Excellent article. Very few folks address this part of Cobell. The problem is that presently it takes the BIA anywhere from 2-5 years to complete a normal owner initiated land sale transaction such as the Land Consolidation Program under a normal workload. Appraisals can take from 4-6 months to be approved to ensure fair market value (FMV) unless a market analysis is used which isn't a true current FMV. Environmental reviews and compliance is required and these can take the same amount of time or longer. Not to mention the delays often experienced in processing land sales on Indian allotted lands. The settlement only allows 10 years from the date of the final settlement (Nov. 2012 (?)) to complete these land acquisitions and any remaining unexpended funds will be returned to the U.S. Treasury, forever lost to the settlement plan. Since it can be presumed that the new workload, coupled with existing land acquisition workload, and proposed 10-14% BIA funding decrease for FY 2013 and thereafter, will there even be a measurable success in achieving the Government's objective? Anyway, thanks for the story and bringing out a side of the settlement that doesn't get much attention, but yet a key component of the settlement agreement.
Monday, December 10, 2012 - 21:56