Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today, December 21, 2015, announced that the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has extended the effective date of its rights-of-way final rule by 90 days. The extension provides grantees, potential grantees, landowners and BIA personnel with more time to review the final rule and to adequately prepare for its implementation. The updated rule streamlines the process for obtaining the Bureau’s approval to ensure consistency with recently updated leasing regulations, increases the flexibility in compensation and valuations, and supports landowner decisions regarding the use of their land.
The new rule, originally scheduled to become effective on December 21, 2015, will now become effective on March 21, 2016.
Those specific reforms include clarifying the right of Indian land owners to negotiate the terms of rights-of-way directly with applicants and requirements for the BIA to issue prompt decisions on rights-of-way applications. The extension also delays the date by which current holders of assignments must provide documentation of their assignments to July 17, 2016.
For additional information on the final rule, please visit the Indian Affairs website here.