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Indian Nations Law Update - July 2014

July 14, 2014

Godfrey & Kahn seeks associate for Environment & Energy Strategies and Indian Nations Practice Groups

Godfrey & Kahn has an opening for an associate with 0-3 years of general environmental or energy experience to work with the firm’s Environment & Energy Strategies Practice Group. Strong academic credentials and excellent analytical and writing skills are required. Indian country experience is desired. The firm offers an excellent benefit package, competitive compensation commensurate with experience and reasonable billable hour expectations. Interested attorneys please click here to apply.

Bureau of Indian Affairs publishes proposed amendments to rules governing eights of way

In December 2012, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) updated regulations governing the leasing of Indian lands to better conform to the self-determination policy. The BIA has now published proposed revisions to 25 Code of Federal Regulations Part 169 to accomplish the same goal with respect to required federal approvals of rights of way (ROW) through Indian lands. The proposed rules represent a major reform of the ROW approval process. Important features include:

  • Greater deference to tribal land owners, especially tribal governments, with respect to compensation and valuation;
  • Clearer guidance on the approval process;
  • Time limits on BIA’s decision-making; and
  • A presumption in favor of approval in the absence of a compelling reason to deny.

The proposed regulations are available at 79 Fed. Reg. 34455. Comments may be submitted until August 18 to consultation@bia.gov.

Godfrey & Kahn has assisted tribes in drafting tribal leasing regulations that conform to the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act. To assert maximum sovereignty over tribal lands, tribes should consider adopting regulations conforming to HEARTH as well as regulations governing rights of way, with appropriate tribal procedures, due diligence and environmental review provisions. For assistance or more information, contact Brian Pierson at 414.287.9456 or bpierson@gklaw.com.


This article was reprinted in the National Law Review.

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