Environment | National

White House Blog: Recognizing tribal Climate Action Champions

The Blue Lake Rancheria in California installed a biomass power system as part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Photo from Schatz Lab

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan and the Blue Lake Rancheria of California are being hailed as Climate Action Champions in Indian Country:
The Sault Tribe has developed several strategic level plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Energy Strategy (2012), in particular, calls for a strategic approach in several areas, including: demanding reduction in all energy uses, installing renewables sized and located to best meet demand, reducing reliance on the grid infrastructure and reducing vulnerability to catastrophic events. All available renewable options will be utilized and distributed across the demand centers of the seven counties to increase resilience of supply. The long term goals are to produce power from renewables to supply all power needs of the Tribe, export to the grid to offset all purchased energy (including transportation energy), and be a net-zero greenhouse gas emitter. Mother Earth demands this of us and we feel strongly that this is the right thing to do.

The Sault Tribe’s Energy Strategy has a bold long-term goal: “No Net Purchased Energy.” This means that for any energy the Tribe must purchase for its operations (including vehicles and flights), an equivalent amount of energy will be produced for export to the grid for other users. The staged approach that is detailed in this Strategy first calls for aggressive measures to reduce energy consumption before taking broad scale action with renewable energy. Planned efforts in the next three years include demand reductions of 4% per year.

The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe of California is a federally recognized Native American tribal government and community located in far northwestern California within Humboldt County, ~6 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean coastline. The Tribe, its government, elected leaders, and staff have made significant progress implementing greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures while improving community resiliency. Since 2008, the Tribe has been focused on strategic climate action planning and implementation of a wide range of projects that work in concert to reduce GHGs and improve community and regional security.

The overall strategy consists of maximizing energy efficiency, and in parallel, implementing energy resiliency measures. Such measures include onsite back-up generation and emergency power, transitioning from fossil to renewable energy to ultimately achieve 100% renewable energy use on the Rancheria, zero net GHG emissions, and actions to ensure operations for critical infrastructure and resource security for business-as-usual and short- and long-term emergency situations.

Get the Story:
Kathie Brosemer and Jana Ganion: Recognizing Tribal Climate Action (White House Blog 4/22)

Related Stories:
White House recognizes two tribes as Climate Action Champions (12/4)

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