The United States Department of Agriculture handed over $21 million to electrical companies run as tribal businesses. Why? To let the companies charge less for electricity in the boondocks.
I call this boondocks boondoggles.
This program takes money from urban Americans and small-town Americans and sends it into the outermost areas of tribal reservations, which are tax-free enclaves.
Now the USDA is getting into the act. This a standard federal anti-poverty program. It subsidizes a way of life that keeps people in poverty.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs was America’s first federal experiment in socialism. It has kept Indians in poverty ever since.
Here is a press release from the USDA.
USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager today announced funding to help reduce energy costs for residents of remote rural areas where the current cost of producing electricity is extremely high. The funds are being provided through USDA’s High Energy Cost Grant program. The announcement was made during the Four Corners Sustainable Futures Tribal Summit in Flagstaff, Ariz.
“In many rural areas, energy costs can be a significant part of household and business expenses,” Tonsager said. “These grants will help home and business owners offset rising energy costs by financing energy efficiency and power generation improvements that will deliver energy more cost-effectively and help the environment.”
The program is administered by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service. Recipients use funds to improve energy generation, transmission or distribution facilities that serve communities where the average residential cost for home energy exceeds 275 percent of the national average. Grants are available to businesses, non-profit entities, states, local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes.
Sacred Power Corporation, a private Native American-owned firm which serves communities in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico will receive funds to provide improved batteries for solar, wind and propane fueled generation systems that serve the homes of tribal members in remote areas. Dineh Cooperatives, Inc. in Arizona will receive funds for the Black Mesa Solar Project, which focuses on the use of solar energy as a viable solution to meet the energy needs of a remote portion of the Black Mesa and Pinon Chapters within Navajo Country, on the Navajo Reservation. This grant will focus on supplying energy to people in a community consisting mostly of elders who have minimal electricity needs, and their children and grandchildren who tend to require twice the power load. It will center on providing electricity to residents in homes that currently have no electrical service, and supplementing power to existing solar systems for other homes. These proposed systems will generate electricity utilizing photovoltaic solar systems and back-up generators.
The funding announced today totals more than $21 million. Funding for individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. These funds may not be used to pay utility bills, purchase fuel, or be used for the sole benefit of the applicant.