Federal Register

This proposed rule revises a section of regulations governing decisions by the Secretary to approve or deny applications to acquire land in trust under this part. This rule is appropriate to address changes in the applicability of the Quiet Title Act as interpreted by a recent United States Supreme Court decision. This rule revises a regulatory provision the Department added in 1996 to ensure that interested parties had the opportunity to timely seek judicial review of decisions when available under the Administrative Procedure Act. The Department had determined the provision was necessary because, consistent with Federal court decisions at the time, once the Secretary acquired title, the Quiet Title Act precluded judicial review of the Secretary's decision to take the land into trust. The Supreme Court has since held that the Quiet Title Act does not preclude timely Administrative Procedure Act challenges to agency decisions to acquire land in trust unless the aggrieved party claims an ownership interest in the property at issue. This rule revises the regulation to reflect this change in the law and to make other revisions to codify the current process for issuing decisions approving or denying requests to acquire land in trust under this part. It also broadens and clarifies the notice of decisions to acquire land in trust under this part, including broadening notice of any right to file an administrative appeal.