U.S Code last checked for updates: Aug 03, 2020
§ 5614.
Forest land management and surface leasing activities
(a)
Definitions
In this section:
(1)
Forest land management activity

The term “forest land management activity” means any activity described in section 304(4) of the National Indian Forest Resources Management Act (25 U.S.C. 3103(4)).

(2)
Interested party

(3)
Surface leasing transaction
The term “surface leasing transaction” means a residential, business, agricultural, or wind or solar resource lease of land the title to which is held—
(A)
in trust by the United States for the benefit of an Indian tribe; or
(B)
in fee by an Indian tribe, subject to restrictions against alienation under Federal law.
(b)
Approval by Secretary
The Secretary may approve an Indian trust asset management plan that includes a provision authorizing the Indian tribe to enter into, approve, and carry out a surface leasing transaction or forest land management activity without approval of the Secretary, regardless of whether the surface leasing transaction or forest land management activity would require such an approval under otherwise applicable law (including regulations), if—
(1)
the resolution or other action of the governing body of the Indian tribe referred to in section 5612(c)(2)(A) of this title expressly authorizes the inclusion of the provision in the Indian trust asset management plan; and
(2)
the Indian tribe has adopted regulations expressly incorporated by reference into the Indian trust asset management plan that—
(A)
with respect to a surface leasing transaction—
(i)
have been approved by the Secretary pursuant to subsection (h)(4) of section 415 of this title; or
(ii)
have not yet been approved by the Secretary in accordance with clause (i), but that the Secretary determines at or prior to the time of approval under this paragraph meet the requirements of subsection (h)(3) of section 415 of this title; or
(B)
with respect to forest land management activities, the Secretary determines—
(i)
are consistent with the regulations of the Secretary adopted under the National Indian Forest Resources Management Act (25 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.); and
(ii)
provide for an environmental review process that includes—
(I)
the identification and evaluation of any significant effects of the proposed action on the environment; and
(II)
a process consistent with the regulations referred to in clause (i) for ensuring that—
(aa)
the public is informed of, and has a reasonable opportunity to comment on, any significant environmental impacts of the proposed forest land management activity identified by the Indian tribe; and
(bb)
the Indian tribe provides responses to relevant and substantive public comments on any such impacts before the Indian tribe approves the forest land management activity.
(c)
Types of transactions
(1)
In general

At the discretion of the Indian tribe, an Indian trust asset management plan may authorize the Indian tribe to carry out a surface leasing transaction, a forest land management activity, or both.

(2)
Selection of specific transactions and activities

At the discretion of the Indian tribe, the Indian tribe may include in the integrated resource management plan any 1 or more of the transactions and activities authorized to be included in the plan under subsection (b).

(d)
Technical assistance
(1)
In general

The Secretary may provide technical assistance, on request of an Indian tribe, for development of a regulatory environmental review process required under subsection (b)(2)(B)(ii).

(2)
Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act

The technical assistance to be provided by the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (1) may be made available through contracts, grants, or agreements entered into in accordance with, and made available to entities eligible for, contracts, grants, or agreements under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.).1

1
 See References in Text note below.

(e)
Federal environmental review

Notwithstanding subsection (b), if an Indian tribe carries out a project or activity funded by a Federal agency, the Indian tribe shall have the authority to rely on the environmental review process of the applicable Federal agency, rather than any tribal environmental review process under this section.

(f)
Documentation
If an Indian tribe executes a surface leasing transaction or forest land management activity, pursuant to tribal regulations under subsection (b)(2), the Indian tribe shall provide to the Secretary 2
2
 So in original. Probably should be followed by a dash.
(1)
a copy of the surface leasing transaction or forest land management activity documents, including any amendments to, or renewals of, the applicable transaction; and
(2)
in the case of tribal regulations, a surface leasing transaction, or forest land management activities that allow payments to be made directly to the Indian tribe, documentation of the payments that is sufficient to enable the Secretary to discharge the trust responsibility of the United States under subsection (g).
(g)
Trust responsibility
(1)
In general
The United States shall not be liable for losses sustained—
(A)
by an Indian tribe as a result of the execution of any forest land management activity pursuant to tribal regulations under subsection (b); or
(B)
by any party to a lease executed pursuant to tribal regulations under subsection (b).
(2)
Authority of Secretary

Pursuant to the authority of the Secretary to fulfill the trust obligation of the United States to Indian tribes under Federal law (including regulations), the Secretary may, on reasonable notice from the applicable Indian tribe and at the discretion of the Secretary, enforce the provisions of, or cancel, any lease executed by the Indian tribe under this section.

(h)
Compliance
(1)
In general

An interested party, after exhausting any applicable tribal remedies, may submit to the Secretary a petition, at such time and in such form as the Secretary determines to be appropriate, to review the compliance of an applicable Indian tribe with any tribal regulations approved by the Secretary under this subsection.

(2)
Violations

If the Secretary determines under paragraph (1) that a violation of tribal regulations has occurred, the Secretary may take any action the Secretary determines to be necessary to remedy the violation, including rescinding the approval of the tribal regulations and reassuming responsibility for the approval of leases of tribal trust land.

(3)
Documentation
If the Secretary determines under paragraph (1) that a violation of tribal regulations has occurred and a remedy is necessary, the Secretary shall—
(A)
make a written determination with respect to the regulations that have been violated;
(B)
provide to the applicable Indian tribe a written notice of the alleged violation, together with the written determination; and
(C)
prior to the exercise of any remedy, the rescission of the approval of the regulation involved, or the reassumption of the trust asset transaction approval responsibilities, provide to the applicable Indian tribe—
(i)
a hearing on the record; and
(ii)
a reasonable opportunity to cure the alleged violation.
(Pub. L. 114–178, title II, § 205, June 22, 2016, 130 Stat. 436.)
cite as: 25 USC 5614