Indian Land Title and Records, 79965-79972 [2020-26721]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Proposed Rules on how to make the rule easier to understand. For example: • Would more, but shorter, sections be better? • Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? • Have we organized the material to suit your needs? • Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or diagrams? • What else could we do to make the rule easier to understand? • Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that is not clear? • Would a different format make the rule easier to understand, e.g., grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing? Regulatory Procedures Executive Order 12866, as Supplemented by Executive Order 13563 We consulted with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and determined that this NPRM does not meet the criteria for a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563. We also determined that this NPRM meets the plain language requirement of Executive Order 12866. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism) We analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with the principles and criteria established by Executive Order 13132, and we determined that the proposed rule will not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism assessment. We also determined that this proposed rule will not preempt any State law or State regulation or affect the States’ abilities to discharge traditional State governmental functions. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review) The regulations effectuating Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this proposed rule. Regulatory Flexibility Act We certify that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it affects individuals only. Therefore, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended, does not require us to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis. Paperwork Reduction Act These rules do not create any new or affect any existing collections and, VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:58 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 therefore, do not require Office of Management and Budget approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act. List of Subjects in 20 CFR Part 401 Administrative practice and procedure, Privacy. The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Andrew Saul, having reviewed and approved this document, is delegating the authority to electronically sign this document to Faye I. Lipsky, who is the primary Federal Register Liaison for SSA, for purposes of publication in the Federal Register. Faye I. Lipsky, Federal Register Liaison, Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs, Social Security Administration. For the reasons stated in the preamble, we are revising subpart B of part 401 of title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations as set forth below: PART 401—PRIVACY AND DISCLOSURE OF OFFICIAL RECORDS AND INFORMATION Subpart B—[Amended] 1. The authority citation for subpart B of part 401 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: Secs. 205, 702(a)(5), 1106, and 1141 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405, 902(a)(5), 1306, and 1320b–11); 5 U.S.C. 552 and 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1360; 26 U.S.C. 6103; 30 U.S.C. 923. 2. In § 401.85, add paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(H) to read as follows. * * * * * (b)(2) * * * (ii) * * * (H) Anti-Fraud, SSA. * * * * * ■ [FR Doc. 2020–26754 Filed 12–10–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4191–02–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs 25 CFR Part 150 [201A2100DD, AAKC001030, A0A501010.999900] RIN 1076–AF56 Indian Land Title and Records Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is proposing a rule to modernize the current regulations governing the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79965 Land Title and Records Office (LTRO). The LTRO maintains title documents for land held in trust or restricted status for individual Indians and Tribes (Indian land). This proposed rule would replace outdated provisions and allow for more widespread efficiencies by reflecting current practices, while creating a framework for future LTRO operations. DATES: Please submit written comments by February 9, 2021. If you wish to comment on the information collection requirements in this proposed rule, please note that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information contained in this proposed rule between 30 and 60 days after publication of this proposed rule in the Federal Register. Therefore, comments should be submitted to OMB by January 11, 2021. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this rulemaking for dates of Tribal consultation sessions. ADDRESSES: You may send comments, identified by RIN number 1076–AF56 by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for sending comments. • Email: consultation@bia.gov. Include RIN number 1076–AF56 in the subject line of the message. • Mail or Hand-Delivery/Courier: Office of Regulatory Affairs & Collaborative Action—Indian Affairs (RACA), U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Mail Stop 4660, Washington, DC 20240. All submissions received must include the Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this rulemaking (RIN 1076–AF56). All comments received will be posted without change to https:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act information collections contained in this document are separate from comments on the substance of the rulemaking. Send your comments and suggestions on the information collection requirements to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at OMB–OIRA at (202) 395– 5806 (fax) or OIRA_Submission@ omb.eop.gov (email). Please provide a copy of your comments to consultation@bia.gov. We cannot ensure that comments received after the close of the comment period (see DATES) will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and considered. Comments sent to an address other than those listed above will not be included in the docket for this rulemaking. E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1 79966 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Proposed Rules FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elizabeth Appel, Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs & Collaborative Action, (202) 273–4680; elizabeth.appel@bia.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background and Summary of Proposed Rule II. Tribal Consultation III. Procedural Requirements A. Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866 and E.O. 13563) B. Regulatory Flexibility Act C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act E. Takings (E.O. 12630) F. Federalism (E.O. 13132) G. Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988) H. Consultation with Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175) I. Paperwork Reduction Act J. National Environmental Policy Act K. Effects on the Energy Supply (E.O. 13211) L. Clarity of this Regulation M. Public Availability of Comments jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS I. Background & Summary of Proposed Rule The LTRO maintains title documents for land that the United States holds in trust or restricted status for individual Indians or Tribes (Indian land), roughly similar to how counties and other localities maintain title documents for fee land within their jurisdictions. Several Acts authorize BIA maintenance of these title records. See, e.g., 25 U.S.C. 5, 9; 64 Stat. 1262; 34 Stat. 137; 35 Stat. 312; and 38 Stat. 582, 598. The LTRO has several physical offices throughout the country. These LTRO offices are the successors to the ‘‘title plants’’ that were established by regulation in 1965 to serve what were then BIA ‘‘area offices.’’ See 30 FR 11676 (September 11, 1965). Updates to the regulations in 1981 defined the role of the LTRO and assigned each LTRO office a geographic service area, containing certain BIA area offices or Tribal reservations. See 46 FR 47537 (September 29, 1981), later redesignated at 47 FR 13327 (March 30, 1982). The regulations finalized in 1981 are still in place (though redesignated from 25 CFR part 120 to 25 CFR part 150). Now, 40 years later, BIA ‘‘area offices’’ are BIA Regions, and the LTRO maintains title documents primarily through an electronic system: The Trust Asset Accounting Management System (TAAMS). Each LTRO office records land title documents that are primarily within its designated geographic area; however, it is BIA’s vision that, eventually, all title documents will be electronically stored and accessible to LTRO offices regardless of geographic area. The proposed rule modernizes the LTRO regulations to provide a framework for continued operations and future electronic maintenance of most title documents. This approach will more efficiently address title-related actions that support Indian land transactions (such as a title examination to take land into trust) by allowing workloads to be shifted among LTRO offices to promptly address each request and prevent the risk of any backlogs. The proposed rule continues to provide that each LTRO office is primarily responsible for certain geographic areas, but rather than specifying those LTRO offices in the proposed rule, it instead points to a web page where BIA can keep the list accurately updated. The proposed rule also addresses changes that have evolved over the past 40 years that have removed requirements for Secretarial approval of certain title documents in support of Tribal self-governance and selfdetermination (e.g., individual leases under approved Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act regulations) by clarifying that these documents must still be recorded in the LTRO because the documents affect who is authorized to use Indian land. The proposed rule would also make more transparent the LTRO’s role as a support office to BIA and, with respect to title-related matters related to probate, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). Generally, the Realty staff in BIA are the primary liaison to the LTRO, as the Realty staff are responsible for processing land transactions requested by Indian and Tribal landowners. Similarly, the proposed rule would clarify the LTRO’s role with respect to any defects to title: The LTRO provides a notation of the defect in the record of title, but the originating office is responsible for providing the LTRO with a corrected title document for the LTRO to record. Finally, the proposed rule would allow the BIA Director to delegate recording responsibilities to another office for certain transactions on an asneeded basis. This provision provides flexibility to facilitate future electronic recording capabilities for efficiency. The following table shows changes from the current regulation to the proposed rule. Current 25 CFR § Proposed 25 CFR § Description of changes 150.1 Purpose and scope ............... 150.1 What is the purpose of this part?. 150.2 Definitions ............................. 150.2 What terms do I need to know?. Provides more general description of responsibilities (e.g., to account for other types of reports beyond land title status reports that LTRO provides). Alphabetizes terms. Adds definitions for ‘‘certify,’’ ‘‘certified copy,’’ ‘‘Certifying Officer,’’ ‘‘defect’’ or ‘‘title defect,’’ ‘‘I’’ or ‘‘you’’ (for plain language purposes), ‘‘Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA),’’ ‘‘Probate Inventory Report,’’ ‘‘record of title,’’ ‘‘Region,’’ and ‘‘title.’’ Deletes definitions of ‘‘Administrative Law Judge,’’ ‘‘Commissioner,’’ ‘‘land,’’ and ‘‘Superintendent.’’ Revises definition of ‘‘Agency’’ to clarify that contracting and compacting Tribes are included. Revises definition of ‘‘Indian land’’ to limit to trust or restricted land only, in accordance with other regulatory definitions, while moving provisions regarding other categories of land to proposed § 150.201(c). Revises definition of ‘‘recording’’ to move substantive statement as to the significance of recording a document to the body of the regulation at proposed § 150.101. Revises definition of ‘‘title document’’ to provide examples. Revises definition of ‘‘title examination’’ to add detail. Revises definition of ‘‘Tribe’’ to cite the List Act of 1994. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:58 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Proposed Rules Current 25 CFR § 150.3 Maintenance of land records and title documents. 150.4 Locations and service areas for land titles and records offices. 150.5 Other Bureau offices with title service responsibility. 150.6 Recordation of title documents. Proposed 25 CFR § Description of changes 150.3 May Tribes administer this part on LTRO’s behalf?. New section to address that Tribes may compact or contract for LTRO functions under Tribal self-governance and self-determination compacts and contracts. New section to address the significance of recording a document in the record of title. No substantive change. 150.101 What is the purpose of the record of title?. 150.102 Who maintains the record of title?. 150.103 What services does the LTRO perform to maintain the record of title?. 150.104 How does the LTRO maintain the record of title?. 150.105 Are certain LTRO offices responsible for certain geographic areas?. ................................................... 150.201 What is recorded in the record of title?. 150.202 Must I check with any other governmental office to find title documents for Indian land?. 150.203 Who may submit a title document for recording?. 150.7 Curative action to correct title defects. 150.8 Title status reports ................ 150.9 Land status maps. ................ 150.10 Certification of land records and title documents. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 150.11 Disclosure of land records, title documents, and title reports. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:58 Dec 10, 2020 79967 New section to provide a list of services that the LTRO performs. New section to address that the LTRO primarily maintains the record of title electronically. Revises to provide flexibility to allow for workload sharing across LTRO offices while noting LTRO offices have primary responsibility for certain geographic areas. Replaces the list of addresses for each LTRO office with a webpage for a more frequently updated list of each LTRO office’s area of primary geographic area. Deleted because this section is no longer necessary. Removes language assuming hard copy transmission of documents. Adds language to account for the need to record certain documents that are not subject to Secretarial approval. Adds that LTRO offices may also maintain documents demonstrating the rights of use, occupancy, and/or benefit of certain Tribes to non-Indian land and certain documents related to Indian land that are not title documents. New section to specify that in some instances, due diligence may require examination of other records of title for Indian land. Clarifies the role of the LTRO as a service office for BIA Agencies, Regions, and OHA, who act as the primary liaison to Indian and Tribal landowners. 150.204 Who records title docu- Clarifies that the BIA Director may delegate the recording function to ments?. other Agency offices by documenting the delegation and types of transactions to which it applies in the Indian Affairs Manual. 150.205 What are the minimum New section to clarify what must be included in a title document that requirements for recording a title is approved by the Secretary and what must be included in title document?. documents that are deemed approved. 150.206 What actions will LTRO Revises to provide that LTRO offices will no longer complete admintake if it discovers a title defect?. istrative modifications; rather they will put a notation in the record of title and contact the originating office for correction. ........................................................ Incorporated into proposed § 150.302. ........................................................ Incorporated into proposed § 150.302. 150.301 How does LTRO certify Revised for plain language. copies of title documents?. 150.302 What reports does the Lists the universe of reports that the LTRO may provide for Indian LTRO provide?. land. 150.303 Who may request and re- Revises to include the categories of persons/entities that may obtain ceive copies of title documents information under current laws including the American Indian Proin the record of title or reports bate Reform Act of 2004, 25 U.S.C. 2204. from LTRO without filing a Freedom of Information Act request?. 150.304 Where do I request cop- New section to clarify that the BIA Agency or Region is the liaison to ies of title documents or reports the LTRO. from LTRO?. 150.305 What information must I New section to list what information BIA will require in order to idenprovide when requesting copies tify the land for which a report is being requested. of title documents and reports?. 150.306 Will I be charged a fee for New section to provide that the LTRO may charge fees in accordobtaining copies of records?. ance with the Freedom of Information Act fee schedule, but will not charge fees to Indian or Tribal landowners. 150.401 Who owns the records New section to clarify what records are Federal records as opposed associated with this part?. to Tribal records in cases where a Tribe has contracted or compacted for LTRO functions. 150.402 How must records associ- New section regarding preservation requirements for Federal records. ated with this part be preserved?. 150.403 How does the Paperwork New section required because the regulation imposes an information Reduction Act affect this part?. collection by requiring individuals to provide certain information in order to obtain copies of records. Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1 79968 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Proposed Rules II. Tribal Consultation The Department is hosting the following consultation sessions on this proposed rule: Date Time Tuesday, January 12, 2021 ............ 2 p.m.–4 p.m. Eastern Time .......... Thursday, January 14, 2021 ........... 2 p.m.–4 p.m. Eastern Time .......... III. Procedural Requirements A. Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866) Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this proposed rule is not significant. E.O. 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the Nation’s regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The E.O. directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this proposed rule in a manner consistent with these requirements. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS B. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Department of the Interior certifies that this document will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). The proposed rule addresses how Indian land title and records are maintained. C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act This proposed rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This proposed rule: (a) Will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:58 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 Location Teleconference: 888–606–8412 Passcode: ‘‘DOI’’ (Operator will answer) Teleconference: 888–606–8412 Passcode: ‘‘DOI’’ (Operator will answer) (c) Will not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of the U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act This proposed rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The proposed rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required. E. Takings (E.O. 12630) This proposed rule does not affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630. A takings implication assessment is not required. F. Federalism (E.O. 13132) Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. A federalism summary impact statement is not required. G. Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988) This proposed rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. Specifically, this rule: (a) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be written to minimize litigation; and (b) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal standards. H. Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175) The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its government-togovernment relationship with Indian Tribes through a commitment to PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their right to selfgovernance and Tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this proposed rule under the Department’s consultation policy and under the criteria in Executive Order 13175 and have determined that Tribal consultation is appropriate because the rule addresses maintenance of land held in trust or restricted status for Tribes. Tribes are invited to join the Tribal consultation sessions listed in Section II of this preamble, above. I. Paperwork Reduction Act This proposed rule contains new information collections. All information collections require approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The Department is seeking approval of a new information collection, as follows. Brief Description of Collection: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Land Title and Records Office (LTRO) maintains title documents for land that the United States holds in trust or restricted status for individual Indians or Tribes (Indian land), much like counties and other localities maintain title documents for fee land within their jurisdictions. Individuals or entities that are requesting information regarding title documents—either for property they own or for property they seek to lease or encumber—must provide certain information to the LTRO in order for LTRO to accurately identify the property for which they are seeking information. LTRO uses the information provided by individuals or entities in order to identify the property so that they can retrieve the appropriate title documents and produce reports for that property. The collection of information is found in § 150.305, which provides that anyone requesting title documents or reports must provide certain information, such as the name of the reservation where the land is located E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Proposed Rules and the tract number or legal description. Title: Requests for Indian Land Title and Records Information. OMB Control Number: 1076–NEW. Form Number: None. Type of Review: Existing collection in use without an OMB Control Number. Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals, Private Sector, Government. Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: 36. Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 36. Estimated Completion Time per Response: 0.5 hours. Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 19 hours (consisting of 10 hours for private sector respondents, 3 hours for individual respondents— rounded up from 2.5 hours, and 6 hours for government respondents—rounded up from 5.5 hours). Respondents’ Obligation: Required to obtain a benefit. Frequency of Response: Occasionally. Total Estimated Annual Non-Hour Burden Cost: $500. As part of our continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burdens, we invite the public and other Federal agencies to comment on any aspect of this information collection, including: (1) Whether or not the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether or not the information will have practical utility; (2) The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of response. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this rulemaking to www.reginfo.gov/public/ do/PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting ‘‘Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments’’ or by using the search function. Please provide a copy of your comments to consultation@ bia.gov. Please reference OMB Control Number 1076–NEW in the subject line of your comments. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:58 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 J. National Environmental Policy Act This proposed rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. A detailed statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is not required because the environmental effects of this proposed rule are too speculative to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will later be subject to the NEPA process, unless covered by a categorical exclusion. (For further information see 43 CFR 46.210(i)). We have also determined that the rule does not involve any of the extraordinary circumstances listed in 43 CFR 46.215 that would require further analysis under NEPA. K. Effects on the Energy Supply (E.O. 13211) This proposed rule is not a significant energy action under the definition in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects is not required. L. Clarity of This Regulation We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must: a. Be logically organized; b. Use the active voice to address readers directly; c. Use clear language rather than jargon; d. Be divided into short sections and sentences; and e. Use lists and tables wherever possible. If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To better help us revise the rulemaking, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you believe lists or tables would be useful, etc. M. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79969 List of Subjects in 25 CFR Part 150 Indians—lands. ■ For the reasons given in the preamble, the Department of the Interior proposes to amend 25 CFR chapter I, subchapter H by revising part 150 to read as follows: PART 150—RECORD OF TITLE TO INDIAN LAND Subpart A—Purpose and Definitions Sec. 150.1 What is the purpose of this part? 150.2 What terms do I need to know? 150.3 May tribes administer this part on LTRO’s behalf? Subpart B—Record of Title to Indian Land 150.101 What is the purpose of the record of title? 150.102 Who maintains the record of title? 150.103 What services does the LTRO perform to maintain the record of title? 150.104 How does the LTRO maintain the record of title? 150.105 Are certain LTRO offices responsible for certain geographic areas? Subpart C—Procedures and Requirements to Record Documents 150.201 What is recorded in the record of title? 150.202 Must I check with any other governmental office to find title documents for Indian land? 150.203 Who may submit a title document for recording? 150.204 Who records title documents? 150.205 What are the minimum requirements for recording a title document? 150.206 What actions will the LTRO take if it discovers a title defect? Subpart D—Disclosure of Title Documents and Reports 150.301 How does LTRO certify copies of title documents? 150.302 What reports does LTRO provide? 150.303 Who may request and receive copies of title documents in the record of title or reports from LTRO without filing a Freedom of Information Act request? 150.304 Where do I request copies of title documents and reports from LTRO? 150.305 What information must I provide when requesting title documents or reports? 150.306 Will I be charged a fee for obtaining copies of records? Subpart E—Records 150.401 Who owns the records associated with this part? 150.402 How must records associated with this part be preserved? 150.403 How does the Paperwork Reduction Act affect this part? Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 5 U.S.C. 552a; 25 U.S.C. 2; 25 U.S.C. 5; 25 U.S.C. 7; 25 U.S.C. 9; 25 U.S.C. 14b; 25 U.S.C. 25; 25 U.S.C. 199; 25 U.S.C. 343; 25 U.S.C. 355; 25 U.S.C. 413; 25 U.S.C. 2201 et. seq.; 44 U.S.C. 2901 et. E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1 79970 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Proposed Rules seq.; 44 U.S.C. 3101 et. seq.; and 44 U.S.C. 3301 et. seq. Subpart A—Purpose and Definitions § 150.1 What is the purpose of this part? This part describes the BIA repository of title documents for Indian land and responsibilities for recording title documents, maintaining the repository, and providing reports on title to Indian land. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS § 150.2 What terms do I need to know? Agency means the BIA agency or field office with jurisdiction over a particular tract of Indian land or another BIA office through delegation and documentation of responsibilities in the Indian Affairs Manual. This term also means any Tribe acting on behalf of the Secretary or BIA under a contract or compact under the Indian SelfDetermination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.). BIA means the Bureau of Indian Affairs within the Department of the Interior. Certify for the purposes of certifying Title Status Reports, probate inventory reports, title status maps, and findings of title examinations means that an LTRO Certifying Officer has determined that the report, map, or examination of land title status is complete, correct, and current, based on the record of title. Certified copy means a copy of a title document that is a true and correct copy of the title document as recorded in the record of title and evidenced by an official seal. Certifying Officer means the LTRO Manager or another properly authorized or delegated Federal official who certifies the status of title to Indian lands or copies of title documents. Defect or title defect means an error contained within, or created by, a title document that makes the title to Indian land uncertain. I or you means the person to whom these regulations directly apply. Indian land means land, or an interest therein, that is: (1) Held in trust by the United States for one or more individual Indians or Tribes; or (2) Owned by one or more individual Indians or Tribes and can only be alienated or encumbered by the owner with the approval of the Secretary because of restrictions or limitations in the conveyance instrument or in Federal law. LTRO means the Land Title and Records Office within the BIA, which is responsible for recording title documents, maintaining the record of title, and providing certified copies of VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:58 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 title documents and reports. The term LTRO, as used herein, includes any Tribe acting on behalf of the Secretary or BIA under § 150.3. Manager is the designated officer in charge of a LTRO office or his or her designated representative. OHA means the Office of Hearings and Appeals within the Department of the Interior. Probate Inventory Report means a report of Indian land owned by an individual Indian at the time of his or her death. Record of title means the BIA’s repository of title documents for Indian land. Recording is the acceptance of a title document and entry into the record of title of a title document by LTRO. An official LTRO stamp affixed to the title document provides evidence that the title document has been recorded. Region means a BIA regional office. Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior or his or her authorized representative. Title means ownership of Indian land. Title examination means a review and evaluation by the LTRO of: (1) Title documents submitted to it for recording, and (2) the status of title for a particular tract of Indian land based on the record of title, and a finding, certified by the LTRO Manager, that title is complete, correct, current, and without defect, or identifies defects that must be corrected. Title document means any document that affects the title to or encumbers Indian land, including but not limited to conveyances, probate orders, encumbrances (such as mortgages, liens, permits, covenants, leases, easements, rights-of-way), plats, cadastral surveys, and other surveys. Title Status Report means a report issued after a title examination that shows the proper legal description of a tract of Indian land; current ownership, including any applicable conditions, exceptions, restrictions or encumbrances of record; and whether interests in the land are in unrestricted, restricted, trust, and/or other status as indicated by the record of title in the LTRO. Tribe means an Indian Tribe under section 102 of the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994, 25 U.S.C. 5129(a). § 150.3 May Tribes administer this part on LTRO’s behalf? A Tribe may contract or compact under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.) to administer on LTRO’s behalf any portion of this part that is not an inherently Federal function. PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Subpart B—Record of Title to Indian Land § 150.101 What is the purpose of the record of title? The record of title provides the BIA with a record of title documents to Indian land and provides the public (including but not limited to future purchasers, creditors, and other interested parties) with constructive notice that the title documents exist. § 150.102 title? Who maintains the record of The LTRO is designated as the office responsible for maintaining the record of title. § 150.103 What services does the LTRO perform to maintain the record of title? The LTRO is responsible for performing the following services to maintain the record of title: (a) Recording title documents submitted by an Agency, Region, or OHA; (b) Providing certified copies of the title documents in the record of title; (c) Examining the record of title and certifying the findings of title examinations; (d) Providing and certifying Title Status Reports; (e) Preparing, maintaining, and providing land status maps; (f) Providing and certifying probate inventory reports; and (g) Providing other services and reports based upon the information in the record of title. § 150.104 How does the LTRO maintain the record of title? The LTRO maintains the record of title electronically in a system of record. However, certain title documents may exist only as physical copies and not electronically. § 150.105 Are certain LTRO offices responsible for certain geographic areas? Staff at each LTRO office will have primary responsibility to maintain the record of title for Indian land under that LTRO office’s assigned geographic area, based on BIA Region, Tribal reservation, or otherwise, as prescribed by BIA through internal procedures. BIA will keep an updated list of each LTRO office’s assigned geographic area of responsibility on www.bia.gov/bia/ots/ dltr. LTRO offices may assist in maintaining the record of title for Indian land not under their assigned geographic area as needed. E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Proposed Rules § 150.205 What are the minimum requirements for recording a title document? Subpart D—Disclosure of Title Documents and Reports OHA, as appropriate, for that Agency, Region, or OHA to submit to the LTRO. § 150.201 title? § 150.204 (a) All title documents for Indian land must be recorded in the record of title, regardless of whether the document reflects a transaction that required Secretarial approval. For example, the following do not require Secretarial approval, but are title documents required to be recorded: (1) Service line agreements must be recorded under 25 CFR 169.56; (2) Individual leases under approved Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Tribal regulations must be recorded under the Indian Affairs Manual (IAM) at 52 IAM 13; (3) Individual leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way under Tribal Energy Resource Agreements approved by the Secretary under 25 CFR part 224 must be recorded; (4) Leases between a Tribe and a Tribal energy development organization under 25 CFR 224 must be recorded; (5) Leases of Tribal land by a 25 U.S.C. 477 corporate entity under its charter to a third party for a period not to exceed 25 years must be recorded under 25 CFR 162.006(b)(3)(i); and (6) Subleasehold mortgages under 25 CFR 162.009 must be recorded. (b) The requirement in paragraph (a) of this section does not eliminate or supersede any Federal statute or regulation requiring the recording of title documents for Indian land in other records of title, including title documents for Indian land within the jurisdiction of the Five Civilized Tribes or the Osage Nation. (c) LTRO may also record: (1) Documents that demonstrate the rights of use, occupancy, and/or benefit of certain Tribes to U.S. Government land or other non-Indian lands; and (2) Certain documents regarding Indian lands that are not title documents. § 150.202 Must I check with any other governmental office to find title documents for Indian land? In certain circumstances, due diligence may require examination of other Federal, State, and local records of title. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS The LTRO is the designated office to record title documents. The BIA Director may delegate the authority to record title documents to another BIA office by documenting the delegation and the types of transactions to which it applies in the Indian Affairs Manual. will notify the originating office of the defect, request correction, and make a notation in the record of title. Once the defect is corrected, the LTRO will record the corrected title document or other legal instruments to correct the title document and remove the notation. (d) If the defect is contained in a probate record, the LTRO will notify the Agency or Region to initiate corrective action with the OHA. Subpart C—Procedures and Requirements to Record Documents What is recorded in the record of § 150.203 Who may submit a title document for recording? Only an Agency, Region, or OHA may submit title documents to the LTRO for recording. All other government offices and individuals must submit title documents to the Agency, Region, or VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:58 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 79971 Who records title documents? (a) A title document must include the following information to be recorded in the record of title, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section: (1) A legal description of the Indian land and, if required, the tract number; (2) The signatures of the parties to the document; (3) Proper notarization or other acknowledgment of the signatures of the parties, if applicable; (4) Signature and citation to the authority of the approving official, if applicable; and (5) Approval date. (b) If the title document reflects a transaction that was deemed approved under a statute or regulation providing that a transaction is deemed approved after a certain period of time without Secretarial action to approve or deny, then, at a minimum, the title document must include the following items: (1) A legal description of the Indian land and, if required, the tract number; (2) The signatures of the parties to the document; (3) Proper acknowledgement or authentication of the signatures of the parties, if applicable; and (4) A citation to the statutory or regulatory authority for the transaction to be deemed approved. § 150.206 What actions will the LTRO take if it discovers a title defect? (a) If the LTRO discovers that a title document omits one or more of the items required for recording by § 150.205(a) or (b), then the LTRO will notify the originating office to request correction. Once the omission is corrected, the LTRO will record the title document. (b) If the LTRO discovers there is an error in one or more of the items required for recording by § 150.205(a) or (b), then the LTRO will record the title document with a notation on title and notify the originating office to request correction. Once the error is corrected, the LTRO will record the corrected title document and remove the notation. (c) If the LTRO discovers a title defect during a title examination, the LTRO PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 § 150.301 How does the LTRO certify copies of title documents? The Certifying Officer certifies copies of title documents in the record of title by affixing an official seal to the copy of the title document. The official seal attests that the certified copy is a true and correct copy of the recorded title document. § 150.302 provide? What reports does the LTRO The LTRO provides the following types of reports for Indian land to those persons or entities authorized to receive such information: (a) Certified reports, including a Title Status Report, Land Status Map, and, as part of the probate record, the Probate Inventory Report; and (b) Uncertified reports or other reports based upon the information in the record of title. § 150.303 Who may request and receive copies of title documents in the record of title or reports from the LTRO without filing a Freedom of Information Act request? The following individuals and entities may request and receive copies of title documents in the record of title or reports for Indian land from the LTRO without filing a Freedom of Information Act request to the extent that disclosure would not violate the Privacy Act or other law restricting access to such records, for example, 25 U.S.C. 2216(e): (a) Owners of an interest in Indian land (or their legally authorized representative) may request copies of title documents in the record of title or reports for the Indian land in which they own an interest; (b) The Tribe with jurisdiction over the Indian land may request title documents or reports for Indian land subject to the Tribe’s jurisdiction; and (c) Any person (or their legally authorized representative) or entity who is leasing, using, or consolidating Indian land or is applying to lease, use, or consolidate Indian land may request title documents or reports for such Indian land. E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1 79972 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 239 / Friday, December 11, 2020 / Proposed Rules § 150.304 Where do I request copies of title documents or reports from the LTRO? You may request LTRO information, such as copies of title documents or reports, at any Region or Agency office with access to the record of title, regardless of geographic location. If the Region or Agency office does not have access to the title documents or the ability to generate the reports requested, it will refer the request to the office with access to the title documents or ability to generate the reports requested. § 150.305 What information must I provide when requesting copies of title documents and reports? jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, to request title documents or reports, you must provide only one of the following items of information: (1) If you are inquiring about your own interest in the tract, then your name and date of birth, or identification number; or (2) The name of the reservation where the land is located and either the tract number or legal description; or (3) The Agency name and either the tract number or legal description; or (4) A legal description of the tract; or (5) A title document number pertaining to the tract; or (6) The allotment number including the Tribe or land area code; or (7) The name of the original allottee. (b) Individuals and entities described in § 150.303(c) must also provide documents showing that they are entitled to the information they are requesting from the LTRO because they are leasing, using, or consolidating Indian land or the interests in Indian land, or because they are applying to lease, use, or consolidate Indian land or the interests in Indian land. (1) Are made or received by the Secretary or a Tribe or Tribal organization in the conduct of a Federal trust function under 25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq., including the operation of a trust program; and (2) Evidence the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities undertaken in the performance of a Federal trust function under this part. (b) Records not covered by paragraph (a) of this section that are made or received by a Tribe or Tribal organization in the conduct of business with the Department of the Interior under this part are the property of the Tribe. § 150.402 How must records associated with this part be preserved? (a) Tribes, Tribal organizations, and any other organization that make or receives records described in § 150.401(a) must preserve the records in accordance with approved Departmental records retention procedures under the Federal Records Act, 44 U.S.C. chapters 29, 31 and 33. These records and related records management practices and safeguards required under the Federal Records Act are subject to inspection by the Secretary and the Archivist of the United States. (b) A Tribe or Tribal organization should preserve the records identified in § 150.401(b) for the period of time authorized by the Archivist of the United States for similar Department of the Interior records in accordance with 44 U.S.C. chapter 33. § 150.306 Will I be charged a fee for obtaining copies of records? § 150.403 How does the Paperwork Reduction Act affect this part? (a) The LTRO may charge a fee to any of the parties listed in § 150.303(b) and (c) for each copy of recorded title documents, Title Status Reports, and land status maps to cover the costs in reviewing, preparing, or processing the documents. (b) The fee will be at the rate established by 43 CFR part 2, Appendix A. (c) The LTRO may waive all or part of these fees, at its discretion. (d) Paid fees are non-refundable. The information collections contained in this part have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C 3301 et seq. and assigned OMB Control Number 1076-. Response is required to obtain a benefit. A Federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and you are not required to respond to, a collection of information unless the form or regulation containing the collection of information has a currently valid OMB Control Number. Subpart E—Records § 150.401 Who owns the records associated with this part? (a) The records associated with this part are the property of the United States if they: VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:58 Dec 10, 2020 Jkt 253001 Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs. [FR Doc. 2020–26721 Filed 12–10–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4337–15–P PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 282 [EPA–R01–UST–2020–0207; FRL–10016–70Region 1] Rhode Island: Final Approval of State Underground Storage Tank Program Revisions, Codification, and Incorporation by Reference Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: Pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA or Act), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve revisions to the State of Rhode Island’s Underground Storage Tank (UST) program submitted by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM). This action is based on EPA’s determination that these revisions satisfy all requirements needed for program approval. This action also proposes to codify EPA’s approval of Rhode Island’s State program and to incorporate by reference those provisions of the State regulations that we have determined meet the requirements for approval. The provisions will be subject to EPA’s inspection and enforcement authorities under sections 9005 and 9006 of RCRA subtitle I and other applicable statutory and regulatory provisions. DATES: Send written comments by January 11, 2021. ADDRESSES: Submit any comments, identified by EPA–R01–UST–2020– 0207, by one of the following methods: 1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. 2. Email: beland.andrea@epa.gov. Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA–R01–UST–2020– 0207. EPA’s policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be available online at https:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through https:// www.regulations.gov, or email. The Federal https://www.regulations.gov website is an ‘‘anonymous access’’ system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 239 (Friday, December 11, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 79965-79972]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-26721]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Indian Affairs

25 CFR Part 150

[201A2100DD, AAKC001030, A0A501010.999900]
RIN 1076-AF56


Indian Land Title and Records

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is proposing a rule to 
modernize the current regulations governing the Land Title and Records 
Office (LTRO). The LTRO maintains title documents for land held in 
trust or restricted status for individual Indians and Tribes (Indian 
land). This proposed rule would replace outdated provisions and allow 
for more widespread efficiencies by reflecting current practices, while 
creating a framework for future LTRO operations.

DATES: Please submit written comments by February 9, 2021. If you wish 
to comment on the information collection requirements in this proposed 
rule, please note that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is 
required to make a decision concerning the collection of information 
contained in this proposed rule between 30 and 60 days after 
publication of this proposed rule in the Federal Register. Therefore, 
comments should be submitted to OMB by January 11, 2021. See the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this rulemaking for dates of 
Tribal consultation sessions.

ADDRESSES: You may send comments, identified by RIN number 1076-AF56 by 
any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for sending comments.
     Email: [email protected]. Include RIN number 1076-AF56 
in the subject line of the message.
     Mail or Hand-Delivery/Courier: Office of Regulatory 
Affairs & Collaborative Action--Indian Affairs (RACA), U.S. Department 
of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Mail Stop 4660, Washington, DC 
20240.
    All submissions received must include the Regulatory Information 
Number (RIN) for this rulemaking (RIN 1076-AF56). All comments received 
will be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov, including 
any personal information provided.
    Comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act information collections 
contained in this document are separate from comments on the substance 
of the rulemaking. Send your comments and suggestions on the 
information collection requirements to the Desk Officer for the 
Department of the Interior at OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-5806 (fax) or 
[email protected] (email). Please provide a copy of your 
comments to [email protected].
    We cannot ensure that comments received after the close of the 
comment period (see DATES) will be included in the docket for this 
rulemaking and considered. Comments sent to an address other than those 
listed above will not be included in the docket for this rulemaking.

[[Page 79966]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elizabeth Appel, Director, Office of 
Regulatory Affairs & Collaborative Action, (202) 273-4680; 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
I. Background and Summary of Proposed Rule
II. Tribal Consultation
III. Procedural Requirements
    A. Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866 and E.O. 13563)
    B. Regulatory Flexibility Act
    C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act
    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    E. Takings (E.O. 12630)
    F. Federalism (E.O. 13132)
    G. Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)
    H. Consultation with Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175)
    I. Paperwork Reduction Act
    J. National Environmental Policy Act
    K. Effects on the Energy Supply (E.O. 13211)
    L. Clarity of this Regulation
    M. Public Availability of Comments

I. Background & Summary of Proposed Rule

    The LTRO maintains title documents for land that the United States 
holds in trust or restricted status for individual Indians or Tribes 
(Indian land), roughly similar to how counties and other localities 
maintain title documents for fee land within their jurisdictions. 
Several Acts authorize BIA maintenance of these title records. See, 
e.g., 25 U.S.C. 5, 9; 64 Stat. 1262; 34 Stat. 137; 35 Stat. 312; and 38 
Stat. 582, 598.
    The LTRO has several physical offices throughout the country. These 
LTRO offices are the successors to the ``title plants'' that were 
established by regulation in 1965 to serve what were then BIA ``area 
offices.'' See 30 FR 11676 (September 11, 1965). Updates to the 
regulations in 1981 defined the role of the LTRO and assigned each LTRO 
office a geographic service area, containing certain BIA area offices 
or Tribal reservations. See 46 FR 47537 (September 29, 1981), later 
redesignated at 47 FR 13327 (March 30, 1982).
    The regulations finalized in 1981 are still in place (though 
redesignated from 25 CFR part 120 to 25 CFR part 150). Now, 40 years 
later, BIA ``area offices'' are BIA Regions, and the LTRO maintains 
title documents primarily through an electronic system: The Trust Asset 
Accounting Management System (TAAMS). Each LTRO office records land 
title documents that are primarily within its designated geographic 
area; however, it is BIA's vision that, eventually, all title documents 
will be electronically stored and accessible to LTRO offices regardless 
of geographic area.
    The proposed rule modernizes the LTRO regulations to provide a 
framework for continued operations and future electronic maintenance of 
most title documents. This approach will more efficiently address 
title-related actions that support Indian land transactions (such as a 
title examination to take land into trust) by allowing workloads to be 
shifted among LTRO offices to promptly address each request and prevent 
the risk of any backlogs. The proposed rule continues to provide that 
each LTRO office is primarily responsible for certain geographic areas, 
but rather than specifying those LTRO offices in the proposed rule, it 
instead points to a web page where BIA can keep the list accurately 
updated.
    The proposed rule also addresses changes that have evolved over the 
past 40 years that have removed requirements for Secretarial approval 
of certain title documents in support of Tribal self-governance and 
self-determination (e.g., individual leases under approved Helping 
Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act 
regulations) by clarifying that these documents must still be recorded 
in the LTRO because the documents affect who is authorized to use 
Indian land.
    The proposed rule would also make more transparent the LTRO's role 
as a support office to BIA and, with respect to title-related matters 
related to probate, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). 
Generally, the Realty staff in BIA are the primary liaison to the LTRO, 
as the Realty staff are responsible for processing land transactions 
requested by Indian and Tribal landowners. Similarly, the proposed rule 
would clarify the LTRO's role with respect to any defects to title: The 
LTRO provides a notation of the defect in the record of title, but the 
originating office is responsible for providing the LTRO with a 
corrected title document for the LTRO to record.
    Finally, the proposed rule would allow the BIA Director to delegate 
recording responsibilities to another office for certain transactions 
on an as-needed basis. This provision provides flexibility to 
facilitate future electronic recording capabilities for efficiency.
    The following table shows changes from the current regulation to 
the proposed rule.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Proposed 25 CFR       Description of
     Current 25 CFR Sec.              Sec.                changes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
150.1 Purpose and scope.......  150.1 What is the  Provides more general
                                 purpose of this    description of
                                 part?.             responsibilities
                                                    (e.g., to account
                                                    for other types of
                                                    reports beyond land
                                                    title status reports
                                                    that LTRO provides).
150.2 Definitions.............  150.2 What terms   Alphabetizes terms.
                                 do I need to      Adds definitions for
                                 know?.             ``certify,''
                                                    ``certified copy,''
                                                    ``Certifying
                                                    Officer,''
                                                    ``defect'' or
                                                    ``title defect,''
                                                    ``I'' or ``you''
                                                    (for plain language
                                                    purposes), ``Office
                                                    of Hearings and
                                                    Appeals (OHA),''
                                                    ``Probate Inventory
                                                    Report,'' ``record
                                                    of title,''
                                                    ``Region,'' and
                                                    ``title.''
                                                   Deletes definitions
                                                    of ``Administrative
                                                    Law Judge,''
                                                    ``Commissioner,''
                                                    ``land,'' and
                                                    ``Superintendent.''
                                                   Revises definition of
                                                    ``Agency'' to
                                                    clarify that
                                                    contracting and
                                                    compacting Tribes
                                                    are included.
                                                   Revises definition of
                                                    ``Indian land'' to
                                                    limit to trust or
                                                    restricted land
                                                    only, in accordance
                                                    with other
                                                    regulatory
                                                    definitions, while
                                                    moving provisions
                                                    regarding other
                                                    categories of land
                                                    to proposed Sec.
                                                    150.201(c).
                                                   Revises definition of
                                                    ``recording'' to
                                                    move substantive
                                                    statement as to the
                                                    significance of
                                                    recording a document
                                                    to the body of the
                                                    regulation at
                                                    proposed Sec.
                                                    150.101.
                                                   Revises definition of
                                                    ``title document''
                                                    to provide examples.
                                                   Revises definition of
                                                    ``title
                                                    examination'' to add
                                                    detail.
                                                   Revises definition of
                                                    ``Tribe'' to cite
                                                    the List Act of
                                                    1994.

[[Page 79967]]

 
                                150.3 May Tribes   New section to
                                 administer this    address that Tribes
                                 part on LTRO's     may compact or
                                 behalf?.           contract for LTRO
                                                    functions under
                                                    Tribal self-
                                                    governance and self-
                                                    determination
                                                    compacts and
                                                    contracts.
                                150.101 What is    New section to
                                 the purpose of     address the
                                 the record of      significance of
                                 title?.            recording a document
                                                    in the record of
                                                    title.
150.3 Maintenance of land       150.102 Who        No substantive
 records and title documents.    maintains the      change.
                                 record of title?.
                                150.103 What       New section to
                                 services does      provide a list of
                                 the LTRO perform   services that the
                                 to maintain the    LTRO performs.
                                 record of title?.
                                150.104 How does   New section to
                                 the LTRO           address that the
                                 maintain the       LTRO primarily
                                 record of title?.  maintains the record
                                                    of title
                                                    electronically.
150.4 Locations and service     150.105 Are        Revises to provide
 areas for land titles and       certain LTRO       flexibility to allow
 records offices.                offices            for workload sharing
                                 responsible for    across LTRO offices
                                 certain            while noting LTRO
                                 geographic         offices have primary
                                 areas?.            responsibility for
                                                    certain geographic
                                                    areas. Replaces the
                                                    list of addresses
                                                    for each LTRO office
                                                    with a webpage for a
                                                    more frequently
                                                    updated list of each
                                                    LTRO office's area
                                                    of primary
                                                    geographic area.
150.5 Other Bureau offices      .................  Deleted because this
 with title service                                 section is no longer
 responsibility.                                    necessary.
150.6 Recordation of title      150.201 What is    Removes language
 documents.                      recorded in the    assuming hard copy
                                 record of title?.  transmission of
                                                    documents.
                                                   Adds language to
                                                    account for the need
                                                    to record certain
                                                    documents that are
                                                    not subject to
                                                    Secretarial
                                                    approval.
                                                   Adds that LTRO
                                                    offices may also
                                                    maintain documents
                                                    demonstrating the
                                                    rights of use,
                                                    occupancy, and/or
                                                    benefit of certain
                                                    Tribes to non-Indian
                                                    land and certain
                                                    documents related to
                                                    Indian land that are
                                                    not title documents.
                                150.202 Must I     New section to
                                 check with any     specify that in some
                                 other              instances, due
                                 governmental       diligence may
                                 office to find     require examination
                                 title documents    of other records of
                                 for Indian land?.  title for Indian
                                                    land.
                                150.203 Who may    Clarifies the role of
                                 submit a title     the LTRO as a
                                 document for       service office for
                                 recording?.        BIA Agencies,
                                                    Regions, and OHA,
                                                    who act as the
                                                    primary liaison to
                                                    Indian and Tribal
                                                    landowners.
                                150.204 Who        Clarifies that the
                                 records title      BIA Director may
                                 documents?.        delegate the
                                                    recording function
                                                    to other Agency
                                                    offices by
                                                    documenting the
                                                    delegation and types
                                                    of transactions to
                                                    which it applies in
                                                    the Indian Affairs
                                                    Manual.
                                150.205 What are   New section to
                                 the minimum        clarify what must be
                                 requirements for   included in a title
                                 recording a        document that is
                                 title document?.   approved by the
                                                    Secretary and what
                                                    must be included in
                                                    title documents that
                                                    are deemed approved.
150.7 Curative action to        150.206 What       Revises to provide
 correct title defects.          actions will       that LTRO offices
                                 LTRO take if it    will no longer
                                 discovers a        complete
                                 title defect?.     administrative
                                                    modifications;
                                                    rather they will put
                                                    a notation in the
                                                    record of title and
                                                    contact the
                                                    originating office
                                                    for correction.
150.8 Title status reports....  .................  Incorporated into
                                                    proposed Sec.
                                                    150.302.
150.9 Land status maps........  .................  Incorporated into
                                                    proposed Sec.
                                                    150.302.
150.10 Certification of land    150.301 How does   Revised for plain
 records and title documents.    LTRO certify       language.
                                 copies of title
                                 documents?.
                                150.302 What       Lists the universe of
                                 reports does the   reports that the
                                 LTRO provide?.     LTRO may provide for
                                                    Indian land.
150.11 Disclosure of land       150.303 Who may    Revises to include
 records, title documents, and   request and        the categories of
 title reports.                  receive copies     persons/entities
                                 of title           that may obtain
                                 documents in the   information under
                                 record of title    current laws
                                 or reports from    including the
                                 LTRO without       American Indian
                                 filing a Freedom   Probate Reform Act
                                 of Information     of 2004, 25 U.S.C.
                                 Act request?.      2204.
                                150.304 Where do   New section to
                                 I request copies   clarify that the BIA
                                 of title           Agency or Region is
                                 documents or       the liaison to the
                                 reports from       LTRO.
                                 LTRO?.
                                150.305 What       New section to list
                                 information must   what information BIA
                                 I provide when     will require in
                                 requesting         order to identify
                                 copies of title    the land for which a
                                 documents and      report is being
                                 reports?.          requested.
                                150.306 Will I be  New section to
                                 charged a fee      provide that the
                                 for obtaining      LTRO may charge fees
                                 copies of          in accordance with
                                 records?.          the Freedom of
                                                    Information Act fee
                                                    schedule, but will
                                                    not charge fees to
                                                    Indian or Tribal
                                                    landowners.
                                150.401 Who owns   New section to
                                 the records        clarify what records
                                 associated with    are Federal records
                                 this part?.        as opposed to Tribal
                                                    records in cases
                                                    where a Tribe has
                                                    contracted or
                                                    compacted for LTRO
                                                    functions.
                                150.402 How must   New section regarding
                                 records            preservation
                                 associated with    requirements for
                                 this part be       Federal records.
                                 preserved?.
                                150.403 How does   New section required
                                 the Paperwork      because the
                                 Reduction Act      regulation imposes
                                 affect this        an information
                                 part?.             collection by
                                                    requiring
                                                    individuals to
                                                    provide certain
                                                    information in order
                                                    to obtain copies of
                                                    records.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 79968]]

II. Tribal Consultation

    The Department is hosting the following consultation sessions on 
this proposed rule:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Date                      Time               Location
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday, January 12, 2021.....  2 p.m.-4 p.m.      Teleconference: 888-
                                 Eastern Time.      606-8412
                                                   Passcode: ``DOI''
                                                    (Operator will
                                                    answer)
Thursday, January 14, 2021....  2 p.m.-4 p.m.      Teleconference: 888-
                                 Eastern Time.      606-8412
                                                   Passcode: ``DOI''
                                                    (Operator will
                                                    answer)
------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. Procedural Requirements

A. Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866)

    Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 provides that the Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined 
that this proposed rule is not significant.
    E.O. 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for 
improvements in the Nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The E.O. directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce 
burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public 
where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with 
regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations 
must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking 
process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of 
ideas. We have developed this proposed rule in a manner consistent with 
these requirements.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that this document will 
not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small 
entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). 
The proposed rule addresses how Indian land title and records are 
maintained.

C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This proposed rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This proposed rule:
    (a) Will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more.
    (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
    (c) Will not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of the 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This proposed rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, 
local, or Tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 
million per year. The proposed rule does not have a significant or 
unique effect on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private 
sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

E. Takings (E.O. 12630)

    This proposed rule does not affect a taking of private property or 
otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630. A 
takings implication assessment is not required.

F. Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, this 
proposed rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to 
warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. A 
federalism summary impact statement is not required.

G. Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    This proposed rule complies with the requirements of Executive 
Order 12988. Specifically, this rule:
    (a) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all 
regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be 
written to minimize litigation; and
    (b) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all 
regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal 
standards.

H. Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175)

    The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its 
government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes through a 
commitment to consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their 
right to self-governance and Tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this 
proposed rule under the Department's consultation policy and under the 
criteria in Executive Order 13175 and have determined that Tribal 
consultation is appropriate because the rule addresses maintenance of 
land held in trust or restricted status for Tribes. Tribes are invited 
to join the Tribal consultation sessions listed in Section II of this 
preamble, above.

I. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule contains new information collections. All 
information collections require approval under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We may not conduct or sponsor and 
you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless 
it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
control number. The Department is seeking approval of a new information 
collection, as follows.
    Brief Description of Collection: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) 
Land Title and Records Office (LTRO) maintains title documents for land 
that the United States holds in trust or restricted status for 
individual Indians or Tribes (Indian land), much like counties and 
other localities maintain title documents for fee land within their 
jurisdictions. Individuals or entities that are requesting information 
regarding title documents--either for property they own or for property 
they seek to lease or encumber--must provide certain information to the 
LTRO in order for LTRO to accurately identify the property for which 
they are seeking information. LTRO uses the information provided by 
individuals or entities in order to identify the property so that they 
can retrieve the appropriate title documents and produce reports for 
that property. The collection of information is found in Sec.  150.305, 
which provides that anyone requesting title documents or reports must 
provide certain information, such as the name of the reservation where 
the land is located

[[Page 79969]]

and the tract number or legal description.
    Title: Requests for Indian Land Title and Records Information.
    OMB Control Number: 1076-NEW.
    Form Number: None.
    Type of Review: Existing collection in use without an OMB Control 
Number.
    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals, Private Sector, 
Government.
    Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: 36.
    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 36.
    Estimated Completion Time per Response: 0.5 hours.
    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 19 hours (consisting 
of 10 hours for private sector respondents, 3 hours for individual 
respondents--rounded up from 2.5 hours, and 6 hours for government 
respondents--rounded up from 5.5 hours).
    Respondents' Obligation: Required to obtain a benefit.
    Frequency of Response: Occasionally.
    Total Estimated Annual Non-Hour Burden Cost: $500.
    As part of our continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent 
burdens, we invite the public and other Federal agencies to comment on 
any aspect of this information collection, including:
    (1) Whether or not the collection of information is necessary for 
the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including 
whether or not the information will have practical utility;
    (2) The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection 
of information, including the validity of the methodology and 
assumptions used;
    (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
    (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate 
automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting 
electronic submission of response.
    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information 
collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this 
rulemaking to www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. Find this particular 
information collection by selecting ``Currently under 30-day Review--
Open for Public Comments'' or by using the search function. Please 
provide a copy of your comments to [email protected]. Please 
reference OMB Control Number 1076-NEW in the subject line of your 
comments.

J. National Environmental Policy Act

    This proposed rule does not constitute a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. A 
detailed statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(NEPA) is not required because the environmental effects of this 
proposed rule are too speculative to lend themselves to meaningful 
analysis and will later be subject to the NEPA process, unless covered 
by a categorical exclusion. (For further information see 43 CFR 
46.210(i)). We have also determined that the rule does not involve any 
of the extraordinary circumstances listed in 43 CFR 46.215 that would 
require further analysis under NEPA.

K. Effects on the Energy Supply (E.O. 13211)

    This proposed rule is not a significant energy action under the 
definition in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects is 
not required.

L. Clarity of This Regulation

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    a. Be logically organized;
    b. Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    c. Use clear language rather than jargon;
    d. Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    e. Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To 
better help us revise the rulemaking, your comments should be as 
specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of 
the sections or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections 
or sentences are too long, the sections where you believe lists or 
tables would be useful, etc.

M. Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

List of Subjects in 25 CFR Part 150

    Indians--lands.

0
For the reasons given in the preamble, the Department of the Interior 
proposes to amend 25 CFR chapter I, subchapter H by revising part 150 
to read as follows:

PART 150--RECORD OF TITLE TO INDIAN LAND

Subpart A--Purpose and Definitions
Sec.
150.1 What is the purpose of this part?
150.2 What terms do I need to know?
150.3 May tribes administer this part on LTRO's behalf?
Subpart B--Record of Title to Indian Land
150.101 What is the purpose of the record of title?
150.102 Who maintains the record of title?
150.103 What services does the LTRO perform to maintain the record 
of title?
150.104 How does the LTRO maintain the record of title?
150.105 Are certain LTRO offices responsible for certain geographic 
areas?
Subpart C--Procedures and Requirements to Record Documents
150.201 What is recorded in the record of title?
150.202 Must I check with any other governmental office to find 
title documents for Indian land?
150.203 Who may submit a title document for recording?
150.204 Who records title documents?
150.205 What are the minimum requirements for recording a title 
document?
150.206 What actions will the LTRO take if it discovers a title 
defect?
Subpart D--Disclosure of Title Documents and Reports
150.301 How does LTRO certify copies of title documents?
150.302 What reports does LTRO provide?
150.303 Who may request and receive copies of title documents in the 
record of title or reports from LTRO without filing a Freedom of 
Information Act request?
150.304 Where do I request copies of title documents and reports 
from LTRO?
150.305 What information must I provide when requesting title 
documents or reports?
150.306 Will I be charged a fee for obtaining copies of records?
Subpart E--Records
150.401 Who owns the records associated with this part?
150.402 How must records associated with this part be preserved?
150.403 How does the Paperwork Reduction Act affect this part?

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 301; 5 U.S.C. 552a; 25 U.S.C. 2; 25 U.S.C. 
5; 25 U.S.C. 7; 25 U.S.C. 9; 25 U.S.C. 14b; 25 U.S.C. 25; 25 U.S.C. 
199; 25 U.S.C. 343; 25 U.S.C. 355; 25 U.S.C. 413; 25 U.S.C. 2201 et. 
seq.; 44 U.S.C. 2901 et.

[[Page 79970]]

seq.; 44 U.S.C. 3101 et. seq.; and 44 U.S.C. 3301 et. seq.

Subpart A--Purpose and Definitions


Sec.  150.1  What is the purpose of this part?

    This part describes the BIA repository of title documents for 
Indian land and responsibilities for recording title documents, 
maintaining the repository, and providing reports on title to Indian 
land.


Sec.  150.2  What terms do I need to know?

    Agency means the BIA agency or field office with jurisdiction over 
a particular tract of Indian land or another BIA office through 
delegation and documentation of responsibilities in the Indian Affairs 
Manual. This term also means any Tribe acting on behalf of the 
Secretary or BIA under a contract or compact under the Indian Self-
Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.).
    BIA means the Bureau of Indian Affairs within the Department of the 
Interior.
    Certify for the purposes of certifying Title Status Reports, 
probate inventory reports, title status maps, and findings of title 
examinations means that an LTRO Certifying Officer has determined that 
the report, map, or examination of land title status is complete, 
correct, and current, based on the record of title.
    Certified copy means a copy of a title document that is a true and 
correct copy of the title document as recorded in the record of title 
and evidenced by an official seal.
    Certifying Officer means the LTRO Manager or another properly 
authorized or delegated Federal official who certifies the status of 
title to Indian lands or copies of title documents.
    Defect or title defect means an error contained within, or created 
by, a title document that makes the title to Indian land uncertain.
    I or you means the person to whom these regulations directly apply.
    Indian land means land, or an interest therein, that is:
    (1) Held in trust by the United States for one or more individual 
Indians or Tribes; or
    (2) Owned by one or more individual Indians or Tribes and can only 
be alienated or encumbered by the owner with the approval of the 
Secretary because of restrictions or limitations in the conveyance 
instrument or in Federal law.
    LTRO means the Land Title and Records Office within the BIA, which 
is responsible for recording title documents, maintaining the record of 
title, and providing certified copies of title documents and reports. 
The term LTRO, as used herein, includes any Tribe acting on behalf of 
the Secretary or BIA under Sec.  150.3.
    Manager is the designated officer in charge of a LTRO office or his 
or her designated representative.
    OHA means the Office of Hearings and Appeals within the Department 
of the Interior.
    Probate Inventory Report means a report of Indian land owned by an 
individual Indian at the time of his or her death.
    Record of title means the BIA's repository of title documents for 
Indian land.
    Recording is the acceptance of a title document and entry into the 
record of title of a title document by LTRO. An official LTRO stamp 
affixed to the title document provides evidence that the title document 
has been recorded.
    Region means a BIA regional office.
    Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior or his or her 
authorized representative.
    Title means ownership of Indian land.
    Title examination means a review and evaluation by the LTRO of: (1) 
Title documents submitted to it for recording, and (2) the status of 
title for a particular tract of Indian land based on the record of 
title, and a finding, certified by the LTRO Manager, that title is 
complete, correct, current, and without defect, or identifies defects 
that must be corrected.
    Title document means any document that affects the title to or 
encumbers Indian land, including but not limited to conveyances, 
probate orders, encumbrances (such as mortgages, liens, permits, 
covenants, leases, easements, rights-of-way), plats, cadastral surveys, 
and other surveys.
    Title Status Report means a report issued after a title examination 
that shows the proper legal description of a tract of Indian land; 
current ownership, including any applicable conditions, exceptions, 
restrictions or encumbrances of record; and whether interests in the 
land are in unrestricted, restricted, trust, and/or other status as 
indicated by the record of title in the LTRO.
    Tribe means an Indian Tribe under section 102 of the Federally 
Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994, 25 U.S.C. 5129(a).


Sec.  150.3  May Tribes administer this part on LTRO's behalf?

    A Tribe may contract or compact under the Indian Self-Determination 
and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.) to administer on 
LTRO's behalf any portion of this part that is not an inherently 
Federal function.

Subpart B--Record of Title to Indian Land


Sec.  150.101  What is the purpose of the record of title?

    The record of title provides the BIA with a record of title 
documents to Indian land and provides the public (including but not 
limited to future purchasers, creditors, and other interested parties) 
with constructive notice that the title documents exist.


Sec.  150.102  Who maintains the record of title?

    The LTRO is designated as the office responsible for maintaining 
the record of title.


Sec.  150.103   What services does the LTRO perform to maintain the 
record of title?

    The LTRO is responsible for performing the following services to 
maintain the record of title:
    (a) Recording title documents submitted by an Agency, Region, or 
OHA;
    (b) Providing certified copies of the title documents in the record 
of title;
    (c) Examining the record of title and certifying the findings of 
title examinations;
    (d) Providing and certifying Title Status Reports;
    (e) Preparing, maintaining, and providing land status maps;
    (f) Providing and certifying probate inventory reports; and
    (g) Providing other services and reports based upon the information 
in the record of title.


Sec.  150.104   How does the LTRO maintain the record of title?

    The LTRO maintains the record of title electronically in a system 
of record. However, certain title documents may exist only as physical 
copies and not electronically.


Sec.  150.105  Are certain LTRO offices responsible for certain 
geographic areas?

    Staff at each LTRO office will have primary responsibility to 
maintain the record of title for Indian land under that LTRO office's 
assigned geographic area, based on BIA Region, Tribal reservation, or 
otherwise, as prescribed by BIA through internal procedures. BIA will 
keep an updated list of each LTRO office's assigned geographic area of 
responsibility on www.bia.gov/bia/ots/dltr. LTRO offices may assist in 
maintaining the record of title for Indian land not under their 
assigned geographic area as needed.

[[Page 79971]]

Subpart C--Procedures and Requirements to Record Documents


Sec.  150.201  What is recorded in the record of title?

    (a) All title documents for Indian land must be recorded in the 
record of title, regardless of whether the document reflects a 
transaction that required Secretarial approval. For example, the 
following do not require Secretarial approval, but are title documents 
required to be recorded:
    (1) Service line agreements must be recorded under 25 CFR 169.56;
    (2) Individual leases under approved Helping Expedite and Advance 
Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Tribal regulations must be 
recorded under the Indian Affairs Manual (IAM) at 52 IAM 13;
    (3) Individual leases, business agreements, and rights-of-way under 
Tribal Energy Resource Agreements approved by the Secretary under 25 
CFR part 224 must be recorded;
    (4) Leases between a Tribe and a Tribal energy development 
organization under 25 CFR 224 must be recorded;
    (5) Leases of Tribal land by a 25 U.S.C. 477 corporate entity under 
its charter to a third party for a period not to exceed 25 years must 
be recorded under 25 CFR 162.006(b)(3)(i); and
    (6) Subleasehold mortgages under 25 CFR 162.009 must be recorded.
    (b) The requirement in paragraph (a) of this section does not 
eliminate or supersede any Federal statute or regulation requiring the 
recording of title documents for Indian land in other records of title, 
including title documents for Indian land within the jurisdiction of 
the Five Civilized Tribes or the Osage Nation.
    (c) LTRO may also record:
    (1) Documents that demonstrate the rights of use, occupancy, and/or 
benefit of certain Tribes to U.S. Government land or other non-Indian 
lands; and
    (2) Certain documents regarding Indian lands that are not title 
documents.


Sec.  150.202  Must I check with any other governmental office to find 
title documents for Indian land?

    In certain circumstances, due diligence may require examination of 
other Federal, State, and local records of title.


Sec.  150.203  Who may submit a title document for recording?

    Only an Agency, Region, or OHA may submit title documents to the 
LTRO for recording. All other government offices and individuals must 
submit title documents to the Agency, Region, or OHA, as appropriate, 
for that Agency, Region, or OHA to submit to the LTRO.


Sec.  150.204  Who records title documents?

    The LTRO is the designated office to record title documents. The 
BIA Director may delegate the authority to record title documents to 
another BIA office by documenting the delegation and the types of 
transactions to which it applies in the Indian Affairs Manual.


Sec.  150.205   What are the minimum requirements for recording a title 
document?

    (a) A title document must include the following information to be 
recorded in the record of title, except as provided in paragraph (b) of 
this section:
    (1) A legal description of the Indian land and, if required, the 
tract number;
    (2) The signatures of the parties to the document;
    (3) Proper notarization or other acknowledgment of the signatures 
of the parties, if applicable;
    (4) Signature and citation to the authority of the approving 
official, if applicable; and
    (5) Approval date.
    (b) If the title document reflects a transaction that was deemed 
approved under a statute or regulation providing that a transaction is 
deemed approved after a certain period of time without Secretarial 
action to approve or deny, then, at a minimum, the title document must 
include the following items:
    (1) A legal description of the Indian land and, if required, the 
tract number;
    (2) The signatures of the parties to the document;
    (3) Proper acknowledgement or authentication of the signatures of 
the parties, if applicable; and
    (4) A citation to the statutory or regulatory authority for the 
transaction to be deemed approved.


Sec.  150.206  What actions will the LTRO take if it discovers a title 
defect?

    (a) If the LTRO discovers that a title document omits one or more 
of the items required for recording by Sec.  150.205(a) or (b), then 
the LTRO will notify the originating office to request correction. Once 
the omission is corrected, the LTRO will record the title document.
    (b) If the LTRO discovers there is an error in one or more of the 
items required for recording by Sec.  150.205(a) or (b), then the LTRO 
will record the title document with a notation on title and notify the 
originating office to request correction. Once the error is corrected, 
the LTRO will record the corrected title document and remove the 
notation.
    (c) If the LTRO discovers a title defect during a title 
examination, the LTRO will notify the originating office of the defect, 
request correction, and make a notation in the record of title. Once 
the defect is corrected, the LTRO will record the corrected title 
document or other legal instruments to correct the title document and 
remove the notation.
    (d) If the defect is contained in a probate record, the LTRO will 
notify the Agency or Region to initiate corrective action with the OHA.

Subpart D--Disclosure of Title Documents and Reports


Sec.  150.301  How does the LTRO certify copies of title documents?

    The Certifying Officer certifies copies of title documents in the 
record of title by affixing an official seal to the copy of the title 
document. The official seal attests that the certified copy is a true 
and correct copy of the recorded title document.


Sec.  150.302  What reports does the LTRO provide?

    The LTRO provides the following types of reports for Indian land to 
those persons or entities authorized to receive such information:
    (a) Certified reports, including a Title Status Report, Land Status 
Map, and, as part of the probate record, the Probate Inventory Report; 
and
    (b) Uncertified reports or other reports based upon the information 
in the record of title.


Sec.  150.303  Who may request and receive copies of title documents in 
the record of title or reports from the LTRO without filing a Freedom 
of Information Act request?

    The following individuals and entities may request and receive 
copies of title documents in the record of title or reports for Indian 
land from the LTRO without filing a Freedom of Information Act request 
to the extent that disclosure would not violate the Privacy Act or 
other law restricting access to such records, for example, 25 U.S.C. 
2216(e):
    (a) Owners of an interest in Indian land (or their legally 
authorized representative) may request copies of title documents in the 
record of title or reports for the Indian land in which they own an 
interest;
    (b) The Tribe with jurisdiction over the Indian land may request 
title documents or reports for Indian land subject to the Tribe's 
jurisdiction; and
    (c) Any person (or their legally authorized representative) or 
entity who is leasing, using, or consolidating Indian land or is 
applying to lease, use, or consolidate Indian land may request title 
documents or reports for such Indian land.

[[Page 79972]]

Sec.  150.304   Where do I request copies of title documents or reports 
from the LTRO?

    You may request LTRO information, such as copies of title documents 
or reports, at any Region or Agency office with access to the record of 
title, regardless of geographic location. If the Region or Agency 
office does not have access to the title documents or the ability to 
generate the reports requested, it will refer the request to the office 
with access to the title documents or ability to generate the reports 
requested.


Sec.  150.305  What information must I provide when requesting copies 
of title documents and reports?

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, to request 
title documents or reports, you must provide only one of the following 
items of information:
    (1) If you are inquiring about your own interest in the tract, then 
your name and date of birth, or identification number; or
    (2) The name of the reservation where the land is located and 
either the tract number or legal description; or
    (3) The Agency name and either the tract number or legal 
description; or
    (4) A legal description of the tract; or
    (5) A title document number pertaining to the tract; or
    (6) The allotment number including the Tribe or land area code; or
    (7) The name of the original allottee.
    (b) Individuals and entities described in Sec.  150.303(c) must 
also provide documents showing that they are entitled to the 
information they are requesting from the LTRO because they are leasing, 
using, or consolidating Indian land or the interests in Indian land, or 
because they are applying to lease, use, or consolidate Indian land or 
the interests in Indian land.


Sec.  150.306  Will I be charged a fee for obtaining copies of records?

    (a) The LTRO may charge a fee to any of the parties listed in Sec.  
150.303(b) and (c) for each copy of recorded title documents, Title 
Status Reports, and land status maps to cover the costs in reviewing, 
preparing, or processing the documents.
    (b) The fee will be at the rate established by 43 CFR part 2, 
Appendix A.
    (c) The LTRO may waive all or part of these fees, at its 
discretion.
    (d) Paid fees are non-refundable.

Subpart E--Records


Sec.  150.401  Who owns the records associated with this part?

    (a) The records associated with this part are the property of the 
United States if they:
    (1) Are made or received by the Secretary or a Tribe or Tribal 
organization in the conduct of a Federal trust function under 25 U.S.C. 
5301 et seq., including the operation of a trust program; and
    (2) Evidence the organization, functions, policies, decisions, 
procedures, operations, or other activities undertaken in the 
performance of a Federal trust function under this part.
    (b) Records not covered by paragraph (a) of this section that are 
made or received by a Tribe or Tribal organization in the conduct of 
business with the Department of the Interior under this part are the 
property of the Tribe.


Sec.  150.402  How must records associated with this part be preserved?

    (a) Tribes, Tribal organizations, and any other organization that 
make or receives records described in Sec.  150.401(a) must preserve 
the records in accordance with approved Departmental records retention 
procedures under the Federal Records Act, 44 U.S.C. chapters 29, 31 and 
33. These records and related records management practices and 
safeguards required under the Federal Records Act are subject to 
inspection by the Secretary and the Archivist of the United States.
    (b) A Tribe or Tribal organization should preserve the records 
identified in Sec.  150.401(b) for the period of time authorized by the 
Archivist of the United States for similar Department of the Interior 
records in accordance with 44 U.S.C. chapter 33.


Sec.  150.403   How does the Paperwork Reduction Act affect this part?

    The information collections contained in this part have been 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C 3301 et 
seq. and assigned OMB Control Number 1076-. Response is required to 
obtain a benefit. A Federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and you 
are not required to respond to, a collection of information unless the 
form or regulation containing the collection of information has a 
currently valid OMB Control Number.

Tara Sweeney,
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2020-26721 Filed 12-10-20; 8:45 am]
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