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senate Bill S. 209

Should Native Tribes Have More Options When Using Their Land To Generate Profitable Energy?

Argument in favor

Native Americans have been subjugated and dispossessed for centuries. The least the government can do is make it easier for them to make money off of their own land.

Curmudgeon's Opinion
If they are truly native lands why are we exerting our sovereignty over them anyway?
Like (7)
I support Native Americans increasing their enterprises for profit on their own land, but these should be operated under the same safety and environmental standards applying to the rest of the country. If the bill protects the latter, I'll support it.
Like (4)
Dirtrhino's Opinion
Sure, they should have the same opportunities to destroy their environment as non-natives have had for the last 250 years
Like (2)

Argument opposed

There’s a reason that government oversight exists — and in this case it's to keep big business from making a quick buck at the expense of people's health and the environment.

BTSundra's Opinion
They should have the same options as the rest of us, no more, no less.
Like (2)
John's Opinion
It doesn't matter whether the energy is produced from Native American lands or not. It is cost and the impact on the environment that need to be considered.
Like (1)
Alisha's Opinion
I really feel that they could be taken advantage of the way we all are now. Keep your resources in the ground where they belong, and continue to respect the Earth. There are much better ways to make money, instead we need to help them manage. Their treaty money in more broadly beneficial ways and provide entrepreneurial opportunities for reservation businesses.
Like (1)

What is Senate Bill S. 209?

This bill seeks to make it easier for Native American Tribes to access the resources on their land. It does so by simplifying the process for tribes to get Tribal Energy Resource Agreements (TERA); agreements that tribes can draw up to lease their land without the approval of the Secretary of the Interior. 

It also requires the Secretary of the Interior to help tribes draw up technical plans for using their resources to generate energy and oil — renewable or otherwise. The bill also aims to make it easier for tribes to pool their resources. Finally, this bill creates a program to stimulate interest in biomass energy among Native American tribes.


Native Americans, tribal governments, surrounding communities, energy companies, and the Department of the Interior.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 209

$15.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, a CBO estimate from the 2014 version of this bill found that implementation would cost $15 million dollars from 2015-2019.

More Information

In Depth:

This bill amends a number of existing acts, including the Act of August 15, 1955, the Long-Term Leasing Act, the Energy Conservation and Production Act and the Tribal Forest Protection Act. Most notably, it modifies The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which offers incentives for energy production from both renewable and fossil fuel sources.

Of Note:

Not long before the Indian Affairs Committee approved this bill, President Obama approved a 12 percent budget increase for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the bureau of Indian Education. The budget includes $3 million to promote youth participation in natural resources-based projects like forestry and agriculture.


Sponsoring Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)

CBO Cost Estimate (Previous Bill Version)

Indian Country Today Media Network

Natural Gas Intel

(Photo Credit: Flickr user SandiaLabs)


Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2015

Official Title

A bill to amend the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act of 2005, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Indigenous Peoples of the United States
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Energy and Mineral Resources
  • The senate Passed December 10th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Indian Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 21st, 2015

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