The National Congress of American Indians
TITLE: Energy Affordability through Weatherization and Renewable Systems
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, affordable and readily available energy is crucial for the future survival of our villages. Most villages are off the grid, operating in micro-grids where distribution generation provides for local needs; and
WHEREAS, energy costs in rural Alaska can be as high $1/kWh and heating oil can cost as much as $7/gallon. A study by University of Alaska, Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) states rural households—those in the lowest income bracket—spend 47% of their entire income on home energy; and
WHEREAS, since the year 2000, the price of oil in many villages has increased by more than 400%, putting strain not just on personal budgets but on the budgets of key employers in a community; and
WHEREAS, school districts, cities and businesses are responding to increased heat and electric bills by cutting back on staff, reducing programs and services and increasing the cost of goods; and
WHEREAS, State and Federal funding for weatherization and energy efficiency programs may be diminishing in the future with proposed budget cuts; and
WHEREAS, the need for weatherization programs and heating system change-outs is far outstripping the funding supply of the existing programs; and
WHEREAS, between the years 2000 to 2010 many community populations have diminished, in some cases by 30%, due to rising costs in energy.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI urges Congress and the Administration to:
1. Support programs and funding for weatherization in Alaska and throughout Indian Country; and
2. Invest in heating systems and pilot projects that use local sources and support cost savings; and
3. Help educate community leaders and residents on planning, financing, and engineering efficient energy systems, and ensure operators and maintenance are available for the duration of systems; and
4. Enact legislation for long-term energy relief in rural Alaska and throughout Indian Country; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2013 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Cox Business Center from October 13 - 18, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a quorum present.