department of interior bureau of indian affairs reorganization · pdf file 2019. 12....

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  • 1 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs

    Reorganization

    Geoff Strommer, Esq.

  • 2 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Overview 1. History and background of the DOI/BIA

    reorganization initiative 2. What DOI/BIA is actually proposing 3. Some of the major problems that Tribes

    have identified 4. Next steps in the process

  • 3 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    History and Background • On March 13, 2017, President Trump

    signed the Executive Order 13781, the “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch” – Asked for a plan from each agency on how to

    reorganize to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch

  • 4 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    History and Background

    • DOI requested Tribal input by letter May 16, 2017, and held Tribal listening sessions in May and June 2017

    • September 2017: Secretary of the Interior submitted reorganization proposals for the Department to OMB

  • 5 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    History and Background • The Department of the Interior includes

    various bureaus and agencies – Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Indian

    Education (BIE), Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, National Park Service, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey

  • 6 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    History and Background

    • DOI’s stated focus of reorganization proposal is developing “unified regions” – Currently 9 bureaus in 61 regions – Original proposal: 12 Regions, based on

    watershed boundaries and adjusted for state lines

    • Based on improving agency “functions” of recreation, conservation and permitting

  • 7 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Current Proposal • 13 Unified Regions • DOI’s Stated goals:

    – Provide better management on ecosystem basis

    – Improve interagency coordination and customer service

    – All DOI executives in the region have shared frame of reference

  • 8 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

  • 9 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Current Proposal • Each Unified Region will have a new

    Interior Regional Director (IRD) – Reports directly to Deputy Secretary – Focuses on three primary functions:

    recreation, permitting and conservation – Potentially rotates among each bureau

    regional director

  • 10 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Current Proposal

    • August 2018: DOI announced these Unified Regions will apply for all of Interior’s Bureaus except for the BIA, the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, and BIE

    • DOI seeking input on how the Indian Affairs regions and functions may be included in this reorganization

  • 11 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Some of the major problems that Tribes have identified

    • Lack of Consultation • Changes in the Regions

    – Structure of Regions – New Interior Regional Director positions

    • Concerns about DOI mission and the Trust Responsibility

    • Funding

  • 12 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Concerns about Consultation • Consultation is focused on BIA ONLY

    – Current consultation does not include the other Bureaus within DOI that have responsibilities to Tribes

    • Lack of Adequate Process – General listening sessions are not true

    government-to-government consultation – No written plan for Tribes to review

  • 13 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Concerns about Unified Regions

    • Current BIA regional boundaries have been meticulously designed and adjusted over time to address problems and to serve each tribe’s sovereign interest

    • New Unified Regions may disrupt services in some parts of the country – Loss of history and continuity of staffing

  • 14 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Concerns about Unified Regions

    • New boundaries will group together tribes with no similarities, and that have history of disputes

    • New boundaries will separate similar tribes – For example, tribes in UT would move from

    the current Western region (shared with similar tribes in NV and AZ), to the new Upper Colorado Basin Region (with WY, CO, NM)

  • 15 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Concerns about IRD • Concerns about the Interior Regional

    Director – Rotational nature of the position – Will this person understand the trust

    responsibility? – How does IRD balance big picture with

    responsibility to own bureau?

  • 16 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Concerns with DOI “Functions” and Trust Responsibility

    • Proposal says DOI’s functions are recreation, conservation and permitting

    • Trust Responsibility must remain part of DOI’s mission and apply to the new Unified Regions

  • 17 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Concerns about Funding • No cost-benefit analysis for

    Reorganization • BIA already underfunded and understaffed

    – BIA says no tribal funds will be used for the reorganization, however, new regions are being created

  • 18 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Next steps • The final plan is due to the White House in

    October • Comment deadline on proposal extended • Send comments by midnight, Saturday,

    September 22, 2018 to [email protected]

    mailto:[email protected]

  • 19 HOBBS STRAUS DEAN & WALKER, LLP WASHINGTON, DC | PORTLAND, OR | OKLAHOMA CITY, OK | SACRAMENTO, CA | ANCHORAGE, AK

    Questions?

    For more information, please contact:

    Geoff Strommer [email protected]

    503-242-1745

    mailto:[email protected]