Thu, May 23

Governor in Camp Verde Friday

Janet Napolitano

Now in her second year in office, this is another of Napolitano's government-to-government sessions, a promise made to Arizona Indians when she was elected.

Today's session is hosted by the Y-A Nation of Camp Verde, Clarkdale and Rimrock.

"This is one of a series with tribes," the Governor explained. "There has been one on education, one on housing, one on tourism and economic development and now energy."

Before the summit, Napolitano offered her views on what she believes is Arizona's top two energy priorities.

"I think we want to start breaking more into renewable energy sources, and I think tribes can be pioneers; it could create jobs in Indian country," she said. "Second, to make sure that we have energy generation and transmission to handle the growth."

Both aspects, she said, will be among the topics discussed.

Different tribes have different needs, Napolitano agrees. Some are basic, such as the lack of energy to their homes. Other tribes may be researching ways to provide energy for the masses as a way to diversify and provide jobs.

Y-A Nation official Kim Secakuku said many of the tribes attending today's summit provided the Governor with position papers before outlining her discussion.

Napolitano said she wants a "briefing" on some of the things the tribes are doing.

Locally, the Yavapai-Apache Nation recently began studying the idea of a bio-power facility located on its land that could use mixtures of bio-mass materials such as sewage sludge, livestock manure, and municipal solid waste as well as forest products, like forest thinnings, to help reduce the danger of catastrophic fires.

Last summer, Napolitano led Arizona through its second severe fire season. In 2002, the Rodeo-Chedeski fire, 80 miles from the Y-A Nation's reservation, produced devastating results to Arizona families burning over 450,000 acres.

"A number of tribes are interested in bio-mass, another form of renewable energy," Napolitano said.

When asked if this type of plant would be a welcome addition to Arizona, she offered, "It's hard to answer. In theory yes, but we must see the need."

According to Secakuku, the Governor typically sends someone back with feedback once the summit is concluded. Included in today's discussion is a presentation by Arizona Department of Energy and Department of Commerce officials. The summit is open to Arizona tribal leaders and invited guests.

Napolitano agrees that many Indian officials seen to be "forward thinking" and are making strides in energy work, including the formation of a solar energy consortium. The Yavapai-Apache Nation, a strong advocate of solar power, uses solar energy at its medical center, food bank and for streetlights.

Concluding today's visit, Napolitano will tour the Y-A Nation's Tax Credit Program Housing.