Indian Country Energy & Infrastructure Working Group (ICEIWG) | Oct. 2020 | Q3 Meeting


Power lines at dusk.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy (IE) held its third-quarter meeting of the Indian Country Energy and Infrastructure Working Group (ICEIWG), Oct. 28, 2020, online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly 30 participants joined the two-and-half-hour virtual meeting via Zoom.

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020

Welcome of delegates and invited guests by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Indian Country Energy and Infrastructure Working Group co-chairs and National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) staff.

Welcoming Remarks

  • Kevin R. Frost, director, Office of Indian Energy, U.S. Department of Energy 
  • Jana Ganion, sustainability and government affairs director, Blue Lake Rancheria


  • Assistant Chief Jack Austin, Jr., Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 

State of the Office of Indian Energy

  • Kevin R. Frost, director, Office of Indian Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

A special introduction to IE senior staff: Albert “Brandt” Petrasek, senior advisor, DOE-IE

Energy Security and Emergency Response Planning with Tribes 

The DOE Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response’s (CESER) State, Local, Tribal and Territorial (SLTT) Program enhances SLTT energy security capabilities, advances emergency preparedness, and strengthens the coordination of response and recovery across all natural and man-made hazards. This session will include a brief overview of CESER and provide an open discussion with ICEIWG delegates on the energy security needs, challenges and opportunities for Ttibes.

  • Introduction: Kristy Hartman, energy program director, NCSL
  • Brandi Martin, SLTT program manager, CESER  | Presentation
  • Jason Pazirandeh, energy sector analyst, CESER | Presentation

U.S. Arctic Energy Overview

The reestablishment of the Arctic Energy Office (AEO) brings together assets from across the DOE to collaborate in innovative ways to meet the energy, science and national security needs of the U.S. and its allies. The AEO will drive coordination and collaboration on DOE’s many activities in the Arctic region, including international cooperation on Arctic issues, research on methane hydrates, and development of advanced microgrids and nuclear power systems, such as small modular reactors.  

  • Introduction: Dave Messier, rural energy director, Tanana Chiefs Conference
  • George Roe, director, Arctic Energy Office | Presentation

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Broadband Initiatives and Funding Opportunities For Tribes

In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. That December, rules of the “ReConnect” program were introduced, including how the loans and grants will be awarded. USDA received 146 applications between May 31, 2019, and July 12, 2019, requesting $1.4 billion in funding across all three ReConnect Program funding products: 100% loan, 100% grant, and loan-grant combinations. The USDA has made additional investments in all three categories and is reviewing applications and announcing approved projects on a rolling basis.

These grants, loans and combination funds enable the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities, including tribes, to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service.

  • Introduction: Anthony Giacobbe, general manager, Seneca Energy, Seneca Nation – Awardee of USDA Reconnect Program
  • Tedd Beulow, Office of Tribal Relations, USDA 

2021 National Tribal Energy Update

Plans are in motion for the 2021 NTES. It will be a three-day hybrid-style plenary event next fall in Washington, D.C. 

  • Kevin R. Frost, director, DOE-IE
  • Brooke Oleen Tieperman, program manager, NCSL | Presentation

Closing Business and Final Remarks

Meeting Adjourned

 The Q4 ICEIWG meeting will be held on Dec. 9, 2020, at 9 a.m. AKT/10 a.m. PT/11 a.m. MT/Noon CT/1 p.m. ET.