House Natural Resources Committee approves three tribal bills

The Coquille Tribe's plank house in Oregon. Photo from USDA / Flickr

The House Natural Resources Committee approved three tribal bills at a markup session on Thursday.

The bills were non-controversial and weren't the subject of any discussion. All three were approved by unanimous consent by agreement among lawmakers from both parties.

The committee approved H.R.487, a bill to allow the Miami Nation of Oklahoma to lease or transfer certain lands. The House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs took testimony on June 10.

Similar bills have been enacted for other tribes, according to the markup memo. The Obama administration supports the measure.

The tribe has already seen success with another bill in the 114th Congress. President Barack Obama signed H.R.533 into law on Monday to revoke the tribe's outdated and unused Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act charter.

The committee also approved H.R.2791, the Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act. The package includes provisions to address land-into-trust and land management issues for the Coquille Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.

A hearing hasn't been held on the bill in the 114th Congress. But a similar version was passed by the House during the last session.

"H.R. 2791 benefits three recognized tribes in western Oregon by conveying publicly owned forest lands to two of them and to improve the management of forest lands currently held in trust for a third tribe," the hearing memo states.

Finally, the committee endorsed S.501, the New Mexico Navajo Water Settlement Technical Corrections Act. The bill makes minor changes to a water rights settlement between the Navajo Nation and the state of New Mexico.

The House Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans held a hearing on H.R.1406, an identical version of the bill, on June 25. The Senate passed S.501 on May 21 so taking up that version moves the process a little quicker.

"According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill has 'no significant effect on federal spending,'" the markup memo states. The Obama administration supports the measure.

All three bills can now be considered by the full House.

Committee Notice:
Full Committee Markup on H.R. 487, H.R. 959, H.R. 1554, H.R. 1937, H.R. 1949, H.R. 2223, H.R. 2791, H.R. 2898, S. 501 (July 9, 2015)

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House Natural Resources Committee weighs tribal bills at markup (7/6)
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