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Indian Nations Update - June 2010

June 16, 2010

EPA Proposes Consultation Policy, Seeks Comments
Consistent with President Obama's November 5, 2009 directive that federal agencies develop plans to implement President Clinton's November 6, 2000 Executive Order 13175, EPA has published a proposed "EPA Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes (Policy)." The Policy is intended to satisfy the requirement of EO 13175 that each executive branch agency "have an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications." The proposed EPA policy is based on the 1984 EPA Policy for the Administration of Environmental Programs on Indian Reservations (1984 Policy) for interacting with tribes. EPA will hold teleconferences for tribal leaders July 8th and July 19th. Written comments are due by Friday, July 16, 2010.

Godfrey & Kahn works closely with tribal clients to achieve environmental goals, including opposition to mining and other activities that threaten tribal communities, designation of reservation lands as Class I under the Clean Air Act, establishment of tribal environmental protection offices and development of environmental codes, preparation of environmental impact statements for development projects, development of plans for energy self-sufficiency through conservation and green energy development, as well as the full range of traditional environmental legal services regarding CERCLA, RCRA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, etc., land use, wetlands, water rights, conservation easements, municipal environmental issues, criminal and civil environmental litigation, regulatory compliance, risk transfer and environmental, brownfields, landfills, air permitting and compliance, political law.

G&K's Indian Entrepreneur Pro Bono Program Assists a Wide Range of Start-ups
Three years ago, as part of its commitment to Indian country economic development, G&K established a program to provide pro bono legal services to assist start-up businesses owned by tribal members. In the past four years, we have assisted more than twenty entrepreneurs representing eight of Wisconsin's eleven tribes in connection with a wide range of business start-ups, including pet grooming, taxidermy, coffee shop, restaurant, convenience store, pest control, consulting, internet sales, tax preparation, crafts, construction, etc. For more information, contact Brian Pierson at 414.287.9456 or

One Hundred Years Ago

On June 25, 1910, Congress enacted a major revision of the General Allotment Act ("GAA") of 1887. The GAA authorized the government to convert Indian lands held in common into allotments of up to 160 acres for distribution to tribal members. Allotments could not be alienated for at least 25 years. The act authorized the sale of "surplus" lands to non-Indians. Among other provisions, the 1910 revision authorized the Secretary of the Interior to (1) issue fee patents to heirs of allottees he deemed competent, (2) permit the lease of any trust allotment for up to five years, with the Secretary holding lease payments in trust for the allottee, (4) approve allottees' wills for the disposition of allotments, and (4) authorize the sale of timber on both allotted and unallotted lands, the proceeds to be used for the benefit of tribal members. The 1910 act contributed to the loss of tribal lands through the issuance of competency certificates and the creation of fractionated interests in income from allotted trust lands. A bill to settle allottees' claims (the "Cobell Litigation") for government mismanagement of trust income based on a federal payment of $3.4 billion is pending in Congress.

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