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tv   Tribal Leaders Testify on Climate Change  CSPAN  December 28, 2021 11:20pm-12:59am EST

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c-span now. access top highlights. listen with c-span radio and discover new pipe cast all for free. download c-span now for free. >> native american tribal leaders shared how climate change is affecting their communities and how tribes are investing in clean energy technology. they testified before the house select committee on the climate crisis.
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>> the committee will come to order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time, and as a reminder, members should be visible on camera throughout the hearing. as with in person meetings, members are responsible for
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controlling their own microphones. i would like to remind members per the guidance of the attending physician, members and all others physically present are required to wear masks unless speaking or under recognition by the chair. in addition, statements, documents or motions must be submitted to the repository. finally, members and witnesses experiencing technical problems should inform committee staff immediately. i will now recognize myself for an opening statement. if i can locate it. all right. good morning again. the original stewards of the
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land, indigenous people have plenty to teach us about tackling climate change. they should have traveled -- carry the scars of stolen land, forced removal and genocide but they have also endured, survived and proudly held onto secret traditions, unique knowledge and wisdom they inherited from their ancestors. during native american heritage month, we will have an opportunity to listen to distinguished tribal leaders and experts from across indian country on how they are addressing the climate crisis and we will discuss how congress can partner with tribal nations to create an equitable clean energy future. extreme weather events are impacting sacred lands, burial sites and cultural tradition.
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the long-term risks of climate change include sealevel rise, extreme heat and decreased precipitation are threatening the health and livelihood of millions of native americans. as we look to solve the comic crisis, congress has the response about a two respected tribal sovereignty and to help tribal nations build climate impacts. -- sponsors to climate impact. we must draw on the extensive ancestral knowledge and capabilities across indian country and we must ensure travel voices -- tribal voices have a seat at the table. this needs to be part of tribal consultation -- consultation informing federal decision. we have reason for optimism. president biden announced the
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historic initiative to integrate tribal knowledge into federal decision-making and earlier this year, president biden past our former house colleague to lead the interior department and she became the first native american cabinet secretary in history. the president has also appointed more than 50 native american leaders physicians throughout the administration and last month officially declared indigenous peoples' day as a federal holiday. the biden harris administration have taken tangible steps to protect lands sacred to tribes. the administration has historic protections for grand staircase escalante, protecting arctic waters and suspending oil leases in the arctic national wildlife refuge. the president also made a point of collaborating on the america beatable initiative.
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in congress, we are also making very important progress. there are bipartisan input structure and jobs acts. which one does over $13 billion in indigenous people. this historic infrastructure law invests more than $3 billion for tribal transportation initiatives and over 2 billion dollars per tribal broadband and digital equity. the bipartisan infrastructure law will also invest $150 million in plugging, remediating and restoring tribal orphan well sites. that is not all. this week, the excitement is building and we are poised to build on the investment with the build back better act which includes a major investment to
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address health disparities as well as tribal resilience and adaptation. as you will hear from today's witnesses, these investments are critical right now. i want to think i'm all for being with us today. i am looking forward to today's discussion. at this time i am happy to yield five been as to the ranking member. derek graves of -- my time to the ranking member. >> the united states is leading the world in reducing emissions and doing it in an affordable way. benefiting our tribal communities, benefiting americans across the entire nation, across all of our states and territories. as we move forward, we have got to deploy solutions that are globally deployable. ones that are both reliable and affordable.
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we are going to hear from the important role the tribes are playing. something that is also really important is how we make decisions in the united states using our abundant resources. all of our climate policies must be based on hard assets and resources right here in the united states. the tribes are like a microcosm of what is possible. looking at the assets and the resources they have, whether it is wind, solar, geothermal or wave energy. that could include things like fossil fuels. if those of -- those are the resources they have. as we move forward, it is important that we learn from the successes and failures of
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others. i just got back from europe like the madam chair did. we are not europe. thankfully we are not pursuing it right now, all of their strategies. although i am hearing more and more about how we need to move in that direction. it is crystal clear to me that that direction -- that one recognizes the resources in the united states. number two, it fails to meet the reliability test, number three, it fails to meet the affordability test. as i mentioned in this committee before, look no further than the state of california as to how to not pursue clean energy strategies. higher emissions, higher prices. one of the tribes we will hear from today is one on the forefront of the clean energy revolution. the next wave of energy
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innovation that they are pursuing will deliver on this promise of an american base resource but also one that is carbon free. they are combined with cutting edge innovation to generate affordable electricity with zero emissions on demand. this is baseload power. the technology and this power just announced yesterday that they will deliver to the grid for the first time anywhere zero emissions. this is something that is a global game changer that everyone here should be thrilled about. i have not heard any of my
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colleagues make mention of this. american resources, natural gas. zero emissions, affordable electricity. if you let every credible analysis -- just making sure there is tribal consent. i agree with you. look at a microcosm of opportunity and ensure that we are listening to them and how we can not look at the source of energy but recognize the emissions. this is the perfect example of
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how we can deliver reliable affordable admissions and free energy that can ultimately be exported around the world rather than the strategies we have seen recently where our administration is asking other countries to basically produce energy. i think it is important to note that just yesterday, the court's forced the biden administration to sue ended up providing nearly $200 million in trading just in the lease sale that is not from the reduction. -- production. offshore in recent years, they have produced 10 billion. important health care and all of this, we have to have the resources to do this. i look forward to hearing from
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our witnesses and i go to back. i want to welcome to our witnesses. -- and i yield back. >> i want to welcome our witnesses. this is a community of 2500. she is the 23rd president of the oldest and largest american indian and alaska native tribal government organization in the country. the honorable melvin j baker is the chairman of the southern youth indian tribe. he previously served on the southern new tribal council, the colorado commission of indian affairs. and the southern youth housing authority. this is the, change program and injure for the united south and eastern tribes.
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they will serve as a climate science liaison for the interior of the northeast. dr. thornburg is a citizen of this tribe. and a partner of the energy and environmental practices group. she previously served as deputy director of the office of indian energy policy and programs at the u.s. department of energy and as the deputy solicitor of indian affairs at the u.s. to part of the interior. she served as the chief of staff of this tribe. where she is a member. without objection, the witnesses's statements will be made part of the record. president sharp, you're
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recognized to give a five-minute presentation of your plan. >> i would like to thank you for holding this hearing. i serve as vice president of the nation. every region is deeply impacted by climate change. even as climate change impacts our traditional ecological practices have allowed our committees to implant our own approaches in addressing the climate crisis. with john kerry joining us to sit on the u.s. delegation, this is a credible time for this meeting to happen. that way our voices are heard at the decision-making table.
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to facilitate the committee work today, my testimony will highlight existing tribal climate strategies and identify this. this will highlight some of the discussions that happened at cop 26 with our national indigenous communities and allies. >> each of these tribal nations have their own strategies.
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using traditional ecological practices to combat the damages of wildfires. these tribal nations exemplified the need to have partners. congress plays a critical role not only as a can be near, but to incentivize initiatives between tribal governments and the federal, state and local governments as well as interested stakeholders. this committee must also address barriers associated with accessing at a climate resiliency funding as well as advocate for expanding financing for climate change funding that directly supports tribal climate resilience and mitigation projects across the country. i want to address community relocation emergencies. are devastating tribal nations across indian country as they were to combat the climate crisis. my nation are located on the
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southwest corner of the olympic peninsula on the state of washington along the pacific ocean. my nation has relied on the waters of the pacific ocean. the village is an ecological and government center of our nation. when nation began developing a master plan for the relocation of our institution. this master plan offers multiple federal agencies including interior and has an estimated price tag of 150-$200 million. we applied the passage of the info structure investment and jobs act which passed a $130
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million budget for tribal relocation project. this is the first federally established relocation fund. it is crucial that members of this committee consider establishing a federal relocation framework for tribal relocation efforts. and promote the need for meaningful implementation of the info structure packages. in order to advocate -- adequately address the climate crisis, we must collectively look to engage with our international party. many nations are long-standing international climate change partners. just this past month, we attended cap 26 which addresses market and nonmarket approaches to climate change. article six was adopted with many of our positions included in the final text. i am happy to discuss this further and i appreciate the
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time and opportunity this morning. thank you for convening this very important and critically timely fashion. >> thank you, president sharp. the growing impact and influence on indigenous peoples from the noted -- from indigenous people in the united states and across the globe. >> thank you, good morning, everyone. thank you for the opportunity to test before you today by utilizing the energy resources on the transition to carbon neutrality.
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the environmental impact that we see and it is the subject of today's hearing on climate change. these challenges to the earth's atmosphere are real. we have to work together to change that. that way co2 levels in the atmosphere don't continue to increase. we must also be my four that this is not a defense of other aspects of the environment or the standard of living for other tribal members. we need to leverage natural resources and energy developed to reduce carbon emissions on tribal land.
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the proposals introduced every day we cannot allow this. we can't expect to move carbon emissions from one side of the country to the other or to another part of the world. it is one atmosphere. this is climate change and other little impact. this includes methods to tame, change in ways that there's one example of our tribe managing energy resources, methane and co2 come through on
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parts of this. the tribe, limited a project associated with the project. we are now looking on this. this is to increase the amount of methane captured. we will provide solutions not involved with the project. our partnership, construction of a net power plant that utilizes technology to reduce methane emissions. that power continues to advance the technology.
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they have successfully delivered lectures of the off the grid. this will be the first of its kind and can provide carbon neutral bases to support more coal power plants. we encourage, was to increase the value of the carbon credit. and also new technologies that can be used in the carbon neutral environment.
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the recover of methane and other alternatives. -- recovery of methane and other alternatives. we shared the same vision to develop and commercialize this. thank you for the time today. thank you for your interest. we would be happy to answer any questions you may have. thank you. click thank you, chairman baker. next, we will go to dr. thornburg. you're recognized. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify at today's hearing. i am -- i live in cape cod,
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messages on the original homeland for those of us who call us while phenolic -- waup anog. we refer to ourselves as people of the morning, people of the dawn. we serve three tribes. climate change will have lasting impact on tribal lands, water and community. tribal nations have witnessed and adapted the changes that occurred over a millennium. however, tribal nations face a rapidly changing climate to protect the health and well-being of our communities on a fraction of our original homeland. since the start of the 20th century, the average annual temperature is between --
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the northeastern regions have observed the increase. this relates the changes in the ecosystems. this has been seen on the atlantic coast of the region. cover with sinking land and coastal areas and damage to coastal wetlands. some areas in our region, especially in the gulf, have seen sea level rise of 1-3 ft. future projections indicate that sea levels will rise another 1 to 4 ft within 8 to 11 ft rise possible by 2100. my background shows a salt marsh, which is one of the few places are tribal nation can access to fish, shellfish, um, and practice our culture. one ft sea level rise you can survive an eight ft sea level rise would put it underwater. specific changes in our region also include the gulf of maine as one of the fastest warming body of waters in the world. one water marine species just showing up in the gulf of maine and staying longer in the summer. it's
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uncertain if the gulf of maine remains suitable habitat for cold water species for future generations. for tribal nations, it's not just about species. they are relations where culture related, they are traditional foods they are also in the namesake of some of our tribal nations and some of our kinship. clan kinship networks in the southeast landfall of higher category hurricanes that impacted the infrastructure and safety of use at tribal nations travel emergency response to public safety are increasingly nations across the region experienced more extreme weather events. currently there are only -- there are barriers such as competitive funding for projects.
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also a supreme court decision challenges tribal land and territories, thus they face difficulties. challenges our ability to have lands placed into trust even when those lands are on tribal homelands and territories. thus, tribal nations may face difficulties of adaptation means relocating or re acquiring lands with regard to relocation. such a term is profoundly sensitive for travel nations. given our experiences with forest field, location and removal from our homelands, it is understood that climate change impacts are going to require the movement of communities and infrastructure. in some places, however, tribal nations must be afforded the dignity and the means to move to preserve the well being of our nation's and as well as our rights to our ancestral places, which must be maintained even if these places become submerged, you said. supports the administration's new initiative. elevating indigenous knowledge and federal policy decisions. tribal nations have lived sustainably in our ancestral homelands for countless generations, relying on our traditional ecological knowledge. t e k. this has led
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to practical solutions improving forest management, wildlife corridors and dealing with sea level rise. however, a t e k must be respected and protected as tribal proprietary knowledge. this is important because tribal nations and cultures carry the responsibility of its application. in conclusion, it is important for the united states to meet its trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations through ensuring accessible long term funding for tribal climate change adaptation. also critical is removing the barriers that tribal nations face while upholding our right to free prior and informed consent. go to bhutan. um ooh, i thank you all for your time and for this opportunity to testify before you today. >> good morning madam chair and making member grades, other honorable members of the committee. take it for the opportunity to
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provide my views on indian country because substantial opportunities to contribute to this nation. this is to reduce carbon, to better prepare and adopt to the now two real impacts of climate change on tribal communities. certainly coming on the heels of the now enacted infrastructure investment and jobs act, this hearing is timely and important to identify the critical role the federal government can play and should play in supporting indian tribes, alaska native villages and other indigenous communities in the strategies and actions necessary to protect these vulnerable communities. from the worst of these impacts, let me start with the good news. according to recent analysis by the national renewable energy laboratory in 2018, indian country has over 6% of the totally technically total technical and economically feasible renewable energy resources in the united states, and that's compared to having
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about 2% of the landmass so clearly an outsized amount of resources that tribes have with respect to solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydro electric. despite having almost 21,000 terawatt hours of potential generation capacity, which is more than enough power to power the whole united states multiple times over, there are only two commercially commercial scale renewable energy projects operating on indian lands. so indian countries clean energy resources can and should and in fact must be brought to bear on the united states efforts to reduce its carbon emissions if the nation is going to succeed at meeting its commitments to future generations and the world in mitigating climate change.
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furthermore, these resources can be brought to bear on tribes and alaska native villages. efforts to protect themselves from climate change through the use of these same resources in distributed energy projects, whether that's rooftop, solar, community, solar microgrids and as a way to enforce and reinforce energy, self sufficiency, energy sovereignty but almost more importantly, from a climate change perspective, energy, resiliency and reliability. but these goals can only be accomplished through mass deployment of these types of technologies with the plummeting costs, especially around solar and storage, federal support, such as additional technical and financial assistance, can be more impactful and more meaningful. but while this federal support is necessary, it's not sufficient. leveraging these kind of resources can still be very expensive. a
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distributed energy projects, of course, while again we're reducing costs, the cost of storage is still relatively high. the cost of microgrids is still relatively high. um, even blue lake rancheria. which president sharp reference, uh, in her testimony, the only tribe with two actual working micro grid facilities and used for energy resiliency. we're still multimillion dollar projects. so the challenge for tribes and the federal government is how can we take advantage of other financing opportunities public private partnerships to see more mass deployment of these efforts of these types of technologies? from an energy reliability standpoint, how do we focus on what would be critical infrastructure, especially
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schools, hospitals? we saw how important it was, of course, to have robust public health systems in the last year and a half with covid how important it was to have robust water, wastewater and other types of public health infrastructure, which of course, cannot operate without energy. how do we protect government campuses are tribal enterprises, um, and fisheries and farms. everything that does, in fact still require power. and is it the most vulnerable with respect to climate? a couple of key
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challenges that we still have and still remain is from a community scale perspective. a distributed energy perspective is the exercise of tribal sovereignty over that development. and so congress and and the federal government can really assist tribes with promoting more interaction at the state level, promoting more tribal sovereign authorities over the exercise of energy development and providing more technical and financial resources. and so, with that again, i thank you for your time, and i look forward to answering any questions you might have. >> i will recognize myself. while other witnesses have highlighted the enormous opportunity that a clean renewable energy brings to tribal lands and tribes and to all of us across this country, what i have heard from you is that clean, noble energy will create jobs, it will clean up the air, reduce pollution. president sharp, you are a leader in this. what do we need to do in tribal
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consultation to bring these opportunities to indigenous peoples across the country? >> the issue of informed consent -- that is something that i did to advocate and advance this policy -- we are not speaking from state agencies or federal agencies. the idea that anybody should have advised -- a decisive say -- they seized the opportunities that they had mentioned. there was no question that tribal nations are assisting and
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partnering with united states to unleash lots of energy potential within the country. as we build out our climate strategy, tribal nations are able to exercise the full spectrum of governmental powers, authorities and decision-making. >> you make a great point about economic opportunity for tribal nations and icy investments in community solar and microgrids, building climate resilience across the country but also providing those enormous outsized economic opportunities. could you give us a few examples or to of clean energy projects in trouble communities and the broader impact they are having? >> yes.
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that are just there has been a real shift in federal financing for these smaller community scale distributed energy projects because they provide lots of different benefits to tribes. one of them is jobs. you can't outsource these jobs and you can't automate these jobs. they provide jobs for tribal members. they provide the added economic benefit of reducing energy cost. if i upset that cost, i don't pay the utility. i get to keep those funds in the community and reinvest them in the tribal community. if it is offered by a tribal utility, i am create more jobs through that tribal utility. and around the whole country there has been abroad geographic effort from washington state with the spokane tribe down to
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the seminole tribe in florida and everywhere in between, a very robust diversification of renewable energy projects at the smaller scale level. that is because everybody can do smaller scale renewable energy projects. that has been radical. we see lots of new tribes come out with energy economy opportunities for job training and putting tribal members to work in installing solar panels and doing energy efficiency. we have two operate and maintain the systems. these are sustainable jobs. this is not just 600 people building a big solar project. or three guys and a bottle of windex taking care of it later. >> chairman baker highlighted this utility scale solar reduced
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their dependence on fossil fuels. chairman baker, why did you make the decision to diversify your energy resources? chairman, i have run out of time. we will be sure to come back to you. we will give you some time to think about your answers on that. i will have to go to ranking member graves for five minutes. >> all right. chairman baker, and think you are on mute as well. thank you to all of you for per dissipating today. i really appreciate your testimony. chairman baker, you have all pursued solar as well as conventional fuel projects that
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all result in net zero omissions. can you talk a little bit about the importance of innovation and innovative technologies? >> yes. it has the ability to benefit local communities by providing affordable power to the grid. additionally, this will provide opportunities to the community. it is anticipated that this will
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create over 1000 direct jobs. it is anticipated that the project will provide local implement opportunities to the community and job creation. we are always looking forward to job opportunities for membership. >> it is job opportunities and financial assistance to the tribe as well. there was an article from the associated press engine that noted that there was a boom in native american oil activity and how that, -- potentially comic it's what the bided administration is doing. if they try to come in and prohibit or stop tribes from using conventional fuels, what does that do?
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yeah, i'm good. since the project consumes fossil fuels, why would the sudden you develop a project that consumes fossil fuels? given the concerns on climate change? first, we believe that all energy development has some type of environmental impact. and when we evaluate projects, we look at the environmental and social impacts through the entire life cycle of the project, which can induce air emissions, climate change, water and manu's wildlife waste generation labor, etcetera. the coyote clean flower power project utilizes natural gas, which we see as playing a big role in the overall energy transitions. the fact that it is barely available in the united states has a lower carbon footprint than other types of fossil fuels. and when coupled with innovative technologies such as all the
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time, uh said that our cycle can eliminate air pollutants associated with combustion and capture over 97% of the co. two generated from the project. for some question, the project is truly an innovative way to supply affordable base load power to the grid while providing solutions to climate change. to summarize into three buckets fossil fuels and be used cleanly, fossil fuels still make up more than 80% of the energy consumed around the world. so, show less text 00:43:56 >> it sounds like you all have your own process where you review kind of from beginning to end and look at it and determine just holistically if this is the right move for the tribe, and that's a that's a great process. and i think something that doesn't discriminate against energy technologies um uh, president sharp. i'm curious. a couple of things. one, uh, there were some quotes from you earlier this year where you basically said you were going to quote, take big oil down. hearing from chairman baker
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about their ability to use conventional fuels in a way that's net zero emissions, i'm curious as to how those two things align. corrects i was very passionate about taking big oil down because when you look at the scale of the global crisis that we are all facing, the public treasury is having to pay for it. everything the day, big oil is polluting and denigrating our environment with no consequence. there is no carbon fee. big oil should be held accountable for devastating our natural world and putting a price tag on the public treasury. with regards to any tribal nations possibility and desire to build their own fuel sources and energy, we fully support that. to reconcile those two things, we are in a time of transition. we need to transition away from fossil feels to be noble energy.
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we support any tribal nations that desire to unlock the energy potential within their own sovereign lands. >> the bided administration ignored the tribe whenever they asked for an appropriate buffer and they put a been in place for companies not listening to tribes. the reality is the global community as increased by 10 tons. it is not the united states. i yelled back. >> thank you to the chair and the ranking members and to our witnesses. i want to note that the title of this hearing includes tribal voices, tribal wisdom and we know that as policymakers, we benefit neatly when we listen to tribal voices and he'd the tribal voices.
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we need to take about the value of traditional knowledge. on november 15, the office of science and technology policy released a memo detailing the administration's commitment to elevated indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and federal policymaking processes. this workgroup will promote mutually beneficial partnership between the federal government and tribal communities on traditional ecological knowledge. i want to ask dr. thorne bro, what would you -- thornbrew, what recommendations do you expect the guidance will offer? >> thank you, representative. upon my cheek. uh, the main things i would like to see, of
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course, is clear communication. um, with with tribal nations to respect the proprietary information around traditional ecological knowledge, show less -- we're really you know, we are excited that it has brought higher to to the forefront. um, but as processes go, ongoing communication is so important. and i want to also highlight president sharp in terms of they continued importance -- the continued importance of ethics. you know that this is, um, knowledge that comes from our histories. um, from you know, very much part of who we are. so having it's important to have the utmost respect for but also our consent, um, and how it's applied. so, um, i would just say, you know, in in conclusion, just continuing that respect and regular communication that way, if issues or concerns come up, they come up sooner rather than later. show less text
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-- >> thank you. that's very helpful. president sharp welcome. it's very nice to see you again. i will always remember the beautiful traditional invocation your son provided when you were here at the capitol. previously, i want to thank you for the important contributions of the national congress of american indians. uh, and what those contributions meant to this committee's climate action plan. tribal feedback on the climate action plan, as well as comments in your testimony, reflect the challenges that tribal nations and intergovernmental tribal groups face and accessing -- in accessing federal programs and funding. and you mentioned that in your testimony again today, tribal entities like the columbia river, inter tribal fish commission or critic uh, and in the pacific northwest have told me about some of those challenges they've had in accessing federal grants and programs. how can we make sure that tribal nations and entities have equitable access to federal energy and climate programs? and how does maintaining the status quo, or how would maintaining the status quo undermine our
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collective response to the climate crisis? >> excellent. uh, before i began to answer the two questions i i do wanna touch back on the previous question, which i answered when you like the scale of the climate crisis facing this country in this world, relying almost entirely on the public treasury appropriations through state capitals, state legislatures and congress is simply not enough. we do have to hold big oil accountable and those who are directly responsible but of a limited public treasury. it's important that tribal nations have a steady and a secure source of multi year funding. it's very difficult to plan climate resiliency projects are multi year, if not multigenerational. so it's critically important that we do have a reliable and steady source of revenues. and as congress works to hold those who are accountable responsible. and i would also suggest, uh, in a lot of conversations. there's
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a discussion of public private partnerships to fund climate related impacts. so anything congress can do to incentivize public private partnerships to hold big oil accountable to pay their fair share and price for centuries of devastation and creating a framework for us to be able to access those directly from congressional appropriations would be incredibly helpful. >> thank you. and what would be? how would it undermine the collective response if if there if you did not have access to that that funding >> it would undermine the response in that tribal nations are already left vulnerable with little to no resources, as is evidenced in the u. n. uh, commission on human rights that was civil commission on human rights was delivered to congress. we are chronically underfunded, and so without the added support of of addressing climate change, you take that away. and the impacts of covid 19 has revealed just how critically vulnerable tribal nations are. so we would see our lands, our resources, our territories, even our traditional foods and plants disappear. and they're already
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disappearing. so it would prove to be devastating for indian country. >> thank you. and i'm over time, but i just want to notice i yield back. i hope you stayed safe during the atmospheric river events in the pacific northwest. we had some serious flooding recently. take care. >> thank you. >> next up, rhett palmer. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. the chairman, um and i think the witnesses for being here chairman baker, i'm hopeful, uh, that one thing we can learn from the tribes is that climate has a history. um, i keep bringing this up. i keep hearing misappropriation of historical data and and in some cases, scientific data and colleagues on the committee complaint. -- complain that since i've been on it that fossil fuels are causing all the droughts and that the world faces. and my
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question is, if the use of fossil fuels is causing current routes, what caused the droughts that took place in the southwestern united states in the late in the mid 13th century that resulted in the disappearance of tribes like the anastasis? do you have any idea? believe you're muted? show less text -- >> yes. um, apparently, i don't have any ideas, but we see that all around us in our south coast region where, you know, again, we're close to, like mesa verde ruins, and the history tells us you know, how they live, how they survive. and, you know, we see certain we hear stories of the water levels that were higher back in the day, there was plenty of water, and today, this whole region is drying up in our area. we're in a drought high drought, uh, for the year our lakes in the area are really, really drying up. so with, like, anything else, i guess just like the past, our past ancestors, you have to adapt and figure out a way to
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survive. whatever it is that all means at all costs. and, you know, right now that is a big issue for us again. the water to drought. we're we're going to look like in five years. so we're always our teams are always looking for answers. >> well, actually, um, professor scott stein, who spent decades studying tree stumps in parts of the sierra nevada, found that past century has been among the wettest in the last 7000 years. he also notes that the tree ring data shows that california had a 240 year drought that started in 850 ad. over 1000 years before fossil fuels power like coal plants and oil were used. and my point is, that includes mississippi culture. uh, where i grew up. i live near the mountains near, uh, hamilton's alabama. there's
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mounds south tuscaloosa, near florence, alabama. there was a thriving culture mississippian culture that disappeared because of a major drought that occurred around 1350. the point that i am trying to make is we spend all this time attacking big oil, and i think it's because people have self interest involved and the science doesn't support lot of what is being said. but the historical record, the geologic record shows that the climate changes all the time for a number of reasons in the indigenous peoples of america. and i have native american background, um, as well that i'm very proud of didn't have the technological ability to develop
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the natural resources to mitigate and adapt to the climate change. they had to migrate. and that's what happened with the anastasia is i think they assimilated eventually into the navajo tribe. uh, good. we keep focusing on on on these things that even some of the top scientists that this committee is brought in have admitted that if we completely eliminated all co2 emissions, it would not stop climate change. we've imposed restrictions on native americans, particularly on the reservations, as a few years ago that the energy information administration put out data that showed that 14% of the native americans on reservations had no access to elect electricity. the chairman baker, do you think it's right for the federal government to deprive the tribes the right to utilize the natural resources exist on their on on their tribal lands to develop power plant if they want to a hydro electric plant, natural gas or even oil. uh, because they're they're literally reservations where people are suffering from
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energy, poverty and living in poverty. because you haven't been able to do that. >> no, i don't think it's right at all. you know, it's very, um, you know, it's just not fair for all native countries all around all indian country. but again, you know, for us, we're looking at self determination. as far as what can we do? how do we move forward? you know, we never stop. we have great teams in place. we collaborate with others. we do a lot of research as we move forward, no matter what the issue is. and not only when we talk about you know, the energy and all that our child, we also diversifying many other aspects of real estate. just many things out there in this world that we're always thinking. we're always moving. we can't focus on just one. but when we are focused on one like this clean energy, you know, we know co two is a greenhouse gas. you know, these types of things we're never going to start moving forward and sharing that experience with other tribes. when we talk about meeting and come together when you have a try because i want to meet with
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us and come and ask us, how did you do it? and we're willing more than willing to share that story with anyone who wants to come and meet with our team. >> i congratulate you on your commitment to your people. >> next up, representative escobar, you're recognized for five minutes. >> >> thank you madam chair, i am so proud that we have the oldest tribal community the state of texas in el paso, and the tribal council is the oldest government in the state as well.
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>> -- i got to meet with the governor of the tribe and he shared a concern about the flexibility tied with the tribe. i'm interested in what we can do to provide the resources as they address to -- they relate to addressing the climate crisis and be double to use them to avert disaster. i would like to explore what
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some of those roadblocks have been for some of our panelists. so, in your testimony mentioned the need for the federal government to provide funds directly to tribes. can you share how these changes would accelerate projects on the ground and if possible is there an example you can share with us? >> yes, i appreciate the question because the issues you raised expect -- affect every tribal nation on the front lines of dealing with i'm a change. in the 50's and 60's, we had millions of salmon return to the rivers out my window here. millions. and that was from when time again. the year i got elected in 2006, we only had a few thousand
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return and our scientists have been doing a tremendous amount of work mitigating those impacts , but we are at a place where we don't have the resources to really understand the scope of the problem. and with all tribal nations, having a direct source of funding would provide us with the capacity to begin to do some of the identifying of the problem. then, based on identifying the science and having the capacity to do that, they would build out adaptation and mitigation strategy. we don't even have the ability to wrap our minds around all of the things happening. we would be able to identify the challenges our community is facing, identify the goals and objectives related to climate resilience and make a point to our partners, whether state or the private sector, and tell me -- until we have the resources to understand the scope of our
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challenges, we are putting out fires. >> thank you. what are some of the other roadblocks that make it difficult for tribes to access federal funds for clean energy and resilience in particular, and how would you recommend we fix them? >> being a former fed and having worked on programs at the department of energy, the primary challenge around accessing federal support is the multiple silos that exist. there is a great money, by our last count there are about 75 federal programs across nine agencies that could be leveraged for energy development, energy efficiency, weatherization, or the assistance program or the economic administration of commerce program.
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aligning federal programs, aligning them in such a way that gives tribes the flexibility and the -- not just the resources but the flexibility and leveraging those resources. that is a funding -- a function of mostly statute but also regulation and other guidance the federal agencies have implanted. a good starting point would be, much as the president just announced a task force around consultation, additional taskforces of how to the program more accessible to tribes and tribal communities as they are trying to piece together federal funds that help do. as i mentioned the project can be a $20 million project. so i could get that money from six or seven different agencies, but it is a challenging and daunting process to do that.
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>> thank you, i yield back. >> thank you, you are recognized for five minutes. >> good morning madam chair and thank you. welcome to our witnesses. your member he peaked his -- peaked my interest with his discussion of a wright brothers breakthrough on carbon cap -- carbon capture storage, putting electricity on the grid in a net zero way. as i was trying to follow the testimony, i was also digging into whatever information i could find about this and my mind remains open to any technology that can help us achieve zero emissions and meet our goals. but i'm not sure this is the wright brothers moment from what i can gather about this pilot project in texas. i want to ask you more about your larger project, chairman,
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using the same technology. curious about it. from what i can gather, this at best is a more efficient way of creating a cycle that burns natural gas and captures the co2, but we have not yet geared out what to do with that co2 and -- figured out what to do with that co2 and is going to the same thing, enhanced oil recovery. you are taking liberties with the term zero when you're talking about burning natural gas and using the co2.
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-- i remain skeptical. let us continue the conversation. a problem i have with presenting this as a breakthrough is that right now, adding -- representing this as a breakthrough is that right now adding new renewables to generate electricity is cheaper. -- >> thank you for the question.
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on the co2 grounds, we don't develop oil on the reservation. we do a lot of outside the reservation. the energy department, we are all over the place, not just on the reservation and the oil, we don't do that on the reservation. >> have you identified a place and demonstrated that you can safely store it over the long term without linkage and other problems? -- leakage and other problems? or are you just going to have someone else take care of that? >> ok. right now, that is confidential information. we are still working on it.
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once we have developed that and come up with a plan, because again on day one we are always looking to protect our homeland, within our area and all of that, but we don't have information that her team is working on. it is confidential. we are not yet at the finish line. we are still trying to develop it and doing things in the right ways, not just for the reservation but for the whole earth. >> but you're not going to just pipe it off somewhere to be used for recovery? >> no. again, we don't have that, we are looking at opportunities of what is the right way, what is the best way. because it is possible to do that if we find the right mechanism.
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but we are still working on all of these issues. because we don't want to present something without looking into the facts. >> i appreciate your leadership in these issues and what you're trying to do for your tribe. as with so many other instances, there are great promises of carbon capture storage, we ask the hard questions, if it is not quite ready for prime time. meanwhile, renewables are cheaper than natural gas. with that i yield back. >> next. >> thank you madame chairwoman. your answer can be we can do whatever we want because of tribal sovereignty. let's debunk a couple of things. renewables are not cheaper than natural gas. that is nonsense.
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there are only cheaper because they get massive subsidies to make them cheaper. there is not a manufacturer of solar panels, wind turbines or generators that i've talked to that say they can do this in an open and free market. but oil and gas get subsidies to, that's what they say -- lies. there is no direct tax credit or subsidy to oil and gas. there is another lie that needs to be debunked. carbon capture technology is not ready for market, lies. illinois is starting a project, chairman baker sucking up this project here in colorado. we just hooked it up to the energy grid. profitable. the only thing they use is a tax credit. these are profitable, they work and in some cases there carbon negative because the technology exists.
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-- >> a point of order. he is welcome to agree with me -- disagree with me, but i would ask that his words be taken down for accusing me of lying. >> your hurt feelings are noted. if i may continue. >> would you like to yield to mr. huffman? >> no i will not. chairman baker, do you think that a person who can be in the business of natural gas --? >> yes. no matter where we are, we will have our land come first and how it affects our neighbors. >> and tribal lands are not exempt from the natural gas tax in the reconciliation bill. any member of your facility that produces, transmits, processes
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or touches natural gas is subject to a tax by the epa. how will this harm members of the tribe? >> i'm not sure exactly, because we have so many other things that we work on, not just oil and gas. and what of it -- it is a great question. i'm not an expert on these technologies, but -- the government should not pass our resources. >> i agree. back to the general discussion of natural gas, the facts are that the fracking industry and the technology associated with that, it is almost 100%
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responsible for our reduction in emissions in this country back to 1982 levels. there is no disputing that. if you were to replace coal pyre -- power plants across the world with natural gas, he would have more reduction in emissions than any other solution we're talking about. i will just apologize for that. but what you are saying is deeply untrue and misleading. frankly, probably damaging to our mutual goals of reducing emissions in this country and around the world. that is the truth. the facts back this up. the facts back up that these technologies, carbon capture technologies, are ready for market. it is happening before our eyes. we can refuse to acknowledge it, we can cover our ears and cover
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our eyes and pretend we don't see it and pretend that renewables are cheaper and more effective and reliable, we can pretend all that. we can write a fiction novel about it, but none of it will be true. it will never be true. to over subsidize those technologies, renewable technologies to -- it is insanity. especially at a moment around the world where people are having trouble keeping the lights on. that is a bad place to be in. i yield back. >> thank you. the national carbon capture center is in my district and i would be happy to host the committee if they want to visit that. we are sequestering carbon and concrete blocks and other materials, there is no leaking or leeching.
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it might be good for the committee to have an expanded view of what is actually happening in regard to the technology. i yield back. >> thank you. we all know there is a role for carbon capture and storage. when it comes to industrial processes like steel. but as mr. huffman makes a strong point, it is still unproven what it comes to oil and gas. next we will go up to the next rep. bo, he is going to go first. we recognize him for five minutes.
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>> you for this hearing and to our witnesses for joining. this includes native american tribes and indigenous people in my district. like other historically underrepresented people, indigenous people have been this proportional he impacted by climate change. according to experts, this is attributable to the disposition and forced migration to less economically productive lands of natives. as i have said, access to clean air, clean water and a healthy environment should not be a luxury. and as we have seen, we need to make sure that as we go forward, we address the climate quite -- climate crisis to move toward a clean energy future. the committee has made recommendations as to how to assure this is the case. president biden is committed to
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doing so as well as through the justice initiative, the goal of delivering 40% of overall benefits of federal investments to disadvantage communities, including tribal communities. i look forward to working with my colleagues and with the administration to ensure that we follow through on this promise and that our tribal nations have the resources and capacity to address -- address climate and take a vantage of opportunities. pardon me. this question is for all three witnesses. i would ask that you take it into order, that you answer in the order you gave your testimony. in drafting the environment of justice act, it was critical to get feedback from a variety of stakeholders including tribal and indigenous leaders. as policies are created and grants are distributed in the infrastructure package, can you
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clarify how you feel the federal government can ensure meaningful stakeholder engagement, including the types of engagement that will be most helpful? >> i will go first. i appreciate not only the question but the background. it is important for everybody to understand and recognize the place of not only indigenous peoples communities of color that are disproportionately impacted. i would suggest something that could be helpful, to formalize the engagement of tribal nations on climate policy. as others mentioned, we have two deal with various silos within the federal government, but to consolidate, they could provide a national climate strategy that is informed by tribal nations on every level, it would be helpful. as representing 574 tribal
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nations, we are prepared and ready, we just need to have points of opportunity to bring our traditional knowledge and our innovation in the things that we are doing into this country. we welcome any opportunity and i thank you for that question. >> less than two minutes, please continue. mr. thomas? would you answer? >> i think so. there are lots of ways, lots of methods for engagement. the national tribal organizations such as ncai, regional organizations where casey works and those all over the country, the biggest challenge as well though is with direct tribal communities. as much as there is a governor -- as much as there is a government to government processed the federal government
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has tripled, sometimes the voices of individual tribal members in tribal communities have to be brought to the table as well. there is a multilevel challenge that the federal government has, but as with anything, the big thing is how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time. you've got to get started. we've got to do some things differently and hopefully some of the models that the administered and is putting together will be a good way to do that. we've got to find natural allies and partners in the same boat and try and create partnerships across communities of color, organizations and levels of government. and encouraging tribes, for example, to engage with cities and counties. as well as with state government. that is another way to come out this -- come at this. >> think you for those answers.
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dr. and german, i'm not going to try and get you to answer in less than 20 seconds, but i would ask that you send an answer to that question if you would, it's a sincere question and we have a lot of work to do to make sure we have the right communication between tribal and indigenous peoples but all those who are disadvantaged by the climate crisis. i yield back. >> thank you, we will go back --, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thanks so much. i want to start by apologizing. it breaks my heart that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have gone back to 1990, but the climate is always changing, fossil fuel is not subsidized, people who suggest that have special interest. we had $100 billion damage this year, people who lost their homes from fires and floods and
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we are going to talk about tree ring data? international monetary funds say the world subsidizes the fossil fuel industry by $6 trillion a year, six and the $50 billion in the u.s. and we are going to call those lies? show some respect for the science and the planet we all call home. my goodness. i want to try to end on an optimistic note, but i want to start with a question for you. it is a hard question to grapple with and i'm hoping you've got more wisdom than me. for not all of the tribes but a lot of them, the lands they live on our lands they were forcibly relocated to. we moved them off productive land to more marginal land and a lot of that land is now mostly at risk of climate change. areas that are harder to obtain water, more risk of doubt -- drought, i see you nodding. my question is, the number one
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are the programs that we have available in this country for adaptation sufficient for those communities and can they get access to them, and number two, to the extent that they -- those folks are living in areas where the best thing to do is to help folks relocate to a more productive area, how can we be most culturally sensitive for communities that have been told but the federal government to move before and may be skeptical, and we would welcome your thoughts on both of those questions. with hope that i can have time for dr. thomas. >> thank you. to your first question, adaptation funding, we need additional resources. not only adapt with new and emerging signs and things that are available, but centuries of knowledge that we have with respect to adaptation and cultivating and developing that with our elders is quickly important. to your second question, yes,
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adjustments in a culturally sensitive way, one way to do that is to acknowledge that tribal nations should have a decisive say through prior and can -- informed consent on all federal actions with the united states or any other government can take action without our consent, it puts us in a imperiled position. those of the suggestions i would offer. >> thank you. moving to dr. thomas, i want to end on a more uplifting note, we talk about the pain of climate change and sometimes too little about the economic gain, notwithstanding what is -- what my colleagues suggest. if you invest in things that have no marginal operating costs, you make a lot of money, it is also. there are reasons the private sector likes this. in your capacity as a deputy director of the doe office of indian energy policy, i wonder if you could comment on how
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these programs to make sure we are investing dollars in the areas where we have the maximum opportunity for renewable resources, where wind and solar are, you talked about that in your opening testimony. the program ways we get money into indian country, are they sufficient to make sure those moneys afloat to the optimal places, notwithstanding where the land is and who lives there, or other things we can do to better accelerate this to a cheaper and cleaner future? >> the biggest challenge is the silos within the agencies themselves and across agencies and being able to leverage as much support as possible, whether it is technical assistance or financial assistance. between rural development, the department of energy's program, the department of interior's program, pacing these together can be a huge challenge. everybody has a different
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calendar, a different set of criteria for what kind of project works. commercial scale projects, the two martial scale projects did not use any federal money from a grant standpoint. used tax credits, but those projects are so big that the small amount of federal money does not help with the commercial scale. financial assistance, yes, and of these a smaller scale projects where tribes can use wind and solar for themselves, that is where the federal support becomes more impactful. and you see less of the private sector, at least right now, the interested in supporting a 20 kilowatt solar project. so the federal support becomes more important there. the big opportunity for the administration i think as with any administration is how to we better coordinate amongst
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ourselves? and part of that should start with asking the tribes who are trying to develop projects. what do you need from us, and what can we do from a government perspective to support that effort? >> i'm out of time, i appreciate you. >> thank you. as we close at the hearing, i would like to take -- provide witnesses with one minute each to give us some closing advice and wisdom, let us go in reverse order and start with ms. thomas. one minute for closing words. >> i want to try and end, usually when i talk about this, with two key concepts. one, tribal sovereign authority. tribes are not going to be able to accomplish most of what they need to do from a clean energy and climate resiliency standpoint if they do not have the federal government support
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for them, their own sovereign authorities for what makes sense for the tribal community. secondly, i do think the federal government could be more ambitious around supporting mastiff limit of whatever technology works for the tribe around climate resiliency. that's going to require putting our shoulder to the grindstone to really figure out what is it we can do. we can plan, obsessed and president sharp is right, we need more money. but in the end we've got to do something to protect and that will require more -- federal cooperation in that regard. >> first and foremost, it is important for tribal nations to be leaders and to guide traditional ecological knowledge initiatives.
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i also wanted to highlight direct funding for tribal nations for climate change adaptation and resilience. competitive funding with the burden on the -- puts the burden on tribal nations and does not record days the obligation. a support for overly -- early consultation with tribal nations, we need to look at initiatives and understand how they impact our nations and communities in that way. so early consultation. i want to mention a couple of brief things on the climate change side. we recognize that the climate has changed throughout geologic time, in the northeast it took 10,000 years for the glacier ice to reseed, we have seen those changes within left times. thank you. >> mr. baker. >> thank you and i want to thank
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everyone for participating in this discussion. i believe everyone on this call contributed to this. we are not here to debate climate change, we are here to work together with different views, open minds and what solutions we like as we move forward and we advocate for sovereignty and nation to nation around the world to solve the problems we have mentioned. people address them in their homelands and natives who live in their reservations, we know we have to do we can. would like to invite anyone who would like to tour what we are working on in our reservation. thank you for allowing me to speak today. >> thank you and president sharp. >> my one minute, i would like to just encourage every member of the committee to continue to
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advance the leaders of this country with bold, courageous and decisive climate action. we are running out of time and i would like to leave you with this thought, there's no way we will be able to negotiate, legislate or buy out of the climate crisis. we have to return to our traditional lifeways that the indigenous peoples of this continent have exercised for millennia. that is my take away from cop 26. when i worked with indigenous people from all of the world, it is clear we do manage 80% of the worlds biodiversity and its only with us at the table to bring that knowledge to restore balance to the planet. we can't take selective science to advance political objectives that benefit will to national corporations who seem to suggest that the help in future of our planet and humanity is reduced to nothing more than the cost of doing business. we have to be bold, courageous, and speak honest truth as we navigate through this. thank you.
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>> thank you to our witnesses for your tribal wisdom and advice. we certainly need it. i will go to represent it of graves for unanimous consent request. >> thank you madam chair. the statement from the navajo nation regarding the bided magicians actions on chaco canyon should be included in the record. second, an article regarding the net power facility with natural gas generated literacy to the grid, and lastly the associated group that is now working for john kerry and administration with the analysis of carbon capture -- and most of these successful projects over decades. >> thank you. as i close out the hearing, i want to say i know that members are strong advocates for their committees back home and their
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policy positions. but numbers like represent of crenshaw, his or marks today, really crossed the line when he spoke in terms of lies. that violates our rules of decorum in the house and it was appropriate for him to apologize to representative huffman and i'm glad he did that, especially when it comes to and i will offer this as a unanimous consent request, his assertion that there are no oil and gas -- the oil and gas does not receive subsidies from the u.s. government. without injection -- objection i will enter a report from the international monetary fund entitled still not getting energy prices rate, a global and -- finding that fossil fuel subsidies were up in 2020. in 2021, resolutions from the national congress of american indians titled amending and
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updating and cai -- and cai -- ncai resolution targeting climate change principles, and an october 2021 resolution from the congress titled additional tribal disaster resilience and climate change, common principles. with that objection, all members will have 10 business days to submit additional written questions for the witness and we asked witnesses to respond probably as you are able. thank you and the committee's hand. -- the committee is adjourned.
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