US Interior chief tours solar plant on tribal land in Nevada

MOAPA RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION, Nev. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell toured a vast solar energy array Thursday that’s about ready to go online on an Indian reservation in Nevada, and signed an agreement with a tribal leader that gave a go-ahead for a similar plant nearby. The nearly complete 250-megawatt Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project was, in 2012, the first sun-to-electricity plant approved on tribal lands in the U.S. A document that the nation’s top land administrator signed with Moapa Band of Paiute Indians tribal Chairman Robert Tom put the 100-megawatt Aiya Solar Project past that same hurdle, called a record of decision. Aiya — a name derived from the Southern Paiute word for tortoise — would be the third solar array planned by private partners with the tribe, which has about 350 members and a sprawling 112-square-mile reservation about 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

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