By Christina Vaughn
The U.S. Department of Labor published its proposed tribal consultation policy in the Wednesday, April 18, 2012, Federal Register (77 Fed. Reg. 23283).
This issuance of the proposed policy is in compliance with Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000, which charged executive departments and agencies with engaging in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in the development of federal policies that have tribal implications. Following issuance of the order, departments and agencies were slow to establish and follow through with tribal consultation policies. To reemphasize the importance of this policy, President Obama issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies on November 5, 2009, directing each agency head to establish a detailed plan for implementing the policies and directives of the executive order.
Under the proposed policy, the DOL will, to the extent practicable and permitted by law, consult with affected Indian tribes with regard to “proposed legislation, regulations, policies or actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.” The proposed policy sets forth the manner, method and timing of departmental consultation with tribes, focusing on transparent and meaningful consultation in processes that have tribal implications.
Comments on the proposed policy must be made by June 18, 2012. All comments should reference Docket Number: DOL-2012-0002.