MADISON — Two Native American
tribes in Wisconsin are receiving federal grants for renewable
energy projects that tribe members say will help reduce costs
and lead to energy independence.
The Bad River Band of Lake
Superior Chippewa in Odanah received a nearly $1 million grant,
while the Forest County Potawatomi Community in Crandon got a
grant for more than $1.5 million. The grants, announced last
month, will be used to install solar panels at tribal buildings.
The Wisconsin tribes are among 12
nationwide that received a total of 14 grants from the federal
Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs worth a total of $16
million, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.
"These projects will unleash
sovereign Native American and Alaska Native energy development
however each tribe believes is best for their community,"
U.S. Undersecretary of Energy Mark Menezes said in a statement.
The Bad River Band will use the
money, in addition to about $1 million in cost sharing, to
install solar panels at the health and wellness center located
in Ashland, the wastewater treatment plant in New Odanah and the
Chief Blackbird Center in Odanah.
The federal Department of Energy
said projections show the tribe will save about $841,000 in
energy spending over the next 25 years.
Dylan Jennings is a tribal
council member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
and a public information officer for the Great Lakes Indian Fish
and Wildlife Commission. He said going green is one way the
tribe is preparing for the future, noting that the tribes aren't
against oil or coal.
"We firmly realize that we
need to be doing our part in adapting to better and more
efficient ways of living that are healthy for the
environment," Jennings said.
Daniel Wiggins Jr., an air
quality technician with the Natural Resource Department for the
Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said the tribe's plan
is to reduce current energy costs by 10% by 2025 and generate
10% of the tribe's electricity with renewable technology by that
The Forest County Potawatomi
Community's grant will be used to install solar panels at eight
tribal facilities in Milwaukee, on the tribe's reservation lands
in Crandon and on its community center. Annual savings at the
community center are expected to be more than $100,000 over 30