Lewis Brisbois Team Obtains First-Ever Approval for Creation of Tribal Energy Development Organization

Washington, D.C. (March 24, 2022) - Washington, D.C. Partner Karen C. Bennett and Sacramento Partner John P. Yung recently represented a renewable energy developer client in securing the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) first-ever approval for the creation of a Tribal Energy Development Organization (TEDO). The TEDO certification was granted to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. As a result of this approval, the tribe’s TEDO no longer must obtain federal government approval to enter leases, rights-of-way, and business agreements for energy development.

In discussing the benefits of obtaining TEDO certification, Ms. Bennett explained that "TEDO certification creates significant incentives for parties interested in tribal energy development projects. Removal of BIA review and approval increases certainty by reducing project costs and delays and reducing federal environmental reviews, appeals, and litigation." She further noted that the newly formed entity will begin developing renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar projects, on the tribe’s land.

In securing this inaugural certification, Mr. Yung helped structure and establish the TEDO entity, while Ms. Bennett navigated the federal regulatory requirements associated with obtaining the approval. Lewis Brisbois will continue providing legal transactional and regulatory assistance to the project, including project financing, as well as pre-construction and construction phases. Moreover, it is expected that this TEDO approval will serve as a model for future certifications involving tribal and renewable energy projects.

Ms. Bennett is co-chair of Lewis Brisbois' Sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Practice, its Environment, Land, & Natural Resources Law Practice, its Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, and its Government Relations Group. She works with clients to resolve regulatory issues, focusing primarily on permitting, compliance, litigation, and legislative policy.

Mr. Yung is co-chair of Lewis Brisbois’ China practice and a member of the Corporate Practice. He focuses his practice on corporate, securities, and international business matters, with particular emphasis on assisting companies in accessing the U.S. capital markets. With more than a decade in representing publicly traded and private companies, Mr. Yung has extensive experience in a variety of financing transactions including venture capital financing, private equity financings, secured debt, public offerings, PIPEs, follow-on, and secondary financings.

Learn more about this matter in the Native News Online article, titled "Bureau of Indian Affairs Approves First Ever Tribal Energy Development Organization," here.

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