Feds Propose Changes In Land Transfer Process

May 25, 2013

The federal government is proposing changes to the process used to transfer land into trust for American Indian tribes.

Officials say the proposal will provide greater notice of land-into-trust decisions and clarify mechanisms for judicial review depending on whether the land is taken into trust by the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs or an official with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposal.

Interior Department Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn says the principal purpose of the rule is to provide greater certainty to tribes in their ability to develop lands acquired in trust for housing, schools and economic development.

He says it essentially creates a "speak now or forever hold your peace moment" in the land-into-trust process.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.