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Developing Energy Projects on Federal Lands: Tribal Rights, Roles, Consultation, and Other Interests (A Tribal Perspective)

Paul E. Frye, Energy Development: Access, Siting, Permitting, and Delivery on Public Lands

Native American nations, tribes, Pueblos, bands and individuals are often significant stakeholders in energy development projects on federal lands. Federal agencies are often required by federal statutes, federal common law, executive orders, and departmental policies to consult with tribes and to consider their interests before approving projects or project components. Project proponents should be aware of such interests when planning and implementing an energy initiative on federal lands, and, indeed, when operating the energy development facility after all approvals are obtained. Otherwise, unexpected delays may occur and unnecessary costs may be incurred.

Walter Stern's accompanying paper presents a developer's perspective. This paper presents generally a tribal perspective, although the two are by no means mutually exclusive. Indeed, many tribes have established their own energy development companies or enterprises, and those entities face many of the same challenges as do non-Indian energy developers both on and off Indian lands.

As Walter Stern's paper discusses thoroughly, the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act all require federal officials to consider Indian interests in environme