“Our intent was to amass available federal resources and make sure Tribes are aware they exist and can access them,” said Office of Indian Energy Deployment Specialist Dr. Tommy Jones. “Tribal-led nonprofits and non-governmental organizations will play a pivotal role, partnering closely with the Tribes to secure funding and implement the projects. These organizations have the capacity and motivation to conduct projects.”
Signed by DOE, the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council Executive Director, the MOUs launch a multiyear, multiagency effort to boost prosperity and improve quality of life for the Navajo and Hopi people.
The Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe have historically produced coal resources to power major cities in Arizona, Nevada, and California. Since the closure of the Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta coal mine in 2019, Tribes have lost up to 80% of their annual revenues and 1,500 Native American jobs. The goal of the MOUs is to help coordinate federal resources during economic revitalization efforts.
Approximately one year ago on Dec. 1, 2022, DOE, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Navajo Nation signed the original MOU and have since convened more than five meetings on the Navajo Nation. In building relationships through this process, the MOUs enable diverse stakeholders to find common ground and bring different strengths to bear, bridging gaps in capacity that can be barriers to success. For example, Tribal entities may have limited experience applying for grants, and nonprofits may not be eligible for federal funding.
Between 2010 and 2022, the DOE Office of Indian Energy invested over $120 million in more than 210 Tribal energy projects implemented across the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. These projects, valued at more than $215 million, are leveraged by over $93 million in recipient cost share. See the DOE Office of Indian Energy website for a map and summaries of these competitively funded projects.