25 U.S.C. § 3504 Leases, Business Agreements, and Rights-Of-Way Involving Energy Development Or Transmission

LibraryUnited States Statutes
Edition2023
CurrencyCurrent through P.L. 118-34 (published on www.congress.gov on 12/26/2023), except for [P. L. 118-31]
Year2023
Citation25 U.S.C. § 3504

(a) Leases and business agreements

In accordance with this section-

(1) an Indian tribe may, at the discretion of the Indian tribe, enter into a lease or business agreement for the purpose of energy resource development on tribal land, including a lease or business agreement for-

(A) exploration for, extraction of, processing of, or other development of the energy mineral resources of the Indian tribe located on tribal land;

(B) construction or operation of-

(i) an electric production, generation, transmission, or distribution facility (including a facility that produces electricity from renewable energy resources) located on tribal land; or

(ii) a facility to process or refine energy resources, at least a portion of which have been developed on or produced from tribal land; or

(C) pooling, unitization, or communitization of the energy mineral resources of the Indian tribe located on tribal land with any other energy mineral resource (including energy mineral resources owned by the Indian tribe or an individual Indian in fee, trust, or restricted status or by any other persons or entities) if the owner, or, if appropriate, lessee, of the resources has consented or consents to the pooling, unitization, or communitization of the other resources under any lease or agreement; and

(2) a lease or business agreement described in paragraph (1) shall not require review by, or the approval of, the Secretary under section 81 of this title, or any other provision of law (including regulations), if the lease or business agreement-

(A) was executed-

(i) in accordance with the requirements of a tribal energy resource agreement in effect under subsection (e) (including the periodic review and evaluation of the activities of the Indian tribe under the agreement, to be conducted pursuant to subparagraphs (D) and (E) of subsection (e)(2)); or

(ii) by the Indian tribe and a tribal energy development organization for which the Indian tribe has obtained a certification pursuant to subsection (h); and

(B) has a term that does not exceed-

(i) 30 years; or

(ii) in the case of a lease for the production of oil resources, gas resources, or both, 10 years and as long thereafter as oil or gas is produced in paying quantities.

(b) Rights-of-way

An Indian tribe may grant a right-of-way over tribal land without review or approval by the Secretary if the right-of-way-

(1) serves-

(A) an electric production, generation, transmission, or distribution facility (including a facility that produces electricity from renewable energy resources) located on tribal land;

(B) a facility located on tribal land that extracts, produces, processes, or refines energy resources; or

(C) the purposes, or facilitates in carrying out the purposes, of any lease or agreement entered into for energy resource development on tribal land;

(2) was executed-

(A) in accordance with the requirements of a tribal energy resource agreement in effect under subsection (e) (including the periodic review and evaluation of the activities of the Indian tribe under the agreement, to be conducted pursuant to subparagraphs (D) and (E) of subsection (e)(2)); or

(B) by the Indian tribe and a tribal energy development organization for which the Indian tribe has obtained a certification pursuant to subsection (h); and

(3) has a term that does not exceed 30 years.

(c) Renewals

A lease or business agreement entered into, or a right-of-way granted, by an Indian tribe under this section may be renewed at the discretion of the Indian tribe in accordance with this section.

(d) Validity

No lease or business agreement entered into, or right-of-way granted, pursuant to this section shall be valid unless the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way is authorized by subsection (a) or (b).

(e) Tribal energy resource agreements

(1) IN GENERAL.-

(A) AUTHORIZATION.-On or after December 18, 2018, a qualified Indian tribe may submit to the Secretary a tribal energy resource agreement governing leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way under this section.

(B) NOTICE OF COMPLETE PROPOSED AGREEMENT.-Not later than 60 days after the date on which the tribal energy resource agreement is submitted under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall-

(i) notify the Indian tribe as to whether the agreement is complete or incomplete;

(ii) if the agreement is incomplete, notify the Indian tribe of what information or documentation is needed to complete the submission; and

(iii) identify and notify the Indian tribe of the financial assistance, if any, to be provided by the Secretary to the Indian tribe to assist in the implementation of the tribal energy resource agreement, including the environmental review of individual projects.

(C) EFFECT.-Nothing in this paragraph precludes the Secretary from providing any financial assistance at any time to the Indian tribe to assist in the implementation of the tribal energy resource agreement.

(2) PROCEDURE.-

(A) EFFECTIVE DATE.-

(i) IN GENERAL.-On the date that is 271 days after the date on which the Secretary receives a tribal energy resource agreement from a qualified Indian tribe under paragraph (1), the tribal energy resource agreement shall take effect, unless the Secretary disapproves the tribal energy resource agreement under subparagraph (B).

(ii) REVISED TRIBAL ENERGY RESOURCE AGREEMENT.-On the date that is 91 days after the date on which the Secretary receives a revised tribal energy resource agreement from a qualified Indian tribe under paragraph (4)(B), the revised tribal energy resource agreement shall take effect, unless the Secretary disapproves the revised tribal energy resource agreement under subparagraph (B).

(B) DISAPPROVAL.-The Secretary shall disapprove a tribal energy resource agreement submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) or (4)(B) only if-

(i) a provision of the tribal energy resource agreement violates applicable Federal law (including regulations) or a treaty applicable to the Indian tribe;

(ii) the tribal energy resource agreement does not include one or more provisions required under subparagraph (D); or

(iii) the tribal energy resource agreement does not include provisions that, with respect to any lease, business agreement, or right-of-way to which the tribal energy resource agreement applies-

(I) address amendments and renewals;

(II) address the economic return to the Indian tribe under leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way;

(III) establish requirements for environmental review in accordance with subparagraph (C);

(IV) ensure compliance with all applicable environmental laws, including a requirement that each lease, business agreement, and right-of-way state that the lessee, operator, or right-of-way grantee shall comply with all such laws;

(V) provide for public notification of final approvals;

(VI) establish a process for consultation with any affected States regarding off-reservation impacts, if any, identified under subparagraph (C)(i);

(VII) describe the remedies for breach of the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way;

(VIII) require each lease, business agreement, and right-of-way to include a statement that, if any of its provisions violates an express term or requirement of the tribal energy resource agreement pursuant to which the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way was executed-

(aa) the provision shall be null and void; and

(bb) if the Secretary determines the provision to be material, the Secretary may suspend or rescind the lease, business agreement, or right-of-way or take other appropriate action that the Secretary determines to be in the best interest of the Indian tribe;

(IX) require each lease, business agreement, and right-of-way to provide that it will become effective on the date on which a copy of the executed lease, business agreement, or right-of-way is delivered to the Secretary in accordance with regulations promulgated under paragraph (8);

(X) include citations to tribal laws, regulations, or procedures, if any, that set out tribal remedies that must be exhausted before a petition may be submitted to the Secretary under paragraph (7)(B);

(XI) in accordance with the regulations promulgated by the Secretary under paragraph (8), require that the Indian tribe, as soon as practicable after receipt of a notice by the Indian tribe, give written notice to the Secretary of-

(aa) any breach or other violation by another party of any provision in a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way entered into under the tribal energy resource agreement; and

(bb) any activity or occurrence under a lease, business agreement, or right-of-way that constitutes a violation of Federal environmental laws;

(XII) include a certification by the Indian tribe that the Indian tribe has-

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