Pilar Thomas Quoted in First Alaskans Article About Tribal Clean Energy Summit
Pilar Thomas, a Quarles & Brady partner in the Energy & Infrastructure and Indian Law & Policy Practice Groups, was a keynote speaker at the 2023 Northwest Tribal Clean Energy Summit and comments from her presentation were included in a First Alaskans article about the summit.
At the summit, tribal leaders, citizens, staff and others delved into the cultural, economic and social challenges of implementing tribal clean energy projects. In her remarks, Thomas focused on potential solutions to many of these challenges.
An excerpt from the article:
(Thomas) reiterated the importance of a plan. “Without a plan, energy development becomes ad hoc, tied to specific Tribal administrations, chasing any grant program – whether the grant program is the right way to achieve our goals or not. A plan identifies the policies and programs, the community’s objectives, and maybe even the Tribal laws that will support our goals.”
Pilar remarked. “There has been a lot of ink spilled about how the federal government and Federal law frustrates our efforts, or how States and utilities are ineffective partners, or the market conditions we confront…reasons why we can’t do clean energy projects. And, this ink is not wrong. Yet, very little ink has been used to discuss how we can do it. How we can make energy more affordable for our Tribal members, participate in energy markets, and create more energy resilient reservation and Tribal communities…”
She continued further: “The road to energy sovereignty is paved with acts of Tribal sovereignty. These are sovereign actions we can control. Sovereign actions that promote our goals, our values, and are hopefully grounded in the needs of our communities.”