Development on or Near Indian Reservations


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Development on or Near Indian Reservations

  1. 1. Implications of Permitting and Development in Indian Country 5 th Annual Construction in Indian Country International Conference Connie Sue Martin Bullivant Houser Bailey PC Seattle, Washington
  2. 2. How are projects in Indian Country different? <ul><li>Tribal Sovereignty </li></ul><ul><li>Regulatory Authority over Reservation Land </li></ul><ul><li>Application of Labor and Employment Laws </li></ul>
  3. 3. How are projects in Indian Country different? <ul><li>Department of Interior Review and Approval of Some Contracts </li></ul><ul><li>Dispute Resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Enforcement and Collection of Judgments </li></ul>
  4. 4. Tribal Sovereignty <ul><li>Tribes occupy unique and distinctive political and legal status </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Separate, sovereign nations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherent authority to regulate members and territory </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Tribal Sovereignty <ul><li>Tribes occupy unique and distinctive political and legal status </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Congress retains unlimited and absolute power over Tribes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exist as dependent wards subject to sovereign guardianship of U.S. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limits on Tribal regulatory authority </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Tribal Sovereignty <ul><li>Federal government holds title to significant portions of Reservation lands, in trust for the benefit of the Tribe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Limits Tribe’s authority to sell, mortgage or lease Trust lands for a period exceeding 25 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creates fiduciary obligation owed by the federal government to the Tribe to protect or enhance Tribal assets (economic, natural, human or cultural) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Tribal Regulatory Authority <ul><li>Tribes have criminal and civil jurisdiction over Tribal members on the Reservation </li></ul><ul><li>Tribes have civil jurisdiction over Trust lands and lands held in fee by Tribal members </li></ul>
  8. 8. Tribal Regulatory Authority <ul><li>Tribes may have civil jurisdiction over non-members on the Reservation and fee land owned by non-members (contractual relationship, or matters affecting Tribal health, welfare, and sovereignty) – the Montana test </li></ul>
  9. 9. Tribal Regulatory Authority <ul><li>Zoning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>States cannot regulate the use of Trust property inconsistent with federal treaty, statute or agreement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tribal trust land not subject to state or local zoning regulations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many Tribes have adopted Tribal zoning ordinances, comprehensive systems of land use regulations and building and development permitting </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Environmental Protection <ul><li>Sources of Tribal authority: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherent authority to exercise sovereign powers to protect health and welfare of Tribal members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Treaties, federal statutes and executive orders reserving rights of Tribes in lands, waters and natural resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delegation of federal authority under environmental statutes such as CWA, CAA, CERCLA </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Environmental Protection <ul><li>Tribes afforded “Treatment as State” authority may implement and enforce federal environmental statutes </li></ul><ul><li>Tribes may adopt and enforce Tribal environmental statutes </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals/entities doing business on Reservation must be aware of and comply with applicable Tribal codes, ordinances and regulations </li></ul>
  12. 12. Tribal Environmental Ordinances <ul><li>1984 EPA Indian Policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition of tribal governments as entities with primary authority for setting standards, making environmental policy decisions, and managing programs for reservations </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Tribal Environmental Ordinances <ul><li>Tribal Superfund Ordinances </li></ul><ul><li>Tribal Environmental Protection Ordinances </li></ul><ul><li>Tribal Air Quality Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Tribal Water Quality Standards </li></ul>
  14. 14. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>Courts generally reluctant to apply federal statutes that regulate terms and conditions of employment unless statutes expressly address and include Tribes </li></ul><ul><li>Two statutes expressly exclude Tribes from coverage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>State Workers’ Compensation Laws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>40 U.S.C. § 3172 authorizes application of workers’ comp laws to federal lands and premises, including Tribal trust and Reservation lands </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>State Workers’ Compensation Laws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>40 U.S.C. § 3172 does not abrogate Tribal sovereignty; state workers comp laws do not apply to Tribal employers’ on-Reservation businesses unless employer consents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-Indian employers in business with Tribes may be exempt from state workers’ comp laws </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>Occupational Safety and Health Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statute of general applicability, broad remedial purpose designed to &quot;assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources ....&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Split of authority regarding applicability to Tribes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>8 th & 10 th Circuits: OSHA does not apply </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2 nd , 7 th & 9 th Circuits: OSHA does apply </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>Fair Labor Standards Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establishes minimum wages and requires employers to pay time and a half for overtime work for covered employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Courts have held Tribal businesses generally not exempt from FLSA, unless employees carry out Tribal governmental functions (e.g., Tribal law enforcement personnel) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>National Labor Relations Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guarantees workers the right to join unions and protects workers from unfair labor practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Until 2004, did not apply to Tribes, could adopt and enforce right-to-work ordinances precluding union membership as condition of employment </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>National Labor Relations Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In San Miguel Indian Bingo & Casino case (5/28/04), NLRB reversed 30 years of precedent and held that NLRA applied to Tribally-owned commercial enterprises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upheld by the D.C. Circuit [475 F.3d 1306 (2/9/07)] </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>San Miguel adopted new test for determining applicability to employment practices of Tribes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tribes are not exempt from the NLRA (location of enterprise not relevant) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NLRA is a statute of general applicability (commercial activities of Tribes not vital to self-governance or essential attribute of sovereignty) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No general rule, must be determined on case-by-case basis (balancing test) </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>Under “Indian preference exemption” of Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers must select qualified Indian applicants for job vacancies to the exclusion of any qualified non-Indian applicants </li></ul>
  23. 23. Labor and Employment Laws <ul><li>Preference for members of federally-recognized Indian Tribes has been upheld by U.S. Supreme Court as a political, rather than a racial distinction </li></ul><ul><li>Contracts with Tribes may include Indian preference language </li></ul>
  24. 24. DOI Review and Approval of Contracts <ul><li>From 1871 - 2000 all contracts involving payments by Tribes for services related to their lands required Secretarial approval; without approval, contracts null and void </li></ul><ul><li>Statute and rules adopted in 2000 limit approvals required, identify types of contracts and agreements exempt from approval requirement </li></ul>
  25. 25. DOI Review and Approval of Contracts <ul><li>Exemptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leases, rights-of-way, other documents conveying a present interest in Tribal land </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contracts or leases conveying temporary use rights assigned by Tribes to Tribal members </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. DOI Review and Approval of Contracts <ul><li>Exemptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contracts and agreements that do not convey exclusive or nearly exclusive proprietary control over Tribal lands for > 7 years (e.g., construction contracts, contracts for services, bonds, loans, and security interests in personal property) </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Dispute Resolution <ul><li>Tribal Sovereign Immunity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can the Tribe be sued? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If the Tribe can be sued, in which tribunal? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Enforcement and Collection of Judgments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If a judgment is entered against the Tribe, how may it be enforced? </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Dispute Resolution <ul><li>Sovereign Immunity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As sovereigns, Tribes and Tribal officials acting in scope of authority enjoy immunity from non-consensual suit in same manner as state and federal governments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tribal sovereign immunity extends to Tribe’s commercial and proprietary activities, making it broader than with other governments </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Dispute Resolution <ul><li>Sovereign Immunity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Congress may waive Tribal immunity by statute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tribe may waive sovereign immunity through ordinance or contract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To be effective, waiver must be an official act that clearly and unequivocally expresses consent to suit </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Dispute Resolution <ul><li>Forum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State courts have no jurisdiction over claims brought by non-Indians against Indians for claims arising in Indian Country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tribal courts have broad authority to hear civil disputes </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Dispute Resolution <ul><li>Forum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal courts require the exhaustion of Tribal remedies before hearing merits of a case brought in Tribal forum, comity requires district court to defer to Tribal court’s determination of jurisdiction </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Dispute Resolution <ul><li>Tribes or Tribal members may choose to submit to jurisdiction of particular forum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tribal plaintiff may sue non-Indian defendant in state or federal court </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some Tribal codes require suits against non-Indian defendants to be brought in state court </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tribes or Tribal members may agree in contract to a particular forum (e.g., state court, AAA arbitration) </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Enforcement and Collection of Judgments <ul><li>Judgments made by Tribal courts subject to Tribal laws regarding enforcement and collection </li></ul><ul><li>Enforcement of state-court judgements on-Reservation subject to Tribal processes, state processes off-Reservation (assuming jurisdiction) </li></ul>
  34. 34. Enforcement and Collection of Judgments <ul><li>State courts vary in their recognition of Tribal court judgments for execution off-Reservation </li></ul><ul><li>Federal law prevents enforcement of state or Tribal court judgments against trust property </li></ul>
  35. 35. Considerations for the Construction Professional <ul><li>Determine applicability of state and federal laws to project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Zoning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Labor and Employment laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requirements for Indian preferences </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Considerations for the Construction Professional <ul><li>Determine exemption from DOI review and approval </li></ul><ul><li>Determine ability to secure Tribal assets for payment </li></ul>
  37. 37. Considerations for the Construction Professional <ul><li>Contractual protections for non-Indian business </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clear and unequivocal waiver of sovereign immunity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choice of forum (state court, arbitration) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Determine availability of assets for collection of judgments </li></ul>
  38. 38. Implications of Permitting and Development in Indian Country 5 th Annual Construction in Indian Country International Conference Connie Sue Martin Bullivant Houser Bailey PC Seattle, Washington