I haven’t heard of “CERT – the Council of Energy Resource Tribes” in decades. I imagined them being summoned from Ronald Reagan’s crypt (or maybe George Bush’s Skull and Bones Tomb), by a dinosaur whisperer on Trump’s Team, some wildcatter diviner who smells oil and profits. I think oil dinosaurs heed the call of their long dead reptilian ancestors and are drawn to dig, drill and these days, inject high pressure water into fractured shale layers. Re: oil dinosaurs and energy vampires, as exemplified by ex-BIA godfather Ross Swimmer in a Monty Two Bulls cartoon. I’m getting a vibe they will soon be trotted out as Trump America’s tools to implement the “We didn’t really mean to privatize Native resource-rich lands for corporate interests, we just meant we’re going to let Indians run their own lands, mines and oil wells if they just sign above the dotted line, after all you can always Trust The Government,” national media campaign. Yes it’s a very windy title but it’s going to take semi-trailer trucks full of barnyard compost to sell this piece of odorous corporate propaganda. It appears to echo the old Indian terms of stand around the forts, sellouts and termination.
Once CERT was seen as Indian Country’s answer to OPEC. Now “experts” keep guessing at how much of America’s energy needs lay under Native lands but as John Wayne said, the greedy Indians don’t want to share. CERT could assist in the digging and drilling or it could represent not only Native American and First Nations but Indigenous Peoples around the world in fighting back against exploitation and environmental racism. CERT has been backing Native education with scholarships and research and jobs in energy industries, which is both good and possibly not-so-good. When big money gets thrown down, all those little innovative, futuristic projects also get thrown away. We will have to wait and see.
The infamous study “The Energy Wealth of Indian Nations” by Shawn Regan and Terry Anderson (George W. Bush Institute/Property and Environment Research Center) is the manual of the Indian Sellouts and energy vampires on Team Trump. “Native American reservations are unable to develop their vast energy resources due to poorly-defined property rights. If policies were different… tribes could earn a 5% return on their energy resources… and would have additional income of $75 billion per year, and U.S. GDP would increase by as much as 0.5% per year…. regulations on American Indian energy reserves impose a huge cost on the rightful owners of those reserves and on economic growth. (Indian lands) contain 30% of the nation’s coal reserves west of the Mississippi, 50% of potential uranium reserves, and 20% of known oil and gas reserves — resources worth nearly $1.5 trillion, or $1.5 million per tribal member. Yet 86% of Indian lands with energy or mineral potential remain undeveloped because of Federal control of reservations that keeps Indians from fully capitalizing on their natural resources if they desire…”
Gee, I almost started crying at how poor and pathetic we Natives are made to be. That’s what the Team Trump Indians will be saying too, “Oh the Plight of my Poor People.” Markwayne Mullin waded in and got shot down real fast when the whole “Native Lands to get privatized” hit the media cycle. Mullin, who apprenticed under Ross Swimmer, had to re-frame his re-definition of the relationship Natives have with the Federal Government, and how The Black Snakes in the new federal agencies will be “relinquishing federal control over tribes and redefining citizenship.” Of course Mullin headlined his mea culpa with “Sovereignty” in the title but he ended with… “It’s up to Indians how… best decide how their land should be developed.”
The Anderson report is only a manifesto, now there’s is a game plan to go along with it from the Competitive Economic Institute, called “Free to Prosper” of which elements will be introduced to Congress in 2017. You can read about the fallout and potential effects here at The Intercept. Without resistance from Indian Country, 11.9 could become the Native 9.11. If Trump’s Black Snake Society is installed in Washington DC, we can expect little Black Snakes slithering around the USA, Indian Country and overseas (Exxon in Russia, a love package to Putin). We need The Return of the Thunderbirds, legendary beings who killed the monsters of old and protected the people, the real human beings. So it comes down to Extractors and Protectors, oil dinosaurs and energy vampires versus the air/water/land Protectors, the New Thunderbirds. CERT may be asked to do both, extract economically and protect environmentally; but Mullin and Swimmer still need to write up these new contracts and have the Native People (or their alleged representatives) sign them, don’t they?
Team Trump opposes the EPA and NEPA and how the Government regulates Indian Land and Public Land. Richard Nixon authorized both in 1970 and the first director was William Ruckelshaus who went on to the FBI and the Attorney General’s office, so they were not tree-hugging liberals and Nixon (a Quaker) passed Indian-friendly legislation. NEPA actually considers the environment (land, air and water) through the concept of the “Seventh Generation”, to consider the potential effects of any development on the environment which is being held in trust for the future generations. This is what these oil dinosaurs, energy vampires and the Republican reptiles that represent them, “Object” to.
So, yes, get rid of the red tape and embrace the concept that the Land belongs to the People, not the oil, gas and energy corporations, not to lawyers and lobbyists, it belongs to the children and grandchildren (and beyond), the generations who want clean, green energy and not dirty fossil fuels. The young people that need jobs for their families now, should have an opportunity to work for a National Infrastructure Jobs Bill in the upcoming switch to non-polluting energy sources. This movement is inevitable, imminent and will create millions of jobs for these labor-intensive projects. Fossil fuel jobs are fewer, dirtier and cause pollution with accidents waiting to happen. Energy companies are already preparing up for the renewable future, but it is so much easier to pay off politicians and force these unnecessary pipelines and refineries upon the populace. Yes, it’s cheaper but dirty, dangerous and it is very finite.
So we can ask the question, of Markwayne Mullin, “What do you mean by ‘We’, Kemo Sabe?” The “We” that claims to be a card-carrying Native person but without the heart and soul, the “We” that accepts checks from corporate donors, the “We” in the photo-shoot with all your other pale Congressional enablers who will kowtow to Fearless Fuhrer Trump. The “New” Trump Government will reverse course from a group of deliberate do-gooders to a fire-sale of public lands to the highest bidder. So who exactly are you standing up to or standing up for and who are you serving and protecting and representing? The Who said it in, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” - “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” And I’m sticking with Tonto because he was loyal and he fought against injustice, and you sir, are no Lone Ranger.