We Want Renewable Energy & Green Jobs Too: Native American Groups Tell Obama

wind turbine photo
Citing the disproportionate burden Native American populations will bear because of climate change, and have borne because fossil fuel energy development (in particular uranium mining), a coalition of Native groups, including Honor the Earth, the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and the International Indian Treaty Council, is asking the incoming Obama administration to give greater support to tribally owned and operated renewable energy projects, as well as green job programs. Here's why:Tribal Lands Have Great Renewable Energy Potential
The groups pointed out the energy potential of tribal lands, asserting that renewable energy projects located there could generate an estimated 535 billion kWh/year of electricity from wind power and 17,000 billion kWh/year from solar power. Furthermore, investing in renewable energy would generate more jobs per dollar invested than continued investment in fossil fuels.

Native Nations Have Higher Unemployment, Poverty Rates
On the green job front, the groups say that even though Native Nations have "borne the brunt of destructive energy development that has reaped massive profits for some," the unemployment rate on reservations is more than twice the national rate, poverty rates are twice national levels, and reservation homes without electricity are ten times the national rate. Furthermore, in the continental US 11% of Indian homes lack complete plumbing, while in Alaska this rises to 33%.

Because of this there is great potential to put people to work improving building energy efficiency, improving local energy infrastructure and building renewable energy projects.

The Obama Economic Stimulus Plan that incorporates a green economy and green jobs portfolio must include provisions for access to these resources by our Native Nations, our tribal education and training institutions, and Native organizations and communities.

Read the full policy recommendations: Energy Justice in Native America and the Next Administration

via: Indian Country Today
photo: Steven via flickr
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