May 23, 2011- 54 tribes, and numerous tribal organizations, were represented at the Department’s Tribal Summit held May 4-5th in Alexandria, Virginia. The first day of the Summit was dedicated to providing a forum for meaningful discussion between tribal leaders and Department program leadership which was accomplished through themed interactive workshops. The Office of Economic Impact and Diversity participated in a workshop on ‘Business Contracting and Education’ along with the Office of Science and the Office of Management. On the second day Secretary Chu, other Department of Energy leadership, and other Agency leadership including Secretaries Vilsack and Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, addressed attendees and answered questions.
Secretary Chu announced two new energy initiatives at the summit. He declared the intent to form an Indian clean energy and infrastructure working group -- which will provide a forum to survey, analyze and provide viewpoints on real-time obstacles that tribes face in deploying clean energy as well as potential solutions. He also announced the Department’s plans to develop guidance that will direct the Department of Energy to, when possible, buy renewable energy from tribal lands. TheOffice of Indian Energy Policy and Programs will have more details on both these initiatives in the coming weeks.