(DCWatchdog.com) – Native American tribes, whose income depends mainly on fossil fuel production, have blasted President Joe Biden’s administration for preventing them from developing energy resources on their lands.
The Biden administration has been implementing emissions standards and police limiting coal, oil, and natural gas production, which have sparked the resentment of Native American nations, tribal leaders have told Fox News in a report.
Among other measures, last year, the Biden administration allowed the expiration of a 40-year-old advisor panel on coal production, the National Coal Council charter of the Department of Energy.
Biden’s climate policies for restricting the production of fossil fuels on federal lands and waters appear to run counter to his Department of the Interior’s stated support for increasing Native Americans’ tribal sovereignty.
“Air, water, and energy are so foundational to our economy. I believe in the right that all property owners have to develop what belongs to them in any way they want,” said Daniel Cardenas from the Pit River tribe, the chairman of the National Tribal Energy Association.
Native American lands contain about 20% of the oil and natural gas reserves of the United States, plus 30% of its coal reserves west of the Mississippi River, alongside other minerals.
A 2014 study by the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), a think tank, evaluated the energy and mineral resources on tribal lands at some $1.5 trillion.
However, only 3% of America’s domestic oil production comes from Native American lands, and 86% of the energy and mineral deposits there have not been developed.
“Resource tribes depend on the development of their resources to create better tomorrow for our children,” said Conrad Stewart, the director of energy and water for the Crow Nation of Montana.
“It was basically a mandate in Indian policy to establish and develop our resources. A war on coal is a war on Crow,” he added, criticizing the energy policies of the Biden administration.
According to PERC, the Crow Nation is probably one of the largest coal owners in the world, with coal assets estimated to be worth about $27 billion.
At the same time, though, the tribe’s annual return on coal is less than 1%, with an unemployment rate much higher than America’s average.
Other Native American tribes that “actively rely” on oil and natural gas revenues for their budgets are the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation, Osage Nation, Southern Ute Tribe, and Navajo Nation.
“The MHA nation has benefited tremendously from the oil and gas activity on reservation… This is a reservation with a very low unemployment rate,” commented Ron Ness, the president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, pointing to the potential benefits of resource development for tribal communities.
Native American tribes dependent on fossil fuel resources rip Biden admin for double standard https://t.co/W53vj3uhPU
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 3, 2022