WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today investigated the barriers holding back Montana tribes from developing energy resources on their lands and called on the Obama administration to improve meaningful consultation with tribes during the federal decision making process.
During a Senate Indian Affairs oversight hearing on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report on Indian Energy Development, Daines pressed Larry Roberts, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of Interior on the unnecessary bureaucracy and lack of communication that has long-hindered tribal energy development.
“As the GAO reports and our witnesses today tell us, energy development on Indian lands is laden with bureaucratic red tape, which is expensive, detracts from investment, and ignores the most important responsibility of the federal government to uphold its trust responsibility with Indian Nations.” Daines stated. “I think it’s a disgrace that the federal government has not done more to ensure our Indian Nations can foster their own tribal sovereignty, doing the best they can to create a better livelihood for their members.”
Daines also welcomed Grant Stafne, Tribal Councilman from the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes, who was a witness at today’s hearing. Stafne shared the challenges that the Tribes have encountered while trying to encourage development of oil and gas on the Fort Peck Reservation.