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110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    110-275

======================================================================
 
  TO AUTHORIZE THE SAGINAW CHIPPEWA TRIBE OF INDIANS OF THE STATE OF 
    MICHIGAN TO CONVEY LAND AND INTERESTS IN LAND OWNED BY THE TRIBE

                                _______
                                

 July 30, 2007.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Rahall, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2952]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 2952) to authorize the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of 
Indians of the State of Michigan to convey land and interests 
in land owned by the Tribe, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. LAND AND INTERESTS OF THE SAGINAW CHIPPEWA INDIAN TRIBE OF 
                    MICHIGAN.

  (a) In General.--Subject to subsections (b) and (c), notwithstanding 
any other provision of law (including regulations), the Saginaw 
Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan (including any agent or 
instrumentality of the Tribe) (referred to in this section as the 
``Tribe''), may transfer, lease, encumber, or otherwise convey, without 
further authorization or approval, all or any part of the Tribe's 
interest in any real property that is not held in trust by the United 
States for the benefit of the Tribe.
  (b) Effect of Section.--Nothing in this section is intended to 
authorize the Tribe to transfer, lease, encumber, or otherwise convey, 
any lands, or any interest in any lands, that are held in trust by the 
United States for the benefit of the Tribe.
  (c) Liability.--The United States shall not be held liable to any 
party (including the Tribe or any agent or instrumentality of the 
Tribe) for any term of, or any loss resulting from the term of any 
transfer, lease, encumbrance, or conveyance of land made pursuant to 
this Act unless the United States or an agent or instrumentality of the 
United States is a party to the transaction or the United States would 
be liable pursuant to any other provision of law. This subsection shall 
not apply to land transferred or conveyed by the Tribe to the United 
States to be held in trust for the benefit of the Tribe.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 2952 is to authorize the Saginaw 
Chippewa Tribe of Indians of the State of Michigan to convey 
land and interests in land owned by the Tribe.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, comprised of three bands 
of Ojibwe, is headquartered near the City of Mt. Pleasant in 
Isabella County, Michigan. Established on October 18, 1864 by 
treaty, the Tribe's reservation includes approximately 724 
acres of allotted trust lands and 1,500 acres of tribal trust 
lands. Currently, there are 2,754 tribal members.
    Although the Tribe is headquartered in Isabella County, it 
owns land in surrounding counties, including two 20-acre 
parcels in Arenac County. These parcels were initially 
purchased to develop a warehouse and advance economic 
development ventures. But, after a feasibility study was 
conducted, the Tribe decided not to pursue those plans. Now, 
the Tribe wishes to sell this land but is prevented from doing 
so by the Non-Intercourse Act. Moreover, the Tribe intends to 
continue investing in real estate but the Non-Intercourse Act 
will prevent the Tribe from being able to timely sell land 
bought for investment purposes. The Tribe does not want the 
exemption contained in this legislation to apply to trust 
lands.

Non-Intercourse Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 177)

    Originally enacted in 1790, the Non-Intercourse Act 
reserved to the United States the exclusive right to acquire 
Indian lands. It was intended to protect Indian tribes by 
preventing the loss of their lands. It does so by preventing 
the transfer, sale, lease, or other conveyance of land owned by 
an Indian tribe, without federal approval. This prohibition 
applies to both trust and fee lands, regardless of the source 
of money used to obtain the lands. Finally, the Department of 
the Interior does not have the authority to administratively 
waive the Non-Intercourse Act.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 2952 was introduced on July 10, 2007 by Representative 
Kildee (D-MI). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources. The full Natural Resources Committee held a 
hearing on this legislation on July 11, 2007. On July 18, 2007, 
the full Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. 
Mr. Kildee (D-MI) offered an en bloc amendment that clarified 
that the Tribe may lease, transfer, encumber, or otherwise 
convey all or any part of any real property that is not held in 
trust by the United States for the benefit of the Tribe. The 
amendment also limited the liability of the United States that 
may result from any transfer, lease, encumbrance, or conveyance 
between the Tribe and third parties made pursuant to this Act, 
unless otherwise liable under another provision of law. The 
limitation on liability does not apply to land transferred from 
the Tribe to the United States to be held in trust for the 
Tribe. It was adopted by unanimous consent. The bill, as 
amended, was then ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by unanimous consent.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Land and interests of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of 
        Michigan

    Section 1 authorizes the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of 
Michigan to transfer, lease, encumber, or otherwise convey all 
or any part of the Tribe's interest in any real property that 
is not held in trust by the United States for the benefit of 
the Tribe. It is not intended to authorize the Tribe to 
transfer, lease, encumber, or otherwise convey, any lands, or 
any interest in any lands held in trust by the United States 
for the benefit of the Tribe. The United States shall not be 
liable to any party for any term or, or any loss resulting from 
the term of, any transfer, lease, encumbrance, or conveyance 
made pursuant to this Act unless the United States is a party 
to the transaction or would otherwise be liable pursuant to any 
other provision of law. Finally, this section does not apply to 
land transferred or conveyed by the Tribe to the United States 
to be held in trust for the benefit of the Tribe nor shall it 
apply to any purchases of land made by the Tribe.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. This bill does 
not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives does not 
apply.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

H.R. 2952--A bill to authorize the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Indians of 
        the state of Michigan to convey land and interests in land 
        owned by the tribe

    H.R. 2952 would authorize the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of 
Indians to convey or lease, without approval of the Secretary 
of the Interior, any land or interest in land owned by the 
tribe and not held in trust by the United States. Based on 
information from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, CBO estimates 
that implementing this bill would have no significant effect on 
the federal budget.
    Currently, the Non-Intercourse Act prohibits the conveyance 
of an interest in land from an Indian tribe without approval by 
the Secretary. Because of a dispute in the federal courts, it 
is not clear whether the land specified under the bill is 
subject to this prohibition.
    H.R. 2952 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Leigh Angres. 
The estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistance Director for Budget Analysis.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    H.R. 2952 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(d), 9(e) or 9(f) of rule XXI.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.