[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 246 (Tuesday, December 23, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 76888-76897]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30099]



Bureau of Indian Affairs

25 CFR Part 151

[K00103 14/15 A3A10; 134D0102DR-DS5A300000-DR.5A311.IA000115]
RIN 1076-AF23

Land Acquisitions in the State of Alaska

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This rule deletes a provision in the Department of the 
Interior's land-into-trust regulations that excludes from the scope of 
the regulations, with one exception, land acquisitions in trust in the 
State of Alaska.

DATES: This rule is effective January 22, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elizabeth Appel, Director, Office of 
Regulatory Affairs & Collaborative Action, (202) 273-4680; 
[email protected].

[[Page 76889]]


I. Executive Summary of Rule

    Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), as amended, 
authorizes the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to acquire land in 
trust for individual Indians and Indian tribes in the continental 
United States and Alaska. 25 U.S.C. 465; 25 U.S.C. 473a. For several 
decades, the Department's regulations at 25 CFR part 151, which 
establish the process for taking land into trust, have included a 
provision stating that the regulations in part 151 do not cover the 
acquisition of land in trust status in the State of Alaska, except 
acquisitions for the Metlakatla Indian Community of the Annette Island 
Reserve or its members (the ``Alaska Exception''). 25 CFR 151.1. This 
rule deletes the Alaska Exception, thereby allowing applications for 
land to be taken into trust in Alaska to proceed under the part 151 
regulations. The Department retains its usual discretion to grant or 
deny land-into-trust applications and makes its decisions on a case-by-
case basis in accordance with the requirements of part 151 and the IRA.

II. Background and Legislative Authority

    In 1934, Congress enacted the IRA to ``establish machinery whereby 
Indian tribes would be able to assume a greater degree of self-
government, both politically and economically.'' Morton v. Mancari, 417 
U.S. 535, 542 (1974). Section 5 of the IRA, described as the 
``capstone'' of the land-related provisions in the IRA, authorizes the 
Secretary, in her discretion, to acquire land in trust for Indian 
tribes and individual Indians. 25 U.S.C. 465; Cohen's Handbook on 
Federal Indian Law section 15.07[1][a], at 1030 (2012 ed.). In 1936, 
Congress expressly extended Section 5 and other provisions of the IRA 
to the Territory of Alaska. Act of May 1, 1936, Public Law 74-538, 
section 1, 49 Stat. 1250 (codified at 25 U.S.C. 473a).
    Thirty-five years later, in 1971, Congress enacted the Alaska 
Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), Public Law 92-203, 85 Stat. 688 
(codified as amended at 43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), ``a comprehensive 
statute designed to settle all land claims by Alaska Natives.'' Alaska 
v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government, 522 U.S. 520, 523 
(1998). The Act revoked all but one of the existing Native reserves, 
repealed the authority for new allotment applications, and set forth a 
broad declaration of policy to settle land claims. See 43 U.S.C. 
1618(a), 1617(d), and 1601(b). However, the statutory text of ANCSA did 
not expressly revoke the Secretary's authority, under Section 5 of the 
IRA as extended by the 1936 amendment, to take land into trust in 
    Following the passage of ANCSA, the Department reexamined the 
Secretary's authority to use Section 5 of the IRA to acquire land in 
trust for Alaska Natives. In a memorandum issued on September 15, 1978, 
a former Associate Solicitor--Indian Affairs reviewed the question of 
whether ANCSA precludes the Secretary from acquiring trust lands in 
Alaska. ``Trust Land for the Natives of Venetie and Arctic Village,'' 
Memorandum to Assistant Secretary 6--Indian Affairs from Associate 
Solicitor--Indian Affairs, Thomas W. Fredericks, at 1 (Sept. 15, 1978) 
(hereinafter ``Fredericks Memorandum''). The Fredericks Memorandum, 
which relied on the declaration of policy enumerated in ANCSA, 
concluded that it would be an abuse of discretion for the Secretary to 
acquire lands in trust in Alaska. In 1980, the Department promulgated 
the Part 151 regulations, including the Alaska Exception, which states 
that ``[t]hese regulations do not cover the acquisition of land in 
trust status in the State of Alaska, except acquisitions for the 
Metlakatla Indian Community of the Annette Island Reserve or it 
members.'' 25 CFR 151.1. The Alaska Exception has remained the focus of 
public criticism and internal deliberation since its creation.
    In early 2001, the Solicitor for the Department rescinded the 
Fredericks Memorandum, after considering comments and legal arguments 
submitted by Alaska Native governments and groups, the State of Alaska, 
and leaders of the Alaska State legislature. See ``Rescinding the 
September 15, 1978, Opinion of the Associate Solicitor for Indian 
Affairs entitled `Trust Land for the Natives of Venetie and Arctic 
Village,' '' Memorandum to Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs from 
Solicitor John D. Leshy, at 1 (Jan. 16, 2001). The Solicitor concluded 
that ``there is substantial doubt about the validity of the conclusion 
reached in the 1978 Opinion'' and observed that ``[t]he failure of 
Congress to repeal [Section 5 of the IRA as extended to Alaska] when it 
was repealing others affecting Indian status in Alaska . . . raises a 
serious question as to whether the authority to take land into trust in 
Alaska still exists.'' Id. at 1.
    On the same day, the Department issued final rules amending the 
Part 151 regulations and promulgated a rule nearly identical to the 
Alaska Exception, which continued the ban on the acquisition of land in 
Alaska. 66 FR 3452, 3454 (Jan. 16, 2001). The Department stated that 
the amended regulation ``ought to remain in place for a period of three 
years during which time the Department will consider the legal and 
policy issues involved in determining whether the Department ought to 
remove the prohibition on taking Alaska lands into trust.'' Id. 
However, later that year, the Department withdrew the revised rule 
without comment, leaving in place the original Alaska exception in the 
regulations that prevented the government from acquiring land into 
trust in Alaska. 66 FR 56608, 56609 (Nov. 9, 2001).
    A number of recent developments, including a pending lawsuit, 
caused the Department to look carefully at this issue again. See 
Akiachak Native Cmty v. Salazar, 935 F. Supp. 2d 195 (D.D.C. 2013). 
Most significantly, the Indian Law and Order Commission, formed by 
Congress to investigate criminal justice systems in Indian Country, 
brought to light the shocking and dire state of public safety in Alaska 
Native communities and made specific recommendations to address these 
challenges. Indian Law and Order Commission, ``A Roadmap For Making 
Native America Safer: Report to the President and Congress of the 
United States,'' at 33-61 (November 2013). The Commission's report 
expressly acknowledged that ``a number of strong arguments can be made 
that [Alaska fee] land may be taken into trust and treated as Indian 
country'' and ``[n]othing in ANCSA expressly barred the treatment of 
former [Alaska] reservation and other Tribal fee lands as Indian 
country.'' Id. at 45, 52. Moreover, the Commission recommended allowing 
these lands to be placed in trust for Alaska Natives. See id. at 51-55. 
Similarly, the Secretarial Commission on Indian Trust Administration 
and Reform was established by former Secretary of the Interior Ken 
Salazar to evaluate the existing management and administration of the 
trust administration system, as well as review all aspects of the 
federal-tribal relationship. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, ``Report of 
the Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform,'' at 1 (Dec. 
10, 2013). This Commission endorsed the earlier findings and likewise 
recommended allowing Alaska Native tribes to put tribally owned fee 
simple land into trust. Id. at 65-67.
    In light of these urgent policy recommendations, the Department has 
carefully reexamined the legal basis for the Secretary's discretionary 

[[Page 76890]]

to take land into trust in Alaska under Section 5 of the IRA (25 U.S.C. 
465). In particular, we have reviewed the statutory text of ANCSA and 
other Federal laws and have concluded that this authority was never 
extinguished. Congress explicitly granted the Secretary authority to 
take land into trust in Alaska under the IRA and its amending 
legislation. See 25 U.S.C. 465, 25 U.S.C. 473a. Although Congress, 
through the enactment of ANCSA and other laws, repealed other statutory 
provisions relevant to Alaska Native lands, it has not passed any 
legislation that revokes the Secretary's authority to make trust land 
acquisitions in Alaska, as codified in 25 U.S.C. 473a and 25 U.S.C. 
465. ANCSA left these provisions and the Secretary's resulting land-
into-trust authority in Alaska intact. See Memorandum from Hilary C. 
Tompkins, Solicitor, to Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary--Indian 
Affairs (April 29, 2014). Thus, the Secretary retains discretionary 
authority to take land into trust in Alaska under Section 5 of the IRA. 
Moreover, the Department's policy is that there should not be different 
classes of federally recognized tribes.
    Pursuant to this discretionary authority, the Department earlier 
proposed a rule removing the Alaska Exception. See 79 FR 24648 (May 1, 
2014). After considering the comments to the proposed rule, discussed 
below, the Department has decided to eliminate the final sentence in 25 
CFR 151.1, which provides in relevant part that ``[t]hese regulations 
do not cover the acquisition of land in trust status in the State of 
Alaska, except acquisitions for the Metlakatla Indian Community of the 
Annette island Reserve or its members.'' With this rule, the Department 
does not seek to undo or contravene the settlement codified in ANCSA. 
Deletion of the Alaska Exception merely confirms the Department's 
existing statutory authority to take land into trust in Alaska. Any 
particular trust acquisition would occur only after full consideration 
of the land acquisition statutory and regulatory factors.

III. Comments on the Proposed Rule and the Department's Responses

    We received 105 written comment submissions and held three tribal 
consultation sessions in Anchorage, Alaska, Washington, DC, and by 
teleconference.\1\ Most comments either strongly supported or strongly 
opposed the rule. More than half of the commenters, including those who 
provided oral comments, affirmed their support for the rule. In fact, 
many stated that the rule is ``long overdue.'' Fewer than half of the 
commenters (but including the State of Alaska) opposed the Department's 
taking land into trust in Alaska. A few commenters did not express 
either support or opposition, but instead requested additional time and 
consultation. Other comments objected to the taking of any land in 
trust for any Indian tribes, described specific or hypothetical 
situations rather than the proposed rule, or were otherwise outside the 
scope of this rulemaking. The following discussion summarizes and 
responds to the comments received.

    \1\ In the tribal consultation session held in Washington, DC on 
June 26, 2014, the Department did not receive any comments or 

1. Legal Basis for Removal or Retention of the Alaska Exception

    According to several commenters, removal of the Alaska Exception 
would contravene the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). They 
assert that ANCSA was Congress's deliberate attempt to extinguish 
aboriginal land rights and provide Alaska with a solution different 
from, and more economically viable than, the reservation system in the 
lower 48 States. Many commenters highlight specific language in ANCSA 
stating that the law did not establish a reservation system or 
trusteeship. A few commenters stated that the Supreme Court's decision 
in Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government, 522 U.S. 520, 
523 (1998), which held that ANCSA lands conveyed in fee to an Alaska 
Native village from two Alaska Native corporations were not ``Indian 
country,'' was consistent with the intent of ANCSA.
    Furthermore, many commenters emphasize the fact that an 
overwhelming majority of Alaska Native delegates supported the 
enactment of ANCSA. They note that Congress transferred millions of 
dollars and millions of acres of land to the Alaska Native corporations 
created by ANCSA in exchange for extinguishing all claims of aboriginal 
right, title, use, or occupancy of land or water in Alaska. A commenter 
stated that to change the regulations now would compromise the benefits 
and protections due the State as a settling party to ANCSA, including 
the preservation of State jurisdiction over ANSCA lands. The commenter 
believes that retaining the Alaska Exception is required because the 
State provided public funds and ceded land selection priorities to 
which it was entitled under the Alaska Statehood Act.
    Other commenters state that there is no basis in law or policy for 
retaining the Alaska Exception. They point to a lack of express 
Congressional intent, in ANCSA and in other federal statutes, to either 
revoke the Secretary's authority under the IRA to take land into trust 
in Alaska or deny IRA benefits to Alaska tribes.
    Response: The Department disagrees that removal of the Alaska 
Exception is contrary to ANCSA. It is important to remember that Alaska 
Native land and history did not commence with ANCSA, and that ANCSA did 
not terminate Alaska Native tribal governments. As discussed above, 
while ANCSA revoked existing reservations in Alaska and established a 
separate statutory scheme in Alaska for the settlement of land claims, 
it did not repeal the Secretary's authority to take land into trust in 
Alaska under the IRA. There is nothing precluding the settlement 
codified in ANCSA and the Department's land-into-trust authority under 
the IRA from co-existing in Alaska. The Department agrees that the IRA 
provides legal authority for the removal of the Alaska Exception. In 
sum, notwithstanding support for the original enactment of ANCSA from 
various entities, Congress left intact the Secretary's authority 
pursuant to the IRA to take land into trust in Alaska, and the two 
statutory schemes can co-exist.
b. Categorical bar applicable to Alaska
    Several commenters stated that the removal of the Alaska Exception 
would remedy a discriminatory application of the IRA under the current 
regulations, ``so the privileges and immunities accorded Indian tribes 
in the Lower 48 are no longer withheld from Indian tribes in Alaska.'' 
Many of these commenters cited the analysis of the judge in the 
Akiachak case as support for removal. See Akiachak Native Cmty. v. 
Salazar, 935 F. Supp. 2d 195 (D.D.C. 2013). These commenters stated 
that the Alaska Exception unduly limits tribal sovereignty and has 
resulted in high unemployment, poor public safety, substandard 
education and substandard healthcare for Alaska Natives. See Indian Law 
and Order Comm'n, ``A Roadmap For Making Native America Safer: Report 
to the President and Congress of the United States,'' at 33-61 (Nov. 
2013). Other commenters claim that the removal of the Alaska exception 
will unnecessarily create tension between races and between urban and 
rural residents, instead of striving to make a State of one people.
    Response: This rule would remove a categorical obstacle to 
implementation of the IRA in Alaska, in a manner

[[Page 76891]]

similar to the administration of the IRA in the lower 48 States. The 
U.S. Government has a longstanding trust relationship with federally 
recognized Indian tribes and individual Indian beneficiaries. See 
August 20, 2014 Secretarial Order 3335, ``Reaffirmation of the Federal 
Trust Responsibility to Federally Recognized Indian Tribes and 
Individual Indian Beneficiaries.'' The Secretary's authority to acquire 
lands in trust for Indian tribes and individual Indians can be critical 
to carrying out the Federal trust responsibility. In addition, the 
Department's policy is that there should not be different classes of 
federally recognized tribes. In that regard, the Department has 
advocated for Congressional legislation clarifying that all federally 
recognized tribes may seek to place land into trust pursuant to the 
Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. See e.g. May 7, 2014 Testimony of 
Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs, United States 
Department of the Interior before the Senate Committee on Indian 
Affairs on S. 2188. After reviewing the comments in light of post-ANCSA 
Indian legislation and the findings of two blue-ribbon commissions, the 
Secretary has concluded that the blanket exclusion of Alaska tribes 
from its land into trust program is not warranted. Because there may be 
circumstances in which the exercise of trust acquisition authority is 
warranted and is consistent with both ANCSA and the United States' 
trust relationship with tribes, the Department has concluded that 
retention of the Alaska Exception is not appropriate. This rule gives 
Alaska Native tribes the option of applying to have fee land taken into 
trust through the same procedures as Indian tribes elsewhere in the 
United States, provided that all land acquisition requirements have 
been fulfilled.
c. Timing of the Rule
    Several commenters stated that the rule is premature because the 
Akiachak decision issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of 
Columbia is currently on appeal or being used for political purposes.
    Response: The district court's judgment in Akiachak is consistent 
with the conclusion we reach but is not the basis for the Department's 
decision to eliminate the Alaska Exception. We have independently 
concluded that there is no legal impediment to taking land into trust 
in Alaska, and there are sound policy reasons for giving Alaska tribes 
the opportunity to petition to take land into trust. Two blue-ribbon 
commissions composed of experts outside the federal government recently 
recommended deletion of the exception. These commissions discussed some 
of the reasons, and there are several others. The purpose of this rule 
is also grounded in the implementation of the Secretary's IRA 
authority. This rule represents an affirmative resolution to a 
longstanding controversy and internal discussions over whether the 
Secretary has authority to take land into trust in Alaska and whether 
the Secretary should, as a matter of policy, consider taking Native 
land in Alaska in trust.

2. Effects of Removing the Alaska Exception

a. On Alaska Native Tribes, in General
    Commenters in support of the rule claimed that the rule would help 
Alaska Native tribes. On the other hand, commenters opposed to the rule 
argued that the rule would not help, and may possibly harm, Alaska 
Native tribes. Several Alaska Native tribes provided their own 
experiences of living in isolation and poverty. They shared how 
taxation by the boroughs and a lack of trust land hinders their ability 
to exercise essential governmental functions. Commenters expressed the 
view that the rule would help Alaska Native tribes for the reasons 
listed below.
     The government's acquisition of land into trust on behalf 
of tribes in the rest of the United States has succeeded in allowing 
tribes to reconsolidate and preserve homelands;
     The rule would offer Alaska Native tribes the opportunity 
to reap certain benefits of having land taken into trust, and would:
    [cir] Allow Alaska Native tribes to regulate and protect their 
traditional land bases in Alaska and potentially obtain tax income to 
support the exercise of essential governmental functions, such as 
providing infrastructure and human services;
    [cir] Improve Alaska Native tribes' ability to maintain their 
cultural integrity, including language preservation, religion, 
traditional Native foods, and other aspects of tribal identity and 
    [cir] Provide a path to home ownership for individual tribal 
members and protection against predatory lending and foreclosures;
    [cir] Enhance the government-to-government relationship between 
Alaska Native tribes and the U.S. Government;
    [cir] Promote and strengthen tribal self-governance and self-
determination, which are closely associated with sovereignty over and 
management of tribal lands;
    [cir] Allow Alaska Native tribes to develop and implement effective 
co-management arrangements for subsistence and access to resources that 
could help stabilize communities;
    [cir] Allow tribal members, rather than corporation shareholders, 
to guide development to take more useful forms and improve standards of 
living for all tribal members;
    [cir] Allow for the eligibility of Federal programs that are 
currently restricted to trust lands, such as opportunities for economic 
development, housing, and environmental and cultural resource 
    [cir] Allow for healthier, safer, and more successful Native 
communities through the ability to exercise a sovereign right of self-
government; and
    [cir] Advance the policy goals established by Congress in the IRA, 
eight decades ago, of protecting tribal lands and advancing tribal 
    Other commenters stated that the rule would not help, or may even 
harm, Alaska Native tribes for the following stated reasons:
     The reservation system in the lower 48 has been 
unsuccessful, encourages isolation, stifles economic development (e.g., 
by providing no financial collateral to potential investors), has been 
an obstacle to tribal self-governance and control of land, and has 
resulted in deplorable health and crime conditions;
     The ANCSA corporate model has been successful. It better 
provides for self-sufficiency of Alaska Native tribes and Alaska's 
overall economy than a reservation system would;
     Allowing land to be taken into trust to advance social and 
economic development is unnecessary and would be detrimental to the 
State of Alaska; and
     Taking land into trust in Alaska:
    [cir] May have negative impacts on regional and village 
corporations that are currently providing beneficial opportunities for 
Alaska Natives;
    [cir] Will not have a unifying effect or produce a cohesive land 
base to further tribal self-determination, because the only lands 
eligible to be taken into trust in many villages are scattered tracts; 
    [cir] Will encourage dependency on the government.
    One commenter further asked how taking land in trust in Alaska will 
benefit the State of Alaska and Alaskans in general (beyond Alaska 
Native tribes).
    Response: While the potential benefits and drawbacks of taking any 
given property already owned by the tribe into trust may depend upon 
specific circumstances, Alaska Native tribes and individuals have the 
right to decide for

[[Page 76892]]

themselves whether to apply to have their land taken into trust. This 
rule will merely allow Alaska Native tribes the option to decide 
whether to apply to have land taken into trust. The Secretary reviews 
each individual application to take land into trust in accordance with 
the applicable statutory and regulatory criteria, including any 
jurisdictional problems, potential conflicts of land use, and the 
impact of removing a parcel from the tax rolls. In addition, the 
acquisition of land in trust in Alaska could foster economic 
development, enhance the ability of Alaska Native tribes to provide 
services to their members, and give additional tools to Alaska Native 
communities to address serious issues, such as child welfare, public 
health and safety, poverty, and shortages of adequate housing, on a 
local level independent of the State of Alaska. As a result, the final 
rule may at some point benefit the larger community in the State of 
Alaska as a whole, not only Alaska Natives. Finally, Alaska Native 
Corporations are an integral and important part of the landscape of 
native life in Alaska. The views of Alaska Native Corporations have 
been carefully considered in this initiative, and will be considered in 
the context of any particular application for trust acquisition. As a 
general matter, taking land into trust for Alaska Native tribes is 
unlikely to have a negative effect on Alaska Native Corporations, as 
these entities will continue to exist and hold lands separately from 
Alaska Native tribes.
b. Public Safety in Alaska Native Communities
    Several commenters pointed to the 2013 report of the Indian Law and 
Order Commission, a bi-partisan commission established by Congress to 
investigate criminal justice systems in Indian Country. The Report 
described in detail certain public safety issues facing Alaska Native 
communities, such as high rates of domestic abuse, sexual violence, 
suicide, death from alcohol abuse, and child maltreatment, which 
disproportionately affect Native Alaskan women and children. See Indian 
Law and Order Comm'n, ``A Roadmap For Making Native America Safer: 
Report to the President and Congress of the United States,'' (Nov. 
2013). As these commenters stated, many of the Alaska Native villages 
are remote and inaccessible by road, with limited or no law enforcement 
or access to substance abuse services. These commenters agreed with the 
Report's conclusion that allowing lands to be placed in trust could be 
an important component of addressing the lack of law enforcement 
capacity in Alaska Native villages and increasing the ability of Alaska 
Native tribes to combat what has become a dire public safety crisis in 
some villages. See, Id. at 45, 52-3. Commenters stated that the 
creation of trust lands in Alaska would provide a jurisdictional 
underpinning for tribes to implement a better functioning criminal 
justice system tailored to their communities' needs. Some commenters 
also believed that the existence of trust lands in Alaska would enhance 
tribal courts' ability to resolve conflicts in culturally relevant ways 
(through tribal courts and sentencing circles, for example), while 
affording tribal governments the ability to partner with the State more 
effectively and thereby create safer communities. A few commenters 
noted that the current State criminal justice system in Alaska Native 
communities is not effective, even with public safety officers in 
villages, and that tribal governments are in the best position to 
improve upon this system.
    Although no commenters disputed the Report's descriptions of the 
public safety challenges faced by Alaska Native communities, a few 
commenters disputed the Report's conclusion that taking land into trust 
could help address these challenges. These commenters stated that the 
State of Alaska has prioritized partnering with tribes and Alaska 
Native communities in order to address public safety challenges with 
more effective tools than taking land into trust. The commenters stated 
that there are other mechanisms for tribes to obtain federal funding 
and federal law enforcement resources.
    Response: The acute public safety problems in Alaska Native 
communities, which were thoroughly described in the 2013 Indian Law and 
Order Commission report, warrant making every practicable solution 
available to Alaska Native tribes. This rule will allow each Alaska 
Native tribe the opportunity to decide for itself whether applying to 
take certain lands into trust would provide the most effective tools 
and mechanisms to address public safety challenges in its community. 
Tribal governments are best positioned to assess the needs of their own 
communities, as well as identify workable solutions to address those 
needs. The opportunity to apply for acceptance of land into trust will 
therefore expand the range of possibilities available to Alaska Native 
tribes, and could provide them with much-needed additional tools to 
engender safer communities. Moreover, it will not have an effect on the 
ability of the State of Alaska to continue using its own authority 
under Public Law 280 to exert jurisdiction over natives and non-natives 
alike, even if lands are actually taken into trust. The rule simply 
increases the potential for a tribal government to address public 
safety, which would increase the government resources that could be 
focused on these crucially important issues.
c. Resource Management in Alaska
    Several commenters, including conservation and sportsmen 
organizations, opposed the rule on the basis that it could negatively 
affect resource management, including fish and game management, on 
Alaska lands. Specifically, these commenters asserted that the State of 
Alaska alone has the legal right to manage Alaska's fish and wildlife 
under ANCSA and the common use principle in Alaska's State 
Constitution. The commenters claim that taking land into trust in 
Alaska would not only destroy the well-functioning, uniform State 
management of these public resources, but also negate settled 
agreements and the work Alaska Native corporations have accomplished to 
integrate Native lands within an overall management scheme. Several 
commenters stated that this rule would result in complicated 
jurisdictional issues by splintering fish and game management among 
over 200 tribes and 11 regional Native corporations, while imposing a 
management regime that would cause confusion, duplication of positions, 
and additional costs. Likewise, several commenters stated that this 
rule would make sound conservation of fish and wildlife in Alaska 
virtually impossible, because major species traverse thousands of miles 
and cannot be effectively managed by piecemeal laws and efforts.
    Response: In evaluating any request to have land taken into trust 
in Alaska, the Department will consider, among other factors, any 
jurisdictional problems and potential conflicts of land use that may 
arise. Even assuming that particular lands are taken into trust and 
that fish and wildlife on those lands were placed under the authority 
of a tribal regulator, the State, federal and tribal regulatory 
authorities can work to identify ways to cooperate and collaborate in 
support of shared resource management goals, as they have in the 48 
contiguous states.
d. Jurisdictional Balances
    A few commenters opposed the rule because they believe that the 
rule would disrupt the ``intricate jurisdictional and land ownership 
balances'' established through the Alaska Statehood Act and ANCSA, 
instead creating ``confusing

[[Page 76893]]

patches of jurisdiction.'' In particular, the Attorney General of the 
State of Alaska stated that as a consequence of this rule, any trust 
land would be subject to concurrent state and tribal criminal 
jurisdiction, therefore creating confusion and subjecting nonmember 
residents to tribal laws and a tribal system in which they have no 
ability to participate. Commenters stated that a change to tribal 
jurisdiction over trust lands in Alaska could result in blocked access 
to rights and property, impede infrastructure development, hurt 
government resources, raise the tax burden for others due to loss of 
tax revenue, undermine essential State and local regulation, and 
compromise the ability of State and local governments to manage public 
resources, provide services, and ensure public safety. On the other 
hand, other commenters asserted that taking land into trust in Alaska 
would present fewer issues than in many other States.
    Lastly, some commenters inquired as to the circumstances in which 
lands placed in trust in Alaska will be considered ``Indian country'' 
for civil and criminal matters. They also asked if ``Indian country'' 
would include former ANCSA lands that are placed in trust.
    Response: The Department emphasizes that such jurisdictional issues 
will be considered during the process preceding any decision to take 
land into trust. Indeed, the Part 151 regulations implementing the IRA 
require the Secretary to consider jurisdictional problems and possible 
conflicts of land use when determining whether to approve any given 
application for land into trust. See 25 CFR 151.10 and 151.11. Such 
issues will be considered by the Department on a case-by-case basis 
with respect to each application for land into trust. In fact, the 
Supreme Court of the United States has recognized the Part 151 
regulations as being sensitive to inter-jurisdictional concerns. See 
City of Sherrill, N.Y. v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, 544 U.S. 
197, 220-21 (2005) (quoting 25 CFR 151.10(f)). If an application for 
ANCSA or other lands owned by a tribe meets the statutory and 
regulatory criteria, the land could be taken into trust.
    The Department's position has been that land held in trust by the 
United States on behalf of a federally recognized Indian tribe is 
``Indian country.'' As a legal matter, an Alaska tribe possessing trust 
lands would be able to exercise jurisdiction over such land consistent 
with the manner in which Indian tribes exercise authority over trust 
lands located in the rest of the country. Because Alaska is a ``Public 
Law 280'' State (as included by Public Law 85-615), Alaska state courts 
would also generally continue to possess jurisdiction over most crimes 
and most civil disputes occurring in Indian Country in Alaska.
e. Split Estates
    Several Alaska Native regional corporations that provided comments 
expressed concern that their ability to develop their subsurface estate 
could be affected if the surface estate owned by a tribe is acquired 
into trust by the United States. Specifically, they assert that in 
addition to obtaining the consent of village corporations, regional 
corporations would have to coordinate with tribal entities and the 
Federal government, and that there could be a ``taking'' of the 
subsurface rights if access to mineral development is denied. These 
commenters emphasized that the access of these corporations to their 
mineral estate is critical to the success of their economic development 
efforts. Several stated that their consent should be required for any 
applications for land into trust, in which they own the subsurface 
estate. They also asserted that the rule should include a mechanism to 
resolve disagreements between the subsurface and surface owners. A 
tribal commenter stated that in Oklahoma and other parts of Indian 
country, so-called ``split estates'' (where there are different owners 
of the surface and subsurface estates) are routinely part of fee-to-
trust transactions.
    Response: The statutory scheme in ANCSA allows for the split 
ownership of surface and subsurface rights in Alaska; the 
implementation of Section 5 of the IRA in Alaska would not impact this 
split ownership, but would instead allow tribes to apply to place any 
of their ownership rights (acquired through voluntary transactions) 
into trust. The Department has processed and approved land-into-trust 
applications from Indian tribes involving split estates under the Part 
151 regulations in other parts of the United States. In a number of 
cases, the Department has acquired a surface estate into trust at the 
request of a petitioning tribe that owned the surface estate.
    In the circumstances posed by the commenters, if the regional 
corporation or another party owns the subsurface estate, the rights to 
that subsurface estate are not affected by the acquisition of the 
surface estate into trust. It is well-settled under the law that a 
mineral estate remains dominant, and a subsurface owner has a right of 
reasonable access to the minerals below. See, e.g., Del Rio Drilling 
Programs v. United States, 35 Fed. Cl. 186 (1996). In such 
circumstances, the surface owner's estate is subservient to the owner 
of the mineral estate. This right would be preserved even if the 
surface estate is taken into trust. Meanwhile, Title XI of the Alaska 
National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) guarantees access to 
inholdings, which would include a subsurface estate. See 16 U.S.C. 
3170. Of course, the Department would encourage any surface owners and 
subsurface owners in Alaska to enter into surface use agreements 
regarding such access.
    Moreover, in the spirit of the Department's consultation policy 
with Alaska Native Corporations and the extensive notice provisions in 
Part 151, the Department will be interested in hearing the views of the 
corporations as to any application for land into trust before the 
Department on which corporations wish to comment.
f. Public Easements
    Commenters asked whether taking land into trust would affect 
existing easements and rights-of-way across the land, as well as the 
ability to obtain future easements and rights-of-way.
    Response: Land is regularly taken into trust by the Department 
subject to existing easements and rights-of-way. Once the land is in 
trust, anyone seeking a new easement or right-of-way across trust land 
would have to comply with 25 CFR part 169.
g. ANCSA and ANCSA's Revenue-Sharing Provisions
    One Alaska Native corporation suggested clarifying how the rule 
impacts ANCSA's provisions requiring revenue-sharing among regional 
corporations, village corporations, and at-large shareholders.
    Response: This rule will not have a direct effect on the ANCSA 
revenue-sharing provisions. Taking land into trust does not necessarily 
change the revenue-sharing arrangements, and this would be one of many 
factors considered in the Department's review of applications under 
Part 151.

3. Applicability of the Rule

    Several commenters suggested that certain land owned by Alaska 
Native corporations under ANCSA, land in ``selection'' status (not yet 
conveyed), or land designated and limited by ANCSA, should not be 
eligible to be taken into trust by virtue of being part of the 
settlement and as necessary to preserve Alaska Native corporations' 
ability to meet their statutory obligations. A few other commenters 
stated that no ANCSA lands should be excluded if a tribe acquires them. 
Another commenter

[[Page 76894]]

questioned whether former reservation land that the tribe acquired in 
fee would be eligible to be taken into trust.
    Response: An Alaska Native tribe or individual possessing fee title 
to any alienable land, including ANCSA lands, may apply to have that 
land taken into trust by the United States. The Department considers 
trust applications on a case-by-case basis in compliance with its 
regulations at 25 CFR part 151. Land selected under ANCSA, but not yet 
conveyed, is not eligible for being taken into trust since it is not 
owned by the tribe.

4. Implementation of the Rule

a. General Questions on Part 151
    A few commenters had general questions regarding the process for 
taking land into trust. Some asked whether land may be acquired in 
trust for Alaska Native individuals, in addition to Alaska Native 
    Response: The process, requirements, and criteria governing the 
acquisition of land in trust are outlined in 25 CFR part 151 and the 
Fee-to-Trust Handbook, which is available at www.bia.gov. The rule 
makes the land-into-trust process available to both Alaska Native 
tribes and Alaska Native individuals; however, separate restrictions 
and requirements apply to each. See 25 CFR 151.3 and 151.10(d).
b. Effect of Land Being Taken Into Trust
    A commenter asked multiple questions regarding the effect of land 
being taken into trust and the trust relationship, including whether 
BIA approval is needed for projects on trust land, and whether trust 
land may be proclaimed as an Indian reservation in Alaska.
    Response: Once land is held in trust by the United States, BIA 
approval is generally necessary whenever a third party (or someone 
other than the Indian or tribal landowner) seeks to obtain an interest 
in the land. For example, to obtain a right-of-way on trust land, an 
applicant must follow the procedures and requirements for obtaining BIA 
approval as set forth in 25 CFR 169. This rule does not address whether 
trust lands in Alaska may be proclaimed an Indian reservation under the 
IRA. See 25 U.S.C. 467.
c. BIA Implementation of the Rule
    Several tribes requested that, if the rule is implemented, 
applications to take land into trust in Alaska be expedited considering 
Alaska Natives have been denied the right for many decades. Others 
questioned whether BIA has the resources to handle an influx of these 
    Response: This Department's policy is to process trust applications 
as expeditiously as possible.
    A few commenters had questions about the types of State and local 
services that the Department would provide (e.g., education, title 
records, road building) if land were taken into trust in Alaska. They 
asked whether BIA has, or will have, the resources to support newly 
acquired trust land, without diluting current services.
    Response: The Department will review inquiries about services 
provided to a tribe requesting land in trust on a case-by-case basis. 
Furthermore, when reviewing applications to take land into trust under 
25 CFR 151, the Department considers ``whether the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs is equipped to discharge the additional responsibilities 
resulting from the acquisition of the land in trust status.'' 25 CFR 

5. Further Revisions, Consultations, and Public Notice and Comment

    Several commenters stated that additional revisions to Part 151 and 
additional consultations and/or public notice and comment are necessary 
to address Alaska-specific issues and potential impacts. A few 
commenters stated that the Department should engage in an educational 
effort after the rule is finalized to avoid conflict within Alaska 
communities. Several commenters stated that the current land-into-trust 
process in Part 151 should be revised. Among the suggestions were 
requests to revise the process to: (1) Allow neighboring jurisdictions 
and the public to comment on trust acquisitions (e.g., individuals and 
entities affected by public access over easements, those with hunting 
and fishing rights, and those with mining claims); (2) allow 
governments to comment on impacts other than just jurisdictional, 
taxation, and special assessment issues, as currently allowed in Part 
151; (3) provide more than a 30-day period in which to comment, given a 
potential flood of applications from over 200 Alaska tribes; and (4) 
address how ANCSA lands could be protected from alienation, adverse 
possession, taxes and certain judgments during the interim period of 
time between the transfer of Alaska Native corporation land to a tribe 
and the acquisition of land into trust status.
    Response: Many of the concerns expressed in these comments are 
already addressed by the current land-into-trust process. For example, 
depending on what type of review is conducted under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), members of the public may comment on 
the environmental impacts of a given trust acquisition application, 
including neighboring jurisdictions and those affected by public access 
easements. In addition, governments with regulatory jurisdiction over 
any land to be acquired in trust can and do comment on any of the 
applicable factors enumerated in sections 151.10 or 151.11. See County 
of Sauk, WI v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, 45 IBIA 201, 207-08 (2007). 
With regard to the 30-day period in which to comment, the BIA will 
consider requests for extensions on a case-by-case basis. If ANCSA 
lands are conveyed to a Native Alaskan tribe or individual, they are in 
no greater danger of being alienated or otherwise exposed to risks than 
any other parcel of property would be. If Interior encounters issues 
unique to Alaska that are not addressed through the existing process as 
it processes applications, it will consider appropriate actions to 
address those issues at that time.
    Some commenters also stated that if the Alaska Exception is 
removed, the current criteria considered by BIA in reviewing fee-to-
trust acquisitions should be revised to add specific criteria tailored 
to Alaska. Among the suggestions for revisions to the current 
regulatory criteria were: (1) Clarification as to whether land in 
Alaska will be treated as ``off-reservation'' in light of the fact that 
only one tribe has a reservation in Alaska or clarification as to 
whether former reservations will be considered; (2) clarification of 
how BIA will treat the distance from the boundaries of an Alaska Native 
tribe's reservation; (3) new criteria to require the Department to 
consider fully any effect on the ownership and governance by regional 
and village corporations; (4) new criteria to consider the history of 
ownership of the parcel; (5) new criteria to consider whether there are 
competing claims to the parcel (including State-owned rights-of-way); 
and (6) new criteria to consider whether trust status will affect 
residents who are not tribal members.
    Other commenters stated that there should not be any special 
provisions uniquely applicable to Alaska.
    Response: The Department's existing criteria already explicitly 
take into account many of the concerns listed above, and others may 
naturally arise and can be considered in the context of the existing 
criteria. Given that the existing process uses a fact-intensive, case-
by-case approach, the Department has concluded that the current fee-to-
trust process, as set forth in Part 151, can be made applicable to 
Alaska. For example, applications by Alaska Native

[[Page 76895]]

tribes without reservations, regardless of whether or not they 
previously had reservations, will be reviewed as landless tribes and 
examined under the ``off-reservation'' criteria in the regulations. 
Regional and village corporations may submit comments during the 
application review process. Any State-owned right-of-way would continue 
to exist, even after parcel is transferred to the United States in 
trust status. Likewise, any easements created by Section 17(b) of 
ANCSA, which cross ANCSA corporation lands held by the United States to 
ensure access by the public to publicly owned lands and major 
waterways, would be preserved in the event that a trust acquisition 
application is approved. See 85 Stat. 708. See also 43 CFR 2650.4-7.
    A few commenters submitted requests to extend comment period for 
the proposed rule beyond the extended comment deadline of July 30, 
    Response: The Department retained the extended deadline of July 30, 
after having determined that the 90-day public notice and comment 
period provided sufficient time for public review and input.

6. Miscellaneous

    One commenter stated that the Department should have prepared an 
environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the 
NEPA for this rulemaking, given the potential impacts to state and 
local taxing authorities and management of resources.
    Response: The final rule does not constitute a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The 
Department has established a categorical exclusion for ``regulations . 
. . whose environmental effects are too broad, speculative, or 
conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will later be 
subject to the NEPA process, either collectively or case-by-case.'' 43 
CFR 46.210(i). The environmental and other effects of this rulemaking 
are merely speculative and are not identifiable at this point. The 
final rule, by itself, does not guarantee that land will be taken into 
trust in Alaska, and does not transfer the title of any specific parcel 
of land. The rule simply allows for Alaska Native tribes to avail 
themselves of the Department's authority under the IRA governing the 
acquisition of land into trust; however, NEPA review is applicable for 
each of the Department's decisions to acquire land into trust on behalf 
of a tribe. The Department will consider and comply with any NEPA 
obligations in the context of a specific fee-to-trust transaction. See 
Bureau of Indian Affairs National Environmental Policy Act Guidebook 
Section 3.1 (2012). As a result, the issues like those raised by the 
commenter will be considered in the context of each application.
b. Federalism
    The State of Alaska Attorney General and Alaska CACFA claim that 
the Department failed to consult with the State as required by EO 
13132. They asserted that such consultation is required, because the 
rule would have substantial impacts on the State and its relationship 
with Federal and tribal governments, as well as the distribution of 
governmental authority throughout the States.
    Response: The State has the opportunity and right to participate 
during the Department's review of individual applications to take land 
into trust in Alaska, as permitted by Part 151. Whether EO 13132 
applies to taking land into trust in Alaska is best considered during 
the consideration of a particular parcel of land. As this rule does not 
take any specific land into trust in Alaska, the potential effects on 
certain matters addressed in EO 13132 are currently speculative.

IV. Determination To Remove the Alaska Exception

    Having reviewed and considered the foregoing comments, the majority 
of which supported the proposed rule, we have determined that removal 
of the Alaska Exception is supported by both legal and public policy 
considerations. As many of the commenters noted, there are a number of 
benefits that can result from having land taken into trust. In enacting 
the IRA, Congress recognized that the acquisition of land into trust 
status on behalf of Indian tribes can assist in furthering tribal self-
determination and self-governance. By providing a physical space where 
tribal governments may exercise sovereign powers to provide for their 
citizens, trust land can help promote tribal self-governance and self-
determination. The goals of tribal self-governance and self-
determination are equally as important to Alaska Native tribes as they 
are to tribes in the rest of the United States. This rule removes the 
categorical ban and provides for the Department to make a case-by-case 
determination on whether to take any given property in Alaska into 
trust. Those case-by-case determinations include consideration of 
important environmental effects and other impacts under NEPA, as well 
as consideration of the statutory and applicable regulatory criteria. 
The Secretary will retain full discretion to evaluate and determine 
whether to approve any particular trust application in Alaska.
    As explained in the responses to comments above, concerns with 
regard to resource management and jurisdictional issues are considered 
in the NEPA and Part 151 review process on a case-by-case basis for 
each land-into-trust application. The potential complexities mentioned 
by several commenters with regard to split estates, public easements, 
and ANCSA lands do not warrant maintaining the regulation's categorical 
ban on taking land into trust in Alaska.
    Both legal and public policy considerations therefore support the 
removal of the categorical exclusion of Alaska from the regulations 
implementing the Secretary's land-into-trust authority under Section 5 
of the IRA.

V. Procedural Requirements

A. Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 provides that the Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined 
that this rule is significant.
    E.O. 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for 
improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The E.O. directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce 
burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public 
where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with 
regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations 
must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking 
process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of 
ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these 
requirements. This rule is also part of the Department's commitment 
under the Executive Order to reduce the number and burden of 
regulations and provide greater notice and clarity to the public.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that this rule will not 
have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small 

[[Page 76896]]

under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).

C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. It will not result in the 
expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
or by the private sector of $100 million or more in any one year. The 
rule's requirements will not result in a major increase in costs or 
prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local 
government agencies, or geographic regions. Nor will this rule have 
significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, 
productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to 
compete with foreign-based enterprises because the rule is limited to 
acquisitions of Indian land.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or 
tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per 
year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, 
local, or tribal governments or the private sector. A statement 
containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
(2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

E. Takings (E.O. 12630)

    Under the criteria in E.O. 12630, this rule does not affect 
individual property rights protected by the Fifth Amendment nor does it 
involve a compensable ``taking.'' A takings implication assessment is 
therefore not required.

F. Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    Under the criteria in E.O. 13132, this rule has no substantial 
direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. The State has 
the opportunity and right to participate during the Department's review 
of individual applications to take land into trust in Alaska, as 
permitted by Part 151.

G. Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    This rule complies with the requirements of E.O. 12988. 
Specifically, this rule has been reviewed to eliminate errors and 
ambiguity and written to minimize litigation; and is written in clear 
language and contains clear legal standards.

H. Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175)

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal 
Governments,'' E.O. 13175 (59 FR 22951, November 6, 2000), and 512 DM 
2, we have evaluated the potential effects on federally recognized 
Indian tribes and Indian trust assets. The Department held consultation 
sessions to discuss the proposed rule in Anchorage, Alaska on June 9, 
2014, by teleconference on June 18, 2014, and in Washington, DC on June 
26, 2014. As noted above, the Department did not receive any comments 
at the consultation session in Washington, DC.

I. Paperwork Reduction Act

    OMB Control Number: 1076-0100.
    Title: Acquisition of Trust Land, 25 CFR 151.
    Brief Description of Collection: This information collection 
requires tribes and individual Indians seeking to have land taken into 
trust status to provide certain information. No specific form is used 
but respondents supply information so that the Secretary may make an 
evaluation and determination in accordance with established Federal 
factors, rules, and policies.
    Type of Review: Revision of currently approved collection.
    Respondents: Indian tribes and individuals.
    Number of Respondents: 1,060 on average (each year) (an increase of 
60 respondents per year).
    Number of Responses: 1,060 on average (each year) (an increase of 
60 responses per year).
    Frequency of Response: On occasion.
    Estimated Time per Response: (See table below).
    Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 74,400 hours (an increase of 
6,600 hours).

                                                      Average         Average        Estimated       Estimated
      Citation 25 CFR 151          Information       number of      number per    annual  burden   increase  in
                                                       hours           year            hours       burden  hours
151.9, 151.10 (On-Res), and     Application.....              50             850          42,500               0
                                Documentation                 40             120           4,800               0
                                 for NEPA_tribe
                                 and individual
                                Documentation                 20             200           4,000               0
151.9, 151.11 (Off-Res), and    Application.....              70             210          14,700           4,200
                                Documentation                 40             210           8,400           2,400
                                 for NEPA_tribe

    OMB Control No. 1076-0100 currently authorizes the collections of 
information contained in 25 CFR part 151. The annual burden hours for 
applicants (tribal governments applying to have land taken into trust) 
will increase by approximately 6,600 hours because of the increase in 
potential applications as a result of this rule.

J. National Environmental Policy Act

    This rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly 
affecting the quality of the human environment because these are 
``regulations . . . whose environmental effects are too broad, 
speculative, or conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis 
and will later be subject to the NEPA process, either collectively or 
case-by-case.'' 43 CFR 46.210(j). This rule does not guarantee that 
land will be acquired in trust in Alaska, it merely opens the door to 
the process to Alaska tribes and individual Indians in Alaska. 
Individual trust acquisitions in Alaska pursuant to the Part 151 
regulations constitute major Federal actions requiring NEPA compliance. 
Bureau of Indian Affairs National Environmental Policy Act Guidebook 
Section 3.1 (2012). No extraordinary circumstances exist that would 
require greater NEPA review.

K. Effects on the Energy Supply (E.O. 13211)

    This rule is not a significant energy action under the definition 
in E.O. 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

[[Page 76897]]

List of Subjects in 25 CFR Part 151


    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of the 
Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, amends part 151 in Title 25 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 151 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: R.S. 161: 5 U.S.C. 301. Interpret or apply 46 Stat. 
1106, as amended; 46 Stat. 1471, as amended; 48 Stat. 985, as 
amended; 49 Stat. 1967, as amended, 53 Stat. 1129; 63 Stat. 605; 69 
Stat. 392, as amended; 70 Stat. 290, as amended; 70 Stat. 626; 75 
Stat. 505; 77 Stat. 349; 78 Stat. 389; 78 Stat. 747; 82 Stat. 174, 
as amended, 82 Stat. 884; 84 Stat. 120; 84 Stat. 1874; 86 Stat. 216; 
86 Stat. 530; 86 Stat. 744; 88 Stat. 78; 88 Stat. 81; 88 Stat. 1716; 
88 Stat. 2203; 88 Stat. 2207; 25 U.S.C. 2, 9, 409a, 450h, 451, 464, 
465, 487, 488, 489, 501, 502, 573, 574, 576, 608, 608a, 610, 610a, 
622, 624, 640d-10, 1466, 1495, and other authorizing acts.

2. Revise Sec.  151.1 to read as follows:

Sec.  151.1  Purpose and scope.

    These regulations set forth the authorities, policy, and procedures 
governing the acquisition of land by the United States in trust status 
for individual Indians and tribes. Acquisition of land by individual 
Indians and tribes in fee simple status is not covered by these 
regulations even though such land may, by operation of law, be held in 
restricted status following acquisition. Acquisition of land in trust 
status by inheritance or escheat is not covered by these regulations.

    Dated: December 18, 2014.
Kevin K. Washburn,
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2014-30099 Filed 12-22-14; 8:45 am]