"Forget cigarettes and casinos— Indian reservations looking for economic engines might want to chase the wind.
The U.S. Department of the Interior has honed in on 77 of the 276 Indian reservations that have the most wind-power potential, and has been surveying the land and introducing wind developers to tribal councils. So far, only the Campo reservation in California has wind turbines operating.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar touted wind-power’s potential on reservations in March, saying “Indian country offers some of the premier wind energy sites in the United States.”
“They had a lot of people knocking on their door,” said Stephen Manydeeds, division chief of the Interior’s division Indian Affairs unit that consults tribes on energy and mineral development. Tribes in the path of the proposed TransCanada transmission line, which runs from Montana to Las Vegas, are getting the most interest right now, he said.
Several tribes including the Cherokee in Oklahoma and the Crow and Blackfoot reservations in Montana are nearing lease agreements with wind developers that want to build turbines on the reservation land. The Blackfoot tribe alone could provide 3 to 4 gigawatts of wind power—that’s about one-sixth of all the wind power installed in the U.S. right now."
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Environmental Capital: No Reservations: Indian Country Sets Sights on Wind Power (and Gravel)
(The Wall Street Journal 5/6)