John Plata: Tribes should take action on HEARTH Act regulations

Attorney John Plata encourages tribes to submit their HEARTH Act regulations to the Bureau of Indian Affairs before January 26, 2014:
In 2012 Congress enacted the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act amendments to the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act. This Act provides authority for Indian tribes to lease tribal trust lands directly pursuant to tribal law, without further Secretarial approval. The passage of the HEARTH Act amendments was nationally lauded by the White House, members of congress, tribal leaders, and tribal organizations as a valuable tool that would: (1) empower tribes to realize their potential for economic growth and job creation on tribal lands, (2) increase community development, and (3) strengthen tribal self-determination. Despite these substantial benefits, to date, very few tribes have taken advantage of the opportunity to use this tool by promulgating tribal leasing ordinances that take advantage of HEARTH Act authority.

In order to implement the new law, on January 16, 2013, the BIA issued a National Policy Memorandum, known as the Interim Guidance, providing guidance to BIA decision makers on the standards and processes to be followed when reviewing and approving leasing ordinances submitted by tribes pursuant to the Act. This Interim Guidance will expire on January 16, 2014 and it is unknown at this time, what procedures will be adopted to replace it.

There are a number of significant reasons why tribes should consider submitting tribal leasing regulations in the near future for BIA approval - before the Interim Guidance expires.

Get the Story:
John Tabinaca Plata: Why Tribes Need the HEARTH Act and BIA Leasing Regulations (Indian Country Today 10/18)

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