Udall, Heinrich Announce More Than $2.8 Million in Grants to New Mexico Tribes for Energy and Mineral Resource Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that more than $2.8 million has been awarded to 13 tribal energy and mineral development projects in New Mexico. These awards to eight tribes will help them better evaluate and make use of their energy and mineral resources to benefit the tribal, state, and national economy. 

The Pueblo of Acoma, Pueblo of Cochiti, Pueblo of Nambe, Pueblo of Jemez, Pueblo of San Felipe, Pueblo of Zuni, Jicarilla Apache Nation, and Navajo Nation will receive individual grants ranging from $40,000 to $1 million. These grants will fund a wide variety of projects that include a sand and gravel exploration study, a feasibility study for hydroelectric power, the manufacture of adobe bricks, and an investigation into a wood pellet business. 

“The smart development of tribal energy and mineral resources benefits Indian Country, New Mexico, and the nation,” Udall said.  “These grants will go a long way towards supporting tribes in New Mexico as they maximize the use of their natural resources and spur economic development in Native American communities.“

“These federal investments are important as they help our tribal communities assess and develop their own energy and mineral resources,” Heinrich said. “Obtaining the managerial and technical capacity to develop these assets and get them into markets promotes tribal self-determination and economic development. I will continue to support these important investments so our tribal communities can succeed.”

The grants were awarded by the Department of Interior’s Energy and Mineral Development Program in the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED).  In 2014, the program competitively awarded $9.4 million to 46 projects across the country.  The New Mexico grants are as follows:

  • The Pueblo of Acoma will receive $110,000 to fund an exploration study designed to identify the quality and quantity of sand and gravel on the Reservation. This project will help to further industrial advancement of Indian property by generating vital information about sand and gravel in order to develop resources to the benefit of the Tribe.
  • The Jicarilla Apache Nation will receive $200,000 to fund an exploration study designed to identify the quality and quantity of a titaniferous rare earth sandstone deposit on the Reservation. This project will help to further industrial advancement of Indian property by generating vital information about the rare earth deposit in order to develop resources to the benefit of the Tribe.
  • The Pueblo of Nambe will receive $87,868 to fund a one-time aggregate study for economic development as a potential marketable resource utilizing time-limited funds. This project will help to further industrial advancement of Indian property by generating vital information about the subject property in order to develop resources to the benefit of the Tribe.

  • The Navajo Nation will receive $1,000,000 to fund a one-time Navajo Transitional Energy Company, LLC for Coal Supply (Coal Resource Study), Coal Gasification, and Coal Marketing Feasibility Studies for the Navajo Nation for economic development as a potential marketable resource utilizing time-limited funds.  This project will help to further industrial advancement of Indian property by generating vital information about the subject property in order to develop resources to the benefit of the Tribe.   The Navajo Nation will also receive $200,000 to provide funding to perform an assessment study of conventional and unconventional oil and gas plays on lands held by the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

  • The Pueblo of Cochiti will receive a total of $315,080 for three projects.  They will receive $189,080 to study the feasibility of producing hydroelectric power on the Cochiti Dam to provide income for the tribe. The will also receive $101,000 to support feasibility of manufacturing adobe bricks, and $125,000 to conduct a reservation-wide survey of sand and gravel to assist them with on- going mineral lease negotiations.

  • The Pueblo of Jemez will receive $110,000 for a study to identify the quality and quantity of sand and gravel on the Reservation. The tribe will also receive $425,000 on a study to identify the quality and quantity of clay and sand deposits on the Reservation.

  • The Pueblo of San Felipe will receive $205,000 for a study designed to identify the quality and quantity of sand and gravel on the Reservation. This project will help to further industrial advancement of Indian property by generating vital information about sand and gravel in order to develop resources to the benefit of the Tribe.  They will also receive $40,000 for a marketing study designed to identify the economic value of a gypsum deposit on the Reservation.

  • The Pueblo of Zuni will receive $80,000 for a study to determine the feasibility of establishing a wood pellet business on the Reservation. Many tribal members rely on wood for heating during the winter; however, current harvesting practices on the reservation are creating resource management problems.   This study will determine if a tribal wood pellet business will lower the cost of wood pellets for tribal members and support sustainable forest management practices.