CSAC Bulletin Article

Department of the Interior Finalizes Fee-to-Trust Regulations

January 4, 2024

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has finalized changes to the Part 151 fee-to-trust regulations. The new rules are effective on January 11, 2024.

The final version of the rule is largely consistent with the proposed regulations that were put forth by the DOI in December of 2022. The regulations are designed to significantly streamline BIA’s process for taking land into trust for the benefit of Indian tribes. As noted in the final rule, the current average length of time for a tribe to receive a final fee-to-trust decision is 985 days; the new regulations establish a 120-day timeframe.

Although many of the issues we advocated for were not included in the final rule, it does require the DOI to consider “potential conflicts of land use” when reviewing applications for off-reservation acquisitions and initial Indian reservations. This request, among a number of others, was advocated for by CSAC.

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