[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 232 (Wednesday, December 3, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71816-71817]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-28383]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY


Tribal Consultation Policy

AGENCY: Department of the Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of Interim Tribal Policy.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This notice announces an interim policy outlining the guiding 
principles for all Treasury bureaus and offices engaging with Tribal 
Governments on matters with Tribal implications. The policy will be 
updated periodically and refined as needed to reflect ongoing 
engagement and collaboration with Tribal partners.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than April 2, 2015. Effective 
date: December 3, 2014.
    Electronic Comments: Use the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
(www.regulations.gov) and follow the instructions for submitting 
comments through the Web site. You may download this proposed rule from 
www.regulations.gov or www.treasurydirect.gov. You may also submit 
electronic comments to [email protected].
    We will post all comments received to www.regulations.gov and on 
the TreasuryDirect Web site at www.treasurydirect.gov. The interim 
policy and comments will also be available for public inspection and 
copying at the Treasury Department Library, Treasury Annex Room 1020, 
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20220. To visit the 
library, call (202) 622-0990 for an appointment. In general, comments 
received, including attachments and other supporting materials, are 
part of the public record and are available to the public. Do not 
submit any information in your comments or supporting materials that 
you consider confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine Buckberg, Deputy Assistant 
Secretary for Policy Coordination, Office of Economic Policy and Point 
of Contact for Tribal Consultation, Department of the Treasury at 202-
622-2200 or by email at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Department of the Treasury Tribal Consultation Policy

    In furtherance of Executive Order 13175, ``Consultation and 
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,'' 65 FR 67,249, issued by 
President Clinton on November 6, 2000, and the Presidential Memorandum 
for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Tribal 
Consultation, 74 FR 57881, signed by President Obama on November 5, 
2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) establishes this 
Tribal Consultation Policy (Policy). The Policy outlines the guiding 
principles for all Treasury bureaus and offices engaging with Tribal 
Governments on matters with Tribal Implications. The Policy will be 
updated periodically and refined as needed to reflect ongoing 
engagement and collaboration with Tribal partners.

I. Definitions

    A. Indian Tribe refers to an Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, 
nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the 
Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian Tribe pursuant to the 
Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994, 25 U.S.C. 479a.
    B. Tribal Government refers to the recognized governing body of an 
Indian Tribe.
    C. Tribal Consultation (or Consultation) involves the direct, 
timely, and interactive process of receiving input from Indian Tribes 
regarding proposed Treasury actions on policy matters that have Tribal 
Implications.
    D. Policies that have Tribal Implications shall have the same 
meaning as used in Executive Order 13175, and refers to Treasury 
regulations, published guidance, or other policy statements or actions 
that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian Tribes, on 
the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes, or 
the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal 
Government and Indian Tribes. It does not include policy matters of 
general applicability that may have an impact on Indian Tribes or their 
members.
    E. Tribal Officials refers to elected or duly appointed officials 
of Tribal Governments or authorized inter-tribal organizations.

II. Guiding Principles

    A. The United States recognizes the right of Indian Tribes to self-
government, and their inherent sovereign powers over their members and 
territories. The principle of consultation has its roots in the unique 
relationship between the federal government and the governments of 
Indian Tribes. This government-to-government relationship has a more 
than 200-year history, and is built on the foundation of the U.S. 
Constitution, treaties, legislation, executive action, and judicial 
rulings. Most recently, consultation was recognized in Executive Order 
13175 and in the November 5, 2009 Presidential Memorandum on Tribal 
Consultation.
    B. Treasury is committed to strengthening the government-to-
government relationships between the United States and Indian Tribes. 
Treasury recognizes that agency policies, programs, and services may 
impact Indian Tribes and is committed to consulting with Tribal 
Officials with regard to Treasury Policies that have Tribal 
Implications. This Policy will complement, not supersede, any existing 
laws, rules, or regulations that guide existing consultation processes 
with Indian Tribes.
    C. Tribal Consultation will inform Treasury's development of 
regulations, published guidance, and other policy statements or 
actions, as it will enhance Treasury's understanding of the potential 
impacts of these activities on Indian Tribes.
    D. Treasury is committed to developing and issuing regulations and 
guidance in a timely manner.

III. Consultation Policy

A. Statement of Policy

    Treasury will endeavor to consult with Tribal Governments prior to 
issuing regulations, published guidance, and Policies with Tribal 
Implications. Treasury may also conduct listening sessions, meetings 
with individual Tribes, and informal discussions with Tribal Officials 
on matters of concern.
    The Tribal Consultation process should achieve the following core 
objectives: (1) Timely identification of matters that may warrant 
Tribal Consultation; (2) implementation of a process that is accessible 
and convenient to Tribal participants; and (3) development of 
meaningful, transparent, and accountable dialogue involving the 
appropriate participants. Consistent with Executive Order 13175, Tribal 
Consultation is not required for actions to enforce requirements 
administered by the agency or actions to

[[Page 71817]]

penalize violations of these requirements, even if the actions impact 
multiple Indian Tribes or members of multiple Indian Tribes. Actions 
that do not require Tribal Consultation include, but are not limited 
to:
     Administrative orders, practices, or litigation involving 
penalties or equitable or similar relief to ameliorate the effects of 
prior violations or ensure compliance;
     Administrative orders that impose specialized requirements 
of limited duration;
     Audits, examinations, or investigations; and
     Internal agency guidelines with respect to such matters.

B. Role of the POCTC

    The Treasury Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation (POCTC) is 
the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination in the Office of 
Economic Policy, or another official as designated by the Secretary or 
the Deputy Secretary. Treasury bureaus and policy offices, as well as 
the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and the Executive Secretariat, 
may assist the POCTC in identifying policy matters that may require 
Tribal Consultation.
    The POCTC is available to assist Treasury bureaus and offices in 
the identification of policy matters that may be appropriate for Tribal 
Consultation. OGC is also available to assist in resolving internal 
questions related to Tribal Consultation matters.

C. Procedures for Evaluating and Initiating Consultation

    1. Treasury bureaus and offices should endeavor to conduct Tribal 
Consultation with respect to policies that have Tribal Implications, 
including early outreach to solicit comments from appropriate Tribal 
Officials who may be substantially affected by changes in Treasury 
regulations, published guidance, or other policies under consideration. 
Program staff and legal counsel should assist in the identification of 
policy matters that are likely to require Tribal Consultation. 
Generally, every effort should be made to provide sufficient notice 
prior to scheduling Consultation, and the POCTC or Treasury office or 
bureau conducting a Consultation should inform Tribal Officials as soon 
as practicable if exceptional circumstances, such as legislative or 
regulatory deadlines or other factors beyond Treasury's control, 
warrant an abbreviated period of advance notice.
    2. Tribal Consultation with Tribal Officials will be conducted by 
Treasury officials who are knowledgeable about the matters at hand and 
authorized to speak for the Department.
    3. A phased approach to Tribal Consultation may be appropriate in 
some matters, in which a plan for more extensive Tribal Consultation is 
identified and a commitment is made to consult within a specified time 
frame.
    4. Treasury bureaus and offices should notify the POCTC in advance 
of final actions on policies that have Tribal Implications. The POCTC 
may advise on the potential need for Tribal Consultation with respect 
to such matters.
    5. With respect to policies that have Tribal Implications 
regulations and published guidance, to the extent practicable and 
permitted by law, Treasury should consult with Tribal Officials early 
in the process of developing such regulations or guidance. These 
Consultations should seek comment on compliance costs as appropriate to 
the nature of the regulation or guidance under development. The timing, 
nature, detail, and extent of Consultation will depend on the 
regulation or guidance involved.

D. Methods of Consultation

    Tribal Consultation may include, but is not limited to, one or more 
of the following:
     Federal Register (FR) notices or other published guidance 
soliciting comments. Tribal Consultation may be announced in FR notices 
and other published guidance, including guidance published in the 
Internal Revenue Bulletin, with respect to policies that have Tribal 
Implications. FR notices and other published guidance requesting 
comments from Tribal Governments should be published as soon as 
practicable after Treasury determines that Tribal Consultation is 
appropriate. When practicable, a comment period of 60 to 120 days will 
be provided, to allow sufficient time for Tribal Governments to consult 
with their members and legal counsel on any matters of concern.
     Meetings, written correspondence, conference calls, 
videoconferences, and workshops to encourage an exchange of views. 
Tribal Consultation may also be conducted through email, regular mail, 
telephone calls (including conference calls), video conferences, and 
in-person meetings or conferences, as schedules and resources permit. 
Where appropriate, intra- and inter-agency meetings also may be 
utilized to address areas of concern, conserve resources, and ensure 
comprehensive coverage of an issue. Disparities in time zones and 
travel costs, including those of Alaskan Native tribes, will be taken 
into account when scheduling phone calls and conferences.
     Targeted outreach. Treasury officials or the POCTC may 
also directly contact Tribal Officials to discuss matters with Tribal 
Implications. In addition, as resources and schedules permit, Treasury 
officials may attend conferences sponsored by inter-tribal 
organizations to participate in agency listening sessions and/or to 
present on issues of concern to Indian Tribes.

E. Process for Tribal Officials To Request Consultation

    Tribal Officials are encouraged to contact directly the appropriate 
Treasury officials, on a government-to-government basis, to seek 
Consultation on matters with Tribal Implications. Consultation requests 
may also be addressed to the POCTC, who will direct the matter to 
additional Treasury officials as appropriate. The POCTC also may be 
contacted with general concerns or requests for information, and may 
refer specific policy matters to the Treasury bureaus or offices with 
direct jurisdiction, as appropriate. The POCTC can be reached at 
[email protected]

IV. Judicial Review

    This policy is intended only to improve the internal management of 
the Department, and is not intended to create any right, benefit, or 
trust responsibility, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by 
a party against the Department or any person.

    Dated: November 26, 2014.
Elaine Buckberg,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development, Office of Economic 
Policy.
[FR Doc. 2014-28383 Filed 12-2-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-25-P