Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                      Calendar No. 514
114th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session       }                                     {      114-275

======================================================================
 
                        INTERIOR IMPROVEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

                  June 9, 2016.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Barrasso, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                         [To accompany S. 1879]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 1879) to improve processes in the Department of the 
Interior, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment, and recommends 
that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                                Purpose

    S. 1879 would restore the authority of the Secretary of the 
Department of the Interior (Secretary) to take land into trust 
for all federally recognized tribes, reaffirm the status of 
Indian trust lands already held in trust, and improve existing 
land into trust processes and procedures.

                               Background

    On February 24, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 
Carcieri v. Salazar that the Secretary of the Interior did not 
have the authority to take land into trust for the Narragansett 
Tribe under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934\1\ (IRA) 
because the Tribe was not ``under Federal jurisdiction'' when 
the IRA was enacted in 1934.\2\ While the Court's holding 
applied specifically to the Narraganset Tribe, the Carcieri 
decision has had a far greater impact on tribes, states and 
local jurisdictions across the country. The Court's decision in 
Carcieri has given rise to many concerns, litigation and 
uncertainty.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, 25 U.S.C. Sec. 465 (1934).
    \2\Carcieri v. Salazar, 555 U.S. 379 (2009).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The reach of Carcieri has extended far beyond the 
Narragansett Tribe, as it rests on a limiting interpretation of 
the primary statute under which the Secretary derives authority 
to take land into trust for the benefit of Indian tribes. In 
particular, ``[t]he decision appears to call into question the 
ability of the [Secretary] to take land into trust for any 
recently recognized tribe unless the trust acquisition has been 
authorized by legislation other than the 1934 Indian 
Reorganization Act (IRA) or the tribe can show that it was 
``under Federal jurisdiction'' in 1934.''\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\M. Maureen Murphy, Congressional Research Service, Carcieri v. 
Salazar: The Secretary of the Interior May Not Acquire Trust Land for 
the Narragansett Indian Tribe Under 25 U.S.C. Section 465 Because That 
Statute Applies to Tribes ``Under Federal Jurisdiction'' in 1934, Apr. 
22, 2015 (RL34521).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Carcieri decision opened the door to significant 
litigation, creating further uncertainty around the status of 
Indian trust lands.\4\ One such case is Match-E-Be-Nash-She 
Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, which involved a 
challenge to the Secretary's authority to acquire trust land 
for tribes that were not federally recognized in 1934.\5\ 
Ultimately, the Supreme Court relied on the merits of a six-
year statute of limitations in the Federal Administrative 
Procedure Act for challenges to final agency actions to rule 
that the Federal government's sovereign immunity under the 
Quiet Title Act did not bar challenges to any decision of the 
Secretary to take land into trust once title passed to the 
United States, and that challenges to such final agency action 
may be brought within six years.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\See e.g., Id.; Jane M. Smith, Congressional Research Service, 
Ninth Circuit Opinion Suggests Carcieri v. Salazar May Provide a Basis 
for Challenging Indian Trust Land Status, Feb. 12, 2014 (Legal 
Sidebar).
    \5\Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, 
567 U.S.__(2012); 132 S. Ct. 2199 (2012).
    \6\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In response to Patchak, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) 
revised its Indian trust land acquisition regulations with 
language that is often referred to as the ``Patchak Patch''.\7\ 
This language would limit a party's administrative appeal 
period to provide greater certainty to Indian tribes when 
developing on their lands.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Land Acquisitions: Appeals of Land Acquisition Decisions, 78 
Fed. Reg. 67,928 (Nov. 13, 2013) (codified at 25 C.F.R. pt. 151).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Other action by the Department of the Interior 
(Department), including taking land into trust pursuant to a 
Department Solicitor's Opinion, has exacerbated legal issues 
associated with Carcieri and caused related litigation. The 
Carcieri Court construed the IRA in a manner that would limit 
the means by which the Secretary may exercise the authority to 
take land into trust. The Solicitor's Opinion arguably 
conflicts with this limiting principle by applying a far more 
expansive interpretation.
    It is clear the Supreme Court did not define the meaning of 
the phrase ``under federal jurisdiction'' in its Carcieri 
decision.\8\ Instead, the Court left this question to Congress 
to address through the creation of law, pursuant to Congress' 
plenary authority over Indian tribes.\9\ Nonetheless, on March 
12, 2014, the Department of the Interior Office of the 
Solicitor issued a Solicitor's Opinion (M-37029) describing how 
the Secretary would be able to determine whether an Indian 
tribe was ``under federal jurisdiction'' in 1934.\10\ This 
document, which includes a two-part Secretarial determination 
for determining whether a tribe was ``under federal 
jurisdiction'' in 1934 and is therefore eligible to have land 
taken into trust by the Secretary on their behalf, has been 
used by the Department as the legal justification or basis to 
take land into trust for Indian tribes recognized after 
1934.\11\ This two-part test created by the Department of 
Interior has only provided a temporary fix and has been subject 
to significant litigation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Carcieri v. Salazar, 555 U.S. 379 (2009).
    \9\U.S. v. Lara, 541 U.S. 193, 200-02 (2004); U.S. v. Jicarilla 
Apache Nation, 564 U.S. 162, 175 (2011).
    \10\Memorandum from Hilary C. Tompkins, Solicitor, U.S. Dep't of 
the Interior, on the Meaning of ``Under Federal Jurisdiction'' for 
Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (Mar. 12, 2014) (M-37029) 
available at https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.opengov.ibmcloud.com/files/
uploads/M-37029.pdf.
    \11\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The existing administrative process for taking land into 
trust is arduous and can take many years to complete.\12\ The 
Department currently uses a sixteen-step process to evaluate 
discretionary land into trust applications for Indian tribes 
under the IRA.\13\ Some Indian tribes have been waiting years 
for a decision because the Interior must conduct a Carcieri 
analysis and determine if the Indian tribe is eligible to 
request that the land be taken into trust.\14\ According to the 
Department, the two-step analysis established by the 
Solicitor's Opinion in 2014 has added yet another layer of 
bureaucracy, resulting in further delays and costs for all 
parties involved in the acquisition process.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Addressing the Costly Administrative Burdens and Negative 
Impacts of the Carcieri and Patchak Decisions: Oversight Hearing before 
the S. Comm. on Indian Affairs, 112th Cong. (2012).
    \13\25 C.F.R. pt. 151.
    \14\U.S. Dep't of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of 
Trust Services, Acquisition of Title to Land Held in Fee or Restricted 
Fee Status (Fee-to-Trust Handbook) at 15 (2014).
    \15\A Path Forward: Trust Modernization & Reform for Indian Lands: 
Oversight Hearing before the S. Comm. on Indian Affairs, 114th Cong. 
(2015) (written testimony of Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary--
Indian Affairs).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Department's current trust acquisition process also 
lacks transparency and lacks meaningful opportunities for 
stakeholders to voice their concerns, share ideas or even 
collaborate prior to the Department taking final action on an 
application. This has left many stakeholders with few 
alternatives to filing suit in court to voice their concerns or 
protect their interests.
    The Court's Carcieri decision has been devastating to all 
parties involved, from both a financial and a community 
perspective. This situation has strained local relationships 
among tribes and between tribes and counties, and has 
significantly increased uncertainty and litigation. Among the 
many other costs associated with the status quo are innumerable 
lost opportunities for economic development, job creation and 
prosperity.
    Another critical concern is that the Carcieri decision and 
the Department's subsequent actions have had the practical 
effect of undermining tribal sovereignty and, in essence, 
creating two classes of tribes--tribes that are eligible for 
discretionary acquisitions under the IRA and tribes that are 
not.\16\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\Addressing the Costly Administrative Burdens and Negative 
Impacts of the Carcieri and Patchak Decisions: Oversight Hearing before 
the S. Comm. on Indian Affairs, 112th Cong. (2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Only Congress can finally bring the clarity needed to stop 
and reverse the fallout of Carcieri. S. 1879 would directly 
resolve the legal questions at issue and incentivize local 
cooperation between tribes and contiguous jurisdictions, which 
is greatly needed.

                          Need for Legislation

    Since the Court's Carcieri decision in 2009, Indian tribes 
have been working with Congress to pass a ``legislative fix'' 
to restore the ability of the Secretary to take land into trust 
for all federally recognized Indian tribes. This Committee has 
held various hearings and meetings on the decision, impacts of 
the decision on tribes, and proposals to address the 
decision.\17\ Although numerous legislative proposals have been 
introduced to ``fix'' the Carcieri decision, no bill has 
successfully passed through both Chambers of Congress.\18\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \17\The Carcieri Crisis: The Ripple Effect on Jobs, Economic 
Development and Public Safety in Indian Country: Oversight Hearing 
Before the S. Comm. on Indian Affairs, 112th Cong. (2011); Addressing 
the Costly Administrative Burdens and Negative Impacts of the Carcieri 
and Patchak Decisions: Oversight Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Indian 
Affairs, 112th Cong. (2012); Carcieri: Bringing Certainty to Trust Land 
Acquisitions: Oversight Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Indian Affairs, 
113th Cong. (2013); The Carcieri v. Salazar Supreme Court Decision and 
Exploring a Way Forward: Roundtable Discussion Before the S. Comm. on 
Indian Affairs, 114th Cong. (2015).
    \18\See LEGISLATIVE HISTORY section below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    With the goal of finding a viable solution to finally 
resolve the Carcieri problem, the Senate Indian Affairs 
Committee took a fresh and inclusive approach to evaluating 
pertinent issues and forming a legislative solution. Through 
this process, the Committee learned that a ``clean fix'' in 
isolation is not viable for many reasons. Instead, a workable 
solution would include both ``clean fix'' language and language 
to improve the Department's underlying land into trust process. 
The Committee also identified language that could not be 
included in legislation without losing support from key 
stakeholders.\19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \19\For instance, S. 1879 does not amend the Indian Gaming 
Regulatory Act of 1988 or include carve outs for any state, tribal or 
special interest. It also does not include a ``county veto'' that would 
enable counties or other stakeholders to indefinitely block an Indian 
tribe's application to take land into trust. S. 1879 also does not 
mandate contracting or reciprocal notice-and-comment procedures between 
local jurisdictions and tribes, but does encourage local cooperation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    S. 1879 is the product of the collaborative, solutions-
based approach described above, which involved substantial 
discussion, deliberation, public feedback and negotiation by 
diverse stakeholders. S. 1879 is unique in that it addresses 
the longstanding problems associated with Carcieri and the 
Department's Part 151 land acquisition process, and at the same 
time avoids language that would frustrate cooperation.
    Specifically, S. 1879 would solve problems flowing from the 
Court's Carcieri decision by restoring the Secretary's 
authority to take land into trust for all federally recognized 
tribes and reaffirming the status of lands already held in 
trust for Indian tribes. S. 1879 would also improve existing 
Part 151 regulations by encouraging local cooperation for off-
reservation acquisitions\20\ and codifying key portions of the 
Department's off-reservation land into trust regulations and 
guidance.\21\ The bill does not include special carve-outs, 
gaming prohibitions, county or state vetoes, or other poisonous 
language that would undermine tribal sovereignty or otherwise 
weaken the broad coalition of support for this bill.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \20\For instance, S. 1879 promotes local cooperation by requiring 
consultation with Indian tribes; recommending the use of cooperative 
agreements and reciprocal notice and comment procedures; offering a 
fast-track application process for tribes with cooperative agreements; 
providing a good faith protection for tribes without cooperative 
agreements; allowing stakeholders to voice and address concerns without 
first resorting to the courts.
    \21\See e.g., meaning of the words ``contiguous'' (see 25 C.F.R. 
pt. 151); application components (see 25 C.F.R. pt. 151.09-.11); notice 
and comment associated with applications and Notice of Decision (see 25 
C.F.R. pt. 151.11(d) and 25 C.F.R. pt. 151.12); review of final agency 
actions (see 25 C.F.R. pt. 151.12); exhausting administrative remedies 
(see 25 C.F.R. pt. 151.12); encouraging mitigation and use of 
cooperative agreements (see Fee-to-Trust Handbook at 23).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Failure to pass S. 1879 will result in continued and 
additional litigation and uncertainty, with substantial 
financial and societal costs to tribes, counties and other 
governments. While S. 1879 will not resolve all litigation and 
uncertainty relating to Indian trust land acquisitions, it will 
reduce it significantly. It will also lay the foundation for 
improved local relations between tribes, and among tribes, 
counties and other governmental entities. All parties involved 
can benefit from the economic and other opportunities rooted in 
such cooperation.

                          Legislative History

    Sixteen bills have been introduced to address the Supreme 
Court's Carcieri decision.\22\ Most of these bills can be 
characterized as ``clean fix'' or ``Carcieri fix'' bills. These 
terms are typically used to describe a stand-alone bill that 
reaffirms (1) the Secretary's authority to take land into trust 
for tribes that are federally recognized after 1934, and (2) 
the trust status of land already taken into trust by the 
Secretary on behalf of tribes recognized after 1934.\23\ No 
such bill has successfully passed both Chambers of Congress. 
For various reasons, other bills relating to the land into 
trust acquisitions have also failed to garner support.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \22\Carcieri v. Salazar, 555 U.S. 379 (2009).
    \23\There is no formal definition of what constitutes a ``clean 
fix'' or ``Carcieri fix'' bill, nor is there exact language that must 
be included or excluded from a bill in order for it to fall into this 
category.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Interior Improvement Act

    Chairman Barrasso introduced the Interior Improvement Act, 
S. 1879, on July 28, 2015. Unlike other bills, S. 1879 takes a 
fresh and practical approach to addressing the Carcieri 
decision. It maintains the core elements of a ``Carcieri fix'' 
and also improves the existing trust land acquisition process. 
S. 1879 also takes pieces and policy from past efforts to 
reform the land into trust process.
    S. 1879 was referred to the Senate Committee on Indian 
Affairs and a committee business meeting was duly held on 
December 2, 2015. The bill was ordered to be reported 
favorably, as amended by an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute offered by Chairman Barrasso.

Other legislative activity

    111th Congress. On September 24, 2009, Senator Byron Dorgan 
[D-ND] introduced S. 1703, A bill to amend the Act of June 18, 
1934, to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the 
Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes. Senator 
Daniel Akaka [D-HI], Senator Max Baucus [D-MT], Senator Jeff 
Bingaman [D-NM], Senator Al Franken [D-MN], Senator Daniel 
Inouye [D-HI], Senator Jon Tester [D-MT], and Senator Tom Udall 
[D-NM] were the original co-sponsors. 5 additional Senators co-
sponsored S. 1703 at a later date. The bill was referred to the 
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and a business meeting was 
duly held on December 17, 2009. The bill was ordered to be 
reported favorably, as amended. On August 5, 2010, S. 1703 was 
reported, as amended, by Senator Dorgan and placed on the 
Senate Calendar. No further action was taken on S. 1703.
    On October 1, 2009, Representative Tom Cole [R-OK-4] 
introduced H.R. 3697, To amend the Act of June 18, 1934, to 
reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take 
land into trust for Indian tribes. There were 12 co-sponsors to 
H.R. 3697. The bill was referred to the House Committee on 
Natural Resources and a legislative hearing was held on 
November 4,2009. H.R. 3697 is an identical companion bill to S. 
1703. No further action was taken on H.R. 3697.
    On October 7, 2009, Representative Dale E. Kildee [D-MI-5] 
introduced H.R. 3742, To amend the Act of June 18, 1934, to 
reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take 
land into trust for Indian tribes. 44 Representatives co-
sponsored H.R. 3742. The bill was referred to the House 
Committee on Natural Resources and a legislative hearing was 
held on November 4, 2009. H.R. 3742 is identical to H.R. 3697 
and S. 1703 except for the addition to include ``tribe'' with 
``Indian tribe'' as a term to define who the Secretary can 
acknowledge as an Indian tribe. No further action was taken on 
H.R 3742.
    112th Congress. On March 29, 2011, Representative Dale E. 
Kildee [D-MI-5] introduced H.R. 1234, To amend the Act of June 
18, 1934, to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the 
Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes. 30 
Representatives co-sponsored H.R. 1234. The bill was referred 
to the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs 
and a hearing on the bill was a hearing held on July 12, 2011. 
No further action was taken on H.R. 1234.
    On March 30, 2011, Senator Daniel K. Akaka [D-HI] 
introduced a companion bill S. 676, A bill to amend the Act of 
June 18, 1934, to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of 
the Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes. The 
bill was originally co-sponsored by Senator Kent Conrad [D-ND], 
Senator Al Franken [D-MN], Senator Daniel K. Inouye [D-HI], 
Senator Tim Johnson [D-SD], Senator John Kerry [D-MA], Senator 
Jon Tester [D-MT] and Senator Tom Udall [D-NM]. Senator Max 
Baucus [D-MT] and Senator Debbie Stabenow [D-MI] were later 
added as co-sponsors. The bill was referred to the Senate 
Committee on Indian Affairs and a business meeting was duly 
held on April 7, 2011. The bill was ordered to be reported with 
amendments favorably. On May 17, 2012, S. 676 was reported by 
Senator Akaka with an amendment and placed on the Senate 
Calendar. No further action was taken on S. 676.
    On March 31, 2011, Representative Tom Cole [R-OK-4] 
introduced H.R. 1291, To amend the Act of June 18, 1934, to 
reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take 
land into trust for Indian tribes, and for other purposes. 10 
Representatives co-sponsored H.R. 1291. The bill was referred 
to the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs 
and a hearing was held on July 12, 2011. H.R. 1291 and H.R. 279 
(113th Cong.) are similar, H.R. 279 differs in that it removes 
subsection ``(a)'' of Section 1 of the bill. No further action 
was taken on H.R. 1291.
    113th Congress. On January 15, 2013, Representative Tom 
Cole [R-OK-4] introduced H.R. 279, To amend the Act of June 18, 
1934, to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the 
Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes, and for 
other purposes. There were 37 co-sponsors to H.R. 279. The bill 
was referred to the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska 
Native Affairs on January 31, 2013. H.R. 279 is identical to 
H.R. 249 (114th Cong.) and differs from H.R. 1291 (112th Cong.) 
in that subsection ``(a)'' of Section 1 (as found in H.R. 1291) 
is omitted. No further action was taken on H.R. 279.
    On February 13, 2013, Representative Edward J. Markey [D-
MA-5] introduced H.R. 666, To amend the Act of June 18, 1934, 
to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to 
take land into trust for Indian tribes. The bill had 10 
original co-sponsors: Rep. Xavier Becerra [D-CA-34], Rep. Eni 
Faleomavaega [D-AS], Rep. Raul Grijalva [D-AZ-3], Rep. Colleen 
Hanabusa [D-HI-1], Rep. Daniel Kildee [D-MI-5], Rep. Ben Lujan 
[D-NM-3], Rep. Betty McCollum [D-MN-4], Rep. Gwen Moore [D-WI-
4] Rep. Frank Pallone [D-NJ-6], and Rep. Niki Tsongas [D-MA-3]. 
23 Representatives were later added as co-sponsors to H.R. 666. 
The bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Indian and 
Alaska Native Affairs on February 22, 2013. H.R. 666, H.R. 1234 
(112th Cong.) and H.R. 407 (114th Cong.) are identical bills, 
and only minor differences exist between these bills and S. 676 
(112th Cong.). No further action was taken on H.R. 666.
    On March 31, 2014, Senator Jon Tester [D-MT] introduced S. 
2188, A bill to amend the Act of June 18, 1934, to reaffirm the 
authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take land into 
trust for Indian tribes. The 7 original co-sponsors included: 
Senator Mark Begich [D-AK], Senator Martin Heinrich [D-NM], 
Senator Heidi Heitkamp [D-ND], Senator Jerry Moran [R-KS], 
Senator Patty Murray [D-WA], Senator Tom Udall [D-NM], and 
Senator John Walsh [D-MT]. 6 Senators were later added as co-
sponsors to S. 2188. The bill was referred to the Senate 
Committee on Indian Affairs. On May 7, 2014, the Committee held 
a legislative hearing on S. 2188. On June 11, 2014, a business 
meeting was duly held and the bill was ordered to be reported 
with an amendment favorably. Senator Tester reported the bill 
on August 26, 2014 and was placed on the Senate Calendar. No 
further action was taken on S. 2188.
    114th Congress. On January 9, 2015, Representative Tom Cole 
[R-OK-4] introduced H.R. 249, To amend the Act of June 18, 
1934, to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the 
Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes, and for 
other purposes. 37 Representatives were later added as co-
sponsors to H.R. 249. The bill was referred to the House 
Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs on 
March 2, 2015. This bill is Identical to H.R. 279 (113th Cong.) 
but differs from H.R. 1291 (112th Cong.) in that subsection 
``(a)'' of Section 1 (as found in H.R. 1291) is omitted.
    On January 20, 2015, Representative Betty McCollum [D-MN-4] 
introduced H.R. 407, To amend the Act of June 18, 1934, to 
reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to take 
land into trust for Indian tribes. The bill was originally co-
sponsored by Representative Tom Cole [R-OK-4] and 8 
Representatives being added as co-sponsors at a later date. The 
bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, 
and Alaska Native Affairs on March 2, 2015. This bill is 
identical to H.R. 1234 (112th Cong.) and H.R. 666 (113th 
Cong.), and similar to S. 676 (112th Cong.).
    On March 12, 2015, Senator Jon Tester [D-MT] with 7 co-
sponsors introduced S. 732, A bill to amend the Act of June 18, 
1934, to reaffirm the authority of the Secretary of the 
Interior to take land into trust for Indian tribes. The bill 
was referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on March 
12, 2015. This bill is similar to other legislation that has 
previously been introduced.
    On March 24, 2015, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs 
held a round table discussion on The Carcieri v. Salazar 
Supreme Court Decision and Exploring a Way Forward with key 
stakeholders. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs also held 
an oversight hearing on A Path Forward: Trust Modernization & 
Reform for Indian lands on July 8, 2015, where S. 1879 was 
discussed in concept by the witnesses and Committee members.
    On July 21, 2015, Representative Tom Cole [R-OK-4] and 41 
co-sponsors introduced H.R. 3137, To reaffirm the trust status 
of land taken into trust by the United States pursuant to the 
Act of June 18, 1934, for the benefit of an Indian tribe that 
was federally recognized on the date that the land was taken 
into trust, and for other purposes. There were 17 original co-
sponsors: Rep. Dan Benishek [R-MI-1], Rep. Bradley Byrne [R-AL-
1], Rep. Tony Cardenas [D-CA-29], Rep. Ruben Gallego [D-AZ-7], 
Rep. Raul Grijalva [D-AZ-3], Rep. Derek Kilmer [D-WA-6], Rep. 
Michelle Lujan Grisham [D-NM-1], Rep. Ben Lujan [D-NM-3], Rep. 
Betty McCollum [D-MN-4], Rep. Gwen Moore [D-WI-4], Rep. 
Markwayne Mullin [R-OK-2], Rep. Patrick Murphy [D-FL-18], Rep. 
Raul Ruiz [D-CA-36], Rep. Pete Sessions [R-TX-32], Rep. Michael 
Simpson [R-ID-2], Rep. Mark Takai [D-HI-1], and Rep. Debbie 
Wasserman Schultz [D-FL-23]. The bill was subsequently 
sponsored by 29 others. The bill was referred to the House 
Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs on 
August 4, 2015.
    On August 4, 2015, Senator Jerry Moran [R-KS] introduced S. 
1931, A bill to reaffirm that certain land has been taken into 
trust for the benefit of certain Indian tribes. Senator Jon 
Tester [D-MN] originally co-sponsored the bill and Senator Al 
Franken [D-MN] co-sponsored it at a later date. The bill was 
referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on August 4, 
2015. This bill is unique in that it would omit part one of the 
``Carcieri fix,'' and reaffirm the trust status of land taken 
into trust on behalf of certain tribes. While this approach 
might benefit some tribes, it would not resolve the fundamental 
questions, concerns, and litigation surrounding the authority 
of the Secretary to take land into trust for tribes recognized 
after 1934.
    On March 3, 2016, Senator Jon Tester [D-MT] introduced S. 
2636, the Reservation Land Consolidation Act of 2016. There are 
no co-sponsors to the bill. There is no House companion bill. 
S. 2636 was referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs 
on March 3, 2016 where no further action has taken place on the 
bill.

                      Section-By-Section Analysis


Section 1--Short title

    Section 1 cites this Act as the ``Interior Improvement 
Act.''

Section 2--Definitions

    Subsection 2(a) clarifies that the Secretary of the 
Interior may take land into trust for all federally recognized 
tribes by amending section 19 of the Act of June 18, 1934 
(commonly known as the Indian Reorganization Act or the IRA) 
(25 U.S.C. 479).
    Subsection 2(b) ratifies and confirms existing trust 
acquisitions made pursuant to the IRA, thereby eliminating the 
potential for legal challenges based on whether an Indian tribe 
was federally recognized or under Federal jurisdiction on June 
18, 1934.

Section 3--Land acquisition applications

    Section 3 amends the IRA by inserting section 5A after 
section 5 of the IRA. The title of section 5A is ``Land 
Acquisition Applications.''
    Section 5A improves the application process for 
discretionary off-reservation acquisitions.
    Subsection 5(a) defines the following terms for the 
purposes of this section: (1) applicant; (2) application; (3) 
contiguous; (4) contiguous jurisdiction; (5) cooperative 
agreement; (6) county and county equivalent; (7) Department; 
(8) determination of mitigation; (9) explanation of final 
decision; (10) final decision; (11) impacts; (12) Indian tribe; 
(13) mitigate; (14) notice of final decision; and (15) 
Secretary.
    Subsection 5(b) addresses the submission of applications 
for discretionary off-reservation acquisitions.
    Subsection 5(b)(1) limits the scope of this section to 
applications for discretionary acquisitions of off-reservation 
fee land or restricted land. It also allows Indian tribes and 
individual Indians with a pending application to opt into the 
expedited process established under this section, provided that 
the pending application is supplemented as necessary to comply 
with the application requirements of this section.
    Subsection 5(b)(2) codifies application submission and 
content requirements for discretionary off-reservation 
acquisitions. Listed requirements track current regulations and 
guidance of the Department of the Interior (Department).
    Subsection 5(c) specifies statutory notice and comment 
requirements.
    Subsection 5(c)(1) requires the Secretary to make all 
initial applications available to the public on the 
Department's website within 30 days of receipt of an initial 
application, subject to Federal privacy laws. The Secretary 
must also provide notice by certified mail to contiguous 
jurisdictions that an initial application has been received 
within 30 days of the Secretary's receipt of an initial 
application. Contiguous jurisdictions have no less than 60 days 
from the date they receive such notice to comment on an initial 
application. Applicants have no less than 60 days from the date 
comments are submitted by a contiguous jurisdiction to respond 
to the comments.
    Subsection 5(c)(2) requires the Secretary to make any 
application updates, modifications, or withdrawals available to 
the public on the Department's website, subject to Federal 
privacy laws.
    Subsection 5(c)(3) requires the Secretary to make all 
completed applications available to the public on the 
Department's website within 30 days of receipt of a completed 
application, subject to Federal privacy laws. The Secretary 
must also provide notice by certified mail to contiguous 
jurisdictions that a final application has been received within 
30 days of receipt of a completed application. Contiguous 
jurisdictions have no less than 60 days from the date they 
receive such notice to comment on a completed application. 
Applicants have no less than 60 days from the date comments are 
submitted by a contiguous jurisdiction to respond to the 
comments. Completed applications must be published in the 
Federal Register within 10 days of receipt by the Secretary, 
subject to Federal privacy laws.
    Subsection 5(d) encourages local cooperation by 
incentivizing the use of cooperative agreements between the 
applicant and contiguous jurisdictions.
    Subsection 5(d)(1) directs the Secretary to encourage, but 
not require, applicants to enter into cooperative agreements 
with contiguous jurisdictions.
    Subsection 5(d)(2) directs the Secretary to evaluate 
applications accompanied by cooperative agreements with 
contiguous jurisdictions on an expedited basis. This subsection 
also identifies terms that may, at the discretion of the 
parties, be included in a cooperative agreement.
    Subsection 5(d)(2)(C) provides for applications accompanied 
by cooperative agreements with contiguous jurisdictions. Under 
the expedited process established by this subsection, the 
Secretary must issue a final decision within 120 days of 
receiving a completed application. If the Secretary fails to 
act within this timeframe, the application is deemed approved 
and treated as a final decision of the Department, provided 
that (1) free and clear title to the land under consideration 
is verified; and (2) all applicable requirements under Federal 
law and regulation are satisfied.
    Subsection 5(d)(2)(D) provides for applications that are 
not accompanied by cooperative agreements with contiguous 
jurisdictions. In this case, the Secretary is required to make 
a determination of mitigation within 180 days of receiving a 
completed application. In making a determination of mitigation, 
the Secretary must consider (1) anticipated impacts of 
approving or not approving an application; (2) relevant 
comments and responses to comments; and (3) whether the absence 
of a cooperative agreement is attributable to the failure of 
any contiguous jurisdiction to work in good faith to reach an 
agreement. The Secretary must provide notice of a determination 
of mitigation to an applicant and contiguous jurisdictions 
within 10 days of making a determination.
    Subsection 5(d)(2)(D) also provides specific protections 
for applicants that do not have cooperative agreements with 
contiguous jurisdictions. This subsection specifically 
prohibits the Secretary from prejudicing such applicants when 
the absence of a cooperative agreement is attributable to a 
contiguous jurisdiction's failure to work in good faith towards 
an agreement. The Secretary is also prohibited from unduly 
delaying the regular processing of an application.
    Subsection 5(d)(3) directs the Secretary to enhance local 
cooperation by encouraging the use of reciprocal notice and 
comment procedures.
    Subsection 5(e) lists conditions, considerations and notice 
requirements associated with the Secretary's final decision to 
approve or deny an application.
    Subsection 5(e)(1) directs the Secretary to issue a final 
decision on an application after (1) free and clear title to 
the land under consideration is verified; (2) all applicable 
requirements under Federal law and regulation are satisfied; 
and (3) consideration of application materials; comments and 
responses to comments; the determination of mitigation, if 
applicable; cooperative agreements with contiguous and non-
contiguous jurisdictions; and any other information the 
Secretary identifies as relevant and material.
    Subsection 5(e)(2) directs the Secretary to provide several 
types of notice within 10 days of issuing a final decision on 
an application. Specifically, the Secretary must (1) send the 
applicant and contiguous jurisdictions a notice of final 
decision by certified mail; (2) publish a notice of final 
decision and an explanation of final decision on the 
Department's website and in the Federal Register; and (3) 
publish a notice of final decision in a newspaper of general 
circulation serving the affected area of the decision.
    Subsection 5(f) states that nothing in this Act requires 
the publication or release of proprietary information submitted 
by an applicant.
    Subsection 5(g) requires the Secretary to implement this 
Act within one year, after consultation with tribes and through 
notice and comment rulemaking.
    Subsection 5(g)(1) requires the Secretary to initiate 
consultation with Indian tribes within 90 days of enactment.
    Subsection 5(g)(2) requires the Secretary to publish a 
summary of the consultation in the Federal Register within 180 
days of initiating consultation.
    Subsection 5(g)(3) requires the Secretary to modify 
existing regulations, guidance, rules and policy statements, as 
necessary to carry out this section, within 90 days of 
publishing a summary under subsection (g)(2).
    Subsection 5(h) states that interested parties may seek 
review of a final decision in a United States district court 
after exhausting all administrative remedies available under 
chapters 5 and 7 of the Administrative Procedures Act.

Section 4--Effect

    Subsection 4(a) states that nothing in this Act impacts any 
other Federal Indian land determination.
    Subsection 4(b) states that nothing in this Act impacts (1) 
the application or effect of any Federal law other than the 
IRA; or (2) any limitation on the authority of the Secretary 
under any Federal law or regulation other than the IRA.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

    The following cost estimate, as provided by the 
Congressional Budget Office, dated May 31, 2016, was prepared 
for S. 1879:
                                                      May 31, 2016.
Hon. John Barrasso,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1879, the Interior 
Improvement Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
Carroll.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

S. 1879--The Interior Improvement Act

    Summary: S. 1879 would modify the Secretary of the 
Interior's authority to take certain land into trust on behalf 
of Indian tribes under the Indian Reorganization Act. Under 
current law, as established by the Supreme Court's decision in 
Carcieri v. Salazar (2009), the Secretary's authority to take 
land into trust is limited to tribes that were federally 
recognized prior to the enactment of that act in 1934. S. 1879 
would amend that act to allow the Secretary to take land into 
trust for all federally recognized Indian tribes. The bill also 
would specify a process--including new requirements and 
deadlines--for the Secretary to follow in considering 
applications from tribes or individual Indians to have certain 
types of land taken into trust on their behalf.
    CBO estimates that implementing S. 1879 would increase 
administrative costs for the Department of the Interior (DOI) 
by $30 million over the next five years, assuming appropriation 
of the necessary amounts. Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply 
to this legislation because enacting it would not affect direct 
spending or revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 1879 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    S. 1879 would impose both intergovernmental and private-
sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
(UMRA). CBO estimates that the aggregate costs of mandates in 
the bill on public and private entities would fall below the 
annual thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental and 
private-sector mandates ($77 million and $154 million in 2016, 
respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of S. 1879 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 450 
(community and regional development).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    By Fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
                                                                2017    2018    2019    2020    2021   2017-2021
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Estimated Authorization Level................................       2       5       6       8       9        30
Estimated Outlays............................................       2       5       6       8       9        30
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: CBO assumes S. 1879 will be enacted near 
the end of fiscal year 2016 and that the necessary amounts will 
be appropriated each year. The bill would specify a process for 
taking certain ``off-reservation'' lands that lie outside of 
the boundaries of existing Indian reservations into trust for 
Indian tribes or individual Indians. That process would 
establish new requirements for both applicants and DOI, expand 
opportunities for entities that own contiguous lands or other 
community stakeholders to comment on proposed transactions, and 
specify timeframes within which DOI must complete certain 
administrative actions or render decisions on applications. 
Under certain circumstances, if DOI failed to approve an 
application within the specified timeframe, it would be deemed 
approved.
    Information from DOI and the Congressional Research Service 
indicates that the length of time required to process 
applications to take off-reservation lands into trust under 
current law varies, but can often take several years. S. 1879 
would specify rigorous deadlines that would require the 
department to complete its review of such applications--
including additional materials required under the bill--on an 
expedited basis. CBO expects those deadlines would require DOI 
to complete necessary reviews much sooner than under current 
law. In addition, the bill would impose new administrative 
requirements related to posting applications and related 
materials online and expanding efforts to communicate with 
local communities that could be affected by proposed trust 
acquisitions. As a result, CBO expects that implementing that 
new process would increase DOI's administrative costs.
    According to DOI, funding for administrative costs related 
to acquisitions of trust lands in 2016 totals about $13 million 
and covers the costs of roughly 70 full-time equivalent staff 
with expertise in realty and environmental issues. CBO expects 
that meeting the bill's expedited timeframes would require DOI 
to increase the number of staff devoted to reviewing trust 
applications and that the department would gradually hire those 
additional personnel over four years starting in 2018. In 
total, based on information from DOI about existing costs for 
personnel and related expenses, CBO estimates that implementing 
S. 1879 would cost $30 million over the 2012-2021 period. That 
amount includes $2 million in upfront administrative costs to 
complete necessary rulemakings; remaining amounts reflect 
increased costs to hire additional realty and environmental 
specialists to review trust applications within the accelerated 
timeframes specified by the bill.
    CBO also expects that amending current law to allow DOI to 
take land into trust for all Indian tribes would simplify the 
analysis that DOI must currently perform, pursuant to Carcieri 
v. Salazar, and could reduce the workload of DOI staff. 
Although CBO expects that any reductions on workload would be 
small those savings are incorporated in the estimated net costs 
of the bill.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Increase in long term direct spending and deficits: CBO 
estimates that enacting S. 1879 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1879 would 
impose both intergovernmental and private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA, but CBO estimates that the aggregate 
compliance costs on public and private entities would fall 
below the annual thresholds established in UMRA for 
intergovernmental and private-sector mandates ($77 million and 
$154 million in 2016, respectively, adjusted annually for 
inflation).
    S. 1879 could expand an existing intergovernmental mandate 
that exempts land taken into trust from state and local taxes. 
State and local governments may have the ability to collect 
taxes on some lands as a result of the Carcieri v. Salazar 
decision because those lands might no longer be considered 
Indian lands under current law. Subsequent application of that 
ruling by DOI appears to limit its scope, however, making fewer 
lands potentially subject to such taxation. Also, very few 
state or local governments have asserted taxing authority on 
those lands. Because any attempt to assert such taxing 
authority would likely result in litigation, it is unlikely 
that such governments would collect taxes on those lands in the 
next five years. Therefore, CBO estimates that enacting S. 1879 
would not result in a significant loss of revenue for state or 
local governments.
    S. 1879 also would limit the ability of public and private 
entities or individuals to file certain claims in court related 
to land ownership and actions of the Secretary of Interior. 
Those limits would impose both intergovernmental and private-
sector mandates by restricting the rights of plaintiffs. The 
costs of the mandates would be the forgone value of 
compensation and settlements associated with such claims if 
they would have been successful under current law. Information 
from the Bureau of Indian Affairs indicates that fewer than 20 
such court claims are currently pending. The possibility of a 
monetary award or settlement under current law would depend on 
the type of claim. In many cases, particularly those related to 
administrative procedures and decisions by the federal 
government, no monetary award is available; in others the 
amount of such an award or settlement is limited to the value 
of the land in question. Because of the small number of 
existing claims and the limited scope of potential awards, CBO 
expects that the annual number of claims involving such land 
and the value of the awards and settlements in those claims 
(and consequently the mandates costs) would be small.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Megan Carroll; Impact 
on state, local, and tribal governments: Rachel Austin; Impact 
on the Private Sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

               Regulatory and Paperwork Impact Statement

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires each report accompanying a bill to evaluate the 
regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes that S. 1879 
would have a minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork 
requirements.

                        Executive Communications

    The Committee has received no communications from the 
Executive Branch regarding S. 1879.

                             MINORITY VIEW

    I share these views only in response to the majority's 
characterization of actions taken by the Department of the 
Interior since the Supreme Court's decision in Carcieri v. 
Salazar. With respect to the bill, I will continue to hear from 
Tribes to ensure that in correcting the problem created by the 
Carcieri decision, we do not create additional obstacles or 
delays in restoring tribal homelands.
    Congress enacted the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA or Act) 
to revitalize tribal governments throughout the United States. 
In doing so, Congress charged the Secretary of the Interior 
(Secretary) with implementing the Act. Although time has passed 
since passage of the IRA, the Secretary remains responsible for 
upholding the Federal Government's trust responsibility and 
carrying out Congress's intent under the Act.
    Congress gave the Secretary the tools necessary to fulfill 
the mission of the IRA and a key aspect of that mission is to 
restore the land bases of tribal governments. Section 5, which 
authorizes the Secretary to take land into trust, was included 
to achieve this objective. In 2009, the Supreme Court issued 
its opinion in the case Carcieri v. Salazar.\24\ The Supreme 
Court narrowly construed the language ``now under federal 
jurisdiction'' to mean that the Secretary could only take land 
into trust for tribes under federal jurisdiction in 1934.\25\ 
However, no decision for what constitutes ``under federal 
jurisdiction'' was reached by the Supreme Court.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \24\ Carcieri v. Salazar, 555 U.S. 379 (2009).
    \25\ Id. at 396.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Carcieri case effectively created two classes of 
tribes--those that can have land taken into trust and those 
that cannot. The case did not, however, affect the Secretary's 
duty to revitalize tribal governments or restore tribal land 
bases provided for under the IRA. Additionally, it did not 
affect the Secretary's responsibility to ensure that, 
regardless of when or how a Tribe received formal recognition 
by the Federal government, all federally recognized tribes are 
treated equally, as directed by Congress in the 1994 Amendments 
to the IRA.\26\ Therefore, the Secretary remains responsible 
for implementing the IRA in a manner that avoids--to the extent 
possible--creating different classes of tribes.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \26\ Pub. L. No. 103-263, 108 Stat. 707 (1994).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite the Majority's characterizations, the Department of 
the Interior's handling of land into trust after the Carcieri 
case was an exercise of its authority under the IRA and 
intended to uphold the will of Congress. In issuing the 
Solicitor's Opinion examining the meaning of ``now under 
federal jurisdiction'', the Department sought to fill the gap 
created by the absence of clarity in the Carcieri decision and 
exercise its authority under the IRA to restore tribal land 
bases in a manner that minimizes inequitable treatment of 
tribes.

                                                        Jon Tester.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In accordance with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 1879, as ordered reported, are shown as follows (existing 
law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic):

        25 U.S.C. 465 (INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT (48 STAT. 985))


Sec. 465. Acquisition of lands, water rights or surface rights; 
                    appropriations; title to lands; tax exemption

SEC. 5.

    The Secretary of the Interior is authorized, in his 
discretion, to acquire, through purchase, relinquishment, gift, 
exchange, or assignment, any interest in lands, water rights, 
or surface rights to lands, within or without existing 
reservations, including trust or otherwise restricted 
allotments, whether the allottee be living or deceased, for the 
purpose of providing land for Indians.
    For the acquisition of such lands, interests in lands, 
water rights, and surface rights, and for expenses incident to 
such acquisition, there is authorized to be appropriated, out 
of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, a sum 
not to exceed $2,000,000 in any one fiscal year: Provided, That 
no part of such funds shall be used to acquire additional land 
outside of the exterior boundaries of Navajo Indian Reservation 
for the Navajo Indians in Arizona, nor in New Mexico, in the 
event that legislation to define the exterior boundaries of the 
Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico, and for other 
purposes, or similar legislation, becomes law.
    The unexpended balances of any appropriations made pursuant 
to this section shall remain available until expended.
    Title to any lands or rights acquired pursuant to this Act 
or the Act of July 28, 1955 (69 Stat. 392), as amended (25 
U.S.C. 608 et seq.) shall be taken in the name of the United 
States in trust for the Indian tribe or individual Indian for 
which the land is acquired, and such lands or rights shall be 
exempt from State and local taxation.

SEC. 5A. LAND ACQUISITION APPLICATIONS.

    (a) Definitions.--In section:
          (1) Applicant.--The term `applicant' means an Indian 
        tribe or individual Indian (as defined in section 4 of 
        the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance 
        Act (25 U.S.C. 450b)) who submits an application under 
        subsection (b).
          (2) Application.--The term `application' means an 
        application submitted to the Department by an Indian 
        tribe or individual Indian under subsection (b).
          (3) Contiguous.--The term contiguous--
                  (A) means 2 parcels of land having a common 
                boundary, notwithstanding the existence of non-
                navigable waters or a public road or right-of-
                way; and
                  (B) includes parcels that touch at a point.
          (4) Contiguous jurisdiction.--The term `contiguous 
        jurisdiction' means any county, county equivalent, or 
        Indian tribe with authority and control over the land 
        contiguous to the land under consideration in an 
        application.
          (5) County and county equivalent.--The terms `county' 
        and `county equivalent' mean the largest territorial 
        division for local government within a State with the 
        authority to enter into enforceable cooperative 
        agreements with Indian tribes or individual Indians, as 
        appropriate.
          (6) Department.--The term `Department' means the 
        Department of the Interior.
          (7) Economic impact.--The term `economic impact' 
        means any anticipated costs associated with the 
        development of or activity on the land under 
        consideration in an application, including associated 
        costs to a contiguous jurisdiction for utilities, 
        public works, public safety, roads, maintenance, and 
        other public service costs.
          (8) Final decision.--The term `final decision' means 
        a decision that is final for the Department, as 
        determined or defined by the Secretary.
          (9) Indian tribe.--The term `Indian tribe' has the 
        meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-
        Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 
        450b).
          (10) Secretary.--The term `Secretary' means the 
        Secretary of the Interior.
    (b) Applications.--
          (1) In general.--An Indian tribe or individual Indian 
        seeking to have off-reservation fee or restricted land 
        taken into trust for the benefit of that Indian tribe 
        or individual Indian shall submit an application to the 
        Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing 
        such information as this section and the Secretary 
        require.
          (2) Requirements.--The Secretary may approve complete 
        applications described in paragraph (1) on a 
        discretionary basis, subject to the condition that the 
        application includes--
                  (A) a written request for approval of a trust 
                acquisition by the United States for the 
                benefit of the applicant;
                  (B) the legal name of the applicant, 
                including, in the case of an applicant that is 
                an Indian tribe, the tribal name of the 
                applicant as the name appears in the list of 
                recognized Indian tribes published by the 
                Secretary in the Federal Register pursuant to 
                section 104 of the Federally Recognized Indian 
                Tribe List Act of 1994 (25 U.I. 479a-1);
                  (C) a legal description of the land to be 
                acquired;
                  (D) a description of the need for the 
                proposed acquisition of the property;
                  (E) a description of the purpose for which 
                the property is to be used;
                  (F) a legal instrument to verify current 
                ownership, such as a deed;
                  (G) statutory authority for the proposed 
                acquisition of the property;
                  (H) a business plan for management of the 
                land to be acquired, if the application is for 
                buss purposes;
                  (I) the location of the land to be acquired 
                relative to State and reservation boundaries; 
                and
                  (J) a copy of any cooperative agreement 
                between the applicant and a contiguous 
                jurisdiction.
          (3) Final decision.--After considering an application 
        described in this subsection and in accordance with 
        subsection (c) and any other applicable Federal law or 
        regulation, a final decision to approve or deny the 
        completed application shall be issued.
    (c) Statutory Notice and Comment Requirements.--
          (1) Notice and comment requirements for initial 
        applications.--
                  (A) Notice.--
                          (i) In general.--Not later than 30 
                        days after the date on which the 
                        Secretary receives an initial 
                        application, the Secretary shall make 
                        that application, whether complete or 
                        incomplete, available to the public on 
                        the website of the Department, subject 
                        to applicable Federal privacy laws.
                          (ii) Additional notice requirement.--
                        Not later than 30 days after the date 
                        on which the Secretary receives an 
                        initial application, the Secretary 
                        shall provide by certified mail notice 
                        of the application to contiguous 
                        jurisdictions.
                  (B) Comment.--Each contiguous jurisdiction 
                notified under subparagraph (A)(ii) shall have 
                not fewer than 30 days, beginning on the date 
                that the contiguous jurisdiction receives the 
                notice, to comment on that initial application.
          (2) Notice requirement for any application update, 
        modification, or withdrawal.--
                  (A) In general.--If at any time an 
                application is updated, modified, or withdrawn, 
                not later than 5 days after the date on which 
                the Secretary receives notice of that update, 
                modification, or withdrawal, the Secretary 
                shall make that information available to the 
                public on the website of the Department, 
                subject to any applicable Federal privacy laws.
                  (B) Inclusion.--If an application has been 
                updated or modified in any way, the notice 
                described in subparagraph (A) shall include a 
                description of the changes made and the updated 
                or modified application, whether complete or 
                incomplete, available on the website of the 
                Department, subject to any applicable Federal 
                privacy laws.
          (3) Notice and comment requirements for completed 
        applications.--
                  (A) Notice.--
                          (i) In general.--Not later than 30 
                        days after the date on which the 
                        Secretary receives a completed 
                        application, the Secretary shall make 
                        that application available to the 
                        public on the website of the 
                        Department, subject to any applicable 
                        Federal privacy laws.
                          (ii) Additional notice 
                        requirements.--Not later than 30 days 
                        after the date on which the Secretary 
                        receives a completed application, the 
                        Secretary shall provide by certified 
                        mail notice of the application to 
                        contiguous jurisdictions.
                          (iii) Publication in federal 
                        register.--Not later than 5 days after 
                        the date on which the Secretary 
                        receives a completed application, the 
                        Secretary shall publish in the Federal 
                        Register notice of the completed 
                        application.
                  (B) Comment.--Contiguous jurisdictions shall 
                have not fewer than 30 days, beginning on the 
                date on which the contiguous jurisdiction 
                receives notice under subparagraph (A)(ii), to 
                comment on that completed application.
          (4) Notice of decision.--
                  (A) In general.--Not later than 5 days after 
                a final decision to approve or deny an 
                application is issued, the Secretary shall 
                issue a notice of decision and make the notice 
                of decision available to the public on the 
                website of the Department.
                  (B) Publication in federal register.--Not 
                later than 5 days after a final decision to 
                approve or deny an application is issued, the 
                Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register 
                the notice of decision described in 
                subparagraph (A).
      (d) Encouraging Local Cooperation.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary shall encourage, but 
        may not require, applicants to enter into cooperative 
        agreements with contiguous jurisdictions.
          (2) Cooperative agreements.--
                  (A) In general.--The Secretary shall give 
                weight and preference to an application with a 
                cooperative agreement described in paragraph 
                (1).
                  (B) Terms of agreement.--A cooperative 
                agreement described in paragraph (1) may 
                include terms relating to mitigation, changes 
                in land use, dispute resolution, fees, and 
                other terms determined by the parties to be 
                appropriate.
                  (C) Submission of cooperative agreement.--
                          (i) In general.--If an applicant 
                        submits to the Secretary a cooperative 
                        agreement or multiple cooperative 
                        agreements executed between the 
                        applicant and contiguous jurisdictions, 
                        the Secretary shall issue a final 
                        decision to approve or deny a complete 
                        application not later than--
                                  (I) 60 days after the date of 
                                completion of the review 
                                process under the National 
                                Environmental Policy Act of 
                                1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) 
                                described in clause (ii); or
                                  (II) if that review process 
                                is not applicable, 30 days 
                                after the date on which a 
                                complete application is 
                                received by the Secretary.
                          (ii) Timeline.--Completion of the 
                        review process under the National 
                        Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 
                        U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) described in 
                        clause (i) may refer to--
                                  (I) the issuance of a 
                                categorical exclusion 
                                determination in accordance 
                                with section 6.204 of title 40, 
                                Code of Federal Regulations (or 
                                successor regulations);
                                  (II) an environmental 
                                assessment finding of no 
                                significant impact in 
                                accordance with section 6.206 
                                of title 40, Code of Federal 
                                Regulations (or successor 
                                regulations); or
                                  (III) the issuance of a 
                                record of decision in 
                                accordance with section 6.208 
                                of title 40, Code of Federal 
                                Regulations (or successor 
                                regulations).
                          (iii) Effect of failure to issue 
                        timely final decision.--If the 
                        Secretary fails to issue a final 
                        decision by the date described in 
                        clause (i) the application shall be--
                                  (I) deemed approved on an 
                                automatic basis; and
                                  (II) treated as a final 
                                decision.
                  (D) Cooperative agreement not submitted.--
                          (i) In general.--If an applicant does 
                        not submit to the Secretary a 
                        cooperative agreement executed between 
                        the applicant and contiguous 
                        jurisdictions, the Secretary shall 
                        issue a written determination of 
                        mitigation by the date that is not 
                        later than 30 days after a complete 
                        application is received by the 
                        Secretary, which shall--
                                  (I) describe whether any 
                                economic impacts on contiguous 
                                jurisdictions have been 
                                mitigated to the extent 
                                practicable; and
                                  (II) explain the basis of 
                                that determination.
                          (ii) Determination of mitigation.--
                        The Secretary shall consider a 
                        determination of mitigation in making a 
                        final decision to approve or deny an 
                        application, but that determination 
                        shall not halt or unduly delay the 
                        regular processing of an application.
                          (iii) Considerations.--In making a 
                        determination of mitigation described 
                        in clause (i), the Secretary shall take 
                        into consideration--
                                  (I) the anticipated economic 
                                impact of approving an 
                                application on contiguous 
                                jurisdictions; and
                                  (II) whether the absence of a 
                                cooperative agreement is 
                                attributable to the failure of 
                                any contiguous jurisdiction to 
                                work in good faith to reach an 
                                agreement with the applicant.
                          (iv) Notice.--The Secretary shall 
                        provide by certified mail a copy of the 
                        determination of mitigation described 
                        in clause (i) to the applicant and 
                        contiguous jurisdictions not less than 
                        5 days after a determination of 
                        mitigation is issued.
                          (v) Good faith protection.--Failure 
                        to submit a cooperative agreement shall 
                        not prejudice an application if the 
                        Secretary determines that the failure 
                        to submit is attributable to the 
                        failure of any contiguous jurisdiction 
                        to work in good faith to reach an 
                        agreement.
          (3) Reciprocal notice and comment.--The Secretary 
        shall also encourage contiguous jurisdictions to engage 
        in local cooperation through reciprocal notice and 
        comment procedures, particularly with regard to changes 
        in land.
    (e) Implementation.--
          (1) Consultation.--Not later than 60 days after the 
        date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall 
        initiate consultation with Indian tribes regarding the 
        implementation of this section.
          (2) Summary.--Not later than 180 days after the date 
        on which the consultation described in paragraph (1) is 
        initiated, the Secretary shall issue a summary of the 
        consultation and the summary shall be published in the 
        Federal Register.
          (3) Rulemaking.--Not later than 60 days after the 
        date on which the summary described in paragraph (2) is 
        published in the Federal Register, the Secretary shall, 
        through a rulemaking under section 553 of title 5, 
        United States Code, modify existing regulations, 
        guidance, rules, and policy statements, as necessary to 
        carry out this section.
    (f) Judicial Review.--
          (1) In general.--An applicant or contiguous 
        jurisdiction may seek review of a final decision.
          (2) Administrative review.--An applicant or 
        contiguous jurisdiction may seek review in a United 
        States district court only after exhausting all 
        available administrative remedies.

    25 U.S.C. 479 (INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1934 (48 Stat. 988))


Sec. 479. Definitions

SEC. 19.

    [The term]Effective beginning on June 18, 1934, the term 
``Indian'' as used in this Act shall include all persons of 
Indian descent who are members of [any recognized Indian tribe 
now under Federal jurisdiction]any federally recognized Indian 
tribe, and all persons who are descendants of such members who 
were, on June 1, 1934, residing within the present boundaries 
of any Indian reservation, and shall further include all other 
persons of one-half or more Indian blood. For the purposes of 
this Act, Eskimos and other aboriginal peoples of Alaska shall 
be considered Indians. The term ``tribe'' wherever used in this 
Act shall be construed to refer to any Indian tribe, organized 
band, pueblo, or the Indians residing on one reservation. The 
words ``adult Indians'' wherever used in this Act shall be 
construed to refer to Indians who have attained the age of 
twenty-one years.

                                  [all]