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Administrative Appeal Procedures For Rights-Of-Way, Mineral Leases, and Mineral Agreements on Indian Lands

Robert S. Thompson, III, Matthew L. Crockett, Natural Resources and Environmental Administrative Law and Procedure II

This paper addresses the administrative appeal procedures within the BIA for BIA-issued or approved rights-of-way, mineral leases, and mineral agreements for Indian lands. The applicable federal statutes and the regulations thereunder impose strict procedural requirements on the non-Indian grantee, the Indian landowner, and on the BIA. 14 In brief summary, non-Indians such as mineral development companies operating on Indian lands have standing to use the BIA's appeal procedures only with regard to (1) an action of a BIA official, or (2) the inaction of a BIA official concerning the company's right to occupy and use Indian land. 15

The administrative appeal procedures described below, applicable filing requirements, and time limitations are the general procedures for BIA appeals found in 25 C.F.R. part 2 and 43 C.F.R. part 4. These general procedures apply to Indian rights-of-way, mineral leases, and mineral agreements, and control a BIA appeal in the absence of another specific appeal procedure contained in a particular statute or regulation. 16 The procedures are presented in a stepwise fashion as the regulations would be encountered when making an appeal up through the hierarchy of the BIA to the IBIA.

To better encompass the topic of doing business on Indian lands and making administrative appeals within the BIA, the discussion first introduces those India