Interior Secretary Jewell Announce Major Milestone for Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands on Thursday

The Sierra Club is working with the Moapa Band of Paiutes to transition NV Energy away from the Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant -- which sits only 45 miles from Las Vegas and a short walk from community housing at the Moapa River Indian Reservation. The Reid Gardner coal plant is literally spewing out tons of airborne pollutants such as mercury, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and greenhouse gases. This has resulted in substantial health impacts on the Moapa community, with a majority of tribal members reporting a sinus or respiratory ailment.

Will Visit Moapa Band of Paiute Indians as Part of Three-State Tour to Highlight Obama Administration Efforts to Support Renewable Energy

MOAPA INDIAN RESERVATION – As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create jobs, cut carbon pollution and develop clean domestic energy, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on Thursday, September 15, will join leaders of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians in Clark County, Nevada to make an important announcement regarding tribal energy and economic development. In her capacity as Chair of the White House Council on Native American Affairs, Secretary Jewell leads a comprehensive federal initiative to work more collaboratively and effectively with tribes to advance their economic and social priorities. Secretary Jewell’s visit to Nevada marks the final stop on a three-state tour highlighting the Obama Administration efforts to support renewable energy.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

To foster tribal energy self-sufficiency and advance economic competitiveness, Interior conducted asweeping reform of federal surface leasing regulations for American Indian lands that streamlines the approval process for home ownership and spurs renewable energy development in Indian Country. As trustee for the land and resources of federally-recognized tribes, Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for managing about 55 million surface acres in Indian Country. In 2014, Interior approved the 200-megawatt Moapa Solar Energy Center Project on tribal trust land, located about 20 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.

President Obama’s strong record of supporting rural economies through the White House Rural Council has focused on maximizing the impact of Federal investment to promote economic prosperity and improve the quality of life in rural communities, including on tribal lands. Under the President’s Climate Action Plan, smart development of Indian Country resources has the power to strengthen tribal economies, create jobs and generate self-sufficiency. The plan calls on Interior to permit 20,000 megawatts of renewable power by 2020. Since 2009, Interior has approved 59 utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands, including 35 solar, 11 wind and 13 geothermal projects and associated transmission infrastructure that could support nearly 15,500 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, or enough to power approximately 5.1 million homes.

In addition, Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management offshore energy development program has awarded 11 commercial wind energy leases in federal waters off the Atlantic coast. These sales encompass more than one million acres in federal waters that, if fully developed, have the potential to power over four million homes.

WHO: Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Lawrence S. Roberts, Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs
Robert Tom, Chairman, Moapa Band of Paiute
Brian Coons, Vice President of Project Development, North America, First Solar
WHAT:  Announcement of major renewable energy milestone on tribal lands
WHEN: Thursday, September 15, 2016
9:00 a.m. PDT – Media check-in
9:15 a.m. PDT – Tour
10:00 a.m. PDT – Signing ceremony followed by brief media availability
WHERE: Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project Site
(Turn left after taking exit 64 from I-15 North. Take the first right, which is marked by a sign that directs you to Harry Allen Plant. Continue for 13 miles following signs to First Solar Moapa.)

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