Assistant Secretary Washburn Announces Solicitation of Grant Proposals to Assess and Develop Tribal Energy and Mineral Resources

$11 million available in 2014 for federally recognized tribal communities

Source: Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced that the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED)  is soliciting grant proposals from federally recognized tribes for projects that promote the assessment and development of energy and mineral resources on Indian trust lands.  IEED has $11 million available in FY 2014 for grants, which is a historic level of investment that will support tribes seeking to put their energy and mineral assets to work for their communities.

“The IEED Energy and Mineral Development Program is another example of how Indian Affairs is working to assist tribes in realizing and maximizing the potential of their energy and mineral resources,” Assistant Secretary Washburn said.  “This solicitation will provide tribal communities owning energy and mineral resources the opportunity and financial support to conduct projects that will evaluate, find and document their energy and mineral assets, and bring those assets to market.”

Energy and mineral development on Indian trust lands plays a critical role in creating jobs and generating income throughout Indian Country while also contributing to the national economy.  All natural resources produced on Indian trust lands had an estimated economic impact of $12.08 billion, with over 85 percent of this impact derived from energy and mineral development on tribal lands, according to the Department of the Interiors Economic Contributions report issued in July 2012.  The report also noted that out of an estimated 126,000 natural resources-related jobs on tribal lands in Fiscal Year 2011, 88.7 percent were directly associated with energy and mineral development. Energy and mineral resources generated more than $970 million in royalty revenue paid to Indian mineral owners in 2013. Income from energy and minerals is by far the largest source of revenue generated from Indian trust lands.

IEED’s Division of Energy and Mineral Development, through its Energy and Mineral Development Program (EMDP), annually solicits proposals from federally recognized tribes for energy and mineral development projects that assess, locate and inventory energy and mineral resources, or perform feasibility or market studies which are used to promote the use and development of  energy and mineral resources on Indian lands.

Energy and mineral resources may include either conventional such as oil, natural gas or coal, or renewable energy resources such as biomass, geothermal or hydroelectric.  Mineral resources include industrial minerals such as sand and gravel; precious minerals such as gold, silver and platinum; base minerals including lead, copper and zinc; and ferrous metal minerals such as iron, tungsten and chromium.

The EMDP is mandated under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (25 USC 3501 et seq.) which requires the Secretary of the Interior to “establish and implement an Indian energy resource development program to assist consenting Indian tribes and tribal energy resource development organizations…[and]…provide grants…for use in carrying out projects to promote the integration of energy resources, and to process, use, or develop those energy resources, on Indian land….”

EMDP is funded under the non-recurring appropriation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs budget and is based on available funds.  It is an annual program, and uses a competitive evaluation process to select several proposed projects to receive an award.  Since 1982, the EMDP has invested about $90 million in developing energy and mineral resource information on Indian lands. These funds have defined more than $800 billion of potential energy and mineral resources. 

The Department published a solicitation on the website on June 9, 2014.  Proposals must be submitted no later than 75 calendar days from the announcement date.  The website posting contains all of the guidelines for writing a proposal and instructions for submitting a completed proposal to the DEMD office.

The Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs oversees the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, which implements the Indian Energy Resource Development Program under Title V of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  IEED’s mission is to foster stronger American Indian and Alaska Native communities by helping federally recognized tribes with employment and workforce training programs; developing their renewable and non-renewable energy and mineral resources; and increasing access to capital for tribal and individual American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses.  For more information about IEED programs and services, visit the Indian Affairs website at



Everett gives OK for new owner to take over riverfront land

By Noah Haglund, The Herald

EVERETT — Developers got the go-ahead Wednesday to sell more than 100 acres of former industrial land along the Snohomish River, after a City Council majority endorsed the deal.

With the city’s OK, Polygon Northwest of Bellevue is on track to take over the Riverfront property by early July from San Diego developer OliverMcMillan.

Millions of dollars in taxpayer money have been invested in hopes of transforming the former industrial wastelands off I-5 into a dynamic retail zone buffered by new neighborhoods.

The deal comes with plenty of strings attached — for the city and developer alike. The council’s support of three documents was necessary to transfer rights and responsibilities from one owner to the next.

Wednesday’s council vote was 6-1 in support, despite the late discovery of an apparent conflict of interest involving a city consultant that council members called an unfortunate “black cloud.”

“I’m personally not worried about this in terms of the broader picture,” said Councilman Scott Bader, who expressed confidence in Polygon’s ability to do the work.

When the meeting concluded, Polygon’s principals said they were excited to begin and demonstrated as much by applying for grading permits. The company wants to break ground on single-family houses by next year.

The Riverfront area stretches from Lowell north to Pacific Avenue. The largest part is the former city landfill, which covers about 60 acres. South of the landfill property lies the 40-acre site of the former Simpson Paper Co. mill, to the north the 17-acre site of the former Eclipse Mill.

At total buildout, zoning there allows up to 1,400 homes plus nearly a million square feet of commercial space.

Under the city-developer agreements, Polygon must build at least 400,000 square feet of retail space on the former landfill site by mid 2017. By that same deadline, the builder also must construct small shops and at least at least 100 homes or hotel rooms.

Those benchmarks are intended to give the community its money’s worth for all of the public investment.

The city has shepherded along cleanup efforts at two former mill sites and the old city dump where the Everett Tire Fire broke out in 1984.

The city built the new 41st Street overpass and a roundabout at the south end of the property. It’s working on a new access road from the north.

At the old landfill, the city performed extensive work to stabilize the ground though a process called surcharging, city public works director Dave Davis said. The process involves layering on dirt to compress the refuse and underlying peat.

In 2008, OliverMcMillan paid Everett $8 million for the property. It was the culmination of a carefully structured deal meant to ensure an appropriate mix of businesses and neighborhoods.

After the recession hit, progress slowed.

OliverMcMillan did grade the southern portion of the property, Davis said. It also completed creek and wetland mitigation as well as engineering and planning work.

In the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s vote, city leaders received a series of assurances – from city staff, consultants and the Bellevue developer’s representatives — that Polygon is up to taking over.

A problem with one of those reports arose at this week’s council meeting. It involves a business relationship that Jim Reinhardsen of Seattle-based Heartland LLC has with Polygon.

Reinhardsen on May 15 gave a glowing presentation about Polygon to the City Council. As it turns out, Reinhardsen is assisting Polygon with a potential land purchase in another county.

“This transaction has no relationship to the Everett Riverfront transaction nor did it influence our conclusions with respect to Polygon’s fit for the Riverfront project,” Reinhardsen wrote in a letter to the city.

Everett had paid him $23,000 to assess Polygon’s reputation with cities, lenders and other business partners from its past developments, city finance director Debra Bryant said. Reinhardsen has performed $1.3 million in consulting work for Everett since 1997.

Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher said Reinhardsen’s competing business connections would be unacceptable in any context.

“It’s flabbergasting that this would happen,” she said.

Stonecipher ended up the only vote opposed, saying she wanted more time for review.

“At this point, this is kind of like ‘Trust us, we’re going to do something really neat,'” she said. “That may very well be, but we don’t have very many details on that.”

Councilman Scott Murphy and other colleagues echoed Stonecipher’s disappointment with Reinhardsen, but said the overall evidence suggests Polygon is up to the job.

“From my point of view, I didn’t place much weight on his report because it was very general in nature and not very specific,” Murphy said.

The council also heard from an accountant who gave Polygon high marks for its financial capabilities.

While primarily a home builder, Polygon does have experience teaming up with commercial developers. The communities it has built dot Snohomish County, and can be found in Bothell, Lake Stevens and Mill Creek. The company also has worked throughout in King County, where one project, in Kent, also occupies a former landfill. Polygon also has been active in Oregon as well.

Under the new agreements, Polygon is to pay the city $350,000 for closing costs and other provisions. Also, Polygon will agree to build some improvements that were previously city obligations. They include some recreational trails that connect into the existing trail system, as well as picnic shelters and wetlands.

Transferring the work will save the city an estimated $875,000, said Tim Benedict, an attorney for the city.

As part of the deal, OliverMcMillan will certify that the Riverfront property’s sale price will not exceed what it’s already spent to buy, develop and improve the land.

Polygon is not disclosing the price.

“I think that this is a better deal for the city than the deal we had with OliverMcMillan,” Councilman Paul Roberts said. “I think the uncertainties are real, but I think we had the same kind of uncertainties with OliverMcMillan.”

Washburn Proposes Changes to Land-into-Trust Procedures to Achieve Greater Transparency, Clarity and Certainty for Tribes

Proposal Released for Public Review and Comment for 60 days
WASHINGTON – Today, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn issued for public comment a proposed rule designed to demonstrate the Administration’s commitment to restoring tribal homelands and furthering economic development on Indian reservations.  The proposed rule will provide for greater notice of land-into-trust decisions and clarify the mechanisms for judicial review depending on whether the land is taken into trust by the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, or by an official of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  During the public comment window, Indian Affairs will also conduct tribal consultation.
For the Bureau of Indian Affairs trust acquisition decisions, which are generally for non-gaming purposes and constitute the vast majority of land-into-trust decisions, the proposed rule will ensure that parties have adequate notice of the action and clarifies the requirement that exhaustion of administrative remedies within the Department is necessary to seek judicial review. 
“The principal purpose of this proposed rule is to provide greater certainty to tribes in their ability to develop lands acquired in trust for purposes such as housing, schools and economic development,” said Assistant Secretary Washburn. “For such acquisitions, the proposed rule will create a ‘speak now or forever hold your peace moment’ in the land-into-trust process.  If parties do not appeal the decision within the administrative appeal period, tribes will have the peace of mind to begin development without fear that the decision will be later overturned.” 
For decisions made by the Assistant Secretary, which generally are for gaming or other complex acquisitions, the proposed rule clarifies that the Assistant Secretary’s decision is a final decision and allows the Assistant Secretary to proceed with taking the land-into-trust with no waiting period.  Because a simple change in ownership status itself is not an act that causes irreparable harm in many cases, it will place the burden on litigants to come forth and demonstrate such harm if they wish to prevent the trust acquisition from occurring, while not affecting the right to judicial review of the basic decision. 
The proposed rule issued today would also effectively repeal a 1996 procedural provision by omitting a 30-day waiting period which, as a result of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision, now is unnecessary. 
In 1996, the Department revised its land-into-trust regulations in Part 151 by establishing a 30-day waiting period following publication of a Departmental determination to take land into trust for an Indian tribe.  At that time, prevailing federal court decisions held that the Quiet Title Act (QTA), 28 U.S.C. 2409a, precluded judicial review of such determinations after the United States acquired title to the land in trust.  The waiting period was intended to ensure that interested parties had the opportunity to seek judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 704) before the Secretary acquired title to land in trust.  See 61 FR 18082 (Apr. 24, 1996). 
The legal landscape changed, however, on June 18, 2012, when the Supreme Court issued its decision in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, 132 S. Ct. 2199 (2012).  In that decision, the Supreme Court held that the Quiet Title Act does not bar Administrative Procedure Act challenges to the Department’s determination to take land in trust even after the United States acquires title to the property, unless the aggrieved party asserts an ownership interest in the land as the basis for the challenge.  Following Patchak, the 1996 procedural rule establishing a 30-day waiting period before taking land into trust to allow for Administrative Procedure Act review is no longer needed.  Unless judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act is precluded on some other basis, such as standing, timeliness, or a failure to exhaust administrative remedies, judicial review of the Secretary’s decision is available under the Administrative Procedure Act even after the Secretary has acquired title to the property.
The proposed rule will be available in the federal register at  Public comments may be submitted to the Department for sixty days following the proposed rule’s publication in the Federal Register.  Tribal Consultation on the proposed rule will occur on June 24, 2013, in Reno, Nevada.