Today, the House passed the Native American Energy Act (H.R. 538), which aims to reform how Native American tribes manage their natural resources such as minerals and other energy-related assets found on their land.
I voted against H.R. 538 because it limits public participation in environmental reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and fails to require that Native American tribes follow federal regulations for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on their lands.
I agree that Native Americans should be allowed to manage their lands and natural resources. However, I believe there will be unintended consequences on other land and water supplies throughout the U.S. should we exempt Native American tribes from current environmental law when they attempt to access natural resources on their land. Instead, we should be focusing our efforts on reforms that achieve tribal self-determination in energy development in an environmentally friendly way.
H.R. 538 passed the House and is now pending in the Senate.