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WASHINGTON — In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a roundup of other news released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country recently.

Treasurer Chief Malerba Convenes Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee

On Friday, Chief Lynn Malerba, Treasurer of the U.S., hosted a meeting of the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC) with the TTAC’s Designated Federal Officer Krishna Vallabhaneni. The seven-member committee meets regularly at U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. and advises Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen and Department leadership on significant matters impacting Indian Country

During Friday’s meeting, the Committee was joined by Danny Werfel, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), who affirmed the IRS’s commitment to serving all taxpayers and helping taxpayers get it right the first time and claim the credits and deductions they are eligible for – which includes working diligently to support and learn from Tribal communities. Commissioner Werfel also described a new credit delivery mechanism established under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA): elective pay (often called “direct pay”) which enables tribal governments to take advantage of clean energy tax credits, expanding the reach of those credits to help build projects more quickly and affordably, which will in turn create good-paying jobs and lower energy costs. The Treasury Department hosted a Tribal Consultation on this IRA provision and its impact on Tribal communities in July.

Following Commissioner Werfel’s remarks, tribal leaders shared some of their top priorities, including tax parity and other Tribal tax priorities, and the Committee leadership received updates from TTAC Subcommittees. The Committee also received updates from federal agencies and offices including the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

TTAC is composed of Tribal leaders; three members nominated by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen, two nominated by the House Committee on Ways and Means, and two nominated by the Senate Committee on Finance.

FDA to Host Listening Session on the Safe Disposal of Opioid Analgesics

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is hosting a listening session with federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes on the safe disposal of opioid analgesics.

During the one-hour listening session, the FDA will discuss the Agency’s April 2023 announcement requiring manufacturers of opioid analgesics dispensed in outpatient settings to make prepaid mail-back envelopes available to outpatient pharmacies and other dispensers as an additional opioid analgesic disposal option for patients.

In addition, FDA is seeking information and comments from tribal governments and/or their designees on In-Home Disposal Systems for Opioid Analgesics. In April 2023, FDA announced that it had established a docket to obtain information and comments that will assist the Agency in assessing whether in-home disposal products can be expected to meet the public health goal of mitigating the risk of nonmedical use or overdose if the Agency were to require drug manufacturers to make in-home disposal products available to patients under a REMS.

Listening Session Call Information:

Thursday, October 5, 2023, at 2pm EST

To participate in the call, you must register via the link here. 1

$125 Million Announced for Grid Resilience Grants for States and Tribal Nations to Modernize Electric Grid 

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, on Tuesday the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced nine states and five tribal nations will receive a combined total of $125 million as the seventh cohort of Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants. Supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office.

These grants will help modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of climate-driven extreme weather and natural disasters while also ensuring power sector reliability. This funding will enable communities to access affordable, reliable, and clean electricity while helping deliver on the President’s ambitious clean energy goals. 

This cohort of nine states and five tribes will receive a combined total of $125 million. Since May 2023, DOE has distributed more than $580.5 million in Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda. The states include: Maryland, MassachusettsMississippi, Montana, Nebraska,  New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Wyoming. The tribes include: 

  • Beaver Village will support a continuous supply of power to consumers through preventative maintenance and training for utility owners and operators. The grant funding will also be used to provide backup power in case of outages, reduce outage risks, and advance energy justice. (Amount: $112,917)

  • Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan) will support continuous operations through preventative maintenance and grid resilience training and will reduce outage risks while reducing restoration times following a severe event. The grant funding will also be used to develop battery storage for critical facilities and reduce the energy burden to low-income and disadvantaged Tribal members. (Amount: $117,116)

  • Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma will install battery backup for critical care and emergency facilities and will reduce the overall cost of operations while increasing grid resilience. The grant funding will also be used to invest in clean energy and decarbonization solutions, improve the energy infrastructure through joint efforts with their electric cooperative utility, and increase the skilled Tribal workforce. (Amount: $927,979)

  • Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe will ensure critical community facilities that serve the Tribe are not impacted by extreme weather and other disruptive events and will address outdated or failing grid infrastructure. The grant funding will support investments in modern grid infrastructure and clean energy while enabling lower-cost energy to consumers. (Amount: $169,830)
  • United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma will ensure that the critical Tribal facilities serving the Tribe’s citizens are not impacted by disruptive events such as extreme weather through efforts to modernize the grid, and implement improved controls, automation, and communications to support adaptive grid operations. The grant funding will also be used to enable access to lower cost energy and increase the skills of the Tribal workforce to operate and maintain grid resilience measures. (Amount: $550,543)

 

 

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