How the Feds Are Keeping Native Americans Trapped in Poverty
Unnecessary government regulations can be costly, time consuming, and ultimately, can stifle economic growth and reduce job opportunities for Americans. Sadly, Native Americans in particular are being harmed by overbearing regulations, a big reason why 28.3% of Native Americans live in poverty as IWF's Jillian Melchior reports.
Jillian brings our attention to a recent Wall Street Journal article outlining how the federal government has deterred energy developers from investing in tribal energy resources:
Nearly every aspect of energy development on reservations—such as reviews and approvals of even the most basic land-use decisions—is controlled by federal agencies.
… Indian energy resources hold significant potential to help lift tribes out of poverty. Their value, according to an estimate by the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, could be as high as $1.5 trillion.
But the federal government makes it difficult for tribes to capitalize on their resource wealth. On Indian lands, developers must go through 49 steps and at least four federal agencies just to acquire a permit for energy development, compared with only four steps off reservations. It’s not uncommon for several years to pass before the necessary approvals are acquired to begin development on Indian lands—a process that takes only a few months on private lands.
The result is that most tribal energy resources remain undeveloped, even when tribes themselves want to capitalize on their energy wealth.
As Jillian points out, perhaps this is a huge part of the reason why Native Americans account for the highest poverty rate of any group in our country.
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