I watched "Power Paths" on Independent Lens last night.
Full-length episode available here:
This documentary shows how the southwest U.S. has been exploiting the natural resources of Native Americans to power southern California, Utah, and Las Vegas. They have been depleting Native American aquifers to send coal slurry, mined on Indian land in strip mines, through pipes to dirty coal-burning power plants which threaten national parks, including the Grand Canyon, with smog. Although Native Americans in these communities themselves have no electricity in their homes, many Indians were involved in the energy industry through their connection to mining. Thus they only need retraining to become effective energy industry employees.
By coincidence, I watched an American Experience episode two nights ago on the Civilian Conservation Core and the stimulus that it provided the economy during the Roosevelt years. I wrote the White House, Nancy Pelosi, and energy secretary Steven Chu about a proposal to focus on stimulating the economy by creating a high-tech version of the CCC today to take the place of the proposed third stimulus of cash. The idea is to train young workers and retrain older workers for renewable energy industry jobs. I'm basing my idea on Grameen Shakti and Gerhard Sheer's solar stimulus in Germany. Grameen Shakti trains rural Indian women to be solar engineers. The installation of solar power by these women leads to the creation of microbusinesses which reduce childbirth and increase education. The German solar stimulus was the proposal that any solar energy generated by German citizens could be sold to the government for a fixed return for the next ten years. The result was the adoption of 20% solar energy in Germany in two years. My idea is to train Native Americans (and others) as a kind of CCC to install and maintenance solar and wind powered devices, building an industry that replaces their dependence on dirty energy production. Second, tax incentives are given to citizens who install solar panels or wind turbines on their property. The government should use these energy CCC people to "green" all federal buildings and national and state park facilities by installing renewable power in place of coal-powered electricity. Since the mechanism to motivate the change in solar investment is market-driven, it should have bipartisan support if properly marketed to voters. Most important is to use these incentives to lead energy industry leaders to invest in this new market so the troublemakers become the change agents.
I'm actually surprised that no one has proposed outsourcing in general to Native American Indians rather than east Indians. Between tribal councils and their special relationship to the federal government, equivalent benefits might be able to be derived by developing a Native American workforce versus a non-U.S. based workforce. The call centers would be a close time zone versus India and the employees, as U.S. citizens, would have a better grasp on handling the problems of other U.S. citizens. Tech support could even have a cute name based on the Navajo role in WWII - the Code Talkers.