The state of American Indian land sovereignty, health, and welfare becomes more and more complex as the demand for American energy independence grows.
The Native American Energy Act, passed on 8 October 2015, introduced by Don E. Young (AK-R) and Paul Gosar (AZ-R), clears the way for expanded energy development on Native American land. This new legislation speeds up the judicial review process for new drilling projects, streamlines leases, appraisals, and other land agreements, and limits outside public comments about tribal energy development.
In March 2015, the Department of the Interior passed rules in order to support safe and environmentally responsible hydraulic fracturing. These fracking rules addressed well integrity, water protection, and disclosure of chemicals to the public. Under the Native American Energy Act, these environmental protections no longer apply to American Indian land.
In addition, the legislation authorizes the Navajo Nation to conduct mineral leasing independently of the Department of the Interior, as long as the land has been previously approved for development.