Report: BIA regulations lead to missed opportunities for tribes to develop energy resources

IndustriesAssociated Press

A new report from the investigative arm of Congress largely blames the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs for hindering energy development on tribal lands.

The BIA has the final say in approving a majority of documents that would clear the way for solar, wind, oil, gas and other projects, although a process is in place for tribes to take control.

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The U.S. Government Accountability Office wrote in a report released this week that the BIA is slow to identify ownership of land and resources, and lacks adequate staffing. The office says that leads to missed opportunities for tribes to generate revenue.

The BIA says it's getting ready to deploy a system nationally to better track data and would provide more guidance to tribes on how to take over certain federal responsibilities.