regulatory framework, tribes’ limited capital and infrastructure, and varied tribal capacity — have hindered energy development.”[3] This article examines several of these problems, as well as certain recommendations by the GAO and Congress to address them. 

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