25 U.S. Code § 3504 - Leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way involving energy development or transmission

(a) Leases and business agreements
In accordance with this section—
(1) an Indian tribe may, at the discretion of the Indian tribe, enter into a lease or business agreement for the purpose of energy resource development on tribal land, including a lease or business agreement for—
(A) exploration for, extraction of, processing of, or other development of the energy mineral resources of the Indian tribe located on tribal land; or
(B) construction or operation of—
(i) an electric generation, transmission, or distribution facility located on tribal land; or
(ii) a facility to process or refine energy resources developed on tribal land; and
(2) a lease or business agreement described in paragraph (1) shall not require review by or the approval of the Secretary under section 81 of this title, or any other provision of law, if—
(A) the lease or business agreement is executed pursuant to a tribal energy resource agreement approved by the Secretary under subsection (e);
(B) the term of the lease or business agreement does not exceed—
(i) 30 years; or
(ii) in the case of a lease for the production of oil resources, gas resources, or both, 10 years and as long thereafter as oil or gas is produced in paying quantities; and
(C) the Indian tribe has entered into a tribal energy resource agreement with the Secretary, as described in subsection (e), relating to the development of energy resources on tribal land (including the periodic review and evaluation of the activities of the Indian tribe under the agreement, to be conducted pursuant to subsection (e)(2)(D)(i)).
(b) Rights-of-way for pipelines or electric transmission or distribution lines
An Indian tribe may grant a right-of-way over tribal land for a pipeline or an electric transmission or distribution line without review or approval by the Secretary if—
(1) the right-of-way is executed in accordance with a tribal energy resource agreement approved by the Secretary under subsection (e);
(2) the term of the right-of-way does not exceed 30 years;
(3) the pipeline or electric transmission or distribution line serves—
(A) an electric generation, transmission, or distribution facility located on tribal land; or
(B) a facility located on tribal land that processes or refines energy resources developed on tribal land; and
(4) the Indian tribe has entered into a tribal energy resource agreement with the Secretary, as described in subsection (e), relating to the development of energy resources on tribal land (including the periodic review and evaluation of the activities of the Indian tribe under an agreement described in subparagraphs (D) and (E) of subsection (e)(2)).
(c) Renewals
A lease or business agreement entered into, or a right-of-way granted, by an Indian tribe under this section may be renewed at the discretion of the Indian tribe in accordance with this section.
(d) Validity
No lease, business agreement, or right-of-way relating to the development of tribal energy resources under this section shall be valid unless the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way is authorized by a tribal energy resource agreement approved by the Secretary under subsection (e)(2).
(e) Tribal energy resource agreements
(1) On the date on which regulations are promulgated under paragraph (8), an Indian tribe may submit to the Secretary for approval a tribal energy resource agreement governing leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way under this section.
(2)
(A) Not later than 270 days after the date on which the Secretary receives a tribal energy resource agreement from an Indian tribe under paragraph (1), or not later than 60 days after the Secretary receives a revised tribal energy resource agreement from an Indian tribe under paragraph (4)(C) (or a later date, as agreed to by the Secretary and the Indian tribe), the Secretary shall approve or disapprove the tribal energy resource agreement.
(B) The Secretary shall approve a tribal energy resource agreement submitted under paragraph (1) if—
(i) the Secretary determines that the Indian tribe has demonstrated that the Indian tribe has sufficient capacity to regulate the development of energy resources of the Indian tribe;
(ii) the tribal energy resource agreement includes provisions required under subparagraph (D); and
(iii) the tribal energy resource agreement includes provisions that, with respect to a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way under this section—
(I) ensure the acquisition of necessary information from the applicant for the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way;
(II) address the term of the lease or business agreement or the term of conveyance of the right-of-way;
(III) address amendments and renewals;
(IV) address the economic return to the Indian tribe under leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way;
(V) address technical or other relevant requirements;
(VI) establish requirements for environmental review in accordance with subparagraph (C);
(VII) ensure compliance with all applicable environmental laws, including a requirement that each lease, business agreement, and right-of-way state that the lessee, operator, or right-of-way grantee shall comply with all such laws;
(VIII) identify final approval authority;
(IX) provide for public notification of final approvals;
(X) establish a process for consultation with any affected States regarding off-reservation impacts, if any, identified under subparagraph (C)(i);
(XI) describe the remedies for breach of the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way;
(XII) require each lease, business agreement, and right-of-way to include a statement that, if any of its provisions violates an express term or requirement of the tribal energy resource agreement pursuant to which the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way was executed—
(aa) the provision shall be null and void; and
(bb) if the Secretary determines the provision to be material, the Secretary may suspend or rescind the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way or take other appropriate action that the Secretary determines to be in the best interest of the Indian tribe;
(XIII) require each lease, business agreement, and right-of-way to provide that it will become effective on the date on which a copy of the executed lease, business agreement, or right-of-way is delivered to the Secretary in accordance with regulations promulgated under paragraph (8);
(XIV) include citations to tribal laws, regulations, or procedures, if any, that set out tribal remedies that must be exhausted before a petition may be submitted to the Secretary under paragraph (7)(B);
(XV) specify the financial assistance, if any, to be provided by the Secretary to the Indian tribe to assist in implementation of the tribal energy resource agreement, including environmental review of individual projects; and
(XVI) in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the Secretary under paragraph (8), require that the Indian tribe, as soon as practicable after receipt of a notice by the Indian tribe, give written notice to the Secretary of—
(aa) any breach or other violation by another party of any provision in a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way entered into under the tribal energy resource agreement; and
(bb) any activity or occurrence under a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way that constitutes a violation of Federal or tribal environmental laws.
(C) Tribal energy resource agreements submitted under paragraph (1) shall establish, and include provisions to ensure compliance with, an environmental review process that, with respect to a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way under this section, provides for, at a minimum—
(i) the identification and evaluation of all significant environmental effects (as compared to a no-action alternative), including effects on cultural resources;
(ii) the identification of proposed mitigation measures, if any, and incorporation of appropriate mitigation measures into the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way;
(iii) a process for ensuring that—
(I) the public is informed of, and has an opportunity to comment on, the environmental impacts of the proposed action; and
(II) responses to relevant and substantive comments are provided, before tribal approval of the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way;
(iv) sufficient administrative support and technical capability to carry out the environmental review process; and
(v) oversight by the Indian tribe of energy development activities by any other party under any lease, business agreement, or right-of-way entered into pursuant to the tribal energy resource agreement, to determine whether the activities are in compliance with the tribal energy resource agreement and applicable Federal environmental laws.
(D) A tribal energy resource agreement between the Secretary and an Indian tribe under this subsection shall include—
(i) provisions requiring the Secretary to conduct a periodic review and evaluation to monitor the performance of the activities of the Indian tribe associated with the development of energy resources under the tribal energy resource agreement; and
(ii) if a periodic review and evaluation, or an investigation, by the Secretary of any breach or violation described in a notice provided by the Indian tribe to the Secretary in accordance with subparagraph (B)(iii)(XVI), results in a finding by the Secretary of imminent jeopardy to a physical trust asset arising from a violation of the tribal energy resource agreement or applicable Federal laws, provisions authorizing the Secretary to take actions determined by the Secretary to be necessary to protect the asset, including reassumption of responsibility for activities associated with the development of energy resources on tribal land until the violation and any condition that caused the jeopardy are corrected.
(E) Periodic review and evaluation under subparagraph (D) shall be conducted on an annual basis, except that, after the third annual review and evaluation, the Secretary and the Indian tribe may mutually agree to amend the tribal energy resource agreement to authorize the review and evaluation under subparagraph (D) to be conducted once every 2 years.
(3) The Secretary shall provide notice and opportunity for public comment on tribal energy resource agreements submitted for approval under paragraph (1). The Secretary’s review of a tribal energy resource agreement shall be limited to activities specified by the provisions of the tribal energy resource agreement.
(4) If the Secretary disapproves a tribal energy resource agreement submitted by an Indian tribe under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall, not later than 10 days after the date of disapproval—
(A) notify the Indian tribe in writing of the basis for the disapproval;
(B) identify what changes or other actions are required to address the concerns of the Secretary; and
(C) provide the Indian tribe with an opportunity to revise and resubmit the tribal energy resource agreement.
(5) If an Indian tribe executes a lease or business agreement, or grants a right-of-way, in accordance with a tribal energy resource agreement approved under this subsection, the Indian tribe shall, in accordance with the process and requirements under regulations promulgated under paragraph (8), provide to the Secretary—
(A) a copy of the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way document (including all amendments to and renewals of the document); and
(B) in the case of a tribal energy resource agreement or a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way that permits payments to be made directly to the Indian tribe, information and documentation of those payments sufficient to enable the Secretary to discharge the trust responsibility of the United States to enforce the terms of, and protect the rights of the Indian tribe under, the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way.
(6)
(A) In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall—
(i) act in accordance with the trust responsibility of the United States relating to mineral and other trust resources; and
(ii) act in good faith and in the best interests of the Indian tribes.
(B) Subject to the provisions of subsections (a)(2), (b), and (c) waiving the requirement of Secretarial approval of leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way executed pursuant to tribal energy resource agreements approved under this section, and the provisions of subparagraph (D), nothing in this section shall absolve the United States from any responsibility to Indians or Indian tribes, including, but not limited to, those which derive from the trust relationship or from any treaties, statutes, and other laws of the United States, Executive orders, or agreements between the United States and any Indian tribe.
(C) The Secretary shall continue to fulfill the trust obligation of the United States to ensure that the rights and interests of an Indian tribe are protected if—
(i) any other party to a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way violates any applicable Federal law or the terms of any lease, business agreement, or right-of-way under this section; or
(ii) any provision in a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way violates the tribal energy resource agreement pursuant to which the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way was executed.
(D)
(i) In this subparagraph, the term “negotiated term” means any term or provision that is negotiated by an Indian tribe and any other party to a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way entered into pursuant to an approved tribal energy resource agreement.
(ii) Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), the United States shall not be liable to any party (including any Indian tribe) for any negotiated term of, or any loss resulting from the negotiated terms of, a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way executed pursuant to and in accordance with a tribal energy resource agreement approved by the Secretary under paragraph (2).
(7)
(A) In this paragraph, the term “interested party” means any person (including an entity) that has demonstrated that an interest of the person has sustained, or will sustain, an adverse environmental impact as a result of the failure of an Indian tribe to comply with a tribal energy resource agreement of the Indian tribe approved by the Secretary under paragraph (2).
(B) After exhaustion of any tribal remedy, and in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary under paragraph (8), an interested party may submit to the Secretary a petition to review the compliance by an Indian tribe with a tribal energy resource agreement of the Indian tribe approved by the Secretary under paragraph (2).
(C)
(i) Not later than 20 days after the date on which the Secretary receives a petition under subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall—
(I) provide to the Indian tribe a copy of the petition; and
(II) consult with the Indian tribe regarding any noncompliance alleged in the petition.
(ii) Not later than 45 days after the date on which a consultation under clause (i)(II) takes place, the Indian tribe shall respond to any claim made in a petition under subparagraph (B).
(iii) The Secretary shall act in accordance with subparagraphs (D) and (E) only if the Indian tribe—
(I) denies, or fails to respond to, each claim made in the petition within the period described in clause (ii); or
(II) fails, refuses, or is unable to cure or otherwise resolve each claim made in the petition within a reasonable period, as determined by the Secretary, after the expiration of the period described in clause (ii).
(D)
(i) Not later than 120 days after the date on which the Secretary receives a petition under subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall determine whether the Indian tribe is not in compliance with the tribal energy resource agreement.
(ii) The Secretary may adopt procedures under paragraph (8) authorizing an extension of time, not to exceed 120 days, for making the determination under clause (i) in any case in which the Secretary determines that additional time is necessary to evaluate the allegations of the petition.
(iii) Subject to subparagraph (E), if the Secretary determines that the Indian tribe is not in compliance with the tribal energy resource agreement, the Secretary shall take such action as the Secretary determines to be necessary to ensure compliance with the tribal energy resource agreement, including—
(I) temporarily suspending any activity under a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way under this section until the Indian tribe is in compliance with the approved tribal energy resource agreement; or
(II) rescinding approval of all or part of the tribal energy resource agreement, and if all of the agreement is rescinded, reassuming the responsibility for approval of any future leases, business agreements, or rights-of-way described in subsection (a) or (b).
(E) Before taking an action described in subparagraph (D)(iii), the Secretary shall—
(i) make a written determination that describes the manner in which the tribal energy resource agreement has been violated;
(ii) provide the Indian tribe with a written notice of the violations together with the written determination; and
(iii) before taking any action described in subparagraph (D)(iii) or seeking any other remedy, provide the Indian tribe with a hearing and a reasonable opportunity to attain compliance with the tribal energy resource agreement.
(F) An Indian tribe described in subparagraph (E) shall retain all rights to appeal under any regulation promulgated by the Secretary.
(8) Not later than 1 year after August 8, 2005, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations that implement this subsection, including—
(A) criteria to be used in determining the capacity of an Indian tribe under paragraph (2)(B)(i), including the experience of the Indian tribe in managing natural resources and financial and administrative resources available for use by the Indian tribe in implementing the approved tribal energy resource agreement of the Indian tribe;
(B) a process and requirements in accordance with which an Indian tribe may—
(i) voluntarily rescind a tribal energy resource agreement approved by the Secretary under this subsection; and
(ii) return to the Secretary the responsibility to approve any future lease, business agreement, or right-of-way under this subsection;
(C) provisions establishing the scope of, and procedures for, the periodic review and evaluation described in subparagraphs (D) and (E) of paragraph (2), including provisions for review of transactions, reports, site inspections, and any other review activities the Secretary determines to be appropriate; and
(D) provisions describing final agency actions after exhaustion of administrative appeals from determinations of the Secretary under paragraph (7).
(f) No effect on other law
Nothing in this section affects the application of—
(1) any Federal environmental law;
(2) the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.); or
(3) except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the Indian Mineral Development Act of 1982 (25 U.S.C. 2101 et seq.).
(g) Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2016 to carry out this section and to make grants or provide other appropriate assistance to Indian tribes to assist the Indian tribes in developing and implementing tribal energy resource agreements in accordance with this section.

Source

(Pub. L. 102–486, title XXVI, § 2604, as added Pub. L. 109–58, title V, § 503(a),Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 769.)
References in Text

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, referred to in subsec. (f)(2), is Pub. L. 95–87, Aug. 3, 1977, 91 Stat. 445, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 25 (§ 1201 et seq.) of Title 30, Mineral Lands and Mining. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1201 of Title 30 and Tables.
The Indian Mineral Development Act of 1982, referred to in subsec. (f)(3), is Pub. L. 97–382, Dec. 22, 1982, 96 Stat. 1938, which is classified generally to chapter 23 (§ 2101 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2101 of this title and Tables.
Prior Provisions

A prior section 3504,Pub. L. 102–486, title XXVI, § 2604,Oct. 24, 1992, 106 Stat. 3114, related to Indian energy resource regulation, prior to the general amendment of this chapter by Pub. L. 109–58.

 

LII has no control over and does not endorse any external Internet site that contains links to or references LII.