[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 245 (Thursday, December 20, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 75442-75443]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30622]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of the Secretary


Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Tribal Consultations.

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SUMMARY: The Cobell Class Action Settlement Agreement established a 
Trust Land Consolidation Fund to be used for acquiring fractional 
interests in trust and restricted fee lands. Based on tribal 
consultation in the spring and summer of 2011, the Department issued a 
draft plan dated January 2012. The Department has developed this 
Initial Implementation Plan for the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal 
Nations incorporating input received through subsequent consultations 
and public input. This notice announces consultation with Indian tribes 
on the Initial Implementation Plan and the Land Buy-Back Program for 
Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program).

DATES: Written input/suggestions are due Monday, March 4, 2013. Please 
see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice for dates of 
tribal consultation sessions.

ADDRESSES: See the SUPPLMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice for 
the location of the tribal consultation sessions. The Initial 
Implementation Plan for the Buy-Back Program is available at: 
www.doi.gov/cobell. Submit comments by email to: 
buybackprogram@ios.doi.gov or by mail to U.S. Department of the 
Interior, MS-7323-MIB, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anthony Walters, Office of the Land 
Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations; Anthony.Walters@bia.gov; (202) 
513-0897.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Cobell Settlement Agreement (as 
confirmed by the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 11-291) and 
approved with finality after appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court were 
exhausted (Settlement)), provides, in part, for a $1.9 billion Trust 
Land Consolidation Fund (Fund). The Settlement charges the Department 
of the Interior (Department) with the responsibility to expend the Fund 
within a 10-year period to acquire, at fair market value, fractional 
interests in trust or restricted fee land that individuals are willing 
to sell to the Department. The Secretary has established the Buy-Back 
Program to implement this aspect of the Settlement.
    There are approximately 150 reservations with 2.9 million 
purchasable fractional interests that are owned by more than 218,000 
unique individuals. The overall goal of the Buy-Back Program is to 
reduce the number of those fractional interests through voluntary land 
purchases, which will create consolidated trust land bases for 
beneficial use by tribal communities.

[[Page 75443]]

    The Department has prepared an Initial Implementation Plan based on 
preliminary planning and tribal consultation. The Plan has the 
following purposes:
     Recognize and address comments received on the Draft Plan 
dated January 31, 2012, and during the public comment period through 
March 15, 2012;
     Outline initial goals and priorities;
     Summarize key parameters and operational concepts for the 
Buy-Back Program;
     Outline ways in which tribes might participate in the Buy-
Back Program through cooperative agreements;
     Describe the primary land consolidation processes--
outreach, land research, valuation, and acquisition; and
     Describe next steps for additional tribal consultation, 
public comment, and continued program planning and implementation, 
including pilot efforts that will allow for improvement of the Buy-Back 
Program.
    The Plan also provides additional data concerning fractionation to 
provide context for planning efforts and to respond to tribes' requests 
for more complete information. This Initial Implementation Plan is not 
a final plan. The Department expects to continually update its plans to 
reflect tribal feedback, lessons learned, and best practices.
    Tribal consultation sessions on the Plan and Buy-Back Program will 
be held at the following dates and cities. Information about the 
specific venue or location of the consultation can be found at 
www.doi.gov/cobell once they are confirmed.

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                  Date                              Time                                Venue
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January 31, 2013.......................  9 a.m.-4 p.m..............  Minneapolis, Minnesota.
February 6, 2013.......................  9 a.m.-4 p.m..............  Rapid City, South Dakota.
February 14, 2013......................  9 a.m.-4 p.m..............  Seattle, Washington.
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    Dated: December 14, 2012.
David Hayes,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2012-30622 Filed 12-19-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-10-P