Senator John Hoeven today spoke at the inaugural meeting of the Native American Enterprise Initiative (NAEI), hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, saying tribal-private sector collaboration can be the key to real economic progress in Indian Country. The NAEI is a collaborative effort between the Native American community and the Chamber to empower Native Americans to grow and diversify their economies in Indian Country.
"In North Dakota, we partnered with the Three Affiliated Tribes in a way that would benefit the Native American community, the private sector and the state," said Hoeven. "Growing energy development on the reservation and the compact we forged with the tribes is a good example of how we can work together to help the tribes share in America's economic growth. The NAEI-Chamber partnership can help to do the same thing in Washington and across the nation."
A recent expansion of entrepreneurship and development has occurred on many reservations, including Fort Berthold, a reservation in western North Dakota that has been experiencing an expansion of the energy industry. In fiscal year 2011, Fort Berthold saw a 400 percent increase in royalties from oil, natural gas and other hydrocarbon production over the previous year, from $26.5 million to $117.5 million.
As North Dakota governor, and now senator, Hoeven has been working with the Three Affiliated Tribes to help them build a new 13,000 barrel-per-day refinery project that will produce diesel from Bakken crude oil and is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs during its approximately two-year construction phase. Once operational, the refinery would create about 140 permanent jobs and propel job growth in the local service industry. Last month the U.S. Department of Interior approved the Three Affiliated Tribes' application to put the land for their new refinery into trust.
Hoeven was joined by congressional colleagues, including Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who serves with Hoeven on the U.S. Senate Committees on Appropriations, Energy and Natural Resources and Indian Affairs.