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Issue Overview

Many of the laws governing matters related to Native Americans are outdated or, in some cases, have never been reviewed by Congress. As a result, the executive branch has assumed or asserted powers that are the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress. In a great number of areas, policy is driven by executive fiat or court decisions, which has resulted in a great deal of uncertainty for Indian tribes. More specifically, a large number of tribes have difficulty developing natural resources on their land, due to onerous federal regulations and lengthy red tape. The Committee is working to update Indian laws for the 21st century in order to ensure more freedom and greater economic development opportunities for Indian tribes across the country. 

Key Legislation

H.R. 538 – the Native American Energy Act

Introduced by Rep. Don Young (AK), H.R. 538 addresses the federal government’s overregulation of Indian lands to promote energy development by Indian tribes and Alaska Native Corporations. The bill streamlines and standardizes duplicative federal processes for Indian energy development and empowers the tribes to develop more of their own natural resources.

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