Sioux Tribes of South Dakota and Arent Fox Announce Wind Power Initiative at CGI America

June 14, 2013

Washington, DC — Earlier today, former President Bill Clinton and leaders from six Sioux Indian Tribes announced a new wind power initiative that will harness South Dakota’s greatest natural resource and spur long-term development in the economically depressed region. The initiative, which is receiving critical legal and public policy counsel from Arent Fox LLP, was announced as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action during the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting — an annual event that brings together leaders from the business, foundation, and government sectors in an effort to promote economic growth in the United States. The Arent Fox team representing the Sioux Tribes includes former Senator Byron Dorgan, co-chair of the Government Relations practice, and Communications, Technology & Mobile partner Jonathan E. Canis and associate G. David Carter.

“Having served as Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I understand the strong desire of the Indian Tribes to build ‘Indian owned’ wind power projects to create new jobs and affordable power for their Tribes,” said Senator Dorgan. “This project is a unique opportunity for the Sioux Tribes in South Dakota to chart their own destiny. They live on lands that are rich with wind resources and they can use those resources to build a large wind energy project that can both help the Tribes and produce clean, renewable power for our country for decades to come. Together with my colleagues at Arent Fox, I have been honored to work with elected leaders of the Tribes to plan this project and I am especially proud of the recognition given it today by President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative.”

The Tribes’ initiative comes at a time when renewable energy investment is increasingly a national priority. Through the project, the Tribes stand to infuse up to $3 billion directly into the South Dakota economy, an amount roughly equal to the impact of the entire manufacturing sector in South Dakota in a given year. The planned project could generate 1-2 gigawatts of power annually. Measured conservatively, that’s more than enough power to electrify the homes in Denver, Colorado for the next 20 years, the typical useful lifespan of the wind turbines.

The majority of the project’s funding will come through the sale of bonds by a Multi-Tribal Power Authority, which are expected to be made available to investors in about two years, following a critical planning and preparation stage. For this reason, the Tribes have partnered with the crowdfunding platform Rally.org to seek funding and raise general awareness for the project. Individuals may visit rally.org/siouxwind to join in and follow developments. A press packet containing additional information is available here.

During the closing discussion at CGI America, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, and Yankton Sioux Tribe joined President Clinton on stage to announce their plans.

Already several years in the making, the project has received significant pro bono support from Arent Fox, along with Herron Consulting LLC, the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, the LIATI Group, the Bush Foundation, and the Northwest Area Foundation. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a nonprofit philanthropic services firm, is providing strategic counsel and incubating the project until the new power authority is created.