Published on Jun 26, 2013
Reno, NV – On Tuesday June 25, President Obama and his Administration released an action plan to address the threats posed by climate change. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) released the following statement from the organization’s national Mid Year Conference in Reno, Nevada:
“NCAI welcomes President Obama’s important plans to address climate change. American Indian and Alaska Native people live on the front lines of a changing world, where the disruptions to our natural resources caused by changes in the climate are having real and measurable effects on the livelihoods of Native people. We agree with the President that responding to the very real threat of climate change is a moral obligation to future generations.
We applaud the inclusion of tribal governments in the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and look forward to contributing our time tested insights to address the impact of climate change. NCAI recommends that tribal governments have active and consultative roles in all federally led climate task forces and initiatives, and urges consideration of a permanent climate change adaptation advisory board to oversee federal policy development and implementation. We also recommend that the Administration explicitly include traditional ecological knowledge in their work to identify approaches to address climate change.
Tribal lands possess extensive renewable energy resources and our governments look forward to partnering with the Administration to expand the development of tribal renewable energy. We also welcome efforts to expand and modernize the electric grid and call on the Administration to prioritize tribal nations as those most underserved by the electric grid.
We were heartened by the President’s comments that his decision to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline would depend on whether it would increase emissions of climate warming greenhouse gases. Tribal nations have consistently raised concerns about the environmental impact of Keystone and the absence of meaningful consultation with tribal nations. We look forward to working with the Department of State to ensure tribal concerns are fully included in the final environmental impact statement and that meaningful consultation with tribal nations precedes any final decision regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline.
We expect that the Administration’s efforts will fit hand in hand with the federal government’s obligation and responsibility to consult with tribal nations. Under the Executive Order 13175 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, tribal nations have the right to be involved directly in all decision-making that affects our nations and our peoples.
We look forward to working with the President and his Administration on these issues and welcome his critical leadership in this area.”
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