How the Inflation Reduction Act is Investing in Tribal Communities
Native Organizers Alliance supports the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act being signed into law by President Biden. The bill includes an investment of $272.5 million for our Tribal communities. We must act on this moment as a time to redouble our efforts for speeding up a just transition from fossil fuels through collective organizing and climate advocacy.
According to U.S. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, the Inflation Reduction Act will pass the House and will be signed into law by President Biden who is a champion of the climate resiliency, tax, and healthcare bill.
The bill’s passage will allocate:
- $150 million for Tribal home electrification, which has been an infrastructure challenge plaguing tribes who have the necessary expertise and authority to electrify homes, but not the financial means to do so.
- $75 million for loans to Tribes for energy development, energy rebate programs offering incentives for homes with high energy efficiency, and for modernizing existing systems to make them more climate-friendly.
- $25 million for climate resilience funding to the Office of Native Hawaiin Relations at the Department of Interior, representing the biggest investment in climate justice ever in history, paid for by corporate taxes according to Senator Mazie Hirono (D) Hawaii speaking to Hawaii News Now.
It also establishes a Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program (TELGP) with up to $2 billion available to support tribal investment in energy-related projects such as electricity generation and transmission facilities both renewable and conventional.
In order to pass the bill into law, there were compromises made related to allowing new oil and gas leasing, which continues to cause devastating harm to our lands and our people. According to Indianz.com, tribal leaders are applauding and supporting the bill citing the need for advances in climate protection now with the weight of draughts, storms, fires, and other natural disasters looming.
William Smith, Chair of the National Indian Health Board has stated, “Once perceived as future threats, the impacts of climate change are now upon us. The action taken today demonstrates a renewed respect for Mother Earth and our waters and will focus attention on critically needed resources and alleviating the impact of climate change and transitioning to clean energy.”
Additionally, with this bill savings on health care costs, medicare expenses, and a reduction in pricing of some critical medications alleviate the burden on our elders and our families. There are provisions for inflationary and deficit control that can bring some financial relief to Tribal citizens across nations.
Sunday as the bill passed the Senate, Secretary Haaland said, “As communities across the country continue to face extreme heat, intense storms, and other climate impacts, now is the time to make bold investments.”
Native Organizers Alliance is committed to our mission to mobilize communities to leverage sovereignty and collective power for sacred land and climate protections.
- The bill (click PDF to download): https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5376/text
- Speaker statement: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/pelosi-says-us-house-will-pass-inflation-reduction-act-friday-2022-08-10/
- Quotes on impacts for Tribes: https://www.indianz.com/News/2022/08/08/inflation-reduction-act-brings-new-climate-and-energy-investments-to-indian-country/
- Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program: https://www.energy.gov/lpo/tribal-energy-loan-guarantee-program
- Hawaii News Now interview: https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/video/2022/08/10/hirono-discusses-inflation-reduction-act-bill-place-term-limit-supreme-court-justices/
- Native News Online article: https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/largest-investment-ever-on-climate-change-passes-senate-including-272-5-million-for-tribes
- Tribal electrification source: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/how-we-rise/2021/07/14/energizing-navajo-nation-how-electrification-can-secure-a-sustainable-future-for-indian-country/