To amend the Long-Term Leasing Act, and for other purposes.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
March 31, 2011
Mr. BARRASSO (for himself, Mr. AKAKA, Mr. THUNE, Mr. JOHNSON of South
Dakota, Mr. TESTER, and Mr. UDALL of New Mexico) introduced the following
bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs
To amend the Long-Term Leasing Act, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible
Tribal Homeownership Act of 2011' or the `HEARTH Act of 2011'.
SEC. 2. APPROVAL OF, AND PROVISIONS RELATING TO, TRIBAL LEASES.
(a) Definitions- Subsection (d) of the first section of the Act of August
9, 1955 (25 U.S.C. 415(d)) (commonly known as the `Long-Term Leasing
Act'), is amended--
(1) in paragraph (4), by striking `the Navajo Nation' and inserting
`an applicable Indian tribe';
(2) in paragraph (6), by striking `the Navajo Nation' and inserting
`an Indian tribe';
(3) in paragraph (7), by striking `and' after the semicolon at the
(A) by striking `the Navajo Nation';
(B) by striking `with Navajo Nation law' and inserting `with applicable
tribal law'; and
(C) by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and
(5) by adding at the end the following:
`(9) the term `Indian tribe' has the meaning given the term in section
102 of the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994 (25
(b) Tribal Approval of Leases- The first section of the Act of August
9, 1955 (25 U.S.C. 415) (commonly known as the `Long-Term Leasing Act'),
is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(h) Tribal Approval of Leases-
`(1) IN GENERAL- Subject to paragraph (2) and at the discretion of
any Indian tribe, any lease by the Indian tribe for the purposes authorized
under subsection (a), except a lease for the exploration, development,
or extraction of any mineral resources, shall not require the approval
of the Secretary if the lease is executed under the tribal regulations
approved by the Secretary under this subsection and the term of the
lease does not exceed--
`(A) in the case of a business or agricultural lease, 25 years,
except that any such lease may include an option to renew for up
to 2 additional terms, each of which may not exceed 25 years; and
`(B) in the case of a lease for public, religious, educational,
recreational, or residential purposes, 75 years, if such a term
is provided for by the regulations issued by the Indian tribe.
`(2) ALLOTTED LAND- Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any lease of
land (including an interest in land) held in trust for an individual
`(3) AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY OVER TRIBAL REGULATIONS-
`(A) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall have the authority to approve
or disapprove any tribal regulations issued in accordance with paragraph
`(B) CONSIDERATIONS FOR APPROVAL- The Secretary shall approve any
tribal regulation issued in accordance with paragraph (1), if the
`(i) are consistent with any regulations issued by the Secretary
under subsection (a); 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 for ensuring that--
`(aa) the public is informed of, and has a reasonable opportunity
to comment on, any significant environmental impacts of the proposed
action identified by the Indian tribe; and
`(bb) the Indian tribe provides responses to relevant and
substantive public comments on those impacts before the Indian tribe
approves the lease.
`(A) IN GENERAL- Not later than 120 days after the date on which
the tribal regulations described in paragraph (1) are submitted
to the Secretary, the Secretary shall review and approve or disapprove
`(B) WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION- If the Secretary disapproves the tribal
regulations described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall include
written documentation with the disapproval notification that describes
the basis for the disapproval.
`(C) EXTENSION- The deadline described in subparagraph (A) may be
extended by the Secretary, after consultation with the Indian tribe.
`(5) FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW- Notwithstanding paragraphs (3)
and (4), 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
`(6) DOCUMENTATION- If an Indian tribe executes a lease pursuant to
tribal regulations under paragraph (1), the Indian tribe shall provide
the Secretary with--
`(A) a copy of the lease, including any amendments or renewals to
the lease; and
`(B) in the case of tribal regulations or a lease that allows for
lease payments to be made directly to the Indian tribe, documentation
of the lease payments that are sufficient to enable the Secretary
to discharge the trust responsibility of the United States under
`(7) TRUST RESPONSIBILITY-
`(A) IN GENERAL- The United States shall not be liable for losses
sustained by any party to a lease executed pursuant to tribal regulations
under paragraph (1).
`(B) AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY- Pursuant to the authority of the Secretary
to fulfill the trust obligation of the United States to the applicable
Indian tribe under Federal law (including regulations), the Secretary
may, upon 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 paragraph (1).
`(A) IN GENERAL- An interested party, after exhausting of any applicable
tribal remedies, may submit a petition to the Secretary, at such
time and in such form as the Secretary determines to be appropriate,
to review the compliance of the applicable Indian tribe with any
tribal regulations approved by the Secretary under this subsection.
`(B) VIOLATIONS- If, after carrying out a review under subparagraph
(A), the Secretary determines that the tribal regulations were violated,
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 lands.
`(C) DOCUMENTATION- If the Secretary determines that a violation
of the tribal regulations has occurred and a remedy is necessary,
the Secretary shall--
`(i) make a written determination with respect to the regulations
that have been violated;
`(ii) provide the applicable Indian tribe with a written notice
of the alleged violation together with such written determination;
`(iii) prior to the exercise of any remedy, the rescission of
the approval of the regulation involved, or the reassumption of
lease approval responsibilities, provide the applicable Indian
`(I) a hearing that is on the record; and
`(II) a reasonable opportunity to cure the alleged violation.
`(9) SAVINGS CLAUSE- Nothing in this subsection shall affect subsection
(e) or any tribal regulations issued under that subsection.'.
(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date on which funds
are first made available to carry out this Act, the Bureau of Indian
Affairs shall prepare and submit to the Committees on Financial Services
and Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committees
on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and Indian Affairs of the Senate
a report regarding the history and experience of Indian tribes that
have chosen to assume responsibility for operating the Indian Land
Title and Records Office (referred to in this subsection as the `LTRO')
functions from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
(2) CONSULTATION- In conducting the review under paragraph (1), the
Bureau of Indian Affairs shall consult with the Department of Housing
and Urban Development Office of Native American Programs and the Indian
tribes that are managing LTRO functions (referred to in this subsection
as the `managing Indian tribes').
(3) CONTENTS- The review under paragraph (1) shall include an analysis
of the following factors:
(A) Whether and how tribal management of the LTRO functions has
expedited the processing and issuance of Indian land title certifications
as compared to the period during which the Bureau of Indian Affairs
managed the programs.
(B) Whether and how tribal management of the LTRO functions has
increased home ownership among the population of the managing Indian
(C) What internal preparations and processes were required of the
managing Indian tribes prior to assuming management of the LTRO
(D) Whether tribal management of the LTRO functions resulted in
a transfer of financial resources and manpower from the Bureau of
Indian Affairs to the managing Indian tribes and, if so, what transfers
(E) Whether, in appropriate circumstances and with the approval
of geographically proximate Indian tribes, the LTRO functions may
be performed by a single Indian tribe or a tribal consortium in
a cost effective manner.