WASHINGTON — This week, the U.S. Senate passed a bill authored by U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, to amend the Long Term Leasing Act to clarify that the Pueblos of Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh may lease all their lands on a long-term basis. The bill provides the Pueblos certainty in leasing and investing in their lands to businesses, boosting job creation and economic development. The bill, S. 249, amends current law by extending the lease period from 25 to 99 years for the Pueblos’ lands held in restricted fee status, a term that currently only applies to the Tribes’ lands held in trust status.
“I am proud that the Senate passed my common-sense legislation to permit the Pueblos of Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh to lease all their lands for the long term,” Udall said. “Enabling the Pueblos to lease their restricted fee lands for up to 99 years will assuredly attract new businesses to lease and spur investment in their Tribal economies — creating jobs and expanding opportunity across the Pueblos.”
The long-term lease bill is the first Democratic Senate Indian Affairs Committee bill to pass the full Senate in the 115th Congress, along with a bill to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010.