Tribal Lands

News & Analysis as of

Renewable Energy Case Law Update

This case law update describes a selection of renewable energy cases from 2015. It is not intended to address all renewable energy cases over the previous year, but rather, highlight a few that are more likely to be of...more

Department of the Interior Releases Proposed Rule to Reduce Waste of Natural Gas

Advances in oil and gas production technology, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, have dramatically increased the production of oil and gas in the United States by unlocking shale gas and other resources...more

FCC Delays Effective Date of Oklahoma Tribal Lifeline Change to June 8

This past Tuesday, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order delaying for 120 days the effective date of the agency’s new interpretation of “former reservations in Oklahoma” for purposes of delineating the area in...more

FCC Releases 2016 Broadband Progress Report

According to the Federal Communications Commission, 90 percent of Americans have access to broadband Internet access service at the FCC’s benchmark speeds of 25 Mbps for downloads/3 Mbps for uploads. But the FCC also found...more

Cannabis in Indian Country – A Year Later…

A little over a year ago, the Department of Justice released the infamous “Wilkinson Memo” containing DOJ policy guidance to U.S. District Attorneys on Marijuana in Indian Country. Chaos ensued....more

Federal Appeals Court Affirms Extra-Territorial Criminal Jurisdiction Over Tribal Members

The Federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee) recently affirmed criminal jurisdiction over tribal members for criminal acts committed outside of the tribal reservation boundaries....more

Utah Congressmen Unveil Landmark Public Land Bill

On January 20, Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz unveiled a “discussion draft” of the Utah Public Lands Initiative Act. The proposed bill undertakes the difficult task of balancing economic development and...more

U.S. Supreme Court Examines Tribal Authority Over Non-Indians in Nebraska v. Pender

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Jan. 20, 2016, in Nebraska v. Pender, its third Indian law case of the term. The question presented was whether Congress had diminished the Omaha Indian Reservation when it...more

New Right-of-Way Regulations on Indian Lands

Every once in a while, infrastructure projects we’re working on involve traversing Indian lands. For those of you involved in such projects, you should take a look at the Final Rule published by the Department of the...more

Alaska Presses D.C. Court of Appeals to Reject Trust Acquisitions in Alaska

The question of whether Alaska Natives may place land in the same federal trust status as Indian tribes in the lower 48 states was widely thought to have been resolved but is now before the Court of Appeals for the District...more

EPA Seeks Comments from Tribes on the Clean Power Plan Proposed Federal Implementation Plan and Model Rules for Emissions Trading

On October 23, 2015, the EPA published its Proposed Federal Implementation Plan (FIP), which includes Model Rules for Emission Trading under the Clean Power Plan. With the formal publication, the EPA opened a 90 day comment...more

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) New Rights-of-Way Regulations to Become Effective

On December 21, 2015, new rights-of-way regulations on Indian lands will go into effect. These new regulations likely will have an immediate and substantial impact throughout Indian Country, for both Tribes and businesses...more

U.S. District Court Denies Penobscot Nation's Claim to Penobscot River

On December 16, 2015, Judge Singal issued his decision in the Penobscot Indian Nation v. Mills lawsuit, in which the Penobscot Indian Nation (PIN) had claimed that their reservation included the entire main stem of the...more

2015 ONRR Civil Penalties: Where, Why, and How Much

The Office of Natural Resources Revenue (“ONRR”), a unit within the United States Department of the Interior, is responsible for collecting and disbursing revenues from energy production on federal and Indian lands and...more

BIA Finalizes Reforms for Obtaining Rights of Way on Indian Lands

On November 19, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published a final rule that makes sweeping changes to the process for obtaining rights of way for proposed oil and gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, railroads,...more

Bureau of Indian Affairs New Rights-of-Way Rules Provide Clarity and Certainty to Communications Providers

With both Congress and the Administration focused on streamlining federal permitting and promoting Dig Once policies, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published updated rules for access to...more

Varnum Marks Native American Heritage Month

This November marks the 25th anniversary of Native American Heritage Month, originally declared in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. This month we also recognize the 25th anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection...more

Sen. Barrasso Introduces Carcieri Compromise Bill

More than six years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Carcieri v. Salazar, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, has introduced the “Interior Improvement Act” to fix...more

Is There a New War on Indian Country?

Over the past week, two proposals have surfaced that could have profound impacts on Indian Country, and they likely would not be for the better. The first proposal surfaced on October 20 when a Utah congressman...more

Do You Dare to Flare? A North Dakota Field Office Provides a View Into the Federal Regulatory Future

While high-profile regulatory efforts focused on hydraulic fracturing, waters of the United States, sage grouse, and greenhouse gas emissions have grabbed media headlines over the last several months, a potent stew of...more

EIB Energy Highlights: SCOTUS on FERC, Nat Gas Record Year, Oil & Gas Exports, Winter Outlook, Cybersecurity & More

Our goal is to serve as a leading-edge resource for companies navigating the rapidly evolving landscapes of the domestic and global energy markets. Moore & Van Allen’s EIB Energy Highlights is a complement to our Energy...more

SCC Denial of Leave Allows First Nations to Pursue Claims Prior to Proving Aboriginal Title

The Supreme Court of Canada recently denied applications for leave to appeal in Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., 2015 BCCA 154 (Saik’uz), and Iron Ore Company of Canada. v Uashaunnuat,...more

Failing on the Big Stage: Another Attempt to Regulate Fracking Falls Short

In March 2015, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) became the most prominent governmental entity to join in on the attempts to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. More specifically, the DOI’s sweeping...more

Energy & Environment Update - October 2015 #3

Energy and Climate Debate: Congress returns from the Columbus Day holiday this week to full schedules in both chambers, including several energy and environment hearings of interest. In the meantime, the Obama...more

Renewable Energy Update - October 2015 #3

Renewable Energy Focus - Attractive PPA prices will keep U.S. utility-scale solar power strong: Solar Industry Magazine - Oct 13: Reports of the death of utility-scale solar in the U.S. have been greatly exaggerated. A...more

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