SANTA YNEZ — The Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved of the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act of 2012 for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, which authorizes the tribe to enter into business and residential leases without further approval from the bureau.
According to a notice on the Federal Register website, the HEARTH Act allows tribes to negotiate and enter into agricultural and business leases of tribal trust lands with primary terms of 25 years and up to two renewal terms of 25 years each without getting approval from the Secretary of the Interior. Tribes can also enter into leases for residential, recreational, religious, or educational purposes for a 75-year primary term without the Secretary’s approval.
Tribes participating in the HEARTH Act develop leasing regulations, which include an environmental review process, and must obtain the secretary’s approval of those regulations before entering into leases. The secretary must approve of the tribal regulations if they are consistent with the Department of the Interior’s leasing regulations and provide for environmental review process that is in line with the HEARTH Act’s requirements.
— Josh Grega