The State-Tribal Relations Committee will have some new faces, which means
more education by the tribal leaders of the state and in some respects a
return to the drawing board.
Lower Brule Chairman Michael Jandreau told the committee at the final
meeting before new members are seated that there has been some success in
the past couple of years and now it will all come crashing down.
"This committee has gained knowledge, credibility and experience about
projects that affect the reservations and now we find that all of a sudden
it's disintegrating," Jandreau told the committee.
Even though there will be new faces, committee Chairman Stan Adelstein said
it will continue. Adelstein who has headed the committee for the past two
years will move from the house to the senate, but said he requested a spot
on the committee.
What is of concern to the tribal leaders is that progress seems to have
been made. There are some changes in legislative activity that benefit the
tribes as well as the state.
Jandreau, however, pointed out that many of the plans Lower Brule has will
benefit the state greatly. Lower Brule, considered one of the most
progressive of the nine reservations in the state, has set out to improve
the economy with grain farms and cattle ranches that will support
value-added businesses such as a beef marketing operation that is planned,
ethanol plants and a wind energy project.
Jandreau reminded the committee that no matter how much economic
development Lower Brule has almost 90 percent of the generated revenues go
off the reservation and will benefit the local economies and the state.
An investment firm involved in wind energy has worked out agreements with
Lower Brule to construct wind generators. The reservation is located in the
central part of the state where wind is a constant.
Attempts to hook up with the Western Area Power Authority grid system are
underway. Legislation will be "shoehorned" into the omnibus appropriations
bill, said Eric Greenberg of Innovative Investments of San Francisco.
Without access to the power grid his firm cannot invest, he said.
Greenberg said he looks at North and South Dakota as the super highway of
electrons in the future. His organization is also looking at Cheyenne River
Reservation as another location for wind energy development, but no
negotiations have yet taken place.
State Sen. Jim Putnam, chairman of the State Appropriations Committee was
concerned that the state would receive revenues from the sale of wind power
much the same as the tribes if there are agreements with private land
owners. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe will receive 5 percent of the gross
revenue, 2 percent above the norm, Greenberg said. He added that agreements
with the state and landowners may yield a similar percentage.
"Nobody wins if one person doesn't. Lower Brule can't be successful without
you. The tribe and the state are not mutually exclusive," Greenberg said.
J.C. Crawford, chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe suggested an
agreement such as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that requires state and
tribal compacts for gaming may be used to bring cooperative state support
with such developments as wind power and other economic development
Jandreau said economic success requires cooperation between the state and
the tribes be established in order to bring services home to the state.