Pilar Thomas

Contact Details


Pilar Thomas is Of Counsel in the firm’s Tribal Lands and Natural

Resources, Alternative Energy and Utilities, and Tribal Affairs and Gaming

practice groups. Her practice is focused on Indian law, tribal renewable

energy project development and finance, tribal economic development,

and Indian gaming. She assists clients with strategic legal advice on tribal energy policy and planning, renewable energy project development and finance, federal and

state energy regulatory, programs, and policy efforts, tribal gaming

regulations, gaming-related transactions, litigation, and other business

and economic development efforts.


Prior to returning to the firm, Pilar was the Deputy Director for the Office of

Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy,

where she was responsible for developing and implementing policy and

program efforts within the department and federal government to achieve

the office’s policy objectives, particularly the promotion of energy

development, electrification, and infrastructure improvement on tribal

lands. Working directly with tribes, tribal energy resource development

organizations, tribal utilities, tribal enterprises, Alaska Native villages and

corporations, Pilar provided hands-on technical assistance, including

strategic energy planning, education and capacity building, market

research and analysis, and federal program support. She spearheaded

federal agency efforts to coordinate and collaborate on tribal energy

development efforts, in partnership with the White House Council on

Native American Affairs, the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture,

Commerce and Environmental Protection Agency.


She is the former Deputy Solicitor of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department

of the Interior, where she provided legal advice to the Secretary, Assistant

Secretary-Indian Affairs, and other department officials on decisions

related to tribes and matters related to federal Indian law, tribal law,

administrative law, Indian water rights, . Pilar provided guidance and

advice as needed in policy, program formulation and litigation strategies,

interpreting existing laws, statutes, rules, regulations or other legal

authority affecting actions, proposed or taken under Departmental

programs and operations. A representative sample of the legal matters

handled include:

·         Renewable energy projects lease and right of way reviews

·         Indian gaming compact reviews

·         Land into trust decisions, guidance, and Carcieri analysis

·         Leasing regulation reform

·         Tribal consultation policy formation

·         Federal legislation, including the HEARTH Act and Tribal Law and

·         Order Act

·         United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples



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