Interior Proposes New Fee-to-Trust Regs and New Class III Compact Process Regs, Parts 151 and 293


From the notice:

The Department of the Interior (Department) invites Tribal Leaders to consult on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Department’s Land Acquisition regulations, 25 CFR Part 151, and the NPRM for the Department’s Class III Tribal State Gaming Compact Process, 25 CFR Part 293.

25 CFR Part 151, Land Acquisition

Since the Department first promulgated these regulations in 1980, it has developed extensive experience in the fee-to-trust acquisition process.  Relying on that experience and input from Tribes, this proposed rule seeks to make the fee-to-trust process more efficient, simpler, and less expensive to support restoration of Tribal homelands.

25 CFR Part 293, Class III Tribal State Gaming Compact Process

The Department is developing proposed updates to Part 293 to provide clear guidance regarding the Secretary’s review and evaluation process for Tribal-State class III gaming compacts.  The current regulations do not identify the factors the Department considers; rather, those factors are contained in a series of decision letters issued by the Department since the enactment of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988.  Recent and ongoing litigation highlights the need for the Department to clarify how it will review or analyze gaming compacts to determine whether they comply with federal law. 

Tribal Consultation

The Department will conduct two virtual consultation sessions and one in-person consultation to obtain further Tribal input on the Part 151 NPRM and the Part 293 NPRM.  The consultation sessions will be open to Tribal leadership and representatives of federally recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.  Please join us at one or more of the following consultations sessions.

If you would like to provide written comments, please email them to by 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

Written Testimony from House Resources Hearing re: New Fee to Trust Guidance

From the House Resources Committee:

Panel 1
The Honorable Carl Artman, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Indian Affairs, United States Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

Panel 2
The Honorable Lorraine White, Chief, St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council, Akwesasne, NY
The Honorable Vincent Armenta, Tribal Chairman, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Santa Ynez, CA
The Honorable Hazel Hindsley, Tribal Chairwoman, St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, Webster, WI
Mr. Jeff Warnke, Director, Government and Public Relations, Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Oakville, WA

Continue reading

Kevin Washburn testimony re: New Guidance on Off-Rez Gaming Lands Acquisitions

Kevin Washburn has posted on SSRN his testimony for tomorrow’s hearing before the House Resources Committee on the new guidance for the acquisition of off-reservation trust lands for gaming purposes.

Alaska Trust Acquisitions Suit — Akiachak v. DOI

In 2006, several Alaskan Native communities sued the Department of the Interior for failing to take land into trust on their behalf under 25 U.S.C. 465 and 25 CFR Part 151. Not much has happened in the case (other than a motion to transfer venue to D. Alaska), but recently the State of Alaska moved to intervene.

Here is the amended complaint and other materials:

Continue reading