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EPA to help dedicate first tribal wind turbine

Release Date: 4/30/2003
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      DENVER - Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 will participate in an historic moment for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, S.D., and Intertribal Council on Utility Policy on May 1, when the first tribally owned, large-scale wind turbine project in Indian Country will be dedicated.

Region 8 Deputy Assistant Regional Administrator Mike Gaydosh, Office of Enforcement, Compliance and Environmental Justice, will speak on Region 8's support for the Environmental Justice Demonstration Project and its work with the Native American Wind Interest Group, Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Intertribal Council on Utility Policy.

“This wind power project is a significant first step toward the development of utility-scale wind energy on Indian reservations,” Gaydosh said. “As we move forward, we do so mindful to protect not only the environment but also cultural resources and sacred sites, and to ensure the development process is inclusive and collaborative, while focused on building truly sustainable economies through clean, renewable power generation.”

The installation of a 750 kilowatt wind turbine, to be owned and operated by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, was completed by the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy on Feb. 27. The Intertribal Council on Utility Policy is a confederation of federally recognized tribes in the Northern Great Plains.

Secretary of the Intertribal COUP Bob Gough said of the wind turbine project, "This success clearly demonstrates how the federal-tribal partnership, envisioned in the treaties, can bring federal agencies and organizations and tribal governments and communities together to serve as powerful forces for positive change in accord with tribal values. This 750 kilowatt turbine is the first of many to be owned and operated by Indian Tribes to produce clean electricity to meet local and region demands for green power."

Pat Spears, president of Intertribal COUP noted that, "Through our Intertribal Wind Development Plan, the building of ecologically sustainable homeland economies upon clean renewable energy generation will help ensure the long-term protection of our cultural and natural resources."

In partnership with federal agencies, Intertribal COUP seeks to demonstrate that the development of wind energy can be a viable strategy to provide for future economic, cultural and community revitalization through the development of sustainable homeland tribal economies.

In August 2002 the EPA issued a call for nominations of environmental justice revitalization projects that demonstrate federal, state, local and tribal partnership. One of the 15 projects selected nationally is this project, titled, “Tribal Wind Power - A Viable Strategy for Community Revitalization and Capacity - Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota.”

The federal agencies involved, in addition to EPA, are the Department of Energy, Department of Interior, Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

By promoting renewable energy generation to federal and private markets within and beyond the region, the project also helps meet the nation’s need for renewable, clean and environmentally safe energy sources.

The wind turbine site is located northwest of Rosebud Casino & Hotel on Highway 83 on the Rosebud Reservation and Nebraska state line, 10 miles north of Valentine, Neb., and 20 miles south of Mission, S.D.