A day after Tara Sweeney, an Executive Vice President of Arctic Slope Corporation, was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, the Department of Interior Solicitor’s Office withdrew a previous opinion regarding the authority of the government to take land into trust for Alaska Natives pending a (you guessed it) notice and comment period:
The Department allowed only 60 days for comment when it proposed removing the Alaska exclusion from its trust land acquisition regulations in 2014. That is in stark contrast to the three years the Department proposed in 2001 to consider the legal and policy implications of removing the Alaska exclusion. Based on the geographical distribution and cultural diversity of Alaska Native communities, a minimum of six months would seem appropriate to provide adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to comment on the Secretary’s exercise of his authority to take off-reservation land into trust in Alaska and the issues left unresolved by Sol. Op. M-37043, followed by a further six months to allow the Department to conduct a considered review of any and all comments received.
Twitter coverage of this from Indianz on Friday is here.