[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 43 (Monday, March 5, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13137-13138]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5282]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of the Secretary


Draft Policy on Consultation with Alaska Native Claims Settlement 
Act Corporations

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, Interior

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Department of the Interior is requesting comments on its 
draft policy on consultation with Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act 
corporations.

DATES: Submit comments by April 27, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send comments on the draft policy to: attn: Alaska 
Consultation Policy, Office of the Secretary, 1849 C Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20240; Email: consultation@doi.gov. You can request 
copies of the draft policy by sending a letter or email to one of the 
above addresses or by calling 202-208-4503. You can also find the draft 
policy online at www.doi.gov/tribes/tribal-consultation-policy.cfm

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Sisk, Department of the 
Interior, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240. Email: Jennifer_Sisk@ios.doi.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Order 13175 directs all Federal 
agencies to ensure consultation and coordination with Indian tribal 
governments on Federal actions that will affect tribal governments. 
Under Public Law 108-199, this consultation policy also applies to 
corporations established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act 
(ANCSA). Federal agencies are therefore required to consult and 
coordinate with ANCSA corporations on the same basis as Indian tribes 
in developing policies that would affect these corporations and their 
tribal shareholders. To implement these requirements, the Department is 
proposing and seeking comments on a draft consultation policy to govern 
all activities that will affect ANCSA corporations. Copies of the draft 
policy are available at the address given in the ADDRESSES section of 
this notice.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.
    The Department of the Interior proposed policy on consultation with 
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Corporations is set forth below.

Department of the Interior Policy on Consultation With Alaska Native 
Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporations

I. Preamble

    In compliance with Congressional direction, this Policy creates a 
framework for consulting with Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act 
(ANCSA) Corporations. Pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement 
Act (ANCSA) of 1971, ANCSA Corporations were established to provide for 
the economic and social needs, including the health, education and 
welfare of their Native shareholders. Congress also required that 
``[t]he Director of the Office of Management and Budget [and all 
Federal agencies] shall hereafter consult with Alaska Native 
corporations on the same basis as Indian tribes under Executive Order 
No. 13175.'' \1\
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    \1\ Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004, Public Law 108-199, 
Div. H. Sec.  161, 118 Stat. 3, 452 (2004) as amended by 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, Public Law. 108-447, Div. H., 
Title V. Sec.  518, 118 Stat. 2809, 3267 (2004).

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[[Page 13138]]

    The Department of the Interior (Department) distinguishes the 
Federal relationship to ANCSA Corporations from the government-to-
government relationship between the Federal government and each 
federally recognized Indian Tribe, and this Policy will not diminish in 
any way that relationship and the consultation obligations towards 
federally recognized Indian Tribes. Recognizing the distinction, the 
Department is committed to fulfilling its ANCSA Corporation 
consultation obligations by adhering to the framework described in this 
Policy. When taking departmental action that has a substantial direct 
affect on ANSCA Corporations, the Department will initiate consultation 
with ANSCA Corporations.

II. Guiding Principles

    This Policy broadly defines provisions for improving the 
Department's consultation processes with ANCSA Corporations to the 
extent that a conflict does not exist with applicable law or 
regulations. The Department recognizes and respects the distinct, 
unique, and individual cultural traditions and values of each Alaska 
Native person and the statutory relationship between ANCSA Corporations 
and the Federal Government. When concerns expressed by Indian Tribes 
and ANCSA Corporations substantively differ, Departmental officials 
shall be mindful of Indian Tribes' right to self-governance and Tribal 
sovereignty.
    Consultation between the Department and ANCSA Corporations will 
involve appropriate Departmental officials and appropriate ANCSA 
Corporation officials. The appropriate Departmental officials are 
knowledgeable about the matters at hand, are authorized to speak for 
the Department, and exercise delegated authority in the disposition and 
implementation of an agency action. The appropriate Departmental 
officials will identify consulting parties early in the planning 
process and provide a meaningful opportunity for ANCSA Corporations to 
participate in the consultation policy as described in Section VII of 
this Policy. Department officials will make the effort to fully 
participate in the consultation process, ensure continuity, and 
demonstrate commitment to the process.
    Consultation is a deliberative process that aims to create 
effective collaboration and informed Federal decision-making. The 
process creates an opportunity for equal input from all affected ANCSA 
Corporations. Federal consultation that is meaningful, effective, and 
conducted in good faith makes the Department's operation and governance 
practices more efficient. To that end, Bureaus and Offices will seek 
and promote cooperation and participation between agencies with 
overlapping jurisdiction, special expertise, or related 
responsibilities regarding a Departmental Action with ANCSA Corporation 
Implications. Efficiencies that derive from including ANCSA 
Corporations in the Department's decision-making processes through 
consultation will help to ensure that future Federal action is 
achievable, comprehensive, long-lasting, and reflective of ANCSA 
Corporation input.

III. Definitions

    Definitions of terms provided in the Department of the Interior 
Policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes apply to this Policy. 
Additional terms are defined in this section.
    Departmental Action with ANCSA Corporation Implications--Any 
Departmental regulation, rulemaking, policy, guidance, legislative 
proposal, grant funding formula changes, or operational activity that 
may have a substantial direct effect on an ANCSA Corporation, including 
but not limited to:
    1. ANCSA Corporation land, water areas and resources;
    2. The ability of an ANCSA Corporation to participate in 
Departmental programs for which it qualifies.
    This term, however, does not include matters that are in litigation 
or in settlement negotiations, or matters for which a court order 
limits the Department's discretion to engage in consultation.
    ANCSA Corporation--Any Alaska Native village corporation, urban 
corporation, or regional corporation as defined in, or established 
pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.\2\
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    \2\ 43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.
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    ANCSA Corporation Official or Designee--An official designated in 
writing by an ANCSA Corporation.

IV. Accountability and Reporting

    The provisions in Section IV, entitled Accountability and 
Reporting, of the Department of the Interior Policy on Consultation 
with Indian Tribes, shall apply to this Policy, with adjustments as 
necessary to account for the unique status, structure, and interests of 
ANCSA Corporations as appropriate and allowable.

V. Training

    The provisions in Section V, entitled Training, of the Department 
of the Interior Policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes shall apply 
to this Policy, with adjustments as necessary to account for the unique 
status, structure, and interests of ANCSA Corporations as appropriate 
and allowable.

VI. Innovative and Effective Consultation Practices

    The provisions in Section VI, entitled Innovative and Effective 
Consultation Practices, of the Department of the Interior Policy on 
Consultation with Indian Tribes shall apply to this Policy, with 
adjustments as necessary to account for the unique status, structure, 
and interests of ANCSA Corporations as appropriate and allowable.

VII. Consultation Guidelines

    The provisions in Section VII, entitled Consultation Guidelines, of 
the Department of the Interior Policy on Consultation with Indian 
Tribes, shall apply to this Policy, with adjustments as necessary to 
account for the unique status, structure, and interests of ANCSA 
Corporations as appropriate and allowable.

VIII. Supplemental Policies

    Bureaus and Offices, in collaboration with the Tribal Governance 
Officer (TGO), shall review existing policies that may be impacted by 
this Policy. All existing policies shall conform to this Policy and, 
where necessary, a Bureau or Office may develop a new policy in order 
to conform to this Policy.
    Departmental entities that are not Bureaus and Offices may develop 
policies consistent with this Policy and in coordination with the TGO.

IX. Disclaimer

    Except to the extent already established by law, this Policy is 
intended only to improve the internal management of the Department, and 
is not intended to create any right, benefit, or trust responsibility, 
substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the 
Department or any person. The Department also does not waive by virtue 
of this Policy any applicable privilege that it may hold.

    Dated: February 28, 2012.
David J. Hayes,
Deputy Secretary of the Interior.
[FR Doc. 2012-5282 Filed 3-2-12; 8:45 am]
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