The Interior Department has sent out $195 million in offers to landowners on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota. The $3.4 billion Cobell settlement provided $1.9 billion for Indian landowners who want to sell (pdf) their fractionated interests. DOI will pay "fair market value" as required by the Indian Land Consolidation Act. Participation is entirely voluntary. Any land that is acquired will be returned to tribes. [Indianz]Ice storms routinely knock out electric power on reservations sometimes resulting in lost lives.
A college on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation will receive about $1 million in federal funding for a $2 million renewable energy project. The grant will be used to help install 636 kilowatts of solar power at five buildings at Sitting Bull College. Officials say the project should decrease short-term energy costs by 20 percent, saving about $74,000 a year. Standing Rock is one of 11 tribal communities slated to split up nearly $6 million in federal money for clean energy projects. The 3,600-square-mile reservation straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border. [Associated Press]Microgrid technologies are destined to enhance tribal sovereignty and free communities .
South Dakota remains the only state unvisited by President Obama though his aides say he is determined to visit all fifty states by the end of his term.