DEADLINE EXTENDED: BIA Proposed Rule for Obtaining Rights-of-Way on Indian Land

On June 17, 2014 the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) proposed a new rule to comprehensively update and streamline the process for obtaining rights-of-way on Indian land. BIA has extended the deadline to submit comments on November 28, 2014.

The current regulations were promulgated in 1968, and last updated in 1980. In December 2012, the Department issued final regulations comprehensively reforming residential, business, and wind and solar leasing on Indian land and streamlining the leasing process. BIA is updating the Rights-of-Way regulations to mirror those revisions to the extent applicable in the rights-of-way context. Highlights of the proposed rights-of-way revisions include:

• Eliminating the need to obtain BIA consent for surveying in preparation for a right-of-way;

• Establishing timelines for BIA review of rights-of-way requests;

• Clarifying processes for BIA review of right-of-way documents;

• Allowing BIA disapproval only where there is a stated compelling reason;

• Providing greater deference to Tribes on compensation for rights-of-way;

• Clarifying the authority by which BIA approves rights-of-way; and

• Eliminating outdated requirements specific to different types of rights-of-way.

Comments on this rule must be submitted by November 28, 2014 to consultation@bia.gov. For additional information please contact Elizabeth Appel, Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs & Collaborative Action, at (202) 273-4680 or elizabeth.appel@bia.gov.


LEGISLATIVE ALERT: DEFAZIO AND YOUNG INTRODUCE SELF-GOVERNANCE TRANSPORTATION BILL

On Wednesday, February 25, 2015, Congressmen Young (R-AK) and DeFazio (D-OR) introduced HR 1068, a bill to amend title 23, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Transportation to carry out a Tribal transportation Self-Governance program, and for other purposes. The bill reflects the consensus proposal recommended by Tribes in the Tribal Transportation Unity Act. This amendment would significantly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Federal transportation funding that is directed towards Tribal lands. Currently, the Indian Reservation Roads funding is funneled through the Bureau of Indian Affairs at six percent of the funding is taken for Federal administrative costs. Direct funding from the Department of Transportation to Tribal governments will end this inefficiency and allow Tribes to build and improve more of the transportation network.

Earlier in the day, Congressman DeFazio, spoke passionately at the National Congress of American Indians about his support for the expansion of Self-Governance to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to strengthen transportation programs at a local level. This legislation is a significant further step in the direction that Tribal Self-Governance leaders have been urging the Congress to move for many years.

Action Requested:
During the recent Self-Governance Tribal Strategic Planning Session held in January 2015, Self-Governance Tribes identified the extension of Self-Governance into DOT as one of their top legislative priorities. Self-Governance Tribes are asked to urge their Congressional members to support or co-sponsor HR 1068.

You can find the legislation here.

For more information about the Self-Governance expansion to the Department of Transportation,
click here.


Acting IHS Director Announces Plans for MSPI and DVPI Funding

The Acting IHS Director, Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, sent a letter to Tribal Leaders on May 27, 2014 providing an update for funding Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) and the Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI). The letter notes that in FY 2015 IHS will develop and open a new competitive application process for a 5-year MSPI and DVPI program that will be developed based on the best and promising practices, lessons learned, and evaluation data from the MSPI and DVPI demonstration/pilot phase.

Each IHS Area Director will host a consultation to collect Tribal feedback. To learn more about the plan and read the letter click here.


IHS Acting Director Provides CSC Update

The IHS Acting Director, Dr. Roubideaux, sent a letter to Tribes that provided up an updated on Contract Support Costs. The letter includes updates on past CSC claims settlement, CSC appropriations, distribution of CSC funding this year, and consultation on the long term solution for CSC amounts. During the Annual Tribal Self Governance Consultation Conference last week that Dr. Roubideaux announced that IHS has made significant progress on settling past CSC claims, especially since we have committed increased resources and staff and recently adopted a more efficient settlement approach.

A copy of the letter sent to Tribes is here and full text of the Acting Director’s comments are available here.


Acting Director Roubideaux Announces SDPI Funding Distribution

On Friday, May 9, 2014, the Indian Health Service (IHS) Acting Director announced that SDPI funding will maintain the same distribution as in previous years as requested by the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee (TLDC). The letter can be reviewed here.


OTSG's Resources and Materials webpage is a great place to get educational materials! Click Here

OTSG's Frequently Asked Questions About Tribal Self-Governance webpage is a great place to get answers about Tribal Self-Governance - Click Here

Indian Health Service:
Dr. Roubideaux's Directors Blog

Indian Health Service:
Fact Sheets Webpage

Indian Health Service:
Press Releases - Webpage

Indian Health Service:
Tribal Leader Letters - Webpage


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