Steve Sachs

Environmental Developments

        Jessica Corbett, "World's Oceans Last Year Hit Hottest Temperatures Ever Recorded... 'By Far': Experts say the data indicates that humans must urgently "reduce the heating of our planet by using energy more wisely and increasing the use of clean and renewable energy,'" Common Dreams, January 26, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/26/worlds-oceans-last-year-hit-hottest-temperatures-ever-recorded-far, reported, "A new analysis conducted by Chinese researchers and published in a peer-reviewed journal on Friday found that 2017 was the hottest year on record for the world's oceans, renewing concerns among those in the scientific community about the man-made climate crisis.
        The long-term warming trend driven by human activities continued unabated,' the researchers, Lijing Cheng and Jiang Zhu, wrote (pdf) in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. 'The high ocean temperatures in recent years have occurred as greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have also risen, reaching record highs in 2017.'
        While measuring atmospheric temperature changes provides insight into humankind's impact on the planet—and recent reports show 2017 was the second-hottest year on record—'in terms of understanding how fast the Earth is warming, the key is the oceans,' because almost all the planet's heat is stored in the seas, as John Abraham, a professor of thermal sciences, explains in a piece for the Guardian.
        Abraham says last year's dramatic increase made 2017 'by far' the hottest year on record for the world's oceans.


        Breaking down the significance of a graph presented in the new report, Abraham writes: 'This graph shows ocean heat as an 'anomaly,' which means a change from their baseline of 1981–2010. Columns in blue are cooler than the 1981-2010 period, while columns in red are warmer than that period. The best way to interpret this graph is to notice the steady rise in ocean heat over this long time period."
        'The fact that 2017 was the oceans' hottest year doesn't prove humans are warming the planet,' he continues, acknowledging that small temperature fluctuations from year to year are normal, due to natural events like the Pacific Ocean's El Niño/La Niña cycle. 'But, the long-term upward trend that extends back many decades does prove global warming.'
        'The human greenhouse gas footprint continues to impact the Earth system,' the Chinese researchers note, and the consequences include not only sea level rise, but also 'declining ocean oxygen, bleaching of coral reefs, and melting sea ice and ice shelves.'
        'The consequences of this year-after-year-after-year warming have real impacts on humans,' Abraham writes.
        'Fortunately, we know why the oceans are warming (because of human greenhouse gases), and we can do something about it,' he concludes. 'We can take action to reduce the heating of our planet by using energy more wisely and increasing the use of clean and renewable energy (like wind and solar power).'
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        Julia Conley, "Researchers 'Staggered' by 'Crazy, Crazy' Record-Setting Warm Winter in Arctic: Arctic warming is just a symptom of 'disease' that's getting worse, say climate scientists, as U.S. leaders refuse to curb human activities that contribute to climate crisis," March 7, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/07/researchers-staggered-crazy-crazy-record-setting-warm-winter-arctic, reported, "This past winter has set a worrying record in the Arctic, as scientists examining the effects of climate crisis continue to express dismay at the region's warmest winter since researchers began documenting the climate there.

        At the northernmost tip of Greenland, researchers were 'staggered' when they recorded more than 60 hours of above-freezing temperatures in February. Before last month, scientists had observed Arctic temperatures rising above freezing only in the month of February, both for brief periods—suggesting that the region is rapidly changing due to the warming of the Earth.

        'It's just crazy, crazy stuff,' Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, told the Associated Press. Serreze is known for his research on the decline of sea ice in the Arctic. 'These heat waves—I've never seen anything like this.'
        'The extended warmth really has staggered all of us,' Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, said.
        In Barrow, Alaska, also known as Utqiaġvik, February was 18 degrees warmer than normal while the whole season was about 14 degrees warmer, according to researchers.
        Sea ice in the Arctic Circle also retreated to unprecedented low levels this winter, covering about 5.4 million square miles—62,000 fewer square miles than last year.
        The reports of the record-setting Arctic winter come as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shuts down parts of its website dedicated to climate science and rolls back regulations meant to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
        'The underlying disease that's causing this [Arctic warming] is getting worse," Jennifer Francis said, a research professor at Rutgers University, said. "These are just the symptoms.'
        Arctic Sea Ice winter extent was by a small amount the second lowest in know history, in winter 2017-18, an indication of increasing global warming (Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Arctic sea Ice Nearly Hit Low this Winter," The New York Times, March 24, 2918).
        Among the losses, of concern, in the Arctic is that the old ice, which is more resistant to melting, is disappearing with the more extensive summer melts of the last few years, increasing the general rate of Arctic ice loss. As the open water absorbs more heat than reflective ice, the ice loss increases global warming, and sea warming in particular (Jeremy White and Kendra Pierre-Louis, "In the Arctic, Old Ice Is Disappearing," The New York Times, May 17, 2018).
        Jessica Corbett, "'Utterly Terrifying': Study Affirms Feedback Loop Fears as Surging Antarctica Ice Loss Tripled in Last Five Years: 'The most robust study of the ice mass balance of Antarctica to date,' scientists say, "now puts Antarctica in the frame as one of the largest contributors to sea-level rise,'" Common Dreams, June 14, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/06/14/utterly-terrifying-study-affirms-feedback-loop-fears-surging-antarctica-ice-loss, reported, "Scientists are expressing alarm over 'utterly terrifying' new findings from NASA and the European Space Agency that Antarctica has lost about 3 trillion tons of ice since 1992, and in the past five years—as the atmospheric and ocean temperatures have continued to climb amid ongoing reliance on fossil fuels—ice losses have tripled.
        This should be a wake-up call, said University of Leeds professor Andrew Shepherd, a lead author of the report. 'These events and the sea-level rise they've triggered are an indicator of climate change and should be of concern for the governments we trust to protect our coastal cities and communities.'
        Published in the journal Nature, 'This is the most robust study of the ice mass balance of Antarctica to date,' said NASA's Erik Ivins, who co-led the research team. The report offers insight into the future of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which the authors note 'is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise.'
        'The outlook for the future is looking different to what it was,' explained Shepherd. 'There has been a sharp increase, with almost half the loss coming in the last five years alone.'
        Up until 2012, 'we could not detect any acceleration,' but after that, based on surveys by satellites, they saw a threefold increase in the rate of ice melt. 'That's a big jump, and it did catch us all by surprise,' Shepherd said. 'A threefold increase now puts Antarctica in the frame as one of the largest contributors to sea-level rise. The last time we looked at the polar ice sheets, Greenland was the dominant contributor. That's no longer the case."
        Aboout decade ago, as New Scientist noted, 'the official view was that there would be no net ice loss from Antarctica over the next century.'
        Even so, Dr. James Hansen, 'the father of modern climate change awareness,' warned at the time, 'The primary issue is whether global warming will reach a level such that ice sheets begin to disintegrate in a rapid, non-linear fashion on West Antarctica, Greenland or both.'
        'Once well under way, such a collapse might be impossible to stop, because there are multiple positive feedbacks,' Hansen wrote for New Scientist in 2007. 'In that event, a sea level rise of several meter at least would be expected.'
        Fears of so-called feedback loops have long been a critical part of the scientific community's warnings about what runaway climate change could mean.
        According to the report out this week—which was conducted by 84 researchers across 44 institutions—and others that have preceded it, the most serious melting is occurring in West Antarctica. 'When we look into the ocean we find that it's too warm and the ice sheet can't withstand the temperatures that are surrounding it in the sea,' which is causing glaciers to melt more rapidly into the oceans, Shepherd explained.
        East Antarctica, meanwhile, has experienced far less melting because the bulk of its ice is above sea level, he added. That is 'an important distinction, because it means it's insulated from changes in the ocean's temperature.'
        'I think we should be worried. That doesn't mean we should be desperate,' University of California Irvine's Isabella Velicogna, one of 88 co-authors,' told the Associated Press. Things are happening. They are happening faster than we expected.'
        'This is extremely concerning news and confirms what we already know about the impacts of burning fossil fuels: our climate is at a dangerous tipping point that is putting the communities of low-lying islands and our coasts at great risk,' said Hoda Baraka, 350.org's global communications director.
        'This is why tens of thousands of people around the world will join the Rise for Climate mobilization on and around the 8th September—to drive climate action within our communities," Bakara added, "and send a clear message to governments that the science is clear, we have the momentum, the technology for the energy transition is ready and we demand bold action now.'
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        Oliver Milman, "Flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years: Shoreline communities may be inundated in the next two years as ocean levels rise amid serious climate change concerns," The Guradian, Wed 6 Jun 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/06/flooding-from-high-tides-has-doubled-in-the-us-in-just-30-years, reported, "The frequency of coastal flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years, with communities near shorelines warned that the next two years are set to be punctuated by particularly severe inundations, as ocean levels continue to rise amid serious global climate change concerns."

        "Showing Paris Not Enough, Studies Find 2°C Target Won't Stop 'Destructive and Deadly' Impacts of Global Warming: This crisis requires 'not only climate scientists, but the whole Earth system science community, as well as economists, engineers, lawyers, philosophers, politicians, emergency planners, and others to step up,'" Common Dreams, April 02, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/02/showing-paris-not-enough-studies-find-2degc-target-wont-stop-destructive-and-deadly, reported, "A series of scientific studies published in a British journal on Monday echoes warnings from long-time critics of the Paris Agreement that meeting the accord's main goals will not be enough to prevent 'destructive and deadly' impacts of the worldwide climate crisis.
        The May issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A explores the challenges of working to achieve the 2015 agreement's foundational objectives, which are 'to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.'
        While the agreement has the support of all the world's nations except the United States—President Donald Trump has vowed to withdraw from it as soon as he can—it ultimately relies on signatories to develop their own pathways for meeting the goals, which has raised concerns among experts that the global community will fail to stay below the 2°C threshold.
        The new journal issue's introduction emphasizes that this 'multidisciplinary challenge'—a changing planet that is expected to influence nearly or all aspects of human life—requires 'not only climate scientists, but the whole Earth system science community, as well as economists, engineers, lawyers, philosophers, politicians, emergency planners, and others to step up.'
Multiple studies from the journal warn that global warming is likely to exacerbate worldwide inequality, particularly in poor countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
        One analysis concludes that 'projected impacts on economic growth of 1.5°C warming are close to indistinguishable from current climate conditions, while 2°C warming suggests statistically lower economic growth for a large set of countries.' However, those researchers found that even 1.5°C warming would likely take a notable toll on economic growth in the Tropics and Southern Hemisphere.
        Another study examines how 'emission pathways consistent with limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C raise pressing questions from an equity perspective,' noting that 'these pathways would limit impacts and benefit vulnerable communities but also present trade-offs that could increase inequality.' The researchers urge policymakers to more carefully evaluate the equity implications of various proposals and outline a strategy for doing so.
        Among the greatest concerns about the warming plant is how changing weather patterns, including increased drought, flooding, and heatwaves, will decrease food security.
        A team of researchers led by Richard Betts, head of climate impacts research at the University of Exeter, found that the nations which will face 'the greatest increase in vulnerability to food insecurity when moving from the present-day climate to 2°C global warming are Oman, India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil.'
        Another team explored the long-term impacts of global warming on coastal communities, concluding that even if the goals of the Paris agreement are met within this century, 'potential impacts continue to grow for centuries' and 'therefore, adaptation remains essential in densely populated and economically important coastal areas under climate stabilization.'
        The release of these studies follows findings, published last month in Environmental Research Letters, that limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels—rather than 2°C—could save the homes of an estimated 5 million people.
        While this estimated difference in impact on coastal homes was considered stark by some experts, the broader takeaway from both that report and the studies published Monday is that meeting the goals outlined in the Paris agreement will not be enough to spare many millions of people from the consequences of the global climate crisis.
        'People think the Paris Agreement is going to save us from harm from climate change,' the earlier study's lead author, DJ Rasmussen, said in a statement. 'But we show that even under the best-case climate policy being considered today, many places will still have to deal with rising seas and more frequent coastal floods.'
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        Bob Berwyn, "Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Expected, and It’s More Extreme: New research suggests human-caused emissions will lead to bigger impacts on heat and extreme weather, and sooner than the IPCC warned just three years ago," Insideclimate News, December 26, 2017, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/26122017/climate-change-science-2017-year-review-evidence-impact-faster-more-extreme, reported, "In the past year, the scientific consensus shifted toward a grimmer and less uncertain picture of the risks posed by climate change.
         When the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its 5th Climate Assessment in 2014, it formally declared that observed warming was 'extremely likely' to be mostly caused by human activity.
        This year, a major scientific update from the United States Global Change Research Program put it more bluntly: 'There is no convincing alternative explanation.'
Other scientific authorities have issued similar assessments: (which are in the article at: https://insideclimatenews.org/tags/year-review-2017, with direct links to these reports)."
        "'A Deadly Tragedy in the Making'
        Some of the strongest warnings in the Royal Society update came from health researchers, who said there hasn't been nearly enough done to protect millions of vulnerable people worldwide from the expected increase in heat waves.
        'It's a deadly tragedy in the making, all the worse because the same experts are saying such heat waves are eminently survivable with adequate resources to protect people,' said climate researcher Eric Wolff, lead author of the Royal Society update.
        Atmospheric scientist Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research said climate science has progressed in all directions since the IPCC report was published in 2014. He works with a group of scientists trying to update the IPCC reporting process to make it more fluid and meaningful in real time.'"
        "One of the starkest conclusions of the Royal Society update is that up to 350 million people in places like Karachi, Kolkota, Lagos and Shanghai are likely to face deadly heat waves every year by 2050—even if nations are able to rein in greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep the average global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as per the Paris climate agreement.
        There's also an increasing chance global warming will affect a key North Atlantic current that carries ocean heat from the tropics toward western Europe, according to a 2016 study. It shows the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current weakening by 37 percent by 2100, which could have big effects on European climate and food production."
        Other reports cited and linked to indicate severe impacts relating to the oceans, including, "Among them are changes in ocean ecosystems that go far beyond rising sea levels. Ocean acidification is increasing, as is oxygen loss, and scientists are more acutely aware than before of the severity of their impacts. In some U.S. coastal waters, these trends are 'raising the risk of serious ecological and economic consequences.'"

        As part of the U.N. process on meeting climate change, "the Conference of the Parties (COP), by decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 20, decided to convene a facilitative dialogue among Parties in 2018 to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal referred to in Article 4, paragraph 1, of the Paris Agreement and to inform the preparation of Parties’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) pursuant to Article 4, paragraph 8, of the Paris Agreement.
        The Talanoa Dialogue was launched at COP 231 as a process comprised of a preparatory and a political phase. Parties, non-Party stakeholders and expert institutions were encouraged to prepare analytical and policy-relevant inputs to inform the dialogue and submit these to the process."
        Information about the process, including all the inputs are available at: https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/9fc76f74-a749-4eec-9a06-5907e013dbc9/downloads/1cbos7k3c_792514.pdf.

        Jessica Corbett, "On Sweltering Planet, Hottest April Temperature Ever Recorded on Earth Hits Pakistan: 'We need to dramatically increase our ambitions' in terms of combatting global warming, the UN climate chief said this week," Common Dreams, May 02, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/02/sweltering-planet-hottest-april-temperature-ever-recorded-earth-hits-pakistan, reported, "While climate scientists worldwide continue to issue urgent warnings that human-caused global warming will make heat waves "hotter, longer, and more frequent," a city in Pakistan on Monday may have set a record for the highest April temperature ever recorded on Earth.
        As highlighted by French meteorologist Etienne Kapikian on Twitter, the city of Nawabshah hit 50.2°C (122.36°F) on Monday, which 'caused dozens of people to faint' from heatstroke, according to the Pakistani newspaper The Dawn.
        Kapikian claimed it is the hottest April temperature ever recorded not only in Pakistan but across Asia. Extreme weather expert and historian Christopher Burt not only backed up that assertion—he told told the Earther that it is likely 'the hottest April temperature yet reliably observed on Earth in modern records.;
        ''There was a 51.0°C reading reported from Santa Rosa, Mexico in April 2011," Burt acknowledged, "but this figure is considered of dubious reliability."
        This is the second straight month that Nawabshah has broken an extreme heat record. The city hit 45.5°C (113.9°F) in March, Pakistan's highest ever for that month.
        And, as Kapikian and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben pointed out, it's also the second year in a row that Pakistan set a record for the month. On April 19, 2017, the temperature in Lakarna soared to 50°C (122°F).
        The potential new record temperature even surpasses the highest that was recorded during an "unbelievable" heat wave that struck the region in June of 2015, killing hundreds of people and forcing Pakistani officials to declare a state of emergency for hospitals.
        As the Washington Post noted, the "reading in Nawabshah adds to a long list of international hot weather extremes since 2017, which includes Spain's and Iran's highest temperatures ever recorded last summer" and Pakistan breaking the monthly world record when the temperature reached 53.5°C (128.3°F) in Turbat last May.
        ''The recent eye-popping temperatures in Pakistan fall in line with a growing body of research showing how climate change is making heat waves more common and intense nearly everywhere,' which is 'particularly dire news for what's already one of the hottest parts of the world,' Earther concluded.
        A study published last summer by the journal Nature Climate Change found that half the world could experience deadly heat waves by the end of the century. The research, combined with the record-breaking temperatures, boslters calls to ramp up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling global warming.
        Speaking at press conference on Monday, UN Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa said, 'We are witnessing the severe impacts of climate change throughout the world.'
        'Every credible scientific source is telling us that these impacts will only get worse if we do not address climate change, and it also tells us that our window of time for addressing it is closing very soon,' Espinosa added. 'We need to dramatically increase our ambitions.'
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        Meher Ahmad "Looking for a Bit of Shade as Intense Heat Wave Hits Karachi," The New York Times, May 29, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/world/asia/karachi-heat-ramadan.html, reported, "Heat waves have become common this time of year in Karachi, Pakistan’s sprawling seaside port city. Still, the latest onecaught its 20 million residents off guard."
        The heat rose above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, by May 29 leaving 65 known dead, and others suffering, few with air conditioning, and the power only on part of the time in a city made hotter by little green space.

        Kendra Pierre-Louis, "The World Wants Air-Conditioning. That Could Warm the World," The New York Times, May 15, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/15/climate/air-conditioning.html, reported, "But there is growing concern that as other countries adopt America’s love of air-conditioners, the electricity used to power them will overburden electrical grids and increase planet-warming emissions.
        The number of air-conditioners worldwide is predicted to soar from 1.6 billion units today to 5.6 billion units by midcentury, according to a report issued Tuesday by the International Energy Agency. If left unchecked, by 2050 air-conditioners would use as much electricity as China does for all activities today."

        Andrea Morales, "The Natural Gas Industry as a Leak Problem," The New York Times, June 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/climate/methane-leaks.html, reported, "The American oil and gas industry is leaking more methane than the government thinks — much more, a new study says. Since methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, that is bad news for climate change.
        The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, puts the rate of methane emissions from domestic oil and gas operations at 2.3 percent of total production per year, which is 60 percent higher than the current estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency. That might seem like a small fraction of the total, but it represents an estimated 13 million metric tons lost each year, or enough natural gas to fuel 10 million homes."

        The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), "Canada Moves Forward on climate action," E-mail, May 2, 2018, reported, "Canada has become the first country in the world to commit to national limits on methane — a potent greenhouse gas — from both future oil & gas operations and those currently in operation today."          "The oil & gas sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada — and recent scientific data across Canada shows oil & gas emissions are much higher than what industry reports.          This pollution is disastrous when it comes to climate change: Methane is responsible for a quarter of the global warming we’re experiencing today, and is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in the short-term.          Other countries need to be following Canada’s lead.

        Ocean River Institute, Deep Sea Canyon Rangers in Energized Ocean and Rising Acidic Seas, May 20, 2018, http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1114967834220&ca=7f7a0270-ca15-4bb2-aee6-c111122262c8, stated. "Those who fear that the substantial summer season melt of the Arctic ice cap, from 1/3 open water to now 2/3 open water, may lessen the flow of the Gulf Stream do not know oceans. The operative term here is 'seasonal.' Sea ice that melts in summer, freezes in winter. The formation of ice increases the concentration of salts left behind in the seawater. This cold salty water is the densest in the world. It sinks to propel the thermohaline circulation of the world's ocean currents.
        The energy moving more water volume is some of the energy trapped as heat by greenhouse gases from escaping into outer space. Global Warming directs instead more energy into extreme weather events, more extended droughts, more violent downpours, category 5 hurricanes with four times the fury of category 4 hurricanes, and more melting/freezing of sea ice.
        A greater Gulf Stream was apparent in October 2011 when it meandered up onto the continental shelf closer to Rhode Island than ever before. Rivers meander to dissipate energy gained from cascading down a great height or, for the Gulf Stream, being squeezed and jetted between the Bahamas and mainland through the Florida Straits. Viewed from high above there is resemblance to a train crash with forward momentum energy dissipated by train cars zigzagging every which way.
        End of the road for the Gulf Stream used to be Svalbard, an archipelago to the north of Norway where the Greenland Sea meets the Arctic Ocean. Until 2007 when warm Atlantic water surfaced and commenced the melting of glaciers in Svalbard's fjords. This warm intermediate water continues north into the Arctic Ocean to circle counter-clockwise off Siberian Shores and on around to Greenland. This water gives off heat to the surface waters above, further contributing to the melt of the ice cap in summer. And thus, more ocean freeze pumping in winter.
        The increased flow of cold nutrient-rich Labrador Current water from Greenland to New England is good for marine life. The other water masses, Slope Water, Shelf Water and surface waters do not compare in the amount of life giving organic substance to the foundation of the food chain.
        Climate Change is nonetheless bad for the ocean because a third of the carbon in the atmosphere goes into seawater solution to become carbonic acid. Because our carbon footprints are so large, the ocean is becoming more acidic. Already oyster farms have had to close because young oyster shells have fizzled and dissolved.
        The Ocean River Institute is launching a citizen-science monitoring, educating and advocating offshore ocean waters program called Seamount Guardians and Deep Sea Canyon Rangers. We begin with Oceanographer's Canyon located 140 miles southeast of Nantucket where sperm whales live year round. We are looking for a few intrepid individuals to assist with satellite imagery to view surfacing whales and the presence of ships to stop ship strikes from killing whales in the NE Canyons and Seamounts National Marine Monument."           The International Energy Agency’s most recent analysis shows that globally, we can cut oil & gas methane pollution in half at no net cost — which would have the same climate benefit in 2100 as immediately closing all the coal plants in China."

        Laura Parker, "143 Million People May Soon Become Climate Migrants: Climate change will drive human migration more than other events, a new report warns. But the worst impacts can be avoided," National Geographic, March 19, 2018, https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/climate-migrants-report-world-bank-spd/, reported, "Climate change will transform more than 143 million people into 'climate migrants' escaping crop failure, water scarcity, and sea-level rise, a new World Bank report concludes.
        Most of this population shift will take place in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America—three “hot spots” that represent 55 percent of the developing world’s populations.
        This worst-case scenario is part of a ground-breaking study focused on the impacts of slow-onset climate, as opposed to more visibly dramatic events such as extreme storms and flooding. The report, Groundswell—Preparing for Internal Climate Migration, also shifts the focus from cross-border migration, which has drawn global attention as refugees and migrants flee war, poverty and oppression, to in-country migration, which involves many more millions of people on the move in search of viable places to live. The 143 million represent 2.8 percent of the three regions’ population."
        The study points out that there are already a significant number of climate refugees, but there is still a small window to avoid the worst case scenario, if strong action on greenhouse gasses is take quickly.

        Kendra Pierre-Louis, "These Billion-Dollar Natural Disasters Set a U.S. Record in 2017, "The New York Times, January 8, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/climate/2017-weather-disasters.html, reported, "Extreme weather events caused a total of $306 billion in damage in the United States last year, making 2017 the most expensive year on record for natural disasters in the country, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday."
        Here are the 16 billion-dollar disasters from 2017: Some made headlines for weeks, and some were simply overtaken in the public’s consciousness by the next one.
        Hurricane Harvey, August: $125 billion
        Hurricane Maria, September: $90 billion
        Hurricane Irma, September: $50 billion
        Western wildfires and California firestorm, autumn: $18 billion
        Colorado hailstorm, May: $3.4 billion
        Severe weather in the South and Southeast, March: $2.6 billion
        Drought in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, spring through autumn: $2.5 billion
        Minnesota hailstorm, June: $2.4 billion
        Midwest tornado outbreak, March: $2.1 billion
        Tornado outbreak in Central and Southeast states, March: $1.8 billion
Missouri and Arkansas flooding, May: $1.7 billion
California flooding, February: $1.5 billion
        Widespread Midwest severe weather, June: $1.5 billion
Severe weather in Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa, June: $1.4 billion
Southern tornado outbreak, January: $1.1 billion
        Southeast freeze, March: $1 billion."

        The impacts of these major disasters are often long lasting. One indicator is that Puerto Rico was so devastated, and very slow in recovering, even on basic services, was so hit economically by the hurricane that it must put off by 5 years beginning to pay on its $70 billion debt (Patricia Mazzei and Marry Williams Walsh, "Hurricane-Torn Puerto Rico Says It Can’t Pay Any of Its Debts for 5 Years," The New York Times, January 24, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/24/us/puerto-rico-budget-hurricanes.html).

        Julia Conley, "Species Threatened as Climate Crisis Pushes Mother Nature 'Out of Synch': In a new study showing that the timing of species' natural events is failing to synchronize, 'everything is consistent with the fact it's getting warmer,'" Common Dreams, April 17, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/17/species-threatened-climate-crisis-pushes-mother-nature-out-synch, reported, "The warming of the Earth over the past several decades is throwing Mother Nature's food chain out of whack and leaving many species struggling to survive, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
        The study offers the latest evidence that the climate crisis that human activity has contributed to has had far-reaching effects throughout the planet.
        A paper by ecologists at the University of Ottawa examined 88 species on four continents, and more than 50 relationships between predator and pray as well as herbivores and the plants they eat, and found that food chain events are taking place earlier in the year than they have in the past, because of the warming climate.
        'Most of the examples were about food,' Heather Kharouba, lead author of the paper, told the National Observer. 'Is it available or is it not?'
        In the study's findings, Kharouba added, 'everything is consistent with the fact it's getting warmer...All the changes we see are exactly what we would predict with warmer temperatures and how we would expect biology to respond.'
        'It demonstrates that many species interactions from around the world are in a state of rapid flux,' Boston University biology professor Richard Primack told the Associated Press. 'Prior to this study, studies of changing species interactions focused on one place or one group of species.'
        The scientists looked at research going back to 1951, which showed that in previous decades, birds would migrate, animals would mate and give birth, and plants would bloom later in the year, allowing the animals to find the food they needed at specific times.
        These events have been occurring about four days earlier per decade since the 1980s, according to the National Observer. On average, the timing is now off by a full 21 days for the 88 species the researchers examined.
        In Washington state's Lake Washington, the very bottom of the food chain has been affected, according to the research, as plant plankton is now blooming 34 days earlier than the organisms that feed on them.
        Even smaller changes can have a major impact on animal populations: plants in Greenland are now blossoming just three days earlier than baby caribou are born, throwing off the species that has survived on them and causing more of the animals to starve.
        'It leads to a mismatch,' Kharouba said. 'These events are out of synch.'
        The 'mismatch' could begin contributing to the endangerment of species that are unable to find food they've relied on, the researchers said.
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        One, but more often less serious example of changes in natural timing effecting a species is the case of bears.          Warner temperatures are causing bears to hibernate less, or not at all. This occurs for two reasons, first because cold weather signals to hibernate are later or nonexistent, or because with wormer weather the usual winter food shortage does not occur. If food remains plentiful through a warmer winter, bears do reasonably well. But if this is not the case, as happens with drought, then bears remain awake and are hungry, and likely will move into human populated places in search of food, creating problems for both bears and people. (Kendra Pierre-Louis, "As Winter Warms, Bears Can’t Sleep. And They’re Getting Into Trouble," The New York Times, May 4, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/climate/bears-not-hibernating.html).

        Morgan Gstalter, "Six more US scientists selected for Macron’s ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ program," The Hill, May 3, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/news/385978-macrons-make-our-planet-great-again-program-attracts-6-us-scientists reported, "French President Emmanuel Macron’s climate science initiative 'Make Our Planet Great Again' has attracted six more U.S.-based scientists to do their research in Europe.
        CNN reported Wednesday that the six U.S.-based scientists were selected as part of a larger group of 14 given grants to study climate science and biodiversity.
        The grant winners hail from U.S. universities like Duke, Yale, Florida State and MIT.
        The $70 million initiative was created last year after President Trumppulled out of the Paris climate agreement.
        The joint initiative between France and Germany offers the international community an opportunity to conduct their research at European institutions."

        Joe McCarthy, "Mass Death of Baby Penguins in New Zealand Points to Climate Change: The birds starved to death, April 24, 2018, https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/mass-death-penguins-new-zealand-climate-change/?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=US_Apr_26_2018_Thur_content_digest_actives_alive_180d, reported, "When scientists opened the stomachs of 11 young penguins that washed up on beaches in northern New Zealand, 10 had nothing in their guts and one had a small amount of grass, according to the South China Morning Post.
        It was a stark confirmation that these birds — and scores of others — had starved to death.
        Over the past two weeks, New Zealand’s Department of Conservation’s Tauranga office has received at least 58 calls of little penguins washing up on the shores of Omaha Beach and Tawharanui Peninsula during a record marine heat wave and tropical storms in the Tasman Sea, SCMP reports.
        The penguins were all emaciated, a clear sign of starvation, and follow-up analysis by a team at Massey University proved that most of the penguins had entirely depleted their fat reserves and were beginning to digest muscle, according to the New Zealand Herald.
        This mass starvation, according to the scientists, is because of freak weather patterns driven by climate change that made it hard for the penguins to find food after 'moulting,' when birds shed feathers to make room for new growth."

        Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Bigger, Faster Avalanches, Triggered by Climate Change: A deadly 2016 glacier collapse in Tibet surpassed scientists’ expectations — until it happened again. They worry it’s only the beginning," The New York Times, January 23, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/climate/glacier-collapse-avalanche.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_clim_20180124&nl=&nl_art=0&nlid=52235981&ref=headline&te=1, reported, "When 247 million cubic feet of snow and ice collapsed off a glacier in the dry, mountainous region of western Tibet in 2016, the roiling mass took with it nine human lives and hundreds of animals, spreading more than five miles in three minutes at speeds of nearly 200 miles per hour. The event surprised scientists, who had seen a collapse that big and that fast only once before.
        And then it happened again, three months later, on a neighboring glacier, though without fatalities. Glaciologists hadn’t quite believed that glaciers could behave this way, and suddenly they had witnessed two similar collapses in a year.
        An analysis of the events, published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, found that climate change was the culprit in both collapses. The study suggests that in addition to the known risks posed by a warming climate, such as sea level rise, we may also be in line for some cataclysmic surprises."

        Livia Albeck-Ripka, "How Six Americans Changed Their Minds About Global Warming," The New York Times, February 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/21/climate/changed-minds-americans.html, reported, "Nearly 70 percent of Americans now say that climate change is caused mainly by human activity, the highest percentage since Gallup began tracking it two decades ago. The number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal” about climate change has risen by about 20 percentage points.'"

        "A Lifetime in Peru’s Glaciers, Slowly Melting Away," The New York Times, January 26, 2018, , reported, "AT 50, Americo González Caldua has lived a life that coincided with the retreat of the glaciers of the high Andes. With each passing year, as the cold mountain temperatures rise, the ice moves uphill another 20 yards."
         “'Before, we saw our glaciers as beautiful, our mountain range covered in a white sheet that was stunning,' Mr. González said on a recent day at a small mountain-climber’s hostel near the base of an 18,000-foot peak. 'But today, we don’t see that anymore on our glacier, which we’re losing more of every day. Instead of white, we are seeing stone.'"
        "Of all the glaciers in retreat throughout the world, those in this part of South America are the most likely to disappear first. Scientists call them the tropical glaciers, ice caps found in places as warm as Ecuador and Indonesia, where high mountain peaks have shielded them for thousands of years from the heat of the jungle below."
        "Yet now, even these high perches have become precarious. Climate scientists say the ice cap here has been reduced by nearly a quarter in the past 40 years because of rising temperatures. With the rate of melting increasing each year, some scientists predict that within 50 years many of the peaks here will no longer have glaciers."

        Andrea Germanos, "In 'Tremendous Victory for Taxpayers, Public Health, and Planet,' Federal Court Rejects Trump Admin.'s Attempt to Suspend Methane Rule: The late Thursday ruling 'once again sends a message to this administration that it will not get away with illegal handouts to industry'," Common Dreams, February 23, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/23/tremendous-victory-taxpayers-public-health-and-planet-federal-court-rejects-trump, reported, "A court has once again rejected the Trump administration's effort to suspend an Obama-era rule aimed at reducing releases of methane from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal land.
        'The decision,' writes Meleah Geertsma, a senior attorney with NRDC, 'once again sends a message to this administration that it will not get away with illegal handouts to industry, at the expense of Americans' health and the environment.'
        The latest rebuke to the attempt to derail the Bureau of Land Management's Waste Prevention Rule was delivered late Thursday by the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California in response to suits filed by a number of environmental groups, as well as the states of California and New Mexico over the rule suspension.
        'The BLM's reasoning behind the Suspension Rule is untethered to evidence contradicting the reasons for implementing the Waste Prevention Rule, and so plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits,' Judge William Orrick wrote in his ruling (pdf). 'They have shown irreparable injury caused by the waste of publicly owned natural gas, increased air pollution and associated health impacts, and exacerbated climate impacts.'
        Orrick granted a preliminary injunction requiring the Interior Department to enforce the regulation, eliciting praise from environmental groups.
        'Though they seem to think otherwise,' said Kelly Martin, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign director, 'Donald Trump and [Interior Secretary] Ryan Zinke are not above the law. Once again, the courts are serving as a critical backstop against their reckless attempts to unravel key protections for our air, water, and climate. This ruling is a victory for our communities' health and the climate, and we will continue to fight to hold this administration accountable and defend this critical clean air standard.'
        Echoing Martin, Robin Cooley, an Earthjustice attorney representing tribal and conservation citizen groups, said the decision marked 'a tremendous victory for taxpayers, public health, and the planet.'
        'The court made it clear that the Trump administration is not above the law—Interior Secretary Zinke cannot yank away a common sense rule that was the product of years of careful deliberation simply to appease his friends in the oil and gas industry,' Cooley continued.
        Added Peter Zalzal, lead attorney with Environmental Defense Fund, the "protections restored by this decision will help to prevent the waste of natural gas, reduce harmful methane, smog-forming and toxic pollution, and ensure communities and tribes have royalty money that can be used to construct roads and schools."
        The setback for administration's climate attacks and deregulation agenda follows similar decisions, as The Wilderness Society noted in its press release:
January 16: Wyoming District Court denies industry trade groups and several states request for preliminary injunction, to prevent the rule from going into effect.
May 10: The effort to kill the methane rule via Congressional Review Act fails with bipartisan support, 51 to 49.
October 4: California court overturns the Interior Department’s decision to unilaterally suspend many of the most important protections of the methane waste rule without providing any opportunity for public comment.
        The Hill also notes that 'The BLM formally proposed earlier this month to repeal most provisions of the methane rule. Thursday's ruling was only on the one-year delay, so it does not directly affect the proposed repeal.' Also of note is that when the Obama administration unveiled the BLM rule, some climate groups like 350.org offered just tepid praise, saying that truly protecting communities from "the devastating impacts of climate change means keeping fossil fuels in the ground.'
        The Environmental Defense Fund, in April 2018, announced plans to launch the MethaneSAT to locate and measure methane leaking and entering the atmosphere from around the world. The International Methane Agency says that Methane leaks in gas pipes and storage are relatively inexpensive to fix and to do so would save gas companies millions of dollars. The agency says perhaps half of all methane entering the atmosphere are from such leaks (John Schwartz, "Plan to Track Methane Leaks from Above," The New York Times, April 12, 2018).

        John Schwartz," Providing for 7 billion. Or not," The New York Times, February 14, 2018, reported, "Can we provide good lives for the seven billion people on Earth without wrecking the planet?
        Daniel O’Neill of the University of Leeds and colleagues asked this enormous question in a recent paper in the journal Nature Sustainability and on an accompanying website.
        Their answer is uncomfortable. After looking at data on quality of life and use of resources from some 150 countries, they found that no nation currently meets the basic needs of its citizens in a sustainable way. The nations of the world either don’t provide the basics of a good life or they do it at excessive cost in resources, or they fail at both."
        "He did not say, however, that these findings doom humanity to poverty or environmental ruin. 'It doesn’t tell us what’s theoretically possible,' he said, noting that the study only projects the results of continuing with business as usual."

        A set of recent studies has shown that climate change is moving the north-south boundary between western dry climate and eastern wet climate in the United States toward the East, and that it has moved about 140 miles eastward in the last few decades. The line runs through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahmoa and Texas (Pakalolo, "A North American Climate Boundary Has Shifted 140 Miles East Due to Global Warming," Daily Kos, April 16, 2018, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/4/16/1757171/-A-North-American-Climate-Boundary-Has-Shifted-140-Miles-East-Due-to-Global-Warming).

        "An Alaskan community prepares for relocation due to climate change," Unitarian Universalist Service Committee UUSC), E-mail. April 20, 2018, https://donate.uusc.org/give/153136/, reported, "In Alaska there is a small village called Chevak (SHE-vak), home to around 1,000 adults and 200 children and located very close to the ocean.
        Chevak is a beautiful place near a river with bright, colorful houses. Snow piles up in the village during winter, and the houses are built off the ground on strong poles to keep them from the cold and freezing snow.
        Due to climate change, Chevak is seeing more powerful storms that bring water from the nearby river into the village. Even with the homes built on stilts, the warming earth and overflowing river during storms is causing damage to houses. Villagers now worry they will soon have to move to a safer location.
        Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) partner, Robin Bronen of the Alaska Institute for Justice, helps facilitate community-led responses to climate change in 15 communities throughout the state. Her work with Chevak focuses on implementing community-based monitoring. Village residents carry with them a deep knowledge of the ways the environment is changing and do their own erosion monitoring to plan for the future. By tracking environmental change, the people of Chevak will determine whether, when, and how their relocation should occur.
        Chevak villagers rely heavily on their land and the sea to live, and changes caused by the warming earth threaten their way of life.
        As Earth Day approaches, we invite you reach out to your elected officials to ask them to support reforms to curb global warming."

        Pat Poblete, "Trump administration plan to keep open Navajo Generating Station draws fire, A possible lifeline for the Navajo Generating Station, Critics say this is government backing a private business, costing consumers," ICTMN, June 9, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/trump-administration-plan-to-keep-open-navajo-generating-station-draws-fire-7S6-oa22C0CETF6PBcVVow/, reported, "The Trump administration may have pulled off the unlikely trick this month of uniting liberals and conservatives, energy industry executives and environmentalists.
        All those groups have come out against a White House plan to keep failing coal and nuclear power plants from closing by forcing electrical grid operators to buy a certain amount of energy from those facilities.
        Critics on the right say such a plan would put the government in the business of propping up unprofitable operations, hitting consumers in the wallet, while those on the left worry that it will stifle the development of clean energy while further polluting the environment."
        "But one group sees potential benefits in the plan, which could provide an economic lifeline to the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant near Page. That plant is slated to close at the end of 2019, taking thousands of jobs with it."

        Julia Conley, "Going Backward in Trump Era, Big Bank Investment in World's Dirtiest Energy Projects Surged in 2017: Every single dollar that these banks provide for the expansion of the fossil fuel industry is a dollar going to increase the climate crisis,'" Common Dreams, March 28, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/28/going-backward-trump-era-big-bank-investment-worlds-dirtiest-energy-projects-surged, reported, "‪Going backward in the era of Trump—and despite international efforts to curb the climate crisis by reducing carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels—a new study out Wednesday details how major banks invested heavily in the world's dirtiest energy sectors in 2017, pouring $115 billion into tar sands, offshore oil drilling, and coal mining projects.
        'Every single dollar that these banks provide for the expansion of the fossil fuel industry is a dollar going to increase the climate crisis,' said Stephen Kretzmann of Oil Change International, one of the groups behind the study (pdf).
‪        The findings of the report—entitled 'Banking on Climate Change'—were described by author and activist Naomi Klein as "terrifying."
        This is a terrifying report and the Alberta tar sands are at the dead centre of it: 'Extreme' fossil fuel investments have surged under Donald Trump, report reveals.'
‪        Until they end their funding of dirty energy, Kretzmann added, 'these banks will be complicit in our climate catastrophe, plain and simple.'
‪        Institutions including JP Morgan Chase, TD Bank, and Bank of America increased their funding of dirty energy by 11 percent from 2016 to 2017, flouting the Paris Climate Agreement.
‪         The tar sands sector, known as the dirtiest source of energy on the planet, received major support from banks last year, with financing going up by 111 percent to $98 billion. JP Morgan Chase quadrupled its funding of the industry, a year after researchers found tar sands operations were a major cause of pollution.
‪         Environmental campaigners also denounced banks for their support of industries that have caused destruction to communities by building pipelines with no regard for citizens' homes and human rights. Dirty energy projects funded by financial institutions in 2017 included the Line 3 Tar Sands pipeline proposed by Enbridge, which TD Bank, Citibank, Royal Bank of Canada, and MUFBGall invest in; and new coal plants expected to be build across Southeast Asia, bankrolled by Mizuho, MUFG, and SMFG.
        'These banks fund the projects that are killing the planet, destroying indigenous sacred sites, and violating the human rights of citizens," said Tara Houska of Honor the Earth. "The financial industry is on notice—the human rights policies banks claim are in place must be enforced. Stop funding fossil fuels and move into a green economy.'
‪         While major banks have continued funneling money into planet-killing energy projects, the report noted, the World Bank announced last year it would cease funding of oil and gas extraction after 2019. Last fall, the Norwegian government announced it would divest its sovereign wealth fund—the largest in the world—of all its oil and gas shares.
‪         'It is not surprising that we see the world's largest sovereign wealth fund managers no longer prepared to take the increasing risk associated with oil and gas assets, which do not have a long-term future,' said Paul Fisher of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, when Norway made its announcement.
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        Andrea Germanos, "'Incredible' News as Banking Giant HSBC Ditches New Coal, Tar Sands, and Offshore Arctic Drilling Projects: The development is 'yet another signal to Donald Trump and the rest of the world that, despite their worst laid plans, the era of fossil fuels is coming to a close,'" Common Dreams, April 20, 2018, http://search.searchddn.com/?page=newtab&i_id=maps_&uid=dbcd1227-257b-4935-9031-39dc3b6e9222&source=-bb9&ap=appfocus84&uc=20180409, reported, "In another signal that 'the era of fossil fuels is coming to a close,' Europe's biggest bank, HSBC, announced Friday that it will no longer fund oil or gas projects in the Arctic, tar sands projects, or most coal projects.
        The move was cheered by climate campaigners on social media, who said, 'This is huge,' and called it 'incredible news.'
        According to Daniel Klier, group head of strategy and global head of sustainable finance at the financial giant, the bank recognizes 'the need to reduce emissions rapidly to achieve the target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperatures rises to well below 2°C and our responsibility to support the communities in which we operate.'
        The changes are laid out in HSBC's updated energy policy, which says it will no longer provide financial services for
        a) New coal-fired power plant projects, subject to very targeted exceptions of Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam in order to appropriately balance local humanitarian needs with the need to transition to a low carbon economy. Consideration of any such exception is subject to: (i) independent analysis confirming the country has no reasonable alternative to coal; (ii) the plant’s carbon intensity being lower than 810g CO2/kWh; and (iii) financial close on the project being achieved by 31 December 2023
        b) New offshore oil or gas projects in the Arctic
        c) New greenfield oil sands projects
        d) New large dams for hydro-electric projects inconsistent with the World Commission on Dams Framework
        e) New nuclear projects inconsistent with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards
        The announcement, said Kelly Martin, director of Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, 'is an important step forward for Europe's largest bank, and yet another signal to Donald Trump and the rest of the world that, despite their worst laid plans, the era of fossil fuels is coming to a close. There is no future in Arctic fossil fuel operations. There is no future in tar sands. And there is no future in coal.'

        Jessica Corbett, "Trump Taxpayer-Funded Coal and Nuclear Bailout Decried as 'Breathtaking Abuse of Authority': Critics called the plan an "outrageous ploy" by Trump "to help his rich friends" at the expense of Americans' pocketbooks and the environment," Common Dreams, June 01, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/06/01/trump-taxpayer-funded-coal-and-nuclear-bailout-decried-breathtaking-abuse-authority, reported, "Environmental advocates on Friday responded with outrage to confirmation from the White House that President Donald Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to plot what's being called an 'unprecedented intervention' by the federal government to bail out financially strapped coal and nuclear power plants that can't compete with the renewable energy sector.
        'This is an outrageous ploy to force American taxpayers to bail out coal and nuclear executives who have made bad decisions by investing in dirty and dangerous energy resources,' declared Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.
        Ahead of a National Security Council meeting on Friday, Bloomberg News obtained an Energy Department memo detailing plans to use emergency authority under two federal laws to require grid operators to buy electricity from at-risk coal and nuclear facilities and establish a 'Strategic Electric Generation Reserve.'
        The document argues such moves are necessary for homeland security and energy independence. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the report with a statement confirming Trump has instructed Perry 'to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources,' claiming the need to protect the grid 'from intentional attacks and natural disasters.'
        Rejecting the administration's argument that preserving coal plants is essential to national security as 'surreal' and 'madness' contradicted by experts, Earthjustice staff attorney Kim Smaczniak pointed out that clean energy sources like wind and solar 'make the grid safer from attack,' and even 'the U.S. military is increasingly turning to solar, not coal, to ensure resilience at military bases.'
        The Energy Department proposal outlined in the memo follows a previous plan rejected by federal regulators last year, which would have given subsidies to nuclear and coal plants on the grounds of providing 'resilience' to the electric grid.
        'That attempt was rightfully denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which determined that market rates and processes are indeed sufficient to meet national energy demand,' noted Mike Jacobs, a senior energy analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
        'The Trump administration is trying, once again, to fleece ratepayers by giving coal and nuclear power plants billions of dollars in guaranteed profits,' he added, calling the new proposal an 'absurd' abuse of authority.
        While green groups refuted the administration's claims that the new plan would further protect the grid, chief executive of Bloomberg L.P. and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg posited that 'bailing out polluting, unprofitable coal plants has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with special interests in Washington."
        Throughout his first term, Trump has often catered to the fossil fuel industry's demands, and has even stocked his administration with former lobbyists.
        'Trump will clearly try anything to help millionaire coal and nuclear executives,' Hitt concluded. 'Every grid operator has unequivocally stated that there is no grid emergency, yet Donald Trump is trying to invent one to help his rich friends.'
        'The taxpayers should never be asked to bail out wealthy fossil fuel executives who are trying to pollute our air and water with their dirty, dangerous fuels, and bad decisions,' Hitt added, vowing that Trumps's 'effort to push these illegal directives will be met with fierce resistance in the courts and in the streets.'
        The developments come on the one-year anniversary of Trump's announcement he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which aims to decrease fossil fuel use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise within this century to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        A judge, in Italy, has ruled that oil companies Dutch Shell and Eni, of Italy, must stand trial for $1.3 million in corruption in Nigeria (Stanley Reed, "Trial for 2 Oil Giants Over Nigerian Deal," The New York Times, December 27, 2017).

        Eric Adams, "Russia floats new nuclear power station—and new risks: As world-first platform makes its way east, international watchdogs raise concerns," Popular Science, June 15, 2018, https://www.popsci.com/russian-nuclear-power-station-academik-lomonosov?CMPID=ene061618, reported, "The world’s first commercial floating nuclear power station—a 21,500-metric-ton Russian vessel called the Akademik Lomonosov—is slowly making its way across the Arctic Ocean, on a multi-stage trip to its final destination in eastern Russia. People are not happy about it.
        Environmental and nuclear watchdogs worry the station could hit an iceberg and sink while crossing the Arctic, spilling nuclear fuel into the fragile northern ecosystem. Or it could run aground, fouling the landscape, or be tossed by waves in a storm, or even—once installed in the remote coastal town of Pevek, 53 miles across the Bering Strait from Alaska—be attacked by terrorists or fail for any number of other reasons. One need only look at Japan’s Fukushima plant to see that water and nukes don’t always mix."

        Nichola Groom, "Billions in U.S. solar projects shelved after Trump panel tariff, Reuters, June 6, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-trump-effect-solar-insight/billions-in-u-s-solar-projects-shelved-after-trump-panel-tariff-idUSKCN1J30CT, reported, "President Donald Trump’s tariff on imported solar panels has led U.S. renewable energy companies to cancel or freeze investments of more than $2.5 billion in large installation projects, along with thousands of jobs, the developers told Reuters."

        According to Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, "Financial institutions around the world are seeing the reputational and material risks these pipelines pose in a post-Paris world where respecting Indigenous rights and the need to transition off of fossil fuels is smart business and not just good public relations.'
        Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who appears to be ready to subsidize the widely opposed Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, should take note of the shift by HSBC, added Stewart.
        'Before deciding to write a check to Kinder Morgan, Justin Trudeau should ask himself if he wants to rush in where HSBC fears to tread,' he said.
        While HSBC's announcement, as well as similar actions taken by other banks like BNP Paribas, should be lauded, the institutions need to go further, added Sierra Club's Martin.
        She said that 'it cannot be overstated how critical it is that HSBC and the world's other major banks immediately end financing for all fossil fuel projects around the world. Institutions should no longer continue financing any fossil fuel projects when cheaper, cleaner, more reliable energy solutions like wind and solar are readily available.'         
        The news come a month after a report showed that banks are continuing to bankroll the climate crisis by funneling $115 billion into tar sands, offshore oil drilling, and coal mining projects.
        That report, entitled 'Banking on Climate Change' and endorsed by dozens of environmental groups, ranked HSBC the seventh worst in the world for the financing of 'extreme fossil fuels.' It also found that from 2016 to 2017—"Even as the impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent"—it made a $2.6 billion increase in such financing.
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        Emily Flitter, "Think the Big Banks Have Abandoned Coal? Think Again: An environmental group’s analysis shows the five largest United States banks have started lending to coal companies again now that they’re out of bankruptcy, " The New York Times, May 28, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/business/banks-coal-loans.html, reported, "Starting three years ago, the largest American banks vowed to cut back on lending to the coal industry.
        'The bank has a responsibility to help mitigate climate change by leveraging our scale and resources to accelerate the transition from a high-carbon to a low-carbon society,' Bank of America said in its coal policy in May 2015."
        "But the banks, it turns out, never actually promised to walk away from coal completely. And now, with coal companies enjoying a small resurgence under the Trump administration, banks are again embracing the industry."

        BeauHD. "California to Become First State to Mandate Solar on New Homes," Slashdot, May 04, 2018, https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/18/05/04/222259/california-to-become-first-us-state-mandating-solar-on-new-homes, reported, "OCRegister reports that 'The California Energy Commission is scheduled to vote Wednesday, May 9, on new energy standards mandating most new homes have solar panels starting in 2020.' From the report: Just 15 percent to 20 percent of new single-family homes built include solar, according to Bob Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association. The proposed new rules would deviate slightly from another much-heralded objective: Requiring all new homes be 'net-zero,' meaning they would produce enough solar power to offset all electricity and natural gas consumed over the course of a year. New thinking has made that goal obsolete, state officials say. True 'zero-net-energy' homes still rely on the electric power grid at night, they explained, a time when more generating plants come online using fossil fuels to generate power. In addition to widespread adoption of solar power, the new provisions include a push to increase battery storage and increase reliance on electricity over natural gas."

        Stanley Reed And Ivan Penn, "Massachusetts Gains Foothold in Offshore Wind Power, Long Ignored in U.S.: The wind farms have increasingly become mainstream sources of power in
Northern Europe, but the United States has largely not pursued the technology," The New York Times, May 23, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/23/business/energy-environment/offshore-wind-massachusetts.html, reported, "New Bedford hopes to soon be the operations center for the first major offshore wind farm in the United States, bringing billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs to the town and other ports on the East Coast.
        On Wednesday, that effort took a major step forward as the State of Massachusetts, after holding an auction, selected a group made up of a Danish investment firm and a Spanish utility to erect giant turbines on the ocean bottom, beginning about 15 miles off Martha’s Vineyard. This initial project will generate 800 megawatts of electricity, roughly enough to power a half a million homes. At the same time, Rhode Island announced it would award a 400-megawatt offshore wind project to another bidder in the auction."

        Lorraine Chow, "11 Turbines Successfully Installed at Wind Farm Trump Tried to Block," EcoWatch, May 30, 2018, https://www.ecowatch.com/wind-turbines-scotland-trump-2573562151.html, reported, "The world's most powerful wind turbines have been successfully installed at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off Aberdeen Bay in Scotland's North Sea.
        The final turbine was installed on Saturday just nine weeks after the first foundation for the 11-turbine offshore wind farm was deployed, according to the developers Vattenfall.
        Incidentally, the project was at the center of a contentious legal battle waged—and lost—by Donald Trump, before he became U.S. president. Trump felt the 'ugly' wind turbines would ruin the view of his Menie golf resort."

        Julia Conley, "Costa Rica Will Become World's First Carbon-Free Country by 2021, New President Says: 'When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate...that we've removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation'." Common Dreams, May 10, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/10/costa-rica-will-become-worlds-first-carbon-free-country-2021-new-president-says, reported, In his first speech as Costa Rica's new president, Carlos Alvarado Quesada announced this week a plan to make the country the world's first carbon-free society in just a few short years.
        Alvarado called the goal 'titanic' but expressed confidence that the forward-thinking country could eliminate the use of fossil fuels in its transportation system by 2021.
        'Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,' Alvarado told a crowd of thousands at his inauguration.
        The nation of 4.8 million people already derives 99 percent of its electricity from renewable sources including hydropower and wind.
        Costa Rica's rapidly-growing automobile market is the next hurdle in ending the country's use of fossil fuels. About two-thirds of the country's energy-related fossil fuel emissions come from transportation.
        Alvarado is planning to bring that percentage to zero in time for the country's 200th anniversary of becoming an independent nation.
        'When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate...that we've removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation,' Alvarado said.
        The president's goal fits with many of Costa Rica's other progressive policies. Alvarado won 60 percent of the vote in the presidential election in April, beating out Fabricio Alvarado, who focused largely on rolling back marriage equality.
        The country is also part of the Wellbeing Economies Alliance—a coalition that also includes Scotland, New Zealand, and Slovenia—which instead of emphasizing countries' GDP, 'seeks to ensure that public policy advances citizens' wellbeing in the broadest sense, by promoting democracy, sustainability, and inclusive growth,' according to a recent column by economist Joseph Stiglitz.
        'With its rich biodiversity, Costa Rica has also demonstrated far-sighted environmental leadership by pursuing reforestation, designating a third of the country protected natural reserves, and deriving almost all of its electricity from clean hydro power,' wrote Stiglitz.
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        Global Citizen, on April 10, 2018, https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/kids-won-climate-change-case-in-colombia/?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=US_Apr_10_2018_Tues_content_digest_actives_alive_180d, carried several environmental reports in its Newsletter, "These Kids Won a Court Case Forcing Colombia to Protect the Amazon: It sets a precedent that could lead to similar victories around the world," reported, "It looked like a long shot when 25 kids, aged 7 to 26, sued the government of Colombia for failing to protect the environment.
        Never before had a climate change case been heard in Latin America, the charges seemed too far-reaching, and environmental degradation has been accelerating in the country in recent years.
        But after hearing the case, the country’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the children and now the government must come up with an action plan for stopping deforestation in the Amazon and escalate its fight against climate change, according to the human rights groups Dejusticia, which supported the plaintiff’s case."
        Environmental and agricultural ministries across both national and local governments are required to take part in this project, Reuters reports.
        'It is clear, despite numerous international commitments, regulations, and jurisprudence on the matter, that the Colombian State has not efficiently tackled the problem of deforestation in the Amazon,' the court said.
        The judges said that the forest is an 'entity subject of rights,' essentially conferring human rights upon the vast and varied ecosystem, according to Reuters.          'This is a historic ruling both nationally and internationally,' César Rodríguez Garavito, director of Dejusticia and the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
        At the national level, it categorically recognizes that future generations are subject to rights, and it orders the government to take concrete actions to protect the country and planet in which they live,” he added.
        The outcome of the case could reverberate around the world: A series of cases, mostly led by youths, are taking off in multiple other countries, according to Reuters.
These cases could be bolstered by international agreements that countries entered.
        Read More: Major Climate Change Lawsuits Expected to Make Splash in 2018
Through the Paris Climate Agreement, 195 countries around the world have vowed to fight climate change. Although this particular agreement is voluntary in nature, the judges in Colombia viewed it as binding enough to invoke it in their ruling.
        And as the effects of climate change become more apparent around the world, the argument made by young people that governments are threatening their future may gain momentum.
        'Deforestation is threatening the fundamental rights of those of us who are young today and will face the impacts of climate change the rest of our lives,' the plaintiffs wrote.
        'We are at a critical moment given the speed at which deforestation is happening in the Colombian Amazon,' they added. “The government's lack of capacity and planning as well as its failure to protect the environment makes the adoption of urgent measures necessary.'
        Global Citizen campaigns to empower youth activists around the world and you can take action on this issue here.'
        India’s Most Polluted Rivers Are Now Legally Humans," https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/indias-polluted-rivers-now-legally-humans/, reported, "The Ganges and Yamuna rivers are now legally considered “living human entities,” following the ruling of a high court in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
        That means that causing harm to the rivers amounts to the same thing as harming a human.
        It’s a radical legal ruling that’s beginning to gain credibility and momentum around the world and it has the potential to completely change how countries protect the environment.
        'The rivers are central to the existence of half of the Indian population and their health and well being,'the court wrote. 'They have provided both physical and spiritual sustenance to all of us from time immemorial.'
        How and if this ruling can be implemented is unknown, especially when you consider the scale of harm caused daily to the Ganges River, which absorbs more than a billion gallons of waste each day. Seventy-five percent of this is raw sewage and domestic waste. The rest comes from industrial runoff — mostly from tanneries that leak extremely toxic substances.
        The Yamuna river is similarly contaminated. Both rivers are victims of India’s population explosion that has been supported by slapdash development. In some cities that straddle the Ganges, for instance, the infrastructure is so outdated and incapable of coping with the population that human waste isn’t even filtered before it flows into the river.
Lax regulation and enforcement has also created a climate of industrial impunity — factories can dump huge quantities of toxic chemicals without even facing a fine.
But this new ruling could empower regulatory bodies that have previously been hobbled by a lack of authority and corruption. It could also begin to unlock funding for necessary sanitation systems throughout the country.
        The Indian government has been trying to clean the river up for decades, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has poured billions into the latest round of efforts.
        Advocates believe that existing efforts at cleaning the rivers will now be expedited. The ruling could also mean that fines and penalties will now be dispensed at a much higher rate, potentially creating a powerful deterrence.
        The first river to gain legal protection in the world was the Whanganui Riverin New Zealand, which gained the status along with a national park.
        Through 'personhood' a lawsuit can be brought on behalf of land or water. In the past, lawsuits would have to hinge on some human factor — if a human was being harmed by pollution, for instance.
        Defenders of wildlife can be more aggressive in their legal challenges to overdevelopment, deforestation, pollution, and more, by showing that the rights of the park or river are being harmed.
        'This settlement is a profound alternative to the human presumption of sovereignty over the natural world,' Pita Sharples told The New York Times at the time.
        The Whanganui River was championed by indigenous groups that do not view nature as something to be owned. They view humans, plants, animals, and the natural world as having equal claims to life. When viewed from this perspective, it’s logical to extend the same legal protections to bodies of land and water and all the organisms found on them.
        In India, the Ganges River is regarded as sacred, the embodiment of the goddess Ganga. It seems like such a distinction would guarantee it even greater rights."

        Fred Lambert, "Tesla’s giant battery in Australia reduced grid service cost by 90%," electrek, May. 11th 2018, https://electrek.co/2018/05/11/tesla-giant-battery-australia-reduced-grid-service-cost/, reported, "Tesla’s giant Powerpack battery in Australia has been in operation for about 6 months now and we are just starting to discover the magnitude of its impact on the local energy market.
        A new report now shows that it reduced the cost of the grid service that it performs by 90% and it has already taken a majority share of the market."

        Brad Plumer, CO2 removal on the Cheapish," The New York Times, E-mail, June 13, 2018, https://static.nytimes.com/email-content/CLIM_2997.html?nlid=52235981, reported, "Last week brought some intriguing climate news: A company in Canada that is working to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere reported that it could do so much more cheaply than experts had thought possible.
        Sadly, we probably won’t be able to use this carbon-removal technology to solve our entire global warming problem. There’s still no easy substitute for shifting away from fossil fuels and lowering our emissions. But this technology, if it pans out, could still prove quite useful."
        Since 2015, the company... has operated a pilot plant that uses a chemical solution to bind with carbon dioxide molecules in the air, which then get converted into a stream of pure CO₂ gas that can be pumped through pipelines. The plant currently removes about one ton of CO₂ per day."

        Andrea Germanos, "'This Is Huge': Opposition Forces Kinder Morgan to Halt Trans Mountain Pipeline" 'This is a sign that organizing works, and it could well be the beginning of the end for this dangerous pipeline,' says 350.org's Clayton Thomas-Muller," Common Dreams, April 09, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/09/huge-opposition-forces-kinder-morgan-halt-trans-mountain-pipeline, reported, "Environmental and indigenous groups are cheering after Kinder Morgan announced Sunday it was halting most work on its controversial Trans Mountain expansion pipeline project, citing continuing opposition.
        'This is a sign that organizing works, and it could well be the beginning of the end for this dangerous pipeline,' declared Clayton Thomas-Muller, a Stop-it-at-the-Source campaigner with 350.org.
        'This is huge,' added British Columbia-based advocacy group Dogwood.
        I the company's statement announcing the move, chairman and CEO Steve Kean said Kinder Morgan was suspending "all non-essential activities and related spending" as a result of the "current environment" that puts shareholders at risk.
        'A company cannot resolve differences between governments,' he added, referencing resistance from B.C. lawmakers that is at odds with support for the project coming from Ottawa and neighboring Alberta. 'While we have succeeded in all legal challenges to date, a company cannot litigate its way to an in-service pipeline amidst jurisdictional differences between governments,' Kean said.
        Unless legal agreements are reached by May 31, Kean said that 'it is difficult to conceive of any scenario in which we would proceed with the project.' (There are still 18 pending court cases that could thwart the project, the Wilderness Committee notes.)
        B.C. Premier John Horgan, for his part, said in a statement Sunday, 'The federal process failed to consider B.C.'s interests and the risk to our province. We joined the federal challenge, started by others, to make that point.'
        'We believe we need to grow the economy, while protecting the environment. We want to work to address these challenges together. But we will always stand up for British Columbians, our environment, and the thousands of jobs that depend on our coast."
        Stopping the fossil fuel project, though would reap benefits beyond the two provinces the pipeline runs through, as author and climate campaigner Bill McKibben noted:
        Bill McKibben (@billmckibben), "Odd to watch Alberta fighting with Ottawa fighting with BC, as if the interests of a) First Nations and b) Planet Earth are not also--indeed mostly--on the line. Carbon doesn't stop at provincial or national borders," ‪#StopKM
5:25 PM - Apr 8, 2018.
         As such, apart from Horgan's pushback, the project has faced fierce and sustained opposition from a range of groups who demand the rights of land, water, indigenous groups, and others trump those of Big Oil.
        Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of Coast Protectors said that 'after some long hours in the boardroom,' Kinder Morgan came 'to the inevitable conclusion that that you simply can't ram a pipeline through in the face of such opposition—legal, political, on-the-ground opposition. It's impossible.'
        Offering a similar reaction, Greenpeace Canada's climate and energy campaigner Mike Hudema, said:
        "Investors should note that the opposition to this project is strong, deep and gets bigger by the day. This announcement shows that this widespread opposition has reached critical mass. British Columbians' desire to protect clean water, safeguard the environment and stand behind Indigenous communities cannot be ignored or swept under the rug. We encourage Kinder Morgan to shelve this project before the litany of lawsuits, crumbling economics, and growing resistance against the pipeline does it for them."
        While the company 'looks ready to pack it in,' said Wilderness Committee Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney, the opposition is 'not going anywhere until this pipeline no longer poses a threat to the coast, the climate, and Indigenous communities along the route.'
        Despite such threats, Ottawa and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley are still aggressively pushing for the project.
        'This pipeline must be built," Notley declared Sunday, and threatened legal action "to impose serious economic consequences on B.C. if its government continues on its present course." She added that her province 'is prepared to be an investor in the pipeline.'
        Trudeau—who's touted his country's 'unwavering... commitment to fight climate change'—said on Twitter, 'Canada is a country of the rule of law, and the federal government will act in the national interest. Access to world markets for Canadian resources is a core national interest. The Trans Mountain expansion will be built.'
        Thomas-Muller, however, said that 'Kinder Morgan's investors have seen that people all across Canada are choosing Indigenous rights, clean water, and a safe climate over this dangerous pipeline. Now it's time for Justin Trudeau to do the same.'
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        Jake Johnson, "'Immense Moral Cowardice': Trudeau Trashed for Government Purchase of Climate-Killing Kinder Morgan Pipeline: 'I hope Justin Trudeau knows that this decision is going to haunt him everywhere he travels in the world. Movements fighting for real climate action and Indigenous rights are everywhere,'" Common Dreams, May 29, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/29/immense-moral-cowardice-trudeau-trashed-government-purchase-climate-killing-kinder, reported, "In an act of 'immense moral cowardice' that once again betrays his expressed commitment to helping confront the global climate crisis, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that his government will purchase Kinder Morgan's 'climate-destroying' Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion.
        'Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making a historic mistake in buying the doomed Kinder Morgan project,' Adam Scott, senior adviser at Oil Change International (OCI), said in a statement denouncing Trudeau's decision, which comes just weeks after fierce opposition from Indigenous groups and environmentalists forced the oil giant to halt construction operations. 'At a critical moment in history, the government is indeed doing 'whatever it takes' to undermine our transition to a safe, clean, renewable energy future.'
        Clayton Thomas-Muller, a campaigner with 350.org, argued that Trudeau's move demonstrates that he 'still hasn't learned two simple lessons: you can't be a climate leader and build massive fossil fuel projects and you can't ignore Indigenous rights and preach reconciliation.'
"Despite tens of thousands of people opposing it, he just used taxpayer money to bailout a project that communities don't want, that would break his own climate commitments, and that Indigenous peoples are fighting from the frontlines to the courtrooms," Thomas-Muller added. "This project is never going to be built."
        While the Canadian government says it does not plan to be the long-term owner of the pipeline, its decision to purchase the project on Tuesday is part of an effort to ensure the massive pipeline expansion proceeds this summer as planned.
        If completed, Trans Mountain would 'triple the amount of dirty tar sands being shipped from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia,' OCI's Andy Rowell noted in a blog post last week.
        Denouncing the project as a grave threat to Indigenous lands and Canada's water supply, green groups and climate activists vowed to do everything in their power to thwart the pipeline expansion. On the heels of Trudeau's announcement, the Vancouver-based Indigenous rights group Coast Protectors scheduled a rally for Tuesday evening to 'say no to Trudeau's pipeline buy out.'
        'Trudeau is gambling billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on an oil project that will never be built,' Mike Hudema, a climate and energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, declared in a statement on Tuesday. 'The Indigenous-led, people-powered movement that led Kinder Morgan to abandon ship on this project is stronger than ever and will not back down.'
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        Eriel Deranger, "I feel betrayed by the government and a system that has destroyed the spirit of my people," Canada's National Observer," April 24, 2018, https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/04/24/opinion/i-feel-betrayed-government-and-system-has-destroyed-spirit-my-people, "The struggle over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion has been heating up over the past month and has reached new levels of intensity in recent weeks. Politicians are threatening each other while land defenders and water protectors in Coast Salish territory are now facing possible criminal charges for protecting the land, waterways and ecosystems. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley are offering to 'buy the pipeline outright' and 'pledged federal financial backing'. Now the province of B.C. is threatening to sue Alberta if they make good on a promise to restrict fuel exports."

        Greenpeace reported in an E-mail, June 10, 2018, "Every 11 days on average, the pipelines operated by Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidiaries, including Sunoco, spill.
        Our groundbreaking new report on the company presents appalling evidence of 527 leaks between 2002 and 2017, as well as pervasive water pollution, violations of permits, and stop-work orders while constructing new pipelines. This is a staggering threat to our communities and families nationwide."

        Crestwood Equity Partners was fined $49,000 by the EPA for 1 2014 pipeline waste water spill of 1 million gallons on the Fort Berthold Reservation. The leak was unnoticed for five days, allowing some 10,500 gallons of waste water to flow trhtough a ravine and into Lake Sakakawea ("Fine imposed for pipeline spill on Fort Berthold Reservation," NFIC, February 2018)

        Brad Plumer, "C_ima__ _Ha_g_," The New York Times, March 28, 2018, https://static.nytimes.com/email-content/CLIM_523.html?nlid=52235981, reported, "Last week, lawmakers in Washington took a significant step toward addressing climate change. They just didn’t call it that.
        Buried in the $1.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress and grudgingly signed by President Trump were surprisingly large increases in funding for clean energy programs at the Department of Energy. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which has helped reduce the cost of solar power, got a 14 percent bump. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which funds long-shot technologies like algae biofuels, got a 16 percent increase. The Office of Nuclear Energy got a 19 percent increase."

        Steve Hanley , "California Poised To Hit 50% Renewable Target A Full Decade Ahead Of Schedule," Clean Technica, December 21 2017, https://cleantechnica.com/2017/12/21/california-poised-hit-50-renewable-target-full-decade-ahead-schedule/, reported, "Every year, the California Energy Commission releases its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) report, which gives details about the mix of energy experienced by all utilities within the state during the preceding 12 months. The report for this year, released in November, shows that all three of the state’s investor-owned utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric — are projected to derive 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. That is a full decade ahead of schedule. PG&E reports it used 32.9% renewable energy in the past year. The figure for SoCal Edison was 28.2%. San Diego Gas & Electric led the pack with 43.2% renewable energy.

        Nick Corasaniti and Brad Plumer, "New Jersey Takes a Big Step Toward Renewable Energy (and Nuclear Gets Help, for Now)," The New York Times, April 12, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/12/nyregion/new-jersey-renewable-energy.html, reported "New Jersey significantly altered the future of its energy sector on Thursday, passing two bills that set ambitious goals for expanding renewable power and curtailing greenhouse gases in the state.
        The bills, which require power companies in New Jersey to generate 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and subsidize existing nuclear power plants, mark one of the biggest new policy steps that any state has taken toward cutting greenhouse gases since President Trump was elected."

        David Roberts, "Solar panels have gotten thinner than a human hair. Soon they’ll be everywhere," Vox, April 11, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2016/6/23/11998908/ultra-thin-solar-cells, reported, "South Korean scientists have created solar PV cells that are 1 micrometer thick, hundreds of times thinner than most PV and half again as thin as other kinds of thin-film PV. (The research is in a paper published in Applied Physics Letters last June.)"
        "This isn’t the thinnest solar cell ever, either. Back in February 2016, MIT researchers made solar cells so small and light they could sit atop a soap bubble without popping it. Here’s how they did it (from the press release)."
        "Researchers say the same fabrication process could work with a number of different materials, including quantum dots or perovskites, yielding solar cells small and transparent enough to be embedded in windows or building materials."
        "Now, all these lab breakthroughs are just that: lab breakthroughs. It’s a long road from the lab to a commercial product. Plenty could go wrong in between.
        But the trends in solar innovation are clear. Cells are getting smaller and smaller, and more and more flexible, using new fabrication techniques that are less and less resource-intensive.
        It’s all super expensive now, and probably will be for a while. Eventually, though, these new methods will find their way into markets and start getting scaled up. With scale, costs come down.
        Tiny solar PV will change the world.
        PV is different from any other energy technology. It can change the way we view power, from something we generate at a specific location to something we harvest, everywhere. Sufficiently cheap, small, and flexible solar cells could be integrated into our building materials, streets, bridges, parking lots, vehicles, clothes, even our skin."

        Derrick Z. Jackson, "Catching a Breeze: America's belated push to develop offshore wind energy," The American Prospect, Spring 2018 issue, April 20, 2018, http://prospect.org/article/catching-breeze, reported, Three years ago, after the collapse of Cape Wind off Nantucket Sound, renewable offshore wind energy in the United States was 'a stone dead market,' according to Thomas Brostrøm, president of Ørsted North America. His Danish parent company, formerly DONG Energy, has built more offshore wind farms than any country in the world.
.         .         .         .         .         .         .         .
        Fortunately for Mitchell and for friends of renewable energy, the stone-dead market has been reborn with a speed that has stunned offshore wind advocates. The United States may be an embarrassing quarter-century behind Denmark in putting its first offshore wind farm into the water—a five-turbine, 30-megawatt project off Block Island, Rhode Island, completed in late 2016—but it is still on the verge of that very transformative change Mitchell talked about a hopeful five years ago.
        This year, the Bay State will select the developers for between 400 and 800 of the 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power mandated by Massachusetts. Based on the bids, 1,600 megawatts (or 1.6 gigawatts) would power up to one million homes, nearly a third of the households in the state. Projects are being announced, planned, and approved all the way from New England to the South Atlantic. As evidence that offshore wind is an unprecedented economic opportunity, even the Trump administration—no friend of green energy—has thus far continued the Obama-era program of competitive leasing for offshore wind projects in federal waters.
        A year ago, the government awarded a lease of 122,000 acres of ocean off Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called the $9 million lease sale 'a big win' for energy independence and economic boosting. In October, Zinke met with the energy minister of wind energy pioneer Denmark as the two nations signed an agreement to share information about the industry. In January, Zinke’s energy policy counselor, Vincent DeVito, traveled to Denmark, where Bloomberg quoted him as saying that the United States is working “quite aggressively” to pursue a “robust expansion of offshore wind.”

        Rocks in large formations in Oman and other parts of the world naturally pull carbon dioxide out of the air and incorporate it as part of the rock. Some scientists favor using this rock to do that on a large scale, to limit climate change. But it would take a tremendous amount of the mineral, properly positioned to have a significant effect. One scientist said that if properly configured, the rock in Oman could store at least a billion tons of CO2 a year. Current yearly worldwide emissions amount to almost to 40 billion tons of CO2 (Henry Fountain, "How Oman’s Rocks Could Help Save the Planet," The New York Times, April 26, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/04/26/climate/oman-rocks.html).

        Several groups of young college Republicans, led by the Yale College Republicans, have been proposing using carbon taxes to fight global warming (Lisa Friedman, "Unusual Plan From Young Conservatives: Carbon Tax," The New York Times, March 7, 2018).

        Brad Plumer, "Clean Energy Ideas That Could Prove Odd Enough to Work," The New York Times, March 17, 2018, contains a discussion of some innovative ideas for alternative energy that are being tested, or at least suggested.

        The area on and near the coast of Louisiana is rapidly disappearing from a three fold onslaught. Levies along the Mississippi have for many years prevented flooding that brings new soil to maintain the delta. Global warming has brought rising seas, along with more frequent and more powerful storms flooding and washing away the land. Some communities, including the Indigenous people who have been the heart of the shrimping industry, have already been forced to move. The question is when others will be forced out as the land shrinks, and how much will be done at what cost to slow the land loss, and the need to move (Kevin Sack and John Schwartz, "Left To Louisiana’s Tides, A Village Fights For Time: For the community of Jean Lafitte, the question is less whether it will succumb to the
sea than when — and how much the public should invest in artificially extending its life)," The New York Times, February 24, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/24/us/jean-lafitte-floodwaters.html).

        The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe has had 98% of its island home of Isle de Jean Charles sink and wash away since 1955, from the triple onslaught. The residents of the island are to be moved inland some 40 miles to a drier 515 acre tract in Terrebonne Parish, under a 2016 federal grant (New home selected for residents of shrinking island," NFIC, January 2018).

        Although Republican, the heavily climate change impacted state of Alaska has begun to consider climate change mitigating policy, including possibly reducing state emissions and instituting a carbon tax (Brad Plumer," Deep Red Alaska, Feeling Thaw, Devises Climate Plan," The New York Times, May 16, 2018).

        Global warming carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent globally, in 2017, after holding steady for three years. About two-thirds of the emissions increase came from Asia. China produced a 1.7 percent increase in carbon emissions, from increased automobile use, and still growing fossil fuel use in generating electric power, even as its efforts to reduce coal burning began to take effect. The rest of Asia, including India and Indonesia, had a 3 percent increase in CO2 emissions.
        Carbon emissions were down in 2017 in the U.S. by .5 percent, while Brittan, Mexico, and Japan also had reduced carbon emissions. In the European Union, over all carbon emissions rose by 1.5 percent, although several of its nations reduced those emissions.
        The biggest factor in reducing carbon emissions where they occurred, and in keeping them from rising further where they increased, was a huge increase in renewable energy, particularly solar, wind and hydro power. Some of the increase came from a 1 percent increase in coal burning, as some Asian nations increased its use faster than it was reduced in China, the U.S. and some other countries. Increased auto use, particularly in developing economies, was a factor, greatly increased by a huge increase in the number of less fuel efficient SUVs purchased, made more feasible with low gasoline prices. In addition, world wide energy efficiency increased by only 1.7 percent in 2017, less than in each of the three previous years (Brad Plumer, "Behind the Increase in Gas Emissions Last Year," The New York Times, March 23, 2018).

        Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the air is also impacting fresh water: lakes, streams and rivers, changing their eco systems significantly. Study is just beginning of the impact. In the oceans the increased acidity of the water weakens and destroys shell fish, makes some species of fish unable to detect their predators, and damages coral. Similar impacts are suspected in fresh water (Carl Zimmer, "A Threat to Fresh Waters," The New York Times, January 16, 2918).

        Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous: A new study shows that storms are staying in one place longer, much like Hurricane Harvey did last year," The New York Times, June 6, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/06/climate/slow-hurricanes.html, reported, "A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature focuses on what is known as translation speed, which measures how quickly a storm is moving over an area, say, from Miami to the Florida Panhandle. Between 1949 and 2016, tropical cyclone translation speeds declined 10 percent worldwide, the study says. The storms, in effect, are sticking around places for a longer period of time.
        Lingering hurricanes can be a problem, as Texans learned last year when Hurricane Harvey stalled over the state, causing devastating flooding and billions of dollars of damage. The storm dropped more than 30 inches of rain in two days and nearly 50 inches over four days in some places. A report released this month by Harris County, which includes Houston, found that Harvey’s rainfall exceeded every known flooding event in American history since 1899.

        Oceana, "Corals, Sponges, Underwater Canyons Get New Protections off U.S. West Coast: More than 140,000 sq. miles of living seafloor safeguarded from impacts of bottom trawling," April 10, 2018, http://usa.oceana.org/press-releases/corals-sponges-underwater-canyons-get-new-protections-us-west-coast, Contact: Ashley Blacow: ablacow@oceana.org, reported, "Late yesterday, the Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to protect more than 140,000 square miles of seafloor habitat, including corals, sponges, and rocky reefs, off the U.S. West Coast. Once implementing regulations are issued by NOAA Fisheries, the Council’s action will more than double the spatial extent of seafloor protections off the U.S. West Coast. Deep sea coral gardens, sponge beds, underwater canyons, and high relief structures like rocky reefs provide homes for commercially and recreationally important fish species including more than 90 species of rockfish off California, Oregon, and Washington. Corals and sponges also provide habitat for a myriad of other ocean creatures including octopus and sea stars."

        Darryl Fears, "Tougher climate policies could save a stunning 150 million lives, researchers find," The Washington Post, March 20, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/20/tougher-climate-policies-could-save-a-stunning-150-million-lives-researchers-find/, reported, "There is an overlooked benefit to greatly lowering carbon emissions worldwide, a new study says. In addition to preserving Arctic sea ice, reducing sea-level rise and alleviating other effects of global warming, it would probably save more than 150 million human lives.
        According to the study, premature deaths would fall on nearly every continent if the world’s governments agree to cut emissions of carbon and other harmful gases enough to limit global temperature rise to less than 3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. That is about a degree lower than the target set by the Paris climate agreement."
        The lives that would be saved according to this study would be from reduced air pollution, which is particularly bad in cities in Asia. This is in addition to the huge number of lives that would be saved because increased heat, drought, flooding, sea level rise, and other effects of global warming.

        E.A. Crunden, "South Florida sounds the alarm amid threat of rising sea levels," ThinkProgress, May 7, 2018, ThinkProgress, reported, "Outdated and fast-aging flood control mechanisms won’t be enough to protect South Florida amid a rapidly-changing climate and rising sea levels. Local publications and activists are sounding the alarm about the region’s lack of preparedness, with sea levels set to rise at least 2 feet by 2060.         
        A partnership between the editorial boards of the Miami Herald, South Florida Sun Sentinel, and Palm Beach Post is aiming to draw attention to the threat rising sea levels pose to South Florida. With assistance from WLRN Public Media, the election year effort is meant to hold Florida lawmakers accountable and ensure action. That includes calling for Congress to prioritize the vulnerable area swiftly."

        The increase of carbon dioxide in the air causes many plants to grow larger, including many "weeds", or unwanted plants. But it also significantly reduces the nutrition value of plant food (Brad Plumer, "More Carbon Dioxide, Less Nutritious Foods," The New York Times, May 24, 2018).

        While President Trump has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement, numerous U.S. companies continue to invest in wind and solar energy, including dozens of Fortune 500 Companies, who are putting millions of dollars into renewable energy (Brad Plumer, "Despite President's Paris Pullout, U.S. Companies Pursue Clean Energy," The New York Times, June 12, 2018).

        "Graphene Makes Concrete Twice As Strong While Reducing Carbon Emissions," Slapshot, May 3, 2018, https://science.slashdot.org/story/18/05/03/2230218/graphene-makes-concrete-twice-as-strong-while-reducing-carbon-emissions, "In a recent study, University of Exeter's Center for Graphene Science used nanoengineering technology to add graphene to concrete production. The resulting graphene concrete is two times stronger than traditional concrete and four times as water resistant, but with a much smaller carbon footprint compared to the conventional process of making concrete. According to the research, the addition of graphene cuts back on the amount of materials needed in concrete production by nearly 50 percent and reduces carbon emissions by 446 kg per ton."

        Andrea Germanos, "Judge Drops Charges Against 13 Who Argued Pipeline Civil Disobedience Action Was "Necessary" to Save Planet: 'We are part of the movement that's standing up and saying, 'We won't let this go by on our watch,'" Common Dreams, March 28, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/28/judge-drops-charges-against-13-who-argued-pipeline-civil-disobedience-action-was, reported, "Climate activists are cheering after a district judge in Boston on Tuesday ruled that 13 fossil fuel pipeline protesters were not responsible for any infraction because of the necessity of their actions.
        Bill McKibben, who was slated to be an expert witness in their case, tweeted a celebratory 'Good golly!' in response to the ruling, adding, 'This may be a first in America. '
        The charges the defendants faced stemmed from actions they took in 2016 to block Spectra Energy's fracked gas West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline. While they had spent a year and a half preparing a climate necessity defense to present to a jury trail, prosecutors prevented that from happening last week when they reduced the criminal charges to civil infractions. 'By reducing the charges,' the Climate Disobedience Center argues, 'the prosecutor has avoided what could have been a groundbreaking legal case.'
        Judge Mary Ann Driscoll, did, however, allow each of the defendants to explain to the court why they were motivated to take part in their actions to stop the Massachusetts pipeline. After that, according to a lawyer for the defendants, she said they were not responsible by reason of necessity.
        We were in West Roxbury Court today for ‪#climatetrial. The criminal charges were reduced to civil infractions, then after testimony the activists were all found not responsible by reason of necessity.
        Speaking on the steps outside the courthouse following the verdict, defendant and noted climate activist Tim DeChristopher said they 'asked the judge to recognize that that evidence was out there—that's it clear across our society the severity of climate change, the degree to which the government response has been a failure, and the degree to which regular folks like us have a necessity to act to prevent this harm.'
        'Hopefully, next time around we'll be able to do that with a jury, and we'll keep fighting,' he said.
        Defendant Callista Womick spoke outside the courthouse as well, saying that 'it's hubristic to think we can keep poisoning the planet and keep living on it.' As such, she said she took part in the protest because she saw it as 'part of my duty to my fellow human beings and fellow life forms.'
        According to defendant Karenna Gore, director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary (and daughter of former Vice President Al Gore), what happened in the courtroom was 'really important,' though she noted 'the irony' of being found not responsible for the infractions because 'we are making ourselves responsible.'
'We are part of the movement that's standing up and saying, 'We won't let this go by on our watch. We won't act like nothing's wrong,' she said. 'We're going to be speaking up in new ways,' she added.
        'We're going to be demanding that the people who are in elected office, and also the corporations who are putting their costs, the cost of their doing business, for their own profits... on the public, they're putting that cost on future generations. And we are taking responsibility to say 'no' to that.'
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        Mark Hefflinger, Communications And Digital Director, Bold Alliance, "SOLAR XL: Resisting Keystone XL by Building Clean Energy in the Pipeline’s Path," CREDOBlog, April 6, 2018, https://blog.credomobile.com/2018/04/solar-xl-resisting-keystone-xl-building-clean-energy-pipelines-path/?source=newsletter, reported, "TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels per day of dirty tarsands from Canada through hundreds of American homes, farms and ranches. It would cross the delicate Sandhills in Nebraska and put the critical Ogallala Aquifer and sacred Indigenous sites like the Ponca Trail of Tears at risk. Farmers, ranchers and indigenous Nations are fighting with everything they have to protect the land and their communities from eminent domain for private gain.
        We refuse to allow the Keystone XL to put our land and water at risk. We already have the solutions we need, which is why we’re building solar panels directly in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The solar panels are being connected to Nebraska’s power grid, generating clean, renewable energy for the state – as opposed to a risky pipeline that would provide little benefit to Nebraskans. If Keystone XL is approved, TransCanada would have to tear down clean and locally produced energy to make way for its dirty tarsands pipeline.
        The SOLAR XL project is organized by Bold Nebraska, with support from partners including 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International and CREDO."

        Jessica Corbett, "'Historic First': Nebraska Farmers Return Land to Ponca Tribe in Effort to Block Keystone XL: 'We want to protect this land,' said the tribe's state chairman. 'We don't want to see a pipeline go through,'" Common Dreams, June 15, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/06/15/historic-first-nebraska-farmers-return-land-ponca-tribe-effort-block-keystone-xl, reported, "In a move that could challenge the proposed path of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline—and acknowledges the U.S. government's long history of abusing Native Americans and forcing them off their lands—a Nebraska farm couple has returned a portion of ancestral land to the Ponca Tribe.
        At a deed-signing ceremony earlier this week, farmers Art and Helen Tanderup transferred to the tribe a 1.6-acre plot of land that falls on Ponca "Trail of Tears."
        Now, as the Omaha World-Herald explained, rather than battling the farmers, 'TransCanada will have to negotiate with a new landowner, one that has special legal status as a tribe.'
        The transfer was celebrated by members of the Ponca Tribe as well as environmental advocates who oppose the construction of the pipeline and continue to demand a total transition to renewable energy.
        'We want to protect this land,' Larry Wright Jr., the chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, told the World-Herald. '"We don't want to see a pipeline go through.'
        'While TransCanada is trampling on Indigenous rights to fatten their bottom line, Native leaders are resisting by building renewable energy solutions like solar panels in the path of the pipeline,' said 350.org executive director May Boeve.
        'Repatriating this land to the Ponca Tribe raises new challenges for the Keystone XL pipeline and respects the leadership of Native nations in the fight against the fossil fuel industry," she added. 'Tribal sovereignty is central to the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground and build a more just society for all.'
        Author and 350.org cofounder Bill McKibben called the land transfer an 'important strategic move," while also noting that 'it's sacred ground.'
        In recent years, the Tanderups have worked with Ponca leaders to grow the tribe's sacred corn on the land that's now been returned. The signing ceremony featured the fifth planting of the corn and a performance by Ponca singers and grass dancers.
        'It's an honor to be here today to celebrate this gracious and generous donation nation to the Ponca Nation,' Wright said at the ceremony.
          'This event is another step to healing old wounds and bringing our people together again to a land once ours.'
        The Tanderups—who have joined with Indigenous and environmental advocates to protest Keystone XL—said the possibility of blocking the pipeline was only one of the factors that contributed to their decision.
        'The Ponca and people of this community continue to build strong relationships as they work in collaborative efforts," Art Tanderup told the Norfolk Daily News. "It is only fitting that out of the tragedy of the Ponca Trail of Tears that a small piece of this historic trail be transferred to them.'
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        China announced, in late January 2017, plans for creating a huge market of carbon credits to reduce carbon pollution across the country (Keith Bradsher and Lisa Friedman, "China Plans Huge Market for Trading Pollution Credits," The New York Times, December 20, 2017).

        Michael Greenstone, "Four Years After Declaring War on Pollution, China Is Winning: Research gives estimates on the longer lives that are now possible in the country," The New York Times, March 12, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/upshot/china-pollution-environment-longer-lives.html, reported that China's effort to reduce pollution, begun in 2014, is bringing results, though with costs. "In particular, cities have cut concentrations of fine particulates in the air by 32 percent on average, in just those four years."
        "If China sustains these reductions, recent research by my colleagues and me indicates that residents will see significant improvements to their health, extending their life spans by months or years.
        How did China get here? In the months before the premier’s speech, the country released a national air quality action plan that required all urban areas to reduce concentrations of fine particulate matter pollution by at least 10 percent, more in some cities. The Beijing area was required to reduce pollution by 25 percent, and the city set aside an astounding $120 billion for that purpose.
        To reach these targets, China prohibited new coal-fired power plants in the country’s most polluted regions, including the Beijing area. Existing plants were told to reduce their emissions. If they didn’t, the coal was replaced with natural gas. Large cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, restricted the number of cars on the road. The country also reduced its iron- and steel-making capacity and shut down coal mines.
        The rapid rate of change has had human costs. In some instances Chinese authorities have taken extreme measures to reduce pollution. For example, coal boilers used to provide heat were removed from many homes and businesses before replacements were available, leaving many without heat during the winter.

        Kendra Pierre-Lewis, "Your Burning Question," The New York Times, "Climate Fwd:" e-mail: nytdirect@nytimes.com, January 35, 2017, reported, "How much of the problem is caused by methane gas emitted from raising farm animals for the meat industry?
        About 8% of world wide greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to come from agriculture, including farming and herding. In the United States, including very greenhouse warming methane, that is the equivalent of 574 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year and 56 million metric tons in Canada. In the U.S. approximately 42 percent of agricultural emissions are from animals, mostly consisting of methane. World wide, from 14.5% to 18% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are produced by animals.
        These calculations do not include those directly or indirectly stemming from fertilizer. Also, the figures might change if changes were made in animal husbandry, such as if cows were removed from grasslands, which were left to wild animals, such as bison and deer.

        The Green Climate Fund, organized to help poorer countries and areas meet climate change, had spent $2.6 billion by late 2017, but with little transparency in the decision making, there are indications that much of the funding is not going where it was intended, the poorest places that need it most (Hirokoi Tabuchi, "Climate Funds, Meant for Poorest, Raise Red Flags," The New York Times, November 17, 2017).

        "Climate Change Trends and Impacts on California Agriculture: A Detailed Review, by Tapan B. Pathak 1,* , Mahesh L. Maskey 2, Jeffery A. Dahlberg 3, Faith Kearns 4, Khaled M. Bali 3 and Daniele Zaccaria, 2 Agronomy, Received: 9 November 2017; Accepted: 21 February 2018; Published: 26 February 2018, https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4405251/Agronomy-08-00025.pdf, * Correspondence: tpathak@ucmerced.edu; Tel.: +1-209-228-2520
found, "Abstract: California is a global leader in the agricultural sector and produces more than 400 types of commodities. The state produces over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. Despite being highly productive, current and future climate change poses many challenges to the agricultural sector. This paper provides a summary of the current state of knowledge on historical and future trends in climate and their impacts on California agriculture. We present a synthesis of climate change impacts on California agriculture in the context of: (1) historic trends and projected changes in temperature, precipitation, snowpack, heat waves, drought, and flood events; and (2) consequent impacts on crop yields, chill hours, pests and diseases, and agricultural vulnerability to climate risks. Finally, we highlight important findings and directions for future research and implementation. The detailed review presented in this paper provides sufficient evidence that the climate in California has changed significantly and is expected to continue changing in the future, and justifies the urgency and importance of enhancing the adaptive capacity of agriculture and reducing vulnerability to climate change. Since agriculture in California is very diverse and each crop responds to climate differently, climate adaptation research should be locally focused along with effective stakeholder engagement and systematic outreach efforts for effective adoption and implementation. The expected readership of this paper includes local stakeholders, researchers, state and national agencies, and international communities interested in learning about climate change and California’s agriculture."
        The full article is at: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4405251/Agronomy-08-00025.pdf.
        Findings included, "The impacts of climate change on crop yields for different field crops such as alfalfa, cotton, maize, wither wheat, tomato, rice, and sunflower in Yolo County and throughout the Central Valley as seen in Figure 11 [40,41] were modeled using a process-based crop model named Daycent. The model provided best estimates of yields for the period from 2000 through 2050 under high- and low-emission scenarios. While alfalfa yields were predicted to increase under climate change, yields from tomato and rice remain unaffected. The effect on wine grape yield is not expected to be high; temperature increases might adversely influence fruit quality. Heat waves in May predicted yield losses of 1–10% for maize, rice, sunflower, and tomato, whereas heat waves in June affected maize and sunflower yields [41]. Overall, a 4 ◦C increase in temperature may reduce yields from most fruits by more than 5%, and this figure may reach up to 40% in some important regions [42]."
        "Many fruit and nut crops require cold temperatures in winter to break dormancy. This requirement defines a location’s suitability for the production of many tree crops [43,44]. These fruit and nut species adapt to temperate or cool subtropical climates where chilling each winter is needed to achieve homogeneous and simultaneous flowering and steady crop yields. Quantifying chilling requirements is crucial for the successful cultivation of such crops, and temperature records are converted into a metric of coldness. The lack of adequate chilling hours can delay pollination and foliation, reducing fruit yield and quality [45]. The effects of insufficient winter chill can vary among species. Walnuts and pistachios depend on synchronization between male and female flowering that is regulated by the number of chilling hours. For various stone fruits, a lack of winter chill results in delayed foliation, reduced fruit set, and poor fruit quality. In many cases, insufficient winter chilling hours result in reduced tree crop performance.
        Figure 12 portrays historic and projected future changes in winter chill in California according to two different chilling models: chilling hours and dynamic models [44]. This research aimed at determining time-line management measures, such as the spraying of dormancy-breaking chemicals, as a predictor of crop yield potential for the season. The study reported that climatic conditions by the end of the 21st century would no longer support some of the main tree crops currently grown in California."
        Prices for solar, wind, and battery storage have been continuing to decline and have reached the point where renewables are increasingly squeezing out all forms of fossil fuel power, including natural gas. From March 2017 to March 2018 the cost of constructing new solar plants decreased by 20 percent, while prices for onshore wind declined 12 percent, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-28/fossil-fuels-squeezed-by-plunge-in-cost-of-renewables-bnef-says. Since 2010, the prices for lithium-ion batteries used in energy storage have declined 79 percent (Joe Romm, "Stunning drops in solar, wind costs mean economic case for coal, gas is ‘crumbling’: Things are only going to get tougher for gas and coal compared to renewables," Think Progress, March 29, 2018, https://thinkprogress.org/solar-wind-power-prices-are-beating-natural-gas-c9912054400c/).

        Amy Yee, "Geothermal Energy Grows in Kenya)," The New York Times, February 23, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/23/business/geothermal-energy-grows-in-kenya.html, reported, "Verdant hills stretch into the distance at Hell’s Gate National Park, where zebras, buffalos, antelopes, baboons and other wildlife roam an idyllic landscape of forests, gorges and grassy volcanoes near the shores of Lake Naivasha."
        "The valley’s animal herders have long known the unusual properties of the ground under their feet. On chilly days, they warmed themselves near vents that emit plumes of hot steam. Now, Kenya is increasingly harnessing that steam to turn generators that can allow it to expand electrical service and power its rapidly growing economy.
        "The park, about 50 miles from the capital of Nairobi, sits over the East African Rift, a huge fracture in the earth’s crust that also cuts through Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and other countries. Steam from here helped generate 47 percent of Kenya’s electricity in 2015, with hydropower (nearly 35 percent) generating much of the rest.
        Kenya has pushed hard to harness its geothermal capabilities. It generated 45 megawatts of power with geothermal energy in 1985 and now generates about 630 megawatts; nearly 400 megawatts of that production has come online since 2014."
        "That explosive growth has made geothermal power a promising source of renewable energy for a country of 44 million people that is expected to nearly double in population by 2050."

        Norway, Europe's largest oil producer, was considering divesting from oil investments, in December 2017 (Clifford Krauss, " Norway, Europe's Top Oil Producer, Considers Divesting From Oil Shares," The New York Times, December 17, 2017).

        President Trump's administration announced, in early January, that it would allow gas and oil drilling in almost all U.S, coastal waters (Lisa Friedman, "Trump Moves To Open Coasts to Oil Drilling,” The New York Times, January 5, 2017).

         Lisa Friedman, "E.P.A. Announces a New Rule. One Likely Effect: Less Science in Policymaking," The New York Times, April 24, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/24/climate/epa-science-transparency-pruitt.html, reported, "The Environmental Protection Agency announced a new regulation Tuesday that would restrict the kinds of scientific studies the agency can use when it develops policies, a move critics say will permanently weaken the agency’s ability to protect public health.
        Under the measure, the E.P.A. will require that the underlying data for all scientific studies used by the agency to formulate air and water regulations be publicly available. That would sharply limit the number of studies available for consideration because much research relies on confidential health data from study subjects."
        If the rule is approved, there is a good possibility it would be struck down in federal court.

        Earth Justice reported, June 15, 2018, "Today, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has demonstrated again that he has no business running the agency charged with protecting the environment. How? By announcing that the EPA is moving forward with a plan that will undermine vital clean water protections by eviscerating the Clean Water Rule.
        The Clean Water Rule was finalized in 2015 after years of scientific research and public engagement to help state and federal agencies protect our streams, rivers and wetlands under the bipartisan Clean Water Act. It is a commonsense safeguard that protects the drinking water sources for 117 million people across the country.
        So why is the head of the EPA trying to deny millions of people access to clean water? As the recent slew of ethics scandals implies, he habitually cuts corners and protects big corporations at the expense of our health.
        The fact of the matter is that some of the few people who will benefit from this law being repealed and replaced with a much weaker option are golf course owners and real estate developers. President Trump is both of these."

        Eric Lipton, "The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A. ," The New York Times, June 7, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/07/us/politics/epa-toxic-chemicals.html, reported, "The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show.
        Under a law passed by Congress during the final year of the Obama administration, the E.P.A. was required for the first time to evaluate hundreds of potentially toxic chemicals and determine if they should face new restrictions, or even be removed from the market. The chemicals include many in everyday use, such as dry-cleaning solvents, paint strippers and substances used in health and beauty products like shampoos and cosmetics.
        But as it moves forward reviewing the first batch of 10 chemicals, the E.P.A. has in most cases decided to exclude from its calculations any potential exposure caused by the substances’ presence in the air, the ground or water, according to more than 1,500 pages of documents released last week by the agency.
Instead, the agency will focus on possible harm caused by direct contact with a chemical in the workplace or elsewhere. The approach means that the improper disposal of chemicals — leading to the contamination of drinking water, for instance — will often not be a factor in deciding whether to restrict or ban them."

        Andrea Germanos, "Federal Court Blocks Trump's 'Bizarre Attempt to Encourage Toxic Tailpipe Pollution:' Appeals court ruling hailed as win for consumers, public health, and planet," Common Dreams, April 23, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/23/federal-court-blocks-trumps-bizarre-attempt-encourage-toxic-tailpipe-pollution, reported, "A federal court on Monday stopped another of the Trump administration's attacks on clean air—its indefinite delay of stricter penalties for automakers producing vehicle fleets that don't meet fuel efficiency standards.
        'Today's court order is a big win for New Yorkers' and all Americans' health and environment,' declared New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
        The ruling (pdf) [https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/ca2_order_vacating_delay.pdf] by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit means the higher fine—going from $5.50 per tenth of a mile per gallon to $14 per tenth of a mile per gallon of fuel a vehicle guzzles beyond the standards—stays in place."

        Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi, "E.P.A. Prepares to Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars to Be Cleaner and More Efficient" The New York Times, March 29, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/29/climate/epa-cafe-auto-pollution-rollback.html, "The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort in coming days to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, handing a victory to car manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide.
        The move — which undercuts one of President Barack Obama’s signature efforts to fight climate change — would also propel the Trump administration toward a courtroom clash with California, which has vowed to stick with the stricter rules even if Washington rolls back federal standards."

        EPA has proposed using only scientific research that is, or can be, made public. This would eliminate a huge amount of research that is, and must be, kept confidential to keep people's health information confidential (Lisa Friedman, "Narrower Scope For EPA Rules," The New York Times, March 27, 2018).

        Scott Waldman, "Judge Orders EPA to Produce Science behind Pruitt’s Warming Claims: The EPA head has suggested humans are not the main cause of climate change," Scientific American, June 5, 2018, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/judge-orders-epa-to-produce-science-behind-pruitts-warming-claims/, reported, "Not long after he took over as EPA administrator, Pruitt appeared on CNBC’s 'Squawk Box,' where he was asked about carbon dioxide and climate change. He said, 'I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.'
        The next day, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the studies Pruitt used to make his claims. Specifically, the group requested “EPA documents that support the conclusion that human activity is not the largest factor driving global climate change.”
        On Friday, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Beryl Howell, ordered the agency to comply."

        The Trump administration is trying to kill NASA's $10 million dollar a year carbon monitoring system that keeps track of carbon emissions that are a main cause of global warming (John Schwartz, Climate Program in Limbo," The New York Times, May 23, 2018,  https://static.nytimes.com/email-content/CLIM_2339.html?nlid=52235981).

        A provision aimed at encouraging the use of parts from trucks destroyed or damaged in accidents has been allowing trucks legally to operate with rebuilt engines that spew as much as 40% - 55% more pollution than newer trucks are required to be limited to (Eric Lipton, "Steering Big Rigs Around Emissions Standards," The New York Times, February 15, 2018).

        Jessica Kutz, "What’s quelling the anxiety of electric-car drivers?, New Mexico Political Report, March 22, 2018, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/816486/whats-quelling-the-anxiety-of-electric-car-drivers/?mc_cid=f20759c93e&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported, "In October, governors from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming signed an agreement to add high-speed charging stations to every major interstate in the region. Christian Williss, director of transportation fuels and technology at the Colorado Energy Office, said his state aims to make charging 'as quick and convenient' as gassing up.
        It’s up to each state to figure out its individual infrastructure plans. Colorado released its own plans in January, which include installing signage so that both EV and non-EV drivers become familiar with charging locations, and building out fast-charging corridors.

        In Norway, in 2017, more electric and hybrid automobiles were sold than fossil fuel powered vehicles (Amie Tsang and Henrick Pryser Libell, "Elkectric and Hybrid Cars Take Lead in Norway," The New York Times, January 5, 2017).

        Alister Doyle, "Norway tests tiny electric plane, sees passenger flights by 2025," Reuters, June 18, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-electric-flight/norway-tests-tiny-electric-plane-sees-passenger-flights-by-2025-idUSKBN1JE27D, reported, "Norway tested a two-seater electric plane on Monday and predicted a start to passenger flights by 2025 if new aviation technologies match a green shift that has made Norwegians the world’s top buyers of electric cars."

        Brad Plumer, "A roadblock for electric cars," The New York Times, May 23, 2018, https://static.nytimes.com/email-content/CLIM_2339.html?nlid=52235981, reported, "There's a lot that needs to happen before electric vehicles take over the world. Battery costs need to fall, more charging stations need to get built and drivers need to get more comfortable with the technology.
        But this week three researchers in Europe found that there’s another potential hurdle for electric cars to clear: auto dealers.
        In their study, published in Nature Energy, the members of the research team made 126 visits to 82 car dealerships in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.
        What they found was striking: In 77 percent of visits to dealerships that stocked electric cars, the sales staff didn’t even discuss the vehicles as an option. Many dealerships were 'dismissive' of electric cars or provided incorrect information about the technology, instead steering customers toward conventional gasoline or diesel models."
        The reason most auto sales people did not make much effort to electric cars if that most customers were not initially interested, and it took four times as long to explain about electric vehicles, than those with internal combustion engines. Some experts expect the situation to change as there are more charging stations and cheaper batteries.

        "World's first electrified road for charging vehicles opens in Sweden," Guardian, April 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/12/worlds-first-electrified-road-for-charging-vehicles-opens-in-sweden, reported, "The world’s first electrified road that recharges the batteries of cars and trucks driving on it has been opened in Sweden.
        About 2km (1.2 miles) of electric rail has been embedded in a public road near Stockholm, but the government’s roads agency has already drafted a national map for future expansion.
        Sweden’s target of achieving independence from fossil fuel by 2030 requires a 70% reduction in the transport sector."

        Eric C. Evarts, "Northeast states band together to direct charging infrastructure," Green Car Reports, May 16, 2018, https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1116761_northeast-states-band-together-to-direct-charging-infrastructure, reported, "Now, as Electrify America rolls out a fast-charging network on par with Tesla's Superchargers for other electric cars, 12 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and the District of Columbia, are banding together to help direct investments to best aid electric-car drivers in the region.
        In conjunction with their "Drive Change. Drive Electric." marketing campaign, the states have made public their strategy to encourage investment in fast chargers for heavily traveled interstate corridors as well as public Level 2 charging infrastructure that includes in multi-family housing."

        A University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that U.S. federal legislation requiring gasoline to contain 10% ethanol resulted in greatly increased carbon dioxide pollution, greatly outweighing any benefits of the move, between 2008 and 2012. One result was an increase in cultivated land of 7 million acres, causing CO2 to be released from the soil. Over all, the increase in CO2 entering the atmosphere as a result of the switch to ethanol was equivalent to having 20 million new cars on the road each year (Lee Bergquist, "Ethanol's unintended effects debated," Albuquerque Journal, August 10, 2018.

        While natural gas remains the number one fuel for generating electricity in the U.S., in 2018, an increasing number of electric generating utilities are finding solar and wind cheaper, and are going to these renewables rather than building new fossil fuel powered plants, and some gas plants have been shut down in a switch to cheaper renewables (Ivan Penn, "Natural Gas Is Still Number One, But Renewable Energy Is Shaking Up the Utility Industry," The New York Times, March 29, 2018).

        Kendra Pierre-Louis, Can the Games be Green?, The New York Times, February 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters/2018/02/21/climate-change?nlid=52235981, reported, "Last month, we told you about how climate change may limit the available sites for future Winter Olympics. The organizers of the Pyeongchang Games say they want to do their part to limit their impact on global warming. That raises a question: How sustainable are the Olympics?
        The Pyeongchang organizing committee estimates the Games will generate 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, of which roughly a third will come from transporting athletes and spectators to South Korea and housing them. The emissions total is a bit more than Barbados produces in a year. The organizers are raising funds to buy carbon offsets, but how much they secure won’t be finalized until the end of the month."

        Beavers have joined the positive feedbacks increasing global warming. As they head further north in tundra land with warming temperatures, their dam building creates new water courses that speed the melting of permafrost and the release of methane into the atmosphere (Kendra Perre-Lewis, "Beavers Thaw Permafrost As They Head Further North," The New York Times, October 1, 2017).

        Steve Hanley, "Tesla To Construct Virtual Solar Power Plant Using 50,000 Homes In South Australia," Cleantech.com, February 4th, 2018, https://cleantechnica.com, reported, "When Elon Musk offered to build what would be the largest grid storage battery installation in the world in South Australia last year, he set off a chain of events that may have implications for the entire world. In a show of typical Muskian over-the-top bravado, Elon promised to build the entire facility in 100 days or it would be free. It was completed nearly 40 days early.
        Since then, the project has performed precisely as advertised, bringing stability to the grid in South Australia and making money for Neoen, the system operator, which recently pocketed $800,000 in 48 hours by absorbing excess electricity from the grid and selling it back to the grid operator later when demand increased.
        Australia — with its abundant sunshine — has already been a leader in rooftop solar, but the country also has blinders on when it comes to power because it sits on vast reserves of coal — enough to meet all the world’s energy needs for 1,000 years some people claim. A substantial part of Australia’s economy is tied to mining coal and shipping it to India, China, and other Asian countries. That means that, just like in America, coal plays an important role in national politics. As just one example, the grid storage plan in South Australia raised the hackles of quite a few politicians who owe their exalted positions to the generosity of coal companies.
        But Musk and his audacity have caused the scales to fall from the eyes of more people Down Under. Now, Tesla and the government of South Australia have announced a stunning new project that could change how electricity is generated not only in Australia but in every country in the world. They plan to install rooftop solar system on 50,000 homes in the next 4 years and link them together with grid storage facilities to create the largest virtual solar power plant in history.
        And here’s the kicker: The rooftop solar systems will be free.
        The cost of the project will be recouped over time by selling the electricity generated to those who consume it. 'We will use people’s homes as a way to generate energy for the South Australian grid, with participating households benefiting with significant savings in their energy bills,' says South Australia’s premier Jay Weatherill. 'More renewable energy means cheaper power for all South Australians'.”

        350.org, reported via E-mail, January 10, 2017, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as he made two major announcements: New York's pension funds will divest from the big oil and gas companies, and the city is suing the biggest of these corporations for the climate damage they've caused.

        The new tax legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President, in late December 2017, permits oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge. However, the process leading to the beginning of drilling is expected to take several years, and may well be further delayed by law suits (Henry Fountain and Lisa Friedman, "What's Next for the Arctic Refuge Rule," The New York Times, December 22, 2017).

        Henry Fountain, "Banned Ozone-Harming Gas Creeps Back, Suggesting a Mystery Source," The New York Times, May 16, 2018, https://electrek.co/2018/05/11/tesla-giant-battery-australia-reduced-grid-service-cost/, reported, "Government scientists have detected an increase in emissions of an outlawed industrial gas that destroys ozone, potentially slowing progress in restoring the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer.
        The scientists say that the increase is likely a result of new, unreported production of the gas, known as CFC-11, probably in East Asia. Global production of CFC-11, which has been used as a refrigerant and in insulating foams, has been banned since 2010 under an environmental pact, the Montreal Protocol."

        The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $4.4 million grant to extend and broaden the Navajo Birth Cohort Study. The study has found high levels of uranium in some young people (Ciondy Yurth. "Birth Cohort Study to continue, expand with new grant: study finds high uranium levels in some kids," Navajo Times, January 11, 2018).

        Milk in the Ukraine, far from the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, is still tainted by radioactivity, more than three decades after the nuclear meltdown at the atomic power plant (Richard Perez-Pena, "Chernobyl Disaster Is Still Tainting Milk in the Ukraine," The New York Times, June 9, 2018).

        Sydney Greene, "Large portions of West Texas sinking at alarming rate, new report finds," The Texas Tribune (Facebook @TexasTribune, Twitter @TexasTribune, Instagram @Texas_Tribune), March 22, 2018, https://www.texastribune.org/content/republish/119760/, reported, " Nearly two years after a pair of giant West Texas sinkholes gained national attention, new research in the area shows they likely won't be the last in the region.
        A report released Thursday by geophysicists at Southern Methodist University says a 4,000-square-mile area near the 'Wink Sinks' is showing signs of alarming instability.
        'The ground movement we’re seeing is not normal. The ground doesn’t typically do this without some cause,' SMU geophysicist Zhong Lu said in a statement.
        The Wink Sinks — two gaping sinkholes that sit between the small towns of Wink and Kermit atop the largely tapped out Hendrick oilfield — gained national attention in 2016 after a study revealed they were at risk of collapsing into each other as they grew and the land around them sank.
        But the new report says the damage could be much more widespread. Over almost three years, researchers tracking geological activity over four oil patch counties in the Permian Basin found that decades of oil activity and its effects on rocks below the earth's surface has contributed to the area’s ground sinking and uplifting — including one area where the ground sank almost 40 inches.
        The report warns that the area of instability could be larger than the surveyed land — and that the entire region is vulnerable to human activity because of its geology.
        'This region of Texas has been punctured like a pincushion with oil wells and injection wells since the 1940s, and our findings associate that activity with ground movement,' study co-author Jin-Woo Kim said in a statement.
        A previous SMU report focused on the Wink Sinks, warning that they were continuing to grow while the land around them was sinking. Kim said Texans in the area should pay special attention to roads, like FM 1053 near Imperial, that are experiencing rapid sinking.
        'When residents take the roads, they may need to be alerted. Also, the rapid subsidence will not be stopped in a few years, creating cracks and potholes," Kim told The Texas Tribune. "Therefore, Texas [Department of Transportation] may need to suspend the use of the roads, or if needed, they have to consider relocating them.'
        The Texas Department of Transportation could not be reached for comment as of Thursday afternoon."

        Vinod Sreeharsha And Clifford Krauss, "Brazilian Auction Draws Oil Companies Back to Offshore Drilling," The New York Times, March 29, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/29/business/brazilian-auction-draws-oil-companies-back-to-offshore-drilling.html, reported, "Exxon Mobil and other oil companies opened their wallets at an offshore oil auction in Brazil on Thursday in a sign that the industry was stepping back into the deepwater drilling business."

        Ailene Rogers, "How is education throughout the U.S. dealing with climate change?" The New York Times, February 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters/2018/02/21/climate-change?nlid=52235981, reported, "While scientists overwhelmingly agree that human activity is the primary driver of global warming, climate change is presented as a controversial subject in a significant number of American classrooms, according to research from the National Center for Science Education, which monitors anti-science teaching.
        In a 2016 study that surveyed 1,500 public middle and high-school science teachers, roughly 75 percent said they devoted at least one class session to climate change. But of those teachers, around 30 percent taught their students that scientists are split on whether recent climate change is the result of human activities, and 10 percent emphasized the views of scientists who think that it is not."

        Clifford Krauss, "Exxon Mobil Tripling Its Bet on the Hottest U.S. Shale Field," The New York Times, January. 30, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/30/business/energy-environment/exxon-shale.html, reported, "Exxon Mobil announced on Tuesday that it would triple its oil and gas production in the nation’s hottest shale field by 2025 in the newest sign that the boom in national crude production is gaining momentum.
        The company cited the recent reduction in the corporate tax rate as one reason for its increased interest in investing more in the Permian Basin, which straddles West Texas and New Mexico. It is also a logical sequel to its acquisition of 275,000 acres of Permian fields in New Mexico from the Bass family of Fort Worth last year for up to $6.6 billion in stock and cash."
        A major reason for the increase in U.S. oil and gas drilling is the rise in oil prices.
        The rise in oil prices has made oil drilling, almost entirely via fracking, viable again in the United States. In many areas where extensive fracking was cut back or ceased when oil prices dropped, a drilling boom has begun again. This, again, has brought to the fore conflicts over fracking as to whether it should take place; if it is to take place where is it O.K. to do so; and if at all, how - with what regulations - is to O.K. for fracking to proceed. The issue of where fracking is, and is not O.K., has been particularly contentious in Weld County, Colorado, north of Denver. There, rapid population growth is in progress as fracking greatly increases, with a 70% increase in drilling applications in the last year.
        "In Weld County — the center of the state’s oil and gas activity and home to more than 23,000 active wells — that tension has converged at a school called Bella Romero Academy. Just behind the school, workers are laying the foundation for a 24-well project that will pull oil and gas from the earth as students race across the playground.
        The project has the support of state regulators and the county commission. But it is opposed by the school board, the superintendent and many parents, some of whom say they support fossil fuel development but are alarmed by such a large operation so close to their school."

         Andy Stiny, "Judge pulls plug on N.M. area fracking — for now, Santa Fe New Mexican, Jun e14, 2018, http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/judge-pulls-plug-on-n-m-area-fracking-for-now/article_9f10b10f-3aff-550f-a95e-ad8005e1534c.html, reported, "In a victory for conservation groups, a federal judge on Thursday rejected a government finding that no significant environmental impact would occur if hydraulic fracturing were used in drilling for oil or gas on 13 leased parcels in the Four Corners area.
        The U.S. Bureau of Land Management proposed hydraulic fracturing and approved the lease sale in October 2015.
        But Senior U.S. District Court Judge M. Christina Armijo set aside the leases on about 20,000 acres and sent the issue back to the BLM 'for further analysis and action.'”

        Deb Haaland, "Trump’s Solar Panel Tariff Will Cost 23,000 Us Jobs," Newsweek, January 31, 2018, reported in a forwarded E-mail, "President Donald Trump just slapped a whopping 30 percent tariff on solar panel imports." This will hurt the solar industry, and as a result the economy, likely costing 30,000 jobs and stopping the growth of an expanding industry."

        Harvey Wasserman, "Trump’s Assault on Solar Masks an Epic Crisis in the Nuclear Industry," The Progressive, January 25, 2018, http://progressive.org/dispatches/trumps-assault-on-solar-masks-an-epic-crisis-in-nuclear-180125/, reported, "As Donald Trump launches his latest assault on renewable energy—imposing a 30 percent tariff on solar panels imported from China—a major crisis in the nuclear power industry is threatening to shut four high-profile reactors, with more shutdowns to come. These closures could pave the way for thousands of new jobs in wind and solar, offsetting at least some of the losses from Trump’s attack."

        New Energy Economy wrote in an April 19 E-mail, "we solarized the Hahn community center at Pueblo de Cochiti."

        Nathanael Johnson, "California is turning farms into carbon-sucking factories," Grist50, May 11, 2018 , https://grist.org/article/california-is-turning-farms-into-carbon-sucking-factories/, reported, "In a grand experiment, California switched on a fleet of high-tech greenhouse gas removal machines last month. Funded by the state’s cap-and-trade program, they’re designed to reverse climate change by sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. These wonderfully complex machines are more high-tech than anything humans have designed. They’re called plants.
        Seriously, though: Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. They break open the tough CO2 molecule and use the carbon to build their leaves and roots. In the process, they deposit carbon into the ground. For years people have excitedly discussed the possibility of stashing carbon in the soil while growing food. Now, for the first time, California is using cap-and-trade money to pay farmers to do it on a large scale. It’s called the California Healthy Soils Initiative."
        The techniques being applied to about 50 farms in California are expected to pull about 1,088 tons of carbon a year out of the atmosphere, while increasing the water retention of the soil. In one case, the method involved planted clover to cover the ground between the trunks of almond trees in an orchard. There are numerous variations of combining plants, reminiscent of ancient American Indian farming, combining food plants in gardens that supplied both a variety of important foods while supporting the soil and the plants. California is the first state to officially apply this method on a substantial scale. Oklahoma, has been experimenting on a small scale, since 2001, with soil carbon agriculture.

        Lisa Friedman and Marina Affo and Derek Kravitz, "Brain drain at the EPA," New Mexico Poliical Report,  December 22, 2017, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/788280/brain-drain-at-the-epa/?mc_cid=12b6993b7b&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported, "More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since President Donald Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration.
        Of the employees who have quit, retired or taken a buyout package since the beginning of the year, more than 200 are scientists. An additional 96 are environmental protection specialists, a broad category that includes scientists as well as others experienced in investigating and analyzing pollution levels. Nine department directors have departed the agency as well as dozens of attorneys and program managers. Most of the employees who have left are not being replaced.
        The departures reflect poor morale and a sense of grievance at the agency, which has been criticized by Trump and top Republicans in Congress as bloated and guilty of regulatory overreach. That unease is likely to deepen following revelations that Republican campaign operatives were using the Freedom of Information Act to request copies of emails from EPA officials suspected of opposing Trump and his agenda"

        In Germany renewable electricity is now so developed that at times of low electricity use consumers are paid to use electric power (Stanley Reed, "Power Prices Go Negative in Germany, a Positive for Consumers," The New York Times, December 26, 2017).

        Over the past decade, Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily in solar energy (Stanley Reed, "From Black Gold to Golden Rays," The New York Times, February 6, 2018).

        The use of solar power to generate electricity around the world by 12% in 2017 (Somini Semgupta, "Use of Solar Power Grew, But only 12% Globally," The New York Times, April 6, 2018).

        Marshall Burke, W. Matthew Davis & Noah S. Diffenbaugh, "Large potential reduction in economic damages under UN mitigation targets," Nature, volume 557, pages 549–553 (2018), doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0071-9, 23 May 2018:
        Abstract
        International climate change agreements typically specify global warming thresholds as policy targets1, but the relative economic benefits of achieving these temperature targets remain poorly understood2,3. Uncertainties include the spatial pattern of temperature change, how global and regional economic output will respond to these changes in temperature, and the willingness of societies to trade present for future consumption. Here we combine historical evidence4 with national-level climate5 and socioeconomic6 projections to quantify the economic damages associated with the United Nations (UN) targets of 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming, and those associated with current UN national-level mitigation commitments (which together approach 3 °C warming7). We find that by the end of this century, there is a more than 75% chance that limiting warming to 1.5 °C would reduce economic damages relative to 2 °C, and a more than 60% chance that the accumulated global benefits will exceed US$20 trillion under a 3% discount rate (2010 US dollars). We also estimate that 71% of countries—representing 90% of the global population—have a more than 75% chance of experiencing reduced economic damages at 1.5 °C, with poorer countries benefiting most. Our results could understate the benefits of limiting warming to 1.5 °C if unprecedented extreme outcomes, such as large-scale sea level rise, occur for warming of 2 °C but not for warming of 1.5 °C. Inclusion of other unquantified sources of uncertainty, such as uncertainty in secular growth rates beyond that contained in existing socioeconomic scenarios, could also result in less precise impact estimates. We find considerably greater reductions in global economic output beyond 2 °C. Relative to a world that did not warm beyond 2000–2010 levels, we project 15%–25% reductions in per capita output by 2100 for the 2.5–3 °C of global warming implied by current national commitments7, and reductions of more than 30% for 4 °C warming. Our results therefore suggest that achieving the 1.5 °C target is likely to reduce aggregate damages and lessen global inequality, and that failing to meet the 2 °C target is likely to increase economic damages substantially."

        Jessica Corbett, "Harvard Study Puts Hurricane Deaths in Puerto Rico at Nearly 6,000 People—70 Times Official Count: Findings are 'confirmation of an American tragedy,' says Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.)," Common Dreams, May 29, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/29/harvard-study-puts-hurricane-deaths-puerto-rico-nearly-6000-people-70-times-official, reported, "A study published Tuesday in The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that nearly 6,000 people died in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, with a survey indicating the mortality rate is likely more than 70 times the highly contested official death toll of 64."

        Following unusually high, and in some cases record high, temperatures in the Northeastern United States in early winter, "Nor’easter Live Updates: At Least 5 Die as Storm Topples Trees and Strands Travelers," The New York Times, February 3, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/02/us/bomb-cyclone-noreaster.html, reported, "A fierce nor’easter battered the Atlantic Coast on Friday, toppling power lines, stranding thousands of travelers, inundating coastal roads and homes with churning seawater and killing at least five people.
        The storm’s effects were felt as far south as Georgia and as far north as Maine. In Rhode Island, the winds were so severe that officials shut down the Newport Bridge. In New York City, most flights were grounded for a time on Friday afternoon. And in the Washington suburbs, downed trees were strewn across the streets.
        More than 3,000 flights were canceled and more than 3,500 others delayed across the country on Friday, according to FlightAware, many at coastal airports in the storm’s path. Amtrak suspended service along its Northeast Corridor, and more than two million people lost electricity. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service said coastal flooding had damaged homes, closed roads and sent at least one car floating down a street, warning that more water-related destruction could be forthcoming."
        Radio weather reports told of a third major storm dumping deep snow from northern New England to southern Appalachia, disrupting transportation, including thousands of flights, and reducing human activity, on March 21, the first day of spring in 2018.

        Radio reports, June 30, 2018, indicated that much of the United States was under a heat bubble, expected to bring near record, and record temperatures for the day, in numerous municipalities across a wide area.

        A disaster was declared, in December 2017, at Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico to help with repairs from serious flooding tht occurred from an unusually heavy October 4-6 storm ("Disaster declared due to Oct. storm at Acoma," Navajo Times, January 4, 2018).

        In Colorado, the Southern Ute Tribe Wildlife Division reported, in February, that unusually warm weather and shortage of snow changed migration patterns, bringing few elk onto the reservation this past winter (Jeremy Wade Shockley, Migration patterns shift due to unseasonable warm weather, lack of snow," Southern Ute Drum, February 2, 2018).

        The heaviest rains in a year in southern California brought deadly and damaging mudslides in areas burned by wildfires, killing a least 13 people while destroying some homes and other structures (Jennifer Medina, Thomas Fuller and Tim Arango, "Mudslides Strike Southern California, Leaving at Least 13 Dead," The New York Times, January 9, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/09/us/california-mudslides.html).
        A heat wave across the Southwest in mid-June 2016, brought record 120 degree Fahrenheit temperature to Phenix, AZ, June 19 (Acuweather.com, http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/phoenix-az/85004/weather-forecast/346935).

        Montana suffered from unusually heavy storms at the beginning of March 2018. Vincent Schilling, "Donations Needed For Montana Communities Suffering From Severe Winter Weather, ICTMN, March 7, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/donations-needed-for-montana-communities-suffering-from-severe-winter-weather-GyJpSsphk0qQynH79vbm6A/, reported, "Montana Governor Bullock has declared a winter storm emergency for communities including Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne reservations.
        Governor Steve Bullock today encouraged Montanans across the state to assist Montanans in need suffering from the impacts of severe winter weather across the state. Governor Bullock Tuesday declared a winter storm emergency in Northwestern and Southeastern Montana, including on the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne reservations and in Glacier and Golden Valley Counties."

        John Schwartz, "Canada’s Outdoor Rinks Are Melting. So Is a Way of Life," The New York Times, March 20, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/climate/canada-outdoor-rinks.html, reported,         "A rink like the Williamses’ used to offer good skating in this part of Canada from early December into March. But on this late February afternoon, the temperature outside was 55 degrees and rain had fallen steadily all day. The week before, two feet of snow — mostly gone now, with leftover mounds seeping foggy wisps into the saturated air — blanketed the ground."
        "But Mr. Williams is finding it hard to maintain the ice in a warming world. “There’s a huge difference between when I grew up and was skating outside, and the last five years of skating out here,” he said. “Will my kids, my grandkids, be able to play in an outdoor rink? Probably not. It might be a dying tradition.”
        That day last month happened to be the warmest Feb. 20 in recorded history for Waterloo. The previous record was set in 2016, noted Robert McLeman, an environmental scientist at Wilfrid Laurier University here."

        Elian Peltier and Eloise Stark, "Floods Leave Paris Contemplating a Wetter Future,” The New York Times, January 26, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/26/world/europe/france-paris-floods.html, reported, "Must France simply get used to flooding?
        The Seine River overflowed its banks again in Paris and several nearby cities this week, a mere 18 months after reaching its highest level since 1982.
        Thirteen of France’s 96 administrative departments had flood alerts as of Friday, in what the monitoring body Météo-France says is the country’s wettest winter since 1959.
        Some experts suggest climate change is likely to make such events more frequent. And an international body chose this week to publish a study arguing that Paris and the rest of the Seine basin needed greater protection against the risk of a catastrophic flood."

         A powerful storm struck western Europe with wind, rain and snow, killing at least 7 people in Germany, Holland and Belgium, in mid-January (Mike Corder, "Gale lashes region, 7 die amid traffic chaos," San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2018).

        Ceylan Yeginsu, "Heaviest Snow in Decades Batters U.K., Ireland and the Continent," The New York Times, March 1, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/01/world/europe/uk-weather-warning.html, reported, "Mediterranean beaches blanketed in white. Blizzards and 'life threatening' conditions in normally snowless areas of Britain, where there is also a developing natural gas shortage. Motorists stranded overnight on a highway in Scotland.
        Since last Friday, Europe has been locked in a Siberian weather pattern that has pummeled the Continent with snow, freezing rain and brutal wind chills, paralyzing cities unaccustomed to more than a thin wet film of snow and killing dozens of people, mainly older and homeless people.
        The weather system that is being called the “Beast From the East” has hit Britain especially hard, with some areas buried in up to three feet of snow and pushing temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 Celsius).
        Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Europe Was Colder Than the North Pole This Week. How Could That Be?" The New York Times, March 1, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/01/climate/polar-vortex-europe-cold.html, reported, "Subfreezing temperatures have spread across much of Europe over the past week, stretching from Poland to Spain. Snow fell in Rome for the first time in six years. Norway recorded the lowest temperatures of the cold snap: minus 43 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 42 Celsius) in the southeast part of the country on Thursday.
        And on Friday, Britain and Ireland were buffeted by a storm that brought snow and high winds, along with cold that was expected to linger for days.
        If Europe feels like the Arctic right now, the Arctic itself is balmy by comparison. The North Pole is above the freezing mark in the dead of winter; there are no direct measurements there, but merging satellite data with other temperature data shows that temperatures soared this week to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). That is 50 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, and 78 degrees warmer than in parts of Norway.
        The Arctic warmth and the European cold snap have raised questions over whether the unusual weather occurrences are linked to each other, and if they are somehow related to climate change. Here are some answers."
        A major one is that with climate change, the low pressure over the Arctic that used to keep its cold in place most of the time, is now broken through, with cold running south, and warmer air moving in from the south.
        Ceylan Yeginsu, "‘I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’: Snow Brings Rural U.K. to a Halt," The New York Times, March 6, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/world/europe/uk-snow-pennines.html, reported, "After a week of blizzards, freezing rain and brutal wind — some of the worst winter weather Britain has seen in decades — the sun finally emerged in northern England on Monday, piercing the thick gray storm clouds and melting layers of ice that had sent cars spinning off roads and left towns and cities paralyzed for days.
        For most of England, the warmer conditions brought a thaw after a week of chaos, but for many in remote regions like some of the hills of the Pennines, the worst was far from over.
        The extreme winds and snows, created by the collision of two weather systems, Storm Emma and a blast of arctic Siberian air nicknamed the Beast from the East, left several rural communities stranded for days with limited food and fuel, prompting the military to drop emergency supplies by helicopter on Monday.
        Snowdrifts piled up to seven feet high in the northern Pennines, leaving some residents trapped in their homes for more than 48 hours before emergency services and volunteers were able to dig them out.
        Local farmers were hit especially hard, with several losing livestock because of the deep snows, freezing temperatures and wind gusts up to 105 m.p.h. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs was being called upon to release emergency funds to help defray the costs of disposing of hundreds and perhaps thousands of sheep carcasses, at a cost of about $25 to $30 per animal.
        Supermarkets ran out of milk, bread and fresh vegetables and some residents were cut off from urgent medical supplies."

        Unusually heavy snow and rain trapped 13,000 tourists in the Zermatt area of Switzerland, in early January (Palko Karsz, "13,000 Tourists Trapped at Resort in Swiss AlpsJanuary 11, 2018).

        Unusually heavy rain caused a dam to break in Nakuru County, Kenya, destroying several villages and killing at least 44 p4ople (Ruben Kyama and Richard Perez-Pena, "Villages Gone After Dam Fails in Kenya," The New York Times, May 11, 2018).

        Rising seas and more intense storms have been increasingly rapidly collapsing the shore in northern Senegal, devouring homes and other buildings (Aurelien Breeden, "'Wrath of Costal Erosion' Devours a Fishing Hub in Senegal," The New York Times, May 24, 2018).

        Iran has been suffering a serious, and unusual, drought this winter, bringing the levels of reservoirs supplying Tehran water very low, while usually snow covered mountains were bare. In late January a major blizzard brought much Iran relief, but it is likely to be only temporary (Thomas Erdbrink, "Iranians Prayed for Rain, but Were Covered in Snow," The New York Times, January 28, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/28/world/middleeast/iran-tehran-snow-drought.html).

         Mujib Mashal, "Drought Adds to Woes of Afghanistan, in Grips of a Raging War," The New York Times, May 27, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/27/world/asia/afghanistan-drought-war.html, reported, "Afghanistan, already torn by decades of intensifying violence, is grappling with a drought in two-thirds of the country that could lead to severe food shortages for up to two million more people, the United Nations has warned.
        The United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan said in a report released last week that a 'precipitation deficit' of 70 percent in most parts of the country had affected winter harvests, and resulted in grim prospects for the spring and summer.
        Many farmers have seen their seeds dry out or have delayed planting crops, and there is little or no feed for livestock on pasturelands."
        The drought has led to the displacement of thousands of people this spring, adding to the nearly two million who have been forced from their homes in recent years, largely because of violence."

        Tropical storm Tmin killed at least 103 people on the Philippine island of Mindanao, as its heavy rains brought mud slides and major flooding. 20,000 people were forced from their homes when the Cagayan de Oro River overflowed its banks, in late December 2017 (Felipe Vilamor, "Tropical Storm Kills Over 100 in Philippines," The New York Times, December 24, 2017).

Michael Coleman "Zinke Cancels Chaco Canyon lease sale," Albuquerque Journal, March 1st, 2018, https://www.abqjournal.com/1140105/zinke-cancels-chaco-canyon-lease-sale.html, "U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has canceled an oil and gas lease sale near Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico until the agency can further review the impact on cultural artifacts in the area.
        The sale was set for March 8."

        Earth Justice, "Hawai‘i Legislature Approves First-Of-Its-Kind Chlorpyrifos State Ban: Governor Could Sign Bill Into Law In The Coming Days," May 2, 2018, https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2018/hawaii-legislature-approves-first-of-its-kind-chlorpyrifos-ban, reported, "Today, Hawaiʻi’s legislature approved a state ban on chlorpyrifos, a highly dangerous restricted use pesticide (RUP) widely used in industrial farming.
        Besides phasing out all chlorpyrifos uses by 2023, this comprehensive bill puts in place robust pesticide reporting, prohibits the use of the most toxic pesticides within 100 feet of schools during normal school hours, requires a pesticide drift monitoring pilot study, and beefs up funding for the state’s pesticide enforcement. Governor David Ige could sign the bill into law in the coming days.
        Chlorpyrifos has been linked to reduced IQ and attention deficit disorder in children, and is highly toxic to farmworkers, some of whom have been poisoned by it on multiple occasions on Hawaiʻi farms in recent years. Last year, the EPA refused to ban chlorpyrifos, claiming the science is 'unresolved' and decided it would study the issue until 2022."

        Jim Robbins, "Gray Ghosts, the Last Caribou in the Lower 48 States, Are ‘Functionally Extinct’," The New York Times,   April 14, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/14/science/gray-ghost-caribou-extinct.html, reported, "The battle to save the so-called gray ghosts — the only herd of caribou in the lower 48 states — has been lost.
        A recent aerial survey shows that this international herd of southern mountain caribou, which spends part of its year in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and Washington near the Canadian border, has dwindled to just three animals and should be considered 'functionally extinct,' experts say."

        A study by researchers at Dartmouth College and University of Wisconsin, Madison, has found that reservation forests in Wisconsin are generally have older trees, are more biologically diverse, and are more sustainable than surrounding national and state forests ("Wisconsin tribal forests more diverse and sustainable," NFIC, May 2018).

        Brazil's relaxed environmental regulation enforcement has been a major factor in the huge expanse of the countries cattle and soy industries into wetlands. Since 2002, 8700 miles of the Pantanal wetlands, the world's largest, in Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia have become dry, in many places with yellow arid land (Enesto Londono, "Brazil Wavers on Environment, and Wetlands Start to Wither," The New York Times, December 24, 2017).

        Laura Paskus, "When rivers, or at least their remnants, return," New Mexico Political Report, March 2, 2018, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/810233/when-rivers-or-at-least-their-remnants-return-en/?mc_cid=293785a9b3&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported from La Ciénega de Santa Clara, Mexico, "Alejandra Calvo crosses a barren stretch of desert in Sonora, México almost daily during certain times of the year. The route could easily disappear beneath blowing dust and when rain does fall here, it renders the road impassable. There are no birds or wildlife here, not even any visible plants.
        It wasn’t always like this: Until the 1960s, the Colorado River spread across this delta on its path to the Sea of Cortez.

        Hiroko Tabuchi, Nadja Popovich, Blacki Migliozzi And Andrew W. Lehren, "Mixing Water and Poison," The New York Times, February 6, 2018, https://www.wral.com/mixing-water-and-poison/17318447/, reported, "Anchored in flood-prone areas in every U.S. state are more than 2,500 sites that handle toxic chemicals, a New York Times analysis of federal floodplain and industrial data shows. About 1,400 are in areas at highest risk of flooding.
        As flood danger grows — the consequence of a warming climate — the risk is that there will be more toxic spills like the one that struck Baytown, Texas, where Hurricane Harvey swamped a chemicals plant, releasing lye. Or like the ones at a Florida fertilizer plant that leaked phosphoric acid and an Ohio refinery that released benzene.
        Flooding nationwide is likely to worsen because of climate change, an exhaustive scientific report by the federal government warned last year. Heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency.
        At the same time, rising sea levels combined with more frequent and extensive flooding from coastal storms like hurricanes may increase the risk to chemical facilities near waterways.
        The Times analysis looked at sites listed in the federal Toxic Release Inventory, which covers more than 21,600 facilities across the country that handle large amounts of toxic chemicals harmful to health or the environment.
        Of those sites, more than 1,400 were in locations the Federal Emergency Management Agency considers to have a high risk of flooding. An additional 1,100 sites were in areas of moderate risk. Other industrial complexes lie just outside these defined flood-risk zones, obscuring their vulnerability as flood patterns shift and expand."

         Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, "Here Are the Places That Struggle to Meet the Rules on Safe Drinking Water," The New York Times, February 12, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/climate/drinking-water-safety.html?em_pos=small&ref=headline&nl_art=0&te=1&nl=&emc=edit_clim_20180214, reported, "To ensure that tap water in the United States is safe to drink, the federal government has been steadily tightening the health standards for the nation’s water supplies for decades. But over and over again, local water systems around the country have failed to meet these requirements.
        In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that, since 1982, between 3 and 10 percent of the country’s water systems have been in violation of federal Safe Drinking Water Act health standards each year. In 2015 alone, as many as 21 million Americans may have been exposed to unsafe drinking water.
        Struggling to Meet New Water Quality Standards
        Some rural water systems, especially in Texas and Oklahoma, have had many violations as new rules have gone into effect over the past decade.
Total violations per community water system, 2004-2015, Total violations per community
water system, 2004-2015
No data, 5, 10, 25, 50


        The problem is particularly severe in low-income rural areas, the study found. And the researchers identified several places, including Oklahoma and West Texas, that have repeatedly fallen short in complying with water safety rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency over the past decade."

        Jessica Corbett, "'This Is a Big Deal': Fearing 'Public Relations Nightmare,' Pruitt's EPA Blocked Release of a Major Water Contamination Study: Journalists, members of Congress, environmental and public health advocates, and water experts are all calling on the Trump administration to "immediately" release the report, Common Dreams, May 15, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/15/big-deal-fearing-public-relations-nightmare-pruitts-epa-blocked-release-major-water, reported, "Fearing a 'public relations nightmare,' President Donald Trump's White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the reign of administrator Scott Pruitt, blocked the release of a major water contamination story, according to emails obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists and reported on by Politico.
        News of the Trump administration's interference with a federal study on 'a nationwide water-contamination crisis' infuriated reporters, politicians, experts, and advocates for public health and the environment. Friends of the Earth tweeted, 'Scott Pruitt is more worried about journalists than poisoning millions of Americans.'
        'There's a lot of bleak news today, but this is important,' journalist Mariah Blake said Monday, pointing to the Politico report.
        The chemicals that were under review are PFOA and PFOS, which, as Politico notes, "have long been used in products like Teflon and firefighting foam"—as well as by the Department of Defense, when it conducts exercises at U.S. bases—despite the fact that they "have been linked with thyroid defects, problems in pregnancy, and certain cancers, even at low levels of exposure."
        The study, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), reportedly shows that these chemicals are dangerous to human health at far lower levels than previously known or diclosed by the EPA, and have 'contaminated water supplies near military bases, chemical plants, and other sites from New York to Michigan to West Virginia.'
        One email sent by a White House aide to a staffer who oversees environmental issues at the Office of Budget and Management said:
        'The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge. ...The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful. We (DoD and EPA) cannot seem to get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.'
        'Soon after the Trump White House raised concerns about the impending study,' Politico reports, 'EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson reached out to his HHS counterpart, as well as senior officials in charge of the agency overseeing the assessment to discuss coordinating work among HHS, EPA, and the Pentagon.' However, according to HHS, there are no plans to publicly release the study.
        'Only Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration would consider reducing drinking water contamination for the American people to be a 'nightmare,'' remarked Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group.
        'This is a big deal,' oceanographer Jamie Collins said of the study and efforts to block its release.
        Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who was raised in and now represents Flint, Michigan—which has been poisoned by a water crisis created by state-mandated austerity measures—responded with a letter to Trump-appointed HHS Secretary Alex Azar, demanding that he 'immediately' release the study.
        In a series of tweets, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) also called on the Trump administration to release the study.
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        Jacey Fortin, "Michigan Will No Longer Provide Free Bottled Water to Flint," The New York Times, April 8, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/08/us/flint-water-bottles.html, reported, "Michigan will stop providing free bottled water to the city of Flint, Gov. Rick Snyder said on Friday.
        City officials criticized the decision, in part because Flint is still recovering from a crisis that left residents with dangerous levels of lead in their tap water beginning in 2014.
        But Michigan officials said lead levels in the water there have not exceeded federal limits for about two years, so the state was closing the four remaining distribution centers where residents have been picking up cases of free water since January 2016.
        'We have worked diligently to restore the water quality and the scientific data now proves the water system is stable and the need for bottled water has ended,' Mr. Snyder, a Republican, said in a statement on Friday."
        "'We did not cause the man-made water disaster, therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced,” she (the Flint mayor) said in a statement." There are still contaminated pipes in the water distribution system.

        In the drying Western United States water, increasingly, has been becoming an issue. Laura Paskus, "East Mountain water application spurs protests from residents, silence from State Engineer," New Mexico Political Report, March 26, 2018, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/817967/east-mountain-water-application-spurs-protests-from-residents-silence-from-state-engineer/?mc_cid=28fdd44a4e&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported, "The tony neighborhoods tucked into the juniper-dotted grasslands on the east side of the Sandia Mountains represent yet another battleground in New Mexico’s water wars, one in which the state’s top water official has abandoned one side for the other.
        Last week, testimony ended in a trial over whether a private company can pump more water—114 million gallons more each year—from the Sandia Basin.
        Nancy Benson and her husband live in San Pedro Creek Estates, where they built their retirement home in 2000 after living in Albuquerque. She is shocked the state would consider granting the application after rejecting it previously. 'This area is fully appropriated, there is nothing extra,' she said. 'The scale of this is just mind-bending.'
        Like other East Mountain residents who are protesting the application, she has firsthand knowledge of drying domestic wells. 'We assumed our builder knew what he was doing, so when we built the home we drilled [our well] to a little over 150 feet,' Benson said. 'In 2011, that well went dry.' They drilled a second well to 300 feet, she said, which cost them about $10,000.
        During the trial, she had a few minutes to address District Court Judge Shannon Bacon. 'The essence of my point was that she can’t protect us from climate change—nobody can—but we urged her to deny the Aquifer Science appeal to pump 312,000 gallons of water each day for thousands of new homes from this extremely fragile aquifer that just barely meets the needs of the existing homes,' Benson said. 'Many people who testified had already lost their wells to drought.'
        In Bernalillo County, hydrogeologist Philip Rust and his colleagues have found through the county’s water level monitoring project that, on average, water levels in the East Mountain area are dropping 1.8 feet per year. And many domestic wells are drying within the Sandia Basin, a 400-mile area that stretches from Placitas to Tijeras and Sandia Crest to Edgewood.
        It’s happening elsewhere, too. A peer-reviewed study published earlier this year of more than 2 million groundwater wells in 17 states, including New Mexico. The researchers found that one-in-30 wells no longer produce water, and they noticed two 'hot spots' for drying in New Mexico. One of those is the Estancia Basin just south of Moriarity.
        Conditions aren’t likely to improve in the short or long-term: Compared with last year’s relatively wet conditions, most of New Mexico is currently experiencing moderate to extreme drought, and as the region continues warming, there will be even more pressure on both rivers and aquifers."

        Mark Trahant, "MN Legislature, Supported By The Mining Industry Votes To Weaken Water Standards: Approval of measure would threaten wild rice," ICTMN, May 2, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/mn-legislature-supported-by-the-mining-industry-votes-to-weaken-water-standards-G38NBE4Cg0SmiQVRG7KGsA/, reported, "The Minnesota Legislature, supported by the mining industry, voted to weaken water standards for sulfates in areas where wild rice grows. Wild rice is the essential Ojibwe food. The Senate voted Monday to withdraw the water standards that have been in place for a decade by a vote of 38 to 28.
        The Associated Press reports that senators also voted to add $500,000 for restoration work to the bill, which passed the House 78-45 last week, so the legislation will have to go back to the House before it goes to Gov. Mark Dayton. The governor has not publicly said whether he’ll sign or veto the measure."
        "One problem is that the old water quality standard was not enforced. “Up until now, the standard has maintained that sulfate should not enter wild rice waters in higher quantities than 10 parts per million,” according to a blog post from Honor The Earth. 'The new proposed rule would make a different standard for every lake and wetland with wild rice – an unbelievably complicated and costly rule to implement.' That is the rule that the Senate proposed be withdrawn."
        However, Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill, leaving the wild rice protected under the previojus standards ("Dayton vetoes bill on wild rice water standards," NFIC, June 2018).
        Meanwhile, funded by the mining industry, an engineering project has developed floating bioreactors that remove sulfate put into the water from mining, which can bring the sulfate pollution to levels that are not harmful to wild rice. These bioreactors are a potential tool for wild rice protection, and from other harms from sulfide pollution ("Use of floating bioreactors proposed to save Minnesota wild rice," NFIC, June 2018).

        In Bokoshe, OK a pile of fly ash from coal powered electric production leaks significant amounts of toxic pollution into nearby lakes and tributaries of the Arkansas River ("When it Rains It Polluted," In These Times, June 2018).

        Laura Paskus, "Grim forecast for the Rio Grande has water managers, conservationists concerned," New Mexico Political Report, March 5, 2018, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/811259/grim-forecast-for-the-rio-grande-has-water-managers-conservationists-concerned-en/?mc_cid=aa580161b9&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported, "According to the National Water and Climate Center’s forecast for the Rio Grande Basin, the water supply outlook for spring and summer remains 'dire.' In his monthly email, forecast hydrologist Angus Goodbody noted that while storms did hit the mountains in February, particularly along the headwaters in Colorado, snowpack in some parts of the Sangre de Cristo’s continued to decline. That means the river and its tributaries will receive less runoff than normal this spring and summer—and many areas may reach or break historic low flows.
        Last week, a new study in the peer-reviewed journal, Nature, also heralded troubling news. According to the authors, more than 90 percent of snow monitoring sites in the western United States showed declines in snowpack—and 33 percent showed significant declines. The trend is visible during all months, states and climates, they write, but are largest in the spring and in the Pacific states and locations with mild winter climates. To drive home the numbers, they noted the decrease in springtime snow water equivalent—the amount of water in snow—when averaged across the entire western U.S. is 25 to 50 cubic kilometers, or about the volume of water Hoover Dam was built to hold in Lake Mead.
        Lake Mead in late February was at less than 40 percent capacity.
        And conditions on the Colorado River, which feeds Lake Mead, don’t look good this year.
        The March forecast for the Colorado River Basin remains 'well below average.' Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, has already dipped below 40 percent of capacity and its 'bathtub ring' is about 130 feet tall. As of Sunday, the lake’s water level was 1,088 feet above sea level. If it reaches 1,075 feet, that will trigger federal rules that cut the amount of water Nevada, Arizona and California can take.
        Meanwhile, water users in the three states, including cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the Central Arizona Project, irrigation districts in southern California and tribes, are all keeping a close eye on Lake Mead—and trying to work out a drought contingency plan to avoid those federally-mandated cuts if the reservoir keeps dropping."

        Laura Paskus, "It’s only April and a stretch of the Rio Grande has already dried," New Mexico Political Report, April 5, 2018, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/822352/its-only-april-and-a-stretch-of-the-rio-grande-has-already-dried-en/, reported, "In springtime, rivers are supposed to swell with snowmelt, filling their channels and triggering fish to spawn. This year, however, the Middle Rio Grande has already dried south of Socorro.
        Record-low snowpack in the mountains upstream means that the state’s largest river is in trouble this year. And so are the species and communities that depend on it.
        Earlier this week, biologists headed to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to start scooping up endangered fish from pools and puddles and relocating them to a stretch of the river that is still flowing."

        Laura Paskus, "‘Pray for rain, and bale your hay,’" New Mexico Political Report, June 14, 2018, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/846827/pray-for-rain-and-bale-your-hay-en/?mc_cid=0a5d894c08&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported, "The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) is curtailing water deliveries to some users and warning people of fire danger in the bosque.
        The Rio Grande has been running far below normal this spring due to drier-than-normal conditions in the mountains this winter. About 20 miles of the river are currently dry south of Albuquerque.
        This week, MRGCD told Water Bank participants they can no longer irrigate this spring.
        The MRGCD delivers water to about 10,000 irrigators across 70,000 acres between Cochiti dam and Elephant Butte Reservoir. Those irrigators own the water rights and it’s the district’s job to deliver the water through a system of canals and ditches."
        
        Shaleene B. Chavarria and David S. Gutzler, "Observed Changes in Climate and Streamflow in the Upper Rio Grande Basin," https://doi.org/10.1111/1752-1688.12640, Paper No. JAWRA‐17‐0108‐P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA), March 6, 2018, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1752-1688.12640,
        Abstract:
        Observed streamflow and climate data are used to test the hypothesis that climate change is already affecting Rio Grande streamflow volume derived from snowmelt runoff in ways consistent with model‐based projections of 21st‐Century streamflow. Annual and monthly changes in streamflow volume and surface climate variables on the Upper Rio Grande, near its headwaters in southern Colorado, are assessed for water years 1958–2015. Results indicate winter and spring season temperatures in the basin have increased significantly, April 1 snow water equivalent (SWE) has decreased by approximately 25%, and streamflow has declined slightly in the April–July snowmelt runoff season. Small increases in precipitation have reduced the impact of declining snowpack on trends in streamflow. Changes in the snowpack–runoff relationship are noticeable in hydrographs of mean monthly streamflow, but are most apparent in the changing ratios of precipitation (rain + snow, and SWE) to streamflow and in the declining fraction of runoff attributable to snowpack or winter precipitation. The observed changes provide observational confirmation for model projections of decreasing runoff attributable to snowpack, and demonstrate the decreasing utility of snowpack for predicting subsequent streamflow on a seasonal basis in the Upper Rio Grande Basin."
        The full paper is available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1752-1688.12640.

        Joe McCarthy, "The US Is Rapidly Running Out of Landfill Space: There are a few ways to avoid a catastrophe," Global Citizen, May 14, 2018, https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/us-landfills-are-filling-up/?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=US_May_16_2018_Mon_content_digest_actives_alive_180d, The US generates more than 258 million tons of municipal solid waste each year — that’s all the packaging, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, batteries, and everything else that gets thrown into garbage cans and hauled onto sidewalks for weekly pick-up.
        Around 34.6% of that waste gets recycled, some gets burned for energy, and the rest gets sent to landfills.
        Now it looks like the 2,000 active landfills in the US that hold the bulk of this trash are reaching their capacity, according to a new report by the Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Protocol (SWEEP).
        In fact, the US is on pace to run out of room in landfills within 18 years, potentially creating an environmental disaster, the report argues. The Northeast is running out of landfills the fastest, while Western states have the most remaining space, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the amount of solid waste being produced is rising. And a regulation recently adopted by China could bring about a landfill catastrophe even sooner.
        At the start of 2018, the Chinese government enacted a ban on the import of various kinds of low-grade plastics and other materials that are extremely hard to recycle.
        The US exports around one-sixth of its recyclable material to China, and now waste processors are scrambling to find alternative places to send it.
        This is already creating massive landfill pile-ups in parts of the country, according to The New York Times. With trash spilling out of warehouses and lots, the predicament offers a glimpse of what could happen on a larger scale over the next few decades."
        "There are a few things that could be done to prevent landfills from filling up.
Waste processors could begin burning more waste for energy, but the emissions and air pollution this would cause may be too great to justify.
        The US currently burns around 33 million tons of waste each year for energy, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
        Other countries invest heavily in burning trash. Sweden, for example, burns around half of of its solid waste and has developed ways to reduce emissions."

        Livia Albeck-Ripka, "Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not: Plastics and papers from dozens of American cities and towns are being dumped in landfills after China stopped recycling most 'foreign garbage,'” The New York Times, May 29, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/climate/recycling-landfills-plastic-papers.html, reported, "In recent months, in fact, thousands of tons of material left curbside for recycling in dozens of American cities and towns — including several in Oregon — have gone to landfills.
        In the past, the municipalities would have shipped much of their used paper, plastics and other scrap materials to China for processing. But as part of a broad antipollution campaign, China announced last summer that it no longer wanted to import 'foreign garbage.' Since Jan. 1 it has banned imports of various types of plastic and paper, and tightened standards for materials it does accept.
        While some waste managers already send their recyclable materials to be processed domestically, or are shipping more to other countries, others have been unable to find a substitute for the Chinese market."

        New Delhi, and several other major cities in India, have a very serious garbage problem. The huge amounts of garbage produced by their populations have been dumped in mountainous piles outside the cities, causing serious air and water pollution, spreading tuberculosis and dengue fever, and in one case bringing about two deaths in a garbage avalanche. Outside of New Delhi, four official dump sites have accumulated some 80 billion pounds of trash ("‘The Dump Killed My Son’: Mountains of Garbage Engulf India’s Capital'" The New York Times, June 10, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/10/world/asia/india-delhi-garbage.html).

        Jessica Corbett, "As Planet Chokes on Plastic Waste, UN Report Offers Roadmap to Tackle Global Crisis: The anaylsis comes amid warnings that plastic pollution has become "one of our planet's greatest environmental challenges," Common Dreams, June 05, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/06/05/planet-chokes-plastic-waste-un-report-offers-roadmap-tackle-global-crisis, reported, "In what's being called 'hope for a better planet on #WorldEnvironmentDay,' a United Nations report published Tuesday found 'surging momentum in global efforts' to eradicate single-use plastics while also warning that poor enforcement is hindering regulations and bans worldwide.
        'Single-Use Plastics: A Roadmap to Sustainability' (pdf: https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25496/singleUsePlastic_sustainability.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y) details 'what has worked well, what hasn't, and why' in terms of regulating plastic. The report was released by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as part of a global effort on Tuesday to raise awareness about initiatives to #BeatPlasticPollution.?
        Plastic pollution has become 'one of our planet's greatest environmental challenges,' Erik Solheim, head of UNEP, wrote in the introduction of the report, the first comprehensive review of efforts in more than 60 countries to address the crisis.
        'Our oceans have been used as a dumping ground, choking marine life and transforming some marine areas into a plastic soup,' Solheim continued, detailing the scope of the issue. 'In cities around the world, plastic waste clogsdrains, causing floods and breeding disease. Consumed by livestock, it also finds its way into the food chain.'
        Just last week, a pilot whale died just off the coast of Thailand. 'A necropsy revealed that more than 17 pounds of plastic had clogged up the whale's stomach, making it impossible for it to ingest nutritional food. This waste was in the form of 80 shopping bags and other plastic debris,' reported National Geographic.
        'Governments need to improve waste management practices and introduce financial incentives to change the habits of consumers, retailers, and manufacturers, enacting strong policies that push for a more circular model of design and production of plastics,' the report states. 'They must finance more research and development of alternative materials, raise awareness among consumers, fund innovation, ensure plastic products are properly labeled, and carefully weigh possible solutions to the current crisis.'
        U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres issued a call to action on Tuesday, noting that 'microplastics in the seas now outnumber stars in our galaxy,' and warning that 'if present trends continue, by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish.'
        Pointing to the example that 'plastic bag bans, if properly planned and enforced, can effectively counter one of the causes of plastic overuse,' the report features a 10-step roadmap for governments to improve current measures and implement new ones:
        1. Target the most problematic single-use plastics by conducting a baseline assessment to identify the most problematic single-use plastics, as well as the current causes, extent and impacts of their mismanagement.
        2. Consider the best actions to tackle the problem (e.g. through regulatory, economic, awareness, voluntary actions), given the country's socio-economic standing and considering their appropriateness in addressing the specific problems identified.
        3. Assess the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts (positive and negative) of the preferred short-listed instruments/actions. How will the poor be affected? What impact will the preferred course of action have on different sectors and industries?
        4.Identify and engage key stakeholder groups—retailers, consumers, industry representatives, local government, manufacturers, civil society, environmental groups, tourism associations—to ensure broad buy-in. Evidence-based studies are also necessary to defeat opposition from the plastics industry.
        5. Raise public awareness about the harm caused by single-usedplastics. Clearly explain the decision and any punitive measuresthat will follow.
        6. Promote alternatives. Before the ban or levy comes into force,assess the availability of alternatives. Ensure that the pre-conditions for their uptake in the market are in place. Provide economic incentives to encourage the uptake of eco-friendlyand fit-for-purpose alternatives that do not cause more harm.Support can include tax rebates, research and development funds, technology incubation, public-private partnerships, and support to projects that recycle single-use items and turn waste into a resource that can be used again. Reduce or abolish taxes on the import of materials used to make alternatives.
        7. Provide incentives to industry by introducing tax rebates or other conditions to support its transition. Governments will face resistance from the plastics industry, including importers and distributors of plastic packaging. Give them time to adapt.
        8. Use revenues collected from taxes or levies on single-use plastics to maximize the public good. Support environmental projectsor boost local recycling with the funds. Create jobs in the plasticrecycling sector with seed funding.
        9. Enforce the measure chosen effectively, by making sure that there is clear allocation of roles and responsibilities.
        10 .Monitor and adjust the chosen measure if necessary and update the public on progress.
        The U.N. report was developed in cooperation with the Indian government and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. It was unveiled in New Delhi by Solheim and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alongside an announcement by the Indian government that the nation will work to completely eliminate single-use plastic by 2022.
        It also comes as the European Union is considering a ban on 10 single-use plastics that, in addition to fishing gear, account for about 70 percent of marine pollution across Europe. Although campaigners welcomed the proposal as a step in the right direction, they maintain that it does not go far enough to address the issue.
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        Kirk Semple, "‘A Bomb on the Doorstep’: Venezuela Fishermen Fight an Oil Giant," The New York Times, February 25, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/25/world/americas/venezuela-fishermen-pdvsa.html, reported, "At his toes was Amuay Bay, and the life-giving fish stock it supported: That’s what he was fighting for. Way over on the opposite shore, beyond the wind-kicked whitecaps, sat his adversary: the hulking, state-run oil plant and its failing machinery."
        “For generations, Amuay’s fisherman have pulled snapper, mackerel, sardines, clams and crabs from these waters to feed their families and sell to wholesalers who cart the catch to markets and restaurants elsewhere.
        But the plant, part of the largest refinery complex in Venezuela, has from time to time spewed contaminants into the bay and the adjoining Caribbean Sea, threatening the livelihood of families living in this poor fishing village of several thousand on the country’s northwest coast.
        With each spill — scores of them over the past three decades, residents say — fishermen have been forced to suspend their work as plumes of contaminants turned the water’s surface into a shimmering toxic kaleidoscope, poisoned fish and waterfowl, killed mangroves and soiled the town’s beaches."

        There is now some 87,000 tons of plastic in the Pacific Ocean, between California and Hawai'i, much of it in a huge swirl. As the plastic breaks up into small pieces, much of it is eaten by fish, and is likely to work its way up the food chain to human beings (Livia Albeck-Ripka, "87,000 Tons of Plastic and Counting in the Pacific," The New York Times, March 23, 2017).

        Oceana reported in an E-mail, May 23, 2018, "Critically endangered North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble. Federal officials are poised to grant a record number of offshore oil and gas drilling leases in the next year and could green-light seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean any day now. The Trump Administration’s actions could seal these whales’ fate once and for all.
          Their existence is hanging by a thread. No calves are known to have been born during this year’s calving season, and in the past year, 18 whales have been found dead – the most since scientists started reporting on mortality rates. Only about 100 breeding females remain alive."

        Milan Schreuer "E.U. Proposes Ban on Some Plastic Items to Reduce Marine Pollution," The New York Times, May 28, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/world/europe/european-union-plastics-pollution.html, reported, "The European Commission on Monday proposed an ambitious set of measures to clean up Europe’s beaches and rid its seas and waterways of disposable plastics, and urged the European Union to lead the way in reducing marine litter worldwide.
        The measures, which will need to be approved by the European Union’s 28 member states, would reduce or alter the consumption and production of the top 10 plastic items most commonly found on beaches, including straws, cotton swabs, disposable cutlery and fishing gear."

        A study published in February found that the petroleum based chemicals used in many perfumes and deodorants when taken together can cause as much toxic air pollution in an area as exhaust from motor vehicles (Kendra Pierre-Louis and Hirokp Tabuchi, "Want to Save the Planet? Try Using Less Deodorant," The New York Times, February 17, 2018).

        Jessica Corbett, "In 'Huge Win for Pollinators, People, and the Planet,' EU Bans Bee-Killing Pesticides: 'Authorizing neonicotinoids during a quarter of a century was a mistake and led to an environmental disaster. Today's vote is historic,'" Common Dreams, April 27, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/27/huge-win-pollinators-people-and-planet-eu-bans-bee-killing-pesticides, reported, "Faced with mounting scientific evidence that bee-poisoning neonicotinoids, or neonics, could cause an 'ecological armageddon,' European regulators on Friday approved a 'groundbreaking' and 'historic' ban on the widely-used class of pesticides—an announcement met with immediate applause by campaigners."

        Snakes in the United States have been struck, at least since 2006, with a sometimes deadly fungus disease (Games Gorman, "A Spreading Fungus Can Be Deadly to Snakes," The New York Times, December 26, 2017).

        Jessica Corbett, "In Decline 'Invariably of Humanity's Making,' 1 in 8 of World's Bird Species Threatened by Extinction: Emphasizing concerns about the man-made climate crisis, experts note that "while the report focuses on birds, its conclusions are relevant to biodiversity more generally," Common Dreams, April 23, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/23/decline-invariably-humanitys-making-1-8-worlds-bird-species-threatened-extinction, reported "The world's 11,000 bird species are in the midst of a major biodiversity crisis—with one in eight threatened by extinction—because of human activity, according to a five-year study published Monday.
        State of the World's Birds (pdf) [https://www.birdlife.org/sites/default/files/attachments/BL_ReportENG_V11_spreads.pdf], conducted by the U.K.-based charity BirdLife, found that 40 percent of bird species populations worldwide are in decline due to various man-made threats.
        'Agricultural expansion, logging, overexploitation, urbanization, pollution, disturbance, and the effects of invasive alien species are all driving bird declines and diminishing the natural world,' the report details. "Longer term, human-induced climate change may prove to be the most serious threat of all."
        Although the study focused solely on the state of bird species, as BirdLife International CEO Patricia Zurita explained in the introduction, the findings have broader implications.
        'Birds are more popular and better studied than any other comparable group and are consequently an excellent means through which to take the pulse of the planet,' Zurita wrote. 'So, while the report focuses on birds, its conclusions are relevant to biodiversity more generally.'
        Experts estimate that global warming—driven largely by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels—is currently affecting 33 percent of world's threatened bird species.
        That number is expected to rise as a growing number of species struggle to adapt to warming temperatures, which are disruptive to migratory and breeding patterns and well as predator-prey relationships. The consequences of these disruptions could travel all the way up the food chain, as detailed in another study published this month.
        While the climate crisis is identified as the most serious long-term threat, currently, the greatest threat to birds is unsustainable agricultural practices.
        In recent centuries, there has been a surge in demand for tropically grown products such as coffee, cocoa, sugar, palm oil, and soya, which has contributed to a dramatic expansion of farming. The report claims that 'the area of Earth's land surface given over to agriculture has increased more than sixfold over the past 300 years.'
        Noting that researchers estimated 74 percent of the 1,469 threatened species are impacted by agriculture, the Guardian charted the number of species at risk by threat:
threats to birds
        A key element of the broader agricultural threat is the use of neonicotinoids, pesticides that are common in North America and Europe—despite mounting opposition. Experts are concerned not only how neonics, as they are called, impact seed-eating birds, but also how their buildup in soil and plants could have long-term and further-reaching consequences.
        'The data are unequivocal. We are undergoing a steady and continuing deterioration in the status of the world's birds,' concluded Tris Allinson, BirdLife's senior global science officer, and lead author of the report. "The threats driving the avian extinction crisis are many and varied, but invariably of humanity's making."
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        Migrating shore birds are in serious decline, around the world. There are several causes, climate change, coastal development, destruction of wetlands, and hunting. Several species in particular have suffered major decline since 1974. Pectoral sandpipers have lost 50% of their population. Hudsonian Godwits have lost 70% of their numbers. The 19 North American migratory shore bird populations as a group have declined by 40%. Extinctions are quite possible (John W. Fitzpatrick and Nathan R. Senner, "The Globe's Greatest Travelers Are Dying," The New York Times, April 29, 2018).

        "Department of the Interior Guts Enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act," Audubon Society, January 12, 2017, http://www.audubon.org/news/department-interior-guts-enforcement-migratory-bird-treaty-act?ms=policy-adv-email-ea-x-20180112_advisory, "In December, the Department of the Interior released an interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that eliminates its ability to hold industries accountable for bird deaths. Reversing decades of practice by administrations under both political parties, this legal opinion drastically limits the law and puts hundreds of species of birds at greater risk."

        Warming waters off the Maine coast have caused shrimp to move north, greatly reducing shrimp fishing in the state and threatening to end it (Mary Pols, "The End of Maine Shrimp," The New York Times, December 27, 2017).

        Sea Turtles off Hawai'i have been shifting gender birth ratios over the last few decades as waters warm, from 87% female to 99% female (Karen Weintraub, "More Female Sea Turtles Born as Temperatures Rise," The New York Times, January 11, 2018).

        A fiery tanker collision and sinking in the south china sea, in January 2018, has caused a nearly invisible toxic chemical to spread across one of Asia's most important fishing ground, threatening fish from China to Japan and beyond (Steven Lee Myers and Javier C. Hernandez, "A Ghostly Spill Menaces Asia's Richest Fisheries," The New York Times, February 13, 2018).

        Jessica Corbett, "'Beyond Comprehension': In Just Two Years, Half of All Corals in 'Forever Damaged' Great Barrier Reef Have Died: Global warming, researchers warn, 'is rapidly emerging as a universal threat to ecological integrity and function,'" Common Dreams, April 19, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/19/beyond-comprehension-just-two-years-half-all-corals-forever-damaged-great-barrier, reported, "'Beyond comprehension: In the summer of 2015, more than 2 billion corals lived in the Great Barrier Reef. Half of them are now dead.'
—The Atlantic: Between March and November of 2016, a 'record-breaking' marine heatwave caused rampant coral bleaching around the globe, and the Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of northeastern Australia, lost nearly a third of its corals.
        When corals bleach from a heatwave, they can either survive and regain their color slowly as the temperature drops, or they can die,' explained Terry P. Hughes, the report's lead author and director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
        While the team of researchers focused on the 2016 heatwave, Hughes shared with The Atlantic early results from a follow-up wave last year:
        Combined, he said, the back-to-back bleaching events killed one in every two corals in the Great Barrier Reef. It is a fact almost beyond comprehension: In the summer of 2015, more than 2 billion corals lived in the Great Barrier Reef. Half of them are now dead.
        What caused the devastation? Hughes was clear: human-caused global warming. The accumulation of heat-trapping pollution in the atmosphere has raised the world's average temperature, making the oceans hotter and less hospitable to fragile tropical corals.
        People often ask me, 'Will we have a Great Barrier Reef in 50 years, or 100 years?' Hughes said. 'And my answer is, yes, I certainly hope so—but it's completely contingent on the near-future trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions.'
        Following the 2016 heatwave, Hughes's team found that across the Great Barrier Reef, 'fast-growing staghorn and tabular corals suffered a catastrophic die-off, transforming the three-dimensionality and ecological functioning of 29 percent of the 3,863 reefs comprising the world's largest coral reef system.'
        The severity of that heatwave's impact surprised even experts, as it was far more powerful than past bleaching events, which have caused five-to-ten percent of corals to die off, Hughes told the Guardian.
        Bleaching occurs when the coral expels algae that lives within it and provides food. For past mass bleaching events, corals either recovered when the water cooled down, or died slowly of 'starvation.' However, with the 2016 heatwave, Hughes said, 'That's not what we found.'
        'About half of the mortality we measured occurred very quickly,' he explained. Rather than starving, 'temperature-sensitive species of corals began to die almost immediately in locations that were exposed to heat stress,' which radically altered the mix of coral species that now live in the sprawling 1,400-mile system.
        Global warming, the report concludes, 'is rapidly emerging as a universal threat to ecological integrity and function, highlighting the urgent need for a better understanding of the impact of heat exposure on the resilience of ecosystems and the people who depend on them.'
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        Andrea Germanos, "Climate Bellwether? With Cape Town Almost Out of Water, "Day Zero" Looms: In less than three months, residents in South African city could be lining up for rationed water under armed guards. "Is this the new normal?" Common Dreams, January 24, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/24/climate-bellwether-cape-town-almost-out-water-day-zero-looms, reported, "For residents of Cape Town, "Day Zero" is getting closer.
        That's the day when taps in the drought-stricken coastal South African city are projected run dry, and its residents would be forced to head to police-guarded distribution sites to obtain their daily ration of water.
        The city warned last week that the day was 'now likely to happen.' And on Monday, the city, citing a drop in dam levels, moved the projected day up from April 22 to April 12.
        'We have reached a point of no return,' Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said last week announcing tightened water restrictions for the city's 4 million residents. Starting Feb. 1, residents face a 50 liter per day limit (13.2 gallons). [For comparison, Americans' daily home use is 88 gallons of water, the EPA says.]
        When Day Zero hits, the limit will be 25 liters per day, to be collected at one of 200 water collection points. Agence France-Presse reports: 'With about 5,000 families for each water collection point, the police and army are ready to be deployed to prevent unrest in the lines.'
        USA Today, however, reported that 'Each collection point will accommodate around 20,000 people per day.'
        Cape Town is being described as the first major city in the developed world that would run out of water.
        Erik Solheim, head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), tweeted Wednesday of the looming day, 'Is this the new normal?'
        In a Bloomberg op-ed subtitled 'Cape Town offers a grim preview for the rest of the world,' columnist Mihir Sharma suggests that it is. 'Cape Town's battle to keep its water taps running,' Sharma writes, 'should also serve as a warning.'
        Environmental scientist and climatologist Simon Gear told CBC Radio's Anna Maria Tremonti, 'Anyone who works in climate change knows that we've given lots of quite doomsday-esque scenarios in the last two decades. This is the first one which I've really seen come true.'
        'Eventually,' writes meteorologist Bob Henson, the winter rains will arrive, and the reservoirs will most likely be up and running for at least another few months—thus buying some much-needed time to develop other water supply options. The region's water crisis may be far from over, though, especially if the winter rains are once again lackluster.
        That's in part because, as climate scientist Peter Johnston told CBS News, Cape Town is forecast to become warmer, and 'That increase in temperature is going to increase evaporation. Increased evaporation is going to mean that there is less water that's available for our use.'
        Henson adds:
        Increased development and rising temperatures are going to add to the impacts when drought does occur, regardless of how rainfall evolves in a warming world. If nothing else, Cape Town's predicament reminds us that we ought to bolster our urban water supplies with extra buffers—from beefed-up conservation to back-up sources—as much as possible, and as soon as possible. In a nonstationary climate, past weather performance is no guarantee of future results.
        As Cape Town resident Mohammed Allie of the BBC notes, 'Without water there cannot be life.'
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        Jessica Corbett, "Analysis: More Than 100 Cities Now Mostly Powered by Renewable Energy: 'Cities not only want to shift to renewable energy but, most importantly—they can'," Common Dreams, "February 27, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/27/analysis-more-100-cities-now-mostly-powered-renewable-energy, reported, "More than 100 cities across the globe are now mostly powered by renewable energy, a number that has more than doubled over the past three years, according to a review of environmental data collected from entities worldwide.
        The new analysis, a tally of information collected by the U.K.-based group CDP and released Tuesday, accounts for towns and cities that get at least 70 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. In addition to publishing its complete list, the group created an interactive map that features key details about some municipalities' transitions.
        While only four U.S. cities made the list—Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; Eugene, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington—the group says 58 localities in the United States have committed to a full transition. Among the largest cities on CDP's list are Auckland, New Zealand; Nairobi, Kenya; Oslo, Norway; and Vancouver, Canada. Forty-seven of the cities listed are located in Brazil. More than 40 cities—from Burlington to Reykjavik, Iceland to Basel, Switzerland—are fully powered by renewables.
        'Through our diverse mix of biomass, hydro, wind, and solar, we have seen first-hand that renewable energy boosts our local economy and creates a healthier place to work, live, and raise a family,' said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, who urged 'other cities around the globe to follow our innovative path as we all work toward a more sustainable energy future.'
        'Cities are responsible for 70 percent of energy-related CO2 emissions and there is immense potential for them to lead on building a sustainable economy. Reassuringly, our data shows much commitment and ambition,' said Kyra Appleby, CDP's director of cities. 'Cities not only want to shift to renewable energy but, most importantly—they can.'
        The new data reflects the rapidly growing trend to commit to a renewable energy transition at a local level. CDP noted in a statement that Tuesday's analysis "comes on the same day the UK100 network of local government leaders announce that over 80 UK towns and cities have committed to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, including Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, and 16 London boroughs."
        The group attributed the rising excitement about energy transitions in part to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which claims to be 'the broadest global alliance committed to climate leadership, building on the commitment of over 7,400 cities and local governments from six continents and 121 countries representing more than 600 million residents.' The alliance launched last summer, after U.S. President Donald Trump revealed his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
        The transition trend is being driven not only by a widespread desire to eliminate the use of oil and gas—which is fueling the global climate crisis—but also by economic arguments. An International Renewable Energy Agency report (pdf) published in January found that "by 2020, all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range, with most at the lower end or undercutting fossil fuels," meaning 'electricity from renewables will soon be consistently cheaper than from most fossil fuels.'
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        Michael J. Coren, "Companies are using California homes as batteries to power the grid," Quartz, May 25, 2018, https://qz.com/1278588/heres-a-t-shirt-you-could-wear-everywhere-in-east-asia-without-upsetting-anyone/, reported, "Every new home in California is going solar by 2020. If solar-energy companies have their way, those homes also will come with batteries.
        Companies like Tesla and SunRun are starting to bid on utility contracts that would allow them to string together dozens or hundreds of systems that act as an enormous reserve to balance the flow of electricity on the grid. Doing so would accelerate the grid’s transformation from 20th century hub-and-spoke architecture to a transmission network moving electricity among thousands or millions of customers who generate and store their own power. “It’s less like broadcast and more like the internet,” says Haresh Kamath at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
        In theory, networked home-solar-and-battery systems, acting in coordination over a single geographical area, could replace things like natural gas “peaker” plants need to help support the grid on a moment’s notice. But it’s an open question whether it makes financial sense."

        Lisa Friedman, "Tuvalu is growing (for now)," The New York Times, February 14, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters/2018/02/14/climate-change?nlid=52235981, reported, "A new study shows that the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, long considered all but doomed by rising sea levels, has grown slightly since the 1970s.
        At first glance, the findings, published in the journal Nature Communications ,appear to challenge the conventional wisdom that low-lying nations might one day disappear into the sea. But the lead author, Paul S. Kench, a coastal geomorphologist (the study of how the earth’s surface is formed and changed) at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said simply that the effects of climate change on islands can be complicated.
        'Our work isn’t suggesting they have nothing to worry about,' said Dr. Kench, who has been studying climate and islands for about 20 years. 'But there is more to this than the simple, linear doomsday scenario.'
        The reason? Islands are dynamic ecosystems, he said, which means that changing wave patterns and sediment dumped by storms might be offsetting the erosion caused by rising seas. Some of Tuvalu’s islands grew, and some shrank, but averaged together they gained overall.
        Similar things could happen with other island nations, Dr. Kench said, depending on the nature of the sand and other ecosystem dynamics."

        Hiroko Tabuchi and Kendra Pierre-Louis, "Valentines Day Mood Killer," The New York Times, February 14, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters/2018/02/14/climate-change?nlid=52235981, reported, "Cacao thrives in a narrow band around the Equator, and only under specific conditions — high humidity, abundant rain and fairly constant temperatures. And in Ivory Coast and Ghana, which together produce over half of the world’s chocolate, higher temperatures are expected to sharply reduce areas suitable for cultivation. One study predicted that, given current temperature trends, as much as 90 percent of the cacao-growing regions examined would become less suitable for the crop by 2050.
        At the same time, chocolate is a contributor to climate change. The chocolate industry has been a primary driver behind illegal deforestation in Africa’s cacao-growing regions, the environmental advocacy group Mighty Earth said in a report last year."

        Alex Formuzis, "ERC Rejection of Coal and Nuclear Bailout Is Big Win for Renewable Energy," EcoWatch, January 9, 2017, https://www.ecowatch.com/ferc-nuclear-coal-2523876761.html, reported, "Federal regulators' rejection Monday of the White House's scheme to prop up the coal and nuclear power industries is a big win for electricity customers and renewable energy, said Environmental Working Group (EWG) President Ken Cook. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a petition by Energy Sec. Rick Perry to require the use of electricity from coal and nuclear plants, even when cheaper sources are available—a move analysts said would drive up Americans' utility bills by billions of dollars a year.

        Bras Plumer, "New Jersey Embraces an Idea It Once Rejected: Make Utilities Pay to Emit Carbon," The New York Times, January 29, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/29/climate/new-jersey-cap-and-trade.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_clim_20180131&nl=&nl_art=3&nlid=52235981&ref=headline&te=1, reported, "Even as the Trump administration dismantles climate policies at the federal level, a growing number of Democratic state governors are considering taxing or pricing carbon dioxide emissions within their own borders to tackle global warming.
        New Jersey took a major step in that direction Monday when newly elected Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, ordered his state to rejoin a regional carbon-trading program that his Republican predecessor, Chris Christie, had pulled out of in 2012."

        Andrew McMaster, "Bill Gates Is Investing in a Technology That Turns CO2 into Clean Fuel: Engineers are creating 'mechanized trees' to clean up the air," Global Citizen, February 5, 2018, https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/bill-gates-carbon-emission-engineering-co2/?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=iterable_campaign_US_Feb_7_2018_Wed_content_digest_actives_alive_180d, reported, "Microsoft billionaire and Global Citizen Bill Gates is banking on a new technology that could reduce atmospheric CO2 levels on an industrial scale, The Guardian reports .
        Known as Direct Air Capture (DAC), this technology enables scientists to literally suck CO2 out of the air by separating it from other molecules and converting it to solid matter.
Carbon Engineering, one of a handful of companies leading the development of these technologies, and a recipient of Gates Foundation funding, claims their current prototype technology can remove 1 million tons of pure CO2 from the air each year."

        Conor Dougherty and Brad Plumer, "A Bold, Divisive Plan to Wean Californians From Cars: Legislation would allow more home building along transit routes to reduce gas-guzzling commutes. Some who support the goal have denounced the method," The New York Times, March 16, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/business/energy-environment/climate-density.html, reported, "It’s an audacious proposal to get Californians out of their cars: a bill in the State Legislature that would allow eight-story buildings near major transit stops, even if local communities object.
        The idea is to foster taller, more compact residential neighborhoods that wean people from long, gas-guzzling commutes, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
        So it was surprising to see the Sierra Club among the bill’s opponents, since its policy proposals call for communities to be 'revitalized or retrofitted' to achieve precisely those environmental goals. The California chapter described the bill as 'heavy-handed,' saying it could cause a backlash against public transit and lead to the displacement of low-income residents from existing housing.

        Bryan Denton, "Burning Coal for Survival in the World’s Coldest Capital," The New York Times, March 15, 2018, Bryan Denton, reported, "But for the nearly 1.5 million residents of the capital [of Mongolia], Ulan Bator, the misery of winter is now defined almost singularly by the smoke rising out of the city’s chimneys. Since 2016, in addition to being the world’s coldest capital city, it has also had the distinction of being the one with the highest recorded levels of air pollution, surpassing notoriously polluted megacities like Beijing and New Delhi." The direct cause is the use of coal for heating, in this very cold location.

        "Number of Electric Vehicles on Roads Reaches Three Million: IEA, Slashdot.com (reuters.com), Posted May 30, 2018, https://tech.slashdot.org/story/18/05/30/1424249/number-of-electric-vehicles-on-roads-reaches-three-million-iea, reported, "The number of electric vehicles on roads worldwide rose to a record high of 3.1 million in 2017, but more research, policies and incentives are needed to drive further uptake, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said."

        Jake Johnson,  'Truly Wicked': Trump EPA Dissolves Program That Studies Effects of Chemical Exposure on Children: 'Finally America's children will be allowed to choke on the freedom of a lighter regulatory burden'," Common Dreams, "February 27, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/27/truly-wicked-trump-epa-dissolves-program-studies-effects-chemical-exposure-children, reported, "As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the leadership of Scott Pruitt moves to make it easier for big industry to dump dangerous chemicals into the nation's air and water, the agency announced late Monday that it is dissolving a program that funds studies on the effects of pollution and chemical exposure on America's children.
        —Kevin Gosztola
        Called the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), the program previously provided millions of dollars in grants per year to researchers studying the effects of chemicals on children's health. The EPA's move, first reported by The Hill, will eliminate the NCER in the process of consolidating three EPA offices.
        Critics responded to the move with outrage, denouncing it as 'truly wicked' and further proof of the Trump administration's willingness to sacrifice the health of the public in the service of its corporate-friendly deregulatory agenda.
         Kate Aronoff ✔ @KateAronoff
        Finally America's children will be allowed to choke on the freedom of a lighter regulatory burden
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7:28 PM - Feb 26, 2018
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Kevin Gosztola ✔ @kgosztola
        Scott Pruitt's EPA is shutting down program that monitors effects of chemicals on children's health. Truly wicked
http://
thehill.com/regulation/ene
rgy-environment/375725-major-epa-reorganization-will-end-science-research-program…         
        While the decision to dissolve the NCER was portrayed by the EPA as an effort 'to create management efficiencies,' experts argued that the move is perfectly in line with the Trump administration's push to gut funding for research programs and undercut the agency's ability to regulate and fine corporate polluters.
        'They make it sound like this is a way to create efficiency, but it masks what's happening to this actually programmatic, scientific function of NCER....That makes you think, 'Is this really just an efficiency argument masking their real intention to get rid of the research grant program, which they have said they want to do in the past?'' Tracey Woodruff, a former senior scientist and policy advisor at the EPA under Clinton and Bush, said in an interview with The Hill.
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

        Sabrina Shankman, "Premature Birth Rates Drop in California After Coal and Oil Plants Shut Down: Within a year of eight coal- and oil-fired power plant retirements, the rate of preterm births in mothers living close by dropped, finds new study on air pollution," Inside Climate News, accessed May 27, 2018, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/22052018/air-pollution-coal-power-plants-oil-health-risks-premature-births-california?amp, reported, "Shutting down power plants that burn fossil fuels can almost immediately reduce the risk of premature birth in pregnant women living nearby, according to research published Tuesday.
        Researchers scrutinized records of more than 57,000 births by mothers who lived close to eight coal- and oil-fired plants across California in the year before the facilities were shut down, and in the year after, when the air was cleaner.
        The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that the rate of premature births dropped from 7 to 5.1 percent after the plants were shuttered, between 2001 and 2011. The most significant declines came among African American and Asian women. Preterm birth can be associated with lifelong health complications."

Bees are not the only insects that have been declining. Pollinating hawk moths have also been in decline for several decades in the U.S. northeast, for unknown reasons, raising the question if a large insect Armageddon might be in progress (Curt Stager, "The Silence of the Bugs," The New York Times, May 27, 2018).

        Rachel Nuwer, "Sudan, the Last Male Northern White Rhino, Dies in Kenya," The New York Times, March 20, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/science/rhino-sudan-extinct.html, reported, "The last male northern white rhinoceros died on Monday at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya following a series of infections and other health problems."

        Overfishing of once plentiful abalone has not only greatly reduced an important food source, but is leading to deaths as divers take extreme risks trying to harvest them in deeper, more dangerous, waters (Kimon De Greef, "Divers Risk Drowning and Sharks to Poach Abalone Worth $200 a Pound," The New York Times, March 31, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/31/world/africa/south-africa-abalone-poaching.html).

        Dado Galdieri, "‘Sentinel’ Dolphins Die in Brazil Bay. Some Worry a Way of Life Has, Too," The New York Times, April 2, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/02/world/americas/brazil-dolphins-sepetiba-bay.html, reported, "Something ominous was happening in the turquoise waters of Sepetiba Bay, a booming port outside Rio de Janeiro [Brazil]. Beginning late last year, fishermen were coming across the scarred and emaciated carcasses of dolphins, sometimes five a day, bobbing up to the surface.
        Since then, scientists there have discovered more than 200 dead Guiana dolphins, or Sotalia guianensis, a quarter of what was the world’s largest concentration of the species. The deaths, caused by respiratory and nervous system failures linked to a virus, have subsided, but scientists are working to unravel the mystery behind them."
        "The dolphins are 'sentinels,' said Mariana Alonso, a biologist at the Biophysics Institute at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, one of a number groups working to understand the epidemic. 'When something is wrong with them, that indicates the whole ecosystem is fractured.'”

        Aurora Almendral, "In the Philippines, Dynamite Fishing Decimates Entire Ocean Food Chains," The New York Times, June 15, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/world/asia/philippines-dynamite-fishing-coral.html, reported, "Fishing with dynamite has become a major problem in already troubled waters in the Philippines. As one observer noted, a 'blast ruptured the internal organs of reef fish, fractured their spines or tore at their flesh with coral shrapnel. From microscopic plankton to sea horses, anemones and sharks, little survives inside the 30- to 100-foot radius of an explosion.
        With 10,500 square miles of coral reef, the Philippines is a global center for marine biodiversity, which the country has struggled to protect in the face of human activity and institutional inaction. But as the effects of climate change on oceans become more acute, stopping dynamite and other illegal fishing has taken on a new urgency.
        According to the initial findings of a survey of Philippine coral reefs conducted from 2015 to 2017 and published in the Philippine Journal of Science, there are no longer any reefs in excellent condition, and 90 percent were classified as either poor or fair. A 2017 report by the United Nations predicts that all 29 World Heritage coral reefs, including one in the Philippines, will die by 2100 unless carbon emissions are drastically reduced."

        Pascal Bonnefoy, "With 10 Million Acres in Patagonia, a National Park System Is Born," The New York Times, February 19, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/world/americas/patagonia-national-park-chile.html, reported, "An eagle soared over the lone house atop an arid hill in the steppes of Patagonia Park.
        In the valley below, not far from the town of Cochrane, President Michelle Bachelet announced the creation of a vast national park system in Chile stretching from Hornopirén, 715 miles south of the capital, Santiago, to Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America, where Chile splinters into fjords and canals.
        The park is the brainchild of Kristine McDivitt Tompkins and her husband, Douglas Tompkins, who founded The North Face and Esprit clothing companies, and starting in 1991, put $345 million — much of his fortune — buying large swaths of Patagonia."

        World Animal Protection, "Bali horror: wildlife tourist attractions are a living hell for animals, May 21 2018, https://www.worldanimalprotection.us.org/news/bali-horror-wildlife-tourist-attractions-are-living-hell-animals?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=us_wine&utm_content=bali_horror_wildlife_tourist_attractions_are_a_liv_31_may_2018_1400, reported, "Not a single wildlife tourism entertainment venue in Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan with captive elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats meets even the basic needs of wild animals.
        We recently investigated 26 wildlife tourism venues that house 1,500 wild animals, including elephants, dolphins and orangutans.
        Our new report, Wildlife Abusement Parks, details the horrifying results is available at: https://d31j74p4lpxrfp.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/us_files/180522_wildlife_abusement_parks_bali.pdf.
        Bali is a popular travel destination; more than five million tourists visited the island in 2017.
        But despite being an island paradise for people, our report paints a bleak picture of the conditions these captive wild animals are forced to endure day-in, day-out.
        Almost all of these animals will spend the rest of their lives suffering for tourists."
        This is another indication that Indigenous people are the best protectors of the environment.

        On paper, increasing areas of land and sea seem to be set aside as protected environmental areas. Since the 1980's about 15% of Earth's land areas and about 5% of the oceans have been so designated, and these protected designations are increasing. However, with the U.S. and Australia recently allowing extraction within them, and increasing extractive activities in the already poorly enforced, or disregarded, protections of designated wild areas in Latin America and Africa, the "protections" are becoming increasingly limited, and in many instances may become entirely fictitious (Richard Connif, "Selling the Protected Area Myth." The New York Times, June 9, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/09/opinion/protected-area-myth.html).
        As E.O Wilson points out, the survival and wellbeing of human beings may require half of the Earth to be left wild (Edward O. Wilson, "The 8 Million Species We Don't Know," NCJ, Spring 2018, p. 243, and The New York Times, March 3, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/03/opinion/sunday/species-).

U.S. Developments

        Many of the reports in this issue of U.S. government legislation, agency action, and court decisions are informed by electronic flyers from Hobbs, Straus, Dean and Walker, LLP, 2120 L Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037, http://www.hobbsstraus.com. Reports from Indian Country Today Media Network, from the web, are listed as from ICTMN. Reports from New from Indian Country are listed as NFIC.

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U.S. Government Developments

Presidential Actions

        Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter Poza , "The Trump administration is going after Native Americans now, too," Daily Kos, May 2, 2018, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/5/2/1761447/-The-Trump-administration-is-going-after-Native-Americans-now-too, reported that in violation of U.S. trust responsibility, "President Trump, though, has no interest in law, history or Native Americans’ welfare. His administration is claiming that tribal citizens must work to receive health care supplemented by the federal government. Three states have so far been given permission to impose the Medicaid work requirement and another 10 have put in requests. That adds up to more than 600,000 Native Americans already affected or at risk of being affected.
        Even Native Americans in states that oppose Trump’s measures may be affected.
        Some states, like Arizona, are asking HHS for permission to exempt Native Americans from their proposed work requirements. But officials at the National Indian Health Board say that may be moot, as federal officials can reject state requests.
        The tribes, former officials, and legal experts have pushed back against the administration’s purported rationale, that exempting tribes constitutes racial bias.
        The tribes insist that any claim of 'racial preference' is moot because they’re constitutionally protected as separate governments, dating back to treaties hammered out by President George Washington and reaffirmed in recent decades under Republican and Democratic presidents alike, including the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations."

        "President Signs Virginia Tribes Recognition Bill," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-006, February 6th, 2018, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-006, reported, "On January 29, 2018, the President signed HR 984, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017 into law as PL 115-121. It extends federal recognition, with gaming restrictions, to six state-recognized tribes from the Commonwealth of Virginia, namely: the Chickahominy Indian Tribe; the Chickahominy Indian Tribe--Eastern Division; the Upper Mattaponi Tribe; the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc.; the Monacan Indian Nation; and the Nansemond Indian Tribe. Enactment of PL 115-121 is a landmark event that was years in the making.
        Context. As the Report (S. Rept. 115-123) accompanying the Senate companion bill (S 691) explains, these six tribes were some of the first to come into contact with early English settlers but, because of events specific to Virginia history that resulted in the destruction of important records, they ultimately lacked the necessary documentation to successfully navigate the Department of Interior's (DOI) document-intensive federal acknowledgement process. There are a variety of avenues by which the federal government recognizes a government-to-government relationship with an Indian tribe, including treaties (prior to 1871) as well as legislation, executive orders, and administrative decisions. The Report further explains that federal courts may clarify the status of an Indian group. Of the 567 other tribes that are currently federally recognized, only 18 were recognized under DOI's administrative acknowledgement process, commonly referred to as the "Part 83 process" (see 25 C.F.R. Part 83).
        Content. Each of the six tribes is the subject of a separate title in PL 115-121, which:
        • Sets forth findings which detail the history unique to the tribe;
        • Extends federal recognition to the tribe;
        • Establishes that all laws applicable to federally recognized tribes will extend to the tribe;
        • Creates a service area for the tribe;
        • Makes the tribe and its members eligible for federal services and benefits provided to federally recognized tribes;
        • Establishes that DOI will accept the last membership roll submitted by the tribe prior to enactment of PL 115-121 as the tribe's membership roll;
        • Authorizes, at the request of the tribe, the Secretary of Interior to take land into trust for the tribe to establish a reservation, defines the counties where the land may be taken into trust and creates a three-year deadline to take the land into trust;
        • Prohibits the tribe from conducting gaming activities "as a matter of claimed inherent authority or under the authority of any Federal law, including the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) or under any regulations thereunder promulgated by the Secretary or the National Indian Gaming Commission"; and
        • Establishes that nothing in the Act expands or reduces hunting, fishing, trapping or water rights enjoyed by members of the tribe.
        • Finally, PL 115-121 limits the use of eminent domain to acquire lands in fee or trust for any of the six tribes recognized by the Act.
        Eligibility for Federal Funding. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) budget, under the Tribal Government budget activity includes a sub-activity titled New Tribes. This sub-activity provides both minimum funding for BIA Regions or Agencies to provide support services for newly federally recognized tribes and provides each newly recognized tribe with $160,000 in tribal priority allocation (TPA) base funding per fiscal year for a period of three years "to establish and carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of a tribal government." With regard to funding for federal services from DOI (which includes the BIA budget), the Senate Report provides a Congressional Budget Office estimate that providing services to the six newly recognized tribes will cost DOI $30 million from FY 2018-2022. The estimate for services from the Indian Health Service (IHS) is $37 million for that same period. Finally, the Report explains that in addition to assistance from DOI and IHS, certain Indian tribes also receive support from other federal programs within the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and Agriculture. The Report explains that because the six tribes in the Act were already recognized by Virginia, they were already eligible to receive support from these federal departments.
        Legislative History. Before final passage and submission to the President for signature, HR 984 had been considered under Suspension of the Rules in the House, passed via a voice vote and then passed in the Senate without amendment via a voice vote. HR 984 was co-sponsored by the following Representatives: Wittman (R-VA-1st); Beyer (D-VA-8th); Scott (D-VA-3rd); Connolly (D-VA-11th); Taylor (R-VA-2nd); and McEachin (D-VA-4th). The Senate companion bill, S 691 was cosponsored by both Virginia Senators: Kaine (D-VA) and Warner (D-VA). Iterations of this legislation had been introduced, without success, since the 107th Congress.
        Other Federally Recognized Tribes. On July 2, 2015, DOI issued a final determination recognizing the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in Virginia under the Part 83 process. See 80 Fed. Reg. 39144 (July 8, 2015). Enactment of PL 115-121 brings the total number of federally recognized tribes in the Commonwealth of Virginia to seven and the total number in the country to 573. These six newly recognized tribes, however, do not appear in the DOI's recent publication of the list of federally recognized tribes, which was published in the FEDERAL REGISTER the day after their recognition, but they will appear on any updated published list."

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Congressional Developments

        Noam Scheiber, "Senate Bill to Curtail Labor Rights on Tribal Land Falls Short," The New York Times, April 16, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/business/economy/senate-tribal-labor.html, reported, "Organized labor managed an increasingly rare feat on Monday — a political victory — when its allies turned back a Senate measure aimed at rolling back labor rights on tribal lands.
        The legislation, called the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, would have exempted enterprises owned and operated by Native American tribes from federal labor standards, even for employees who were not tribal citizens."

        "Tribal Governments Gain Access to Crime Victims Fund and AMBER Alert Funds; Tribal Consultation Teleconferences to be Held June 12 and 14," Hobbs-Straus, General Memorandum 18-021, June 1st, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-021-0, reported, "In this Memorandum we report on the status of tribal government access to the Crime Victims Fund for FYs 2018 and 2019 and the recent enactment of the AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act of 2017 which provides tribal governments with access to funding for implementing and integrating alert systems regarding missing and abducted children.
        Crime Victims Fund (Fund), FY 2018 Enacted. The FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act provided the first ever direct tribal allocation under the Crime Victims Fund (Fund). The allocation is three percent, which for FY 2018, amounts to $133 million. The spending cap for the entire Fund in FY 2018 is $4.4 billion, an 80 percent increase over FY 2017, and an amount not expected for FY 2019.
        The Fund comes from the collection of federal criminal fines, penalties and assessments, not taxpayer funds. It is not subject to the appropriations process except that in annual appropriations bills, Congress places a cap on how much of these monies will be distributed from the Fund. The Fund supports the Children's Justice Act; U.S. Attorney's victim/witness coordinators; FBI victim specialists; federal victim notification systems; discretionary grants from the Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime; state compensation formula grants; State victim assistance formula grants; and an Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve. We have written about the Crime Victims Fund developments in our General Memoranda 15-050 of July 10, 2015; 16-053 of August 19, 2016; and 17-053 of November 6, 2017.
        Multi-Year Authorization Still Pending. The tribal three percent allocation in the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act applies only to this one fiscal year. Ultimately, the underlying law will need to be amended in order to provide a permanent tribal allocation. In the current Congress there is legislation pending in the House (HR 4608, Rep. O'Halleran (D-AZ)) and Senate (S 1870, Sen. Hoeven (D-ND)) which would provide a five percent tribal allocation for 10 years.
        Tribal Consultation. The Department of Justice has scheduled tribal consultation teleconference calls on June 12 and 14, 2018, to discuss administration of the tribal monies made available from the Fund for FY 2018. The teleconference sessions will take place on:
        • June 12 at: 1:00-2:30 p.m., ET
        • June 12 at: 3:00-4:00 p.m., ET
        • June 14 at: 2:00-3:30 p.m., ET
        Online registration is required to participate. The announcement with detailed registration and call-in information is here: http://www.unified-solutions.org/tribal-consultations-scheduled-regardin...
        Crime Victims Fund, FY 2019 Pending. The House Appropriations Committee has approved its FY 2019 appropriations bill which funds the Department of Justice (the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill) and it includes a five percent tribal allocation. The cap for the Fund is set in the bill at $2.6 billion. Five percent of that is $130 million, roughly the same amount of tribal funding as in FY 2018. (The Administration had requested a $2.3 billion cap). The tribal five percent allocation was added in Committee markup by Representatives McCollum (D-MN) and Cole (R-OK), co-chairs of the House Native American Caucus.
        We are hopeful that the Senate Appropriations Committee will also include a five percent tribal allocation in its FY 2019 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (the markup of which is scheduled for the week of June 11). We encourage you to write your Senators in support of the tribal allocation from the Crime Victims Fund.
        AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act. On April 13, 2018, President Trump signed the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act as PL 115-166. The Act, sponsored by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Heitkamp (D-ND) allows tribes to access resources to develop and integrate their alert systems for missing and abducted children into surrounding state and regional systems. Prior to this, the Department of Justice operated a pilot program for tribes regarding AMBER Alert training services. The Act contains authority for Department of Justice to waive matching requirements for tribes in some instances and requires a report on tribal capacities and needs to implement AMBER Alert systems.
        The impetus for the bill was the delay in reporting the abduction of 11-year old Ashlynne Mike of the Navajo Nation, and who was later found murdered."

        "Enactment of the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-009, February 9th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-009, reported, "The Firm has recently been involved in successful efforts to lobby for enactment of the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017 (Act). On December 18, 2017, this comprehensive amendment to the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992 (as amended), was signed into law. This legislation is codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 3401–3417 and is more commonly referred to as PL 477 (because the original law was PL 102-477).
        The PL 477 program allows tribal organizations to combine certain federal funds that come from varied sources, but all pertain to employment, training, or related services into a single plan with a single budget and reporting system. The PL 477 program provides tribal organizations more flexibility in deciding how to spend their federal funds, and they are therefore able to design programs that are more successful based on the unique needs of their own community members. It also allows them to streamline administrative processes, including program applications and federal reporting, thereby lowering administrative costs and making more funds available for direct services.
        Several years in the making, the Act serves multiple important purposes in strengthening the PL 477 program. It reauthorizes the PL 477 program as permanent rather than as a demonstration project. It clarifies that PL 477 plans require only one annual report or audit and do not require reporting dollar-for-dollar by program—as some federal officials had insisted. It creates strict deadlines and processes for review and approval of PL 477 plans, as some federal officials have wrongly disapproved or delayed approval of eligible programs' integration within PL 477 plans. It also clarifies the process for agencies to waive requirements of integrated programs.
        The Act also expands the types of programs and funding that may be integrated into PL 477 plans.          Programs must now meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for integration:
        • Agency. In addition to integrating programs operated by the Departments of the Interior, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education, programs operated by the Departments of Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs may also be integrated.
        • Purpose. A program must be "implemented for the purpose of" any of the following: "job training"; "welfare to work and tribal work experience"; "creating or enhancing employment opportunities"; "skill development"; "assisting Indian youth and adults to succeed in the workforce"; "encouraging self-sufficiency"; "familiarizing individual participants with the world of work"; "facilitating the creation of job opportunities"; "economic development"; or "any services related to" the above listed activities.
        • Funding. A program's funding must be granted on one of the following grounds: an Indian tribe or members of Indian tribes are eligible to receive funds "under a statutory or administrative formula making funds available to an Indian tribe"; an Indian tribe or members of Indian tribes are eligible to receive funds "based solely or in part on their status as Indians under Federal law"; an Indian tribe or members of Indian tribes "have secured funds as a result of a noncompetitive process or a specific designation"; or the program is funded by a block grant provided to an Indian tribe.
        The agencies have a statutory deadline of one year from enactment of the amendment legislation to develop and enter into an interdepartmental memorandum of agreement (MOA) on implementation of the new PL 477 legislation. Federal agency officials and tribal advocates from the PL 477 Work Group will be meeting on February 14, 2018, to discuss next steps."

        For the S.2154 - Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act, S.664 - Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act of 2017, and S.1770 - Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2017, see Tribal Developments, below.

        "Senate committee recommends Chumash land affirmation bill: Bill would confirm Interior Secretary's decision to take 'Camp 4' land into trust for tribe," ICTMN, June 14, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/the-press-pool/senate-committee-recommends-chumash-land-affirmation-bill-yiQaQtYMs024P4keTIRJEg/, reported, "The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs voted unanimously today [June 13, 2018] to send H.R. 1491, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act of 2017, to the Senate floor with the recommendation that the bill be enacted by the full body.
        The bill ratifies the decision by the Secretary of the Interior on December 24, 2014, to place approximately 1,400 acres of land, known locally as Camp 4, into trust for the benefit of the tribe."

        Several bills were passed, in June 2018, by the House Natural Resources Committee:          "Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop Chairman, Markup Memorandum," June 8, 2018, https://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/markup_memo_--_h.r._5874_06.13.18_2.pdf, "H.R. 5874, “Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2018” Bill Summary
        H.R. 5874 was introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) on May 18, 2018. The bill would amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA)1 to improve the Indian Health Service (IHS) by reforming the agency’s personnel processes, medical credentialing system, fiscal accountability, and other operations. Specifically, the bill provides IHS broader hiring authority, and makes it easier to discipline and fire underperforming employees. Additional IHS reforms include:
        Requiring all IHS employees and contractors to undergo cultural competency training;
Improving IHS doctor recruitments by expanding the loan repayment program and
existing recruitment tools;
        Streamlining the volunteer credentialing process and reducing related paperwork
burdens;
        Providing transparency in reports from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services;
        Requiring regular reporting from the IHS, the Government Accountability Office, and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General on patient care;
        and Providing whistleblower retaliation protections for IHS employees.
______________
25 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.
        H.R. 3744 (Bishop of Utah), the “Tribal Recognition Act of 2017, https://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/markup_memo_--_h.r._3744_06.13.18.pdf,
        Summary of the Bill
        H.R. 3744 reclaims the Article I authority of Congress over recognizing tribes from the Executive Branch, which has appropriated this power. The bill establishes a statutory process for the Department of the Interior to examine evidence submitted by groups seeking recognition as tribes within the meaning of federal law, and for Congress to make a final determination on extending recognition. The status of a tribe federally recognized prior to the date of enactment of the bill shall be unaffected. H.R. 3744 is the same as Title I of H.R. 3764 of the 114th Congress, reported by the Committee on December 7, 2016.1
_______________
        H.R. 2606 (Rep. Tom Cole), “Stigler Act Amendments of 2017”
        Summary of the Bill
        H.R. 2606 was introduced by Congressman Tom Cole on May 23, 2017. The bill would amend the Act of August 4, 19471 to remove the Indian blood quantum requirement for interests in certain allotments of land to be maintained in restricted fee status2 for any member of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma.3 Currently, interests in such allotments may be sold, exchanged, and taxed when individuals of less than one-half degree Indian blood inherit them, even though such individuals remain members of the Five Tribes.4 Under H.R. 2606, restricted fee land currently owned by members of the Five Tribes would remain in restricted status regardless of the blood quantum of the owners.
_________________

        "Efforts to Reauthorize the Farm Bill Underway in the House," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-018, April 25th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-018, reported, "On April 12, 2018, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) introduced HR 2, the 'Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018' (the "2018 House Farm Bill"), which would reauthorize the Farm Bill, one of the United States’ largest pieces of domestic legislation enacted by Congress every five years. The Farm Bill authorizes United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and covers a variety of issues, including: (1) commodities; (2) conservation; (3) trade; (4) nutrition; (5) credit; (6) rural development; (7) research; (8) forestry; (9) energy; (10) horticulture; and (11) crop insurance. As all of these issues touch on important aspects of Indian Country and quality of life for Native people, we encourage tribes to engage with Congress on the Farm Bill reauthorization.
        Congress last enacted a Farm Bill in 2014, and many of those provisions will expire on September 30, 2018. The likelihood for a reauthorization of the Farm Bill in the 115th Congress is unclear, but there is significant interest from Members of Congress in hearing from tribes about their priorities and needs. The House Agriculture Committee marked up and reported out the 2018 House Farm Bill. House Speaker Paul Ryan
(R-WI) has indicated his intent to pass the 2018 House Farm Bill this Spring. The Senate has yet to release its version of a Farm Bill. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) has publicly stated that the Senate will not support a bill from the House that includes controversial changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
        As the Farm Bill has many titles and covers numerous issues critically important to Indian Country, this report does not contain a comprehensive analysis of the legislation. Within this General Memorandum, we highlight some of the matters pertinent to tribes at this stage of the Farm Bill reauthorization. However, Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP is tracking and reporting on Farm Bill developments in detail for clients who have requested such work. Please contact us to let us know if you would like reports and analysis on the details.
Significant Changes Proposed to Food Assistance Programs
        Two fundamentally important food assistance programs for Indian Country— SNAP and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)—are under attack in the 2018 House Farm Bill, as there is a push in the House to increase work requirements for SNAP beneficiaries. Approximately 25 percent of American Indian/Alaskan Natives (AI/ANs), and as high as 60-80 percent in some tribal communities, receive federal food assistance. Members of the Native Farm Bill Coalition (the "Coalition") (discussed below) have reported that the new SNAP work requirements would likely cause a substantial shift in participants leaving SNAP and joining FDPIR, which has no contingency plan for managing food shortages due to the rapid escalation of participation numbers.
        The 2018 House Farm Bill would make significant changes to SNAP work requirements, with no American Indian/Alaska Native or tribal exception. Currently, to receive SNAP benefits, Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) between the ages of 18 and 49 are required to either work or participate in employment training or a work program (or a combination) for a minimum of 80 hours a month. The bill would restructure the work hour requirement to be 20 hours per week. It would also expand the requirements to apply to those ages 50 to 59. By 2026, the work hour requirement would increase to 25 hours per week.
        Violations of these rules come with stiff penalties. After the first violation of the work or reporting requirements, individuals become ineligible for SNAP benefits for a year, and subsequent violations result in a three-year ineligibility period. Individuals can regain SNAP benefits if they are employed and work the required number of hours or circumstances change so that they are not subject to work requirements.
        The 2018 House Farm Bill does not explicitly impose these work requirements on FDPIR participants, but, as reported by the Coalition, there historically is conformity between the requirements of SNAP and FDPIR. The bill would maintain the current prohibition on simultaneously participating in FDPIR and SNAP but would make several positive amendments to FDPIR. First, the bill would add regionally grown foods to the list of foods that the USDA Secretary may purchase for distribution to FDPIR participants, in addition to traditional and locally-grown foods. Additionally, the bill would allow appropriated program funds to remain available for two fiscal years. Lastly, the bill would eliminate the surveying and reporting requirements regarding traditional foods.
        Opportunities for Indian Country
        The Farm Bill offers an important opportunity for tribes to expand self-governance and self-determination contracting authority to USDA programs. Currently, this authority is only available for programs within the Department of the Interior, the Department of Transportation, and the Indian Health Service in the Department of Health and Human Services. On April 18, 2018, at a hearing before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on "The 30th Anniversary of Tribal Self-Governance: Successes in Self-governance and an Outlook for the Next 30 Years," Vice Chairman Tom Udall (D-NM) stated that he and Chairman John Hoeven (R-N)] plan to introduce bipartisan legislation for the Farm Bill that would allow tribes to assume self-governance authority over USDA programs, notably food distribution and forestry. The 2018 House Farm Bill does not contain this broad authority but it would extend self-governance authority to tribes to take on the management and function of the federal government under the Tribal Forest Protection Act (P.L. 108-278).
        Advocacy Steps
        Tribal Nations have considerable experience and much to share regarding the federal nutrition, agriculture, conservation, and other policies included in the Farm Bill. The Native Farm Bill Coalition formed to voice the positions of Indian Country during the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. The Coalition is a joint project of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s Seeds of Native Health campaign, the Intertribal Agriculture Council, the National Congress of American Indians, and the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative. It is co-chaired by Keith B. Anderson, Vice-Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and Ross Racine, Executive Director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council. All Tribes are welcome to join the Coalition and the website has a draft letter of support and draft resolution. See: http://seedsofnativehealth.org/native-farm-bill-coalition. Over 70 Tribes and Tribal organizations are currently members of the Coalition, representing over 125 Tribes.
        As there are numerous opportunities in the Farm Bill to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of agriculture and nutrition programs in Indian Country, the Coalition is encouraging Tribes to engage with their congressional representatives to boost support for tribal interests and educate them about the significant impact Farm Bill policies have on tribal communities. During the week of May 7, 2018, the Coalition is planning to hold educational sessions and coordinate advocacy efforts for the Farm Bill in Washington, D.C. Numerous Tribal Leaders are expected to already be in Washington, D.C. to testify before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on funding priorities for American Indian/Alaska Native programs.
        Conclusion
We encourage Tribes to engage in the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or to discuss approaches for engaging with your congressional delegation about your Tribe's positions regarding the Farm Bill. We are also happy to assist you with coordinating with the Coalition on advocacy opportunities if you will be in Washington, D.C. to testify the week of May 7th.
        Glenn Thrush and Thomas Kaplan. "House Farm Bill Collapses Amid Republican Disarray," The New York Times, May 18, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/us/farm-bill-collapses.html, reported, "The factional rancor threatening Republicans heading into the midterm elections this fall erupted into the open on Friday when a slugfest among moderates, hard-line conservatives and House leaders over immigration and welfare policy sank the party’s multiyear farm bill."

        Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA), joined by the bill's original cosponsors, introduced the "Arctic Cultural and Plain Protection Act," in the House, in May, that would repeal the provision of the December tax legislation authorizing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ("Legislation would repeal disastrous Arctic Refuge tax bill drilling provision," NFIC, June 2018).

        Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, in June 2018, introduced in the U.S, Senate, S. 3060, "To repeal section 2141 of the Revised Statutes to remove the prohibition on certain alcohol manufacturing on Indian lands." This would allow Indian tribes to manufacture alcoholic products.

        Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), proposed the Alaska Native Claims Improvement Act if 2017, which would give 100,000 acres of federal land in Alaska to Native groups in five southeast Alaska towns, establishing Native corporations in Kechikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Tenakee and Haines ("Bill would create new Native corporations," NFIC, February 2018).

        "Senate hearing examines "high risk" agencies serving Indian Country," ICTMN, June 14, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/senate-hearing-examines-high-risk-agencies-serving-indian-country-Hjzf2unxwEmUUbE6R3qO6w/, reported, "Federal agencies that operate Indian programs are making progress toward fixing management shortcomings that landed them on a list of 'high-risk' agencies, but not enough progress to satisfy some senators." The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) list of federal programs that are at risk of mismanagement has included the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Indian Health Service.
        At a June 13, 2018, session of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, testimony by officials from those agencies, and from the GAO indicate some progress has been made in beginning to meet the GAO recommendations for improvement by these agencies. However, both the testimony and comments by committee members indicated that there is a great deal yet to be accomplished.
        Frank Rusco, GAO director of natural resources and environment stated that the BIA had met almost one-third of the GAO’s 14 recommendations for improvement. He stated, “We identified most, if not all, progress meeting this criteria. Still, additional progress is required in all areas, particularly in the areas of leadership, commitment and the capacity and resources needed to identify and address root causes.”
        BIE Director Tony Dearman said his agency had met seven of its 13 recommendations to improve school management and was moving forward on the others.
        A pair of related problems at the Indian agencies are high rates of personnel turnover and large numbers of staff vacancies. One aspect of that problem is funding levels for the agencies, which at least in some cases have relatively low salary levels. The BIE director stated that “location and isolation of our positions” was an ongoing difficulty in recruiting and retaining personnel. He indicated that to meet the problem the agency was planning to relocate some positions. However, as a great many of the positions need to be at reservation schools, that can only partially solve the problem.
        Rear Adm. Michael Weahkee, acting director of IHS, stated that shortage of staff has led to long patient wait times, lack of organizational capacity, and lack of effective monitoring of health care centers and hospitals across the system. He said, "Reducing wait times continues to be a priority for the agency." "The OQ (Office of Quality) will ensure that quality is integrated into all agency programs in a collaborative and organized manner.''
        Several committee members were critical of the agencies efforts to meet the GAO recommendations. For example, Senator Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, questioned whether officials were actually changing the culture of their agencies or merely “checking off boxes” in the list of what needed to be accomplished.

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Federal Agency Developments

        After major complaints by Indian Nations that they were not being consulted on a major reorganization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), a short period for submitting comments and a series of listening sessions was initiated by the BIA from June 3 to August 15, 2018. The 2019 funding bill for the Department of the Interior contained a recognition that tribes and states had complained about insufficient consultation by the department, and urged Interior to increase its consultation, including formal consultations with Indian tribes ("Trump administration finally informs tribes about BIA reorganization," NFIC, June 2018).

        United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), announced via E-mail (blm_nm_ffo_rmp@blm.gov), January 24, 2018, "The United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), have developed preliminary draft alternatives that will be further refined and analyzed in the Farmington Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan (RMP) Amendment/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The agencies have formulated these alternatives in response to the issues and concerns identified during two rounds of public scoping: the first in 2014 and the second conducted from 2016 to 2017 after the BIA joined as aco-lead agency. Per the National Environmental Policy Act, the agencies developed these alternatives because there were unresolved conflicts concerning different uses of available resources. These alternatives are reasonable and respond to the project purpose and need, are technically and economically feasible, and are consistent with the basic policy and management objectives for the BIA and BLM. Please see the attached newsletter for a further summary of the alternatives.
        Want More Information?
        While the BLM and BIA are not soliciting public comments at this time, we encourage you to stay informed on the process and future opportunities for submitting your comments.          Visit www.blm.gov/nm/farmington for more information. Anyone wishing to be added to or deleted from the mailing list, wishing to change their contact information, or requesting further information may contact the BLM and BIA by any of the following methods:
        Email: blm_nm_ffo_rmp@blm.gov
        Mail: BLM, Farmington Field Office, Attention: Jillian Aragon, RMPA Team Lead, 6251 North College Blvd., Suite A, Farmington, NM 87402
        BIA, Navajo Region, Attention: Harrilene Yazzie, BIA Supervisory Environmental Protection Specialist, P.O. Box 1060, Gallup, NM 87305
        Phone: BLM:505-564-7670, BIA: 505-863-8287
        Before providing your phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information, you should be aware that your information may be made publicly available at any time. While you can request that your personal identifying information be withheld from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so."

        Anna V. Smith, "Harassment pervades the Bureau of Indian Affairs," New Mexico Political Report, March 15, 2015, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/814354/harassment-pervades-the-bureau-of-indian-affairs/?mc_cid=7303e7883b&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported,

        "In fact, according to the surveys, employees with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency staffed mostly by American Indians, experience more harassment than other Interior agencies. The problem is acute across the BIA, an underfunded agency whose employees are scattered across 12 different regional offices in Indian Country. The bureau has a long, complicated history with Indigenous people; it was first established under the War Department in 1824, with the explicit purpose of assimilating Native Americans into non-Native culture. The survey’s findings raise big questions: How can the agency fulfill its stated mission — empowering tribal governments — when it is so rife with harassment? Recent investigations show that little meaningful action has been taken to prevent such harassment, or address it when it is reported."

        "Bureau of Indian Affairs Updates Federally Recognized Tribes List; Virginia Tribes' Recognition Enacted After this Notice," Hobs-Straus General Memorandum 18-007, February 6th, 2018, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-007, reported, "On January 30, 2018, the Department of Interior – Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published in the FEDERAL REGISTER its annual list of federally recognized tribal entities. Recognized entities are eligible to receive funding and services from the BIA due to their status as Indian tribes. The notice states: 'The listed Indian entities are acknowledged to have the immunities and privileges available to federally recognized Indian tribes by virtue of their government-to-government relationship with the United States as well as the responsibilities, powers, limitations and obligations of such Tribes.' The FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE may be found here:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-01-30/pdf/2018-01907.pdf
        The 2018 list identifies 567 tribal entities, the same as in the previous (January 2017) listing. The list is divided by those located in the "Lower 48" and those in Alaska.
        Of note is that the BIA notice was signed and sent to the FEDERAL REGISTER on January 11, 2018, a week before the Senate passed HR 984, legislation extending federal recognition to six tribes in Virginia and sending the bill to the President for signature. President Trump signed the legislation on January 29, 2018, as Public Law 115-121. The six newly recognized tribes are: the Chickahominy Indian Tribe; the Chickahominy Indian Tribe--Eastern Division; the Upper Mattaponi Tribe; the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc.; the Monacan Indian Nation; and the Nansemond Indian Tribe. (See our General Memorandum 18-006 of February 6, 2018,[above, under Congressional Developments])."

        Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed the Blackfeet water settlement, in March 2018, and transferred the first $800,000 of an anticipated $470 million. The compact confirmed the tribe's water rights and jurisdiction of over the water on its reservation ("Zinke signs historic Blackfeet water settlement," NFIC, March 2018).

        "BIA Self-Governance Application Deadline of March 1," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-010, February 15th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-010, reported, "The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published a notice in the February 14, 2018, FEDERAL REGISTER that the deadline for Indian tribes/consortia to submit completed applications to begin participation in the Self-Governance program in fiscal year 2019 or calendar year 2019 is March 1, 2018. The notice can be found here:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-02-14/pdf/2018-03075.pdf
        Agreements for fiscal year 2019 need to be signed and submitted to the tribes who are party to the agreement and to Congress by July 1. Agreements for calendar year 2019 need to be signed and submitted by October 1.
        Tribes/consortia that are currently involved in self-governance negotiation with the BIA or already have a signed agreement do not need to respond to the notice."

        "Corrected Self-Governance Grants’ Application Due Dates are June 18," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-021, May 7th, 2018, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-021, reported, "We correct our recent General Memorandum (18-020) regarding the changed due dates for Indian Health Service (IHS) solicitation of applications for Tribal Self-Governance Program Planning Cooperative Agreements and for Tribal Self-Governance Program Negotiation Cooperative Agreements. The IHS, in a FEDERAL REGISTER notice of May 4, 2018, corrected the applications’ due dates to June 18, 2018.
        A copy of the Tribal Self-Governance Planning Cooperative Agreements notice is available here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-04-17/pdf/2018-07942.pdf.
        A copy of the Tribal Self-Governance Negotiation Cooperative Agreement notice is available here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-04-17/pdf/2018-07941.pdf."

        "IHS FY 2018 Tribal Self-Governance Program Planning Cooperative Agreements," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-016, April 20th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-016, reported, "On April 17, 2018, the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced in the FEDERAL REGISTER the availability of FY 2018 cooperative agreements for planning purposes under the Tribal Self-Governance Program (TSGP). This competitive grant program is authorized by Title V, Tribal Self-Governance Amendments of 2000, of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, PL 93-638, as amended. The TSGP is designed to promote self-determination by allowing tribes to assume more control of IHS programs and services through compacts negotiated with the IHS. Applications are due by June 17, 2018. A copy of the notice is available here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-04-17/pdf/2018-07942.pdf
        The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to provide planning resources to tribes interested in participating in the TSGP. Under the agreements tribes may undertake planning such as legal and budget research that leads to a greater understanding of which programs, functions, activities, and services they may want to assume and any organizational changes that may be necessary to do so. They may also be used to help identify programmatic alternatives that will better meet tribal needs. Receipt of a planning grant is not a pre-requisite to enter the TSGP.
        There is $600,000 available to fund up to five tribes to enter the TSGP planning process. Accepted tribes would be awarded up to $120,000 for a 12-month project period (July 15, 2018 to July 14, 2019).
        To be eligible for the planning agreement, the applicant must be a tribe, tribal organization or inter-tribal consortium; and demonstrate financial stability and management capability by having had no significant and material audit exceptions for three previous fiscal years. Alaska Native Villages or Village Corporations are not eligible to apply for this funding if they are located within an area served by an Alaska Native regional health entity (including the Native Village of Eyak, the Eastern Aleutian Tribes, and the Council for Athabascan Tribal Governments which have been deemed Alaska Native regional health entities and are eligible to apply) already participating in the Alaska Tribal Health Compact.
        With regard to the submission of resolution authorizing the application, the IHS states:
        'Submit Tribal resolution(s) from the appropriate governing body of the appropriate Indian Tribe to be served by the ISDEAA Compact authorizing the submission of a Negotiation Cooperative Agreement application. Tribal consortia applying for a TSCP Negotiation Cooperative Agreement shall submit Tribal Council resolutions from each Tribe in the consortium. Tribal resolutions can be attached to the electronic online application.'
The solicitation also provides that an official signed Tribal resolution must be received by the Division of Grants Management prior to a Notice of Award being issued to any applicant selected for funding.
        Applications are to be submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov. Detailed eligibility, application criteria and contact information are contained in the announcement."

        "IHS FY 2018 Self-Governance Program Negotiation Cooperative Agreements," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-017, April 20th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-017, reported, On April 17, 2018, the Indian Health Service (IHS) published in the FEDERAL REGISTER a notice of the availability of FY 2018 cooperative agreements for negotiation under the Tribal Self-Governance Program (TSGP). This competitive grant program is authorized by Title V, Tribal Self-Governance Amendments of 2000, of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, PL 93-638, as amended. The TSGP is designed to promote self-determination by allowing tribes to assume more control of IHS programs and services through compacts negotiated with the IHS. Applications are due by June 17, 2018. A copy of the notice is available here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-04-17/pdf/2018-07941.pdf
        The purpose of the negotiation cooperative agreement is to defray some of the costs tribes incur in preparing for and negotiating compacts and funding agreements. A tribe is not required to have had a negotiation agreement in order to enter the TSGP.
        There is $240,000 available to fund approximately five tribes to enter the TSGP negotiation process for compacts. Awards are expected to be $48,000 each for a 12-month project period (July15, 2018 to July 14, 2019).
To be eligible for a negotiation cooperative agreement, the applicant must be a tribe, tribal organization or inter-tribal consortium; and demonstrate financial stability and management capability by having had no significant and material audit exceptions for three previous fiscal years. Alaska Native Villages or Village Corporations are not eligible to apply for this funding if they are located within an area served by an Alaska Native regional health entity (including the Native Village of Eyak, the Eastern Aleutian Tribes, and the Council for Athabascan Tribal Governments which are deemed Alaska Native regional health entities and are eligible to apply) already participating in the Alaska Tribal Health Compact.
        With regard to the submission of resolutions the IHS states:
'Submit Tribal resolution(s) from the appropriate governing body of the appropriate Indian Tribe to be served by the ISDEAA Compact authorizing the submission of a Negotiation Cooperative Agreement application. Tribal consortia applying for a TSCP Negotiation Cooperative Agreement shall submit Tribal Council resolutions from each Tribe in the consortium. Tribal resolutions can be attached to the electronic online application.'
        The solicitation also provides that an official signed Tribal resolution must be received by the Division of Grants Management prior to a Notice of Award being issued to any applicant selected for funding.
        Applications are to be submitted electronically via www.Grants.gov. Detailed eligibility, application criteria and contact information are contained in the notice."

        "Indian Health Service Soliciting Applications for FY 2018 Loan Repayment Program," Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 18-019, April 25th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-019, reported, "The Indian Health Service (IHS) is soliciting applications, via an April 18, 2018, FEDERAL REGISTER notice, for the repayment of health professions educational loans. Under the Loan Repayment Program (LRP), authorized under Section 108 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the IHS may make awards to persons for the repayment of health professions educational loans in return for full-time clinical service in Indian health programs. The FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE may be found here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-04-18/pdf/2018-07892.pdf and the application materials may be obtained here: http://www.ihs.gov/loanrepayment
        The IHS estimates that it will provide $17.7 million in FY 2018 funds for the LRP, which will support "approximately 384 competing awards averaging $46,210 per award for a two-year contract." Applications for the FY 2018 LRP will be evaluated monthly beginning April 18, 2018, and will continue to be accepted each month thereafter until all funds are exhausted for FY 2018. Subsequent monthly deadline dates are scheduled for Friday of the second full week of each month until August 15, 2018.
        In addition, $9.32 million is estimated to be available for "approximately 373 competing awards averaging $25,000 per award for a one-year extension."
        The attached notice contains a list of priority health professions that will be considered in making awards under the LRP. In addition to the level of need for specific disciplines, factors that will be taken into consideration are: 1) an applicant's length of current employment in the IHS, tribal, or urban program; 2) availability for service earlier than other applicants; and 3) date of receipt of the individual's application.
        The IHS Area Offices and Service Units are authorized to provide supplemental funds for LRP participants for use in their areas, but the total amount cannot exceed the amount authorized by statute plus tax assistance.
Additional information regarding this program may be obtained from: Jacqueline Santiago Chief, IHS Loan Repayment Program, 5600 Fishers Lane Mail Stop: OHR (11E53A), Rockville, Maryland 20857
301-443-3396
        Finally, we note that the IHS, in the Budget Justification regarding its proposed FY 2019 appropriations, has recommended legislation that would allow the IHS loan repayment and scholarship obligations to be allowed for part time work (20 hours per week) in return for four-year clinical service or accept half the amount of IHS discretionary use of awards in exchange for a two-year service obligation; another IHS proposal is for an option to allow combined part-time clinical and part-time administrative work.
        We remind potential applicants that because of the great demand for the IHS loan repayment funds, persons intending to apply should do so early."

        "Indian Health Service Issues Reimbursement Rates for Calendar Year 2018," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-002, January 8th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-002, reported, "The Indian Health Service (IHS) issued in a January 5, 2018, FEDERAL REGISTER notice its Calendar Year (CY) 2018 reimbursement rates applicable to Medicare and Medicaid services provided by IHS-funded health programs (operated by IHS and tribes/tribal organizations). These rates are set annually by IHS, with the concurrence of the Office of Management and Budget, and are based on cost reports compiled by IHS. The notice may be found here:
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-01-05/pdf/2018-00047.pdf
        Medicare Part A (Inpatient Services) rates are not included in the notice as they are paid based on the prospective payment system. A comparison of the 2017 and 2018 rates follows:
Inpatient Hospital Per Diem Rate (Excludes Physician Services) for MEDICAID
CY 2017 CY 201Lower 48 $2,933 $3,229
Alaska $3,235 $3,277
Outpatient Per Visit Rate (Excluding Medicare) for MEDICAIDCY 2017
CY 2018 Lower 48 $391 $427 Alaska $616 $653
Outpatient Per Visit Rate for MEDICARECY 2017 CY 2018 Lower 48 $349 $383
Alaska $577 $595
MEDICARE Part B Inpatient Ancillary Per Diem Rate CY 2017 CY 2018 Lower 48 $ 679 $ 740 Alaska $1,046 $1,061
        The Outpatient Surgery Rates for Medicare are the established Medicare rates for freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Centers."

        Doug Steiger, "ICWA: They Don’t Want You to Know About Your Children: HHS is likely to pull back requirements on states to collect ICWA-related data," ICTMN, June 11, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/opinion/icwa-they-don-t-want-you-to-know-about-your-children-4dcNDaNDckKV05lNvZzFhA/, reported, "ICWA was enacted in the 1970s in response to so many AI/AN children being removed from Indian homes and placed with non-Indian families, making it more difficult for tribes to pass along their cultures to future generations. ICWA puts requirements on states to engage with tribes when their children come into the child welfare system due to alleged neglect or abuse.
        Unfortunately, state compliance with ICWA has been uneven at best. South Dakota, for example, has been repeatedly found in litigation to have failed its obligations under ICWA.
        In an attempt to address this, HHS under President Obama included significant data collection related to ICWA in an update of a regulation governing state child welfare systems, known by its acronym as AFCARS. (Full disclosure – I served at HHS under Obama.)
        This regulation would require states to report on such important issues as whether the child’s parents were members of a tribe and whether a child would qualify for ICWA procedures. The result would be a clearer picture of the extent to which Indian children in a state are – or are not – receiving the protections under ICWA that would help them preserve their tribal connections.
        But the Trump Administration has delayed implementation of the AFCARS regulation and re-opened it for comments, signaling in particular an interest in reducing or even eliminating the data collection related to ICWA. Some states have claimed that they are too burdensome."

        "EPA Announces $2 Million competition for tribes to help clean up diesel engines," ICTMN, June 5, 2018,
"Priority is given to diesel emission reduction projects in Tribal areas facing air quality challenges," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency News release:
​          "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of $2.0 million in grant funding for tribal applicants to establish clean diesel projects. Under this grant competition, each applicant may request up to $800,000 in federal funding.
        'This funding will promote clean diesel projects and enable tribes to improve air quality and public health,' said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. 'EPA will continue to target funds to tribal areas facing significant air quality issues.'
        EPA anticipates awarding up to eight tribal assistance agreements. Projects may include replacing, upgrading or retrofitting school buses, transit buses, heavy-duty diesel trucks, marine engines, locomotives, energy production generators or other diesel engines. Proposals from tribal applicants must be received by Thursday, September 6, 2018.
        The Tribal Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program gives priority to projects that achieve significant reduction in diesel emissions and exposure in areas designated as having poor air quality, and in areas receiving a disproportionate quantity of air pollution from diesel fleets. In addition, funding priority will be given to projects that address the needs and concerns of local communities, use partnerships to leverage additional resources to advance the goals of the project, and demonstrate the ability to promote and continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.
        This competition is part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program, which funds projects that clean up the nation’s legacy fleet of diesel engines. Older diesel engines emit more air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, than newer diesel engines. These pollutants are linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease, other respiratory ailments, and premature death."
        Since 2008, DERA grants have funded projects that have significantly improved air quality and provided critical health benefits by reducing hundreds of thousands of tons of air pollution, while saving millions of gallons of fuel. This is the fifth tribes-specific competition for clean diesel funding. Funding for the first four tribes-specific competitions (2014-2017) ranged from $925,000 to $1.5M per year. Projects included replacement of marine engines, generators used for prime power production, and vehicles, as well as the addition of electrified parking spaces to reduce truck idling.
        For more information on the Tribal Request for Proposals and related documents, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-tribal-grants.
For more information on the National Clean Diesel campaign, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel."

        "Attorney General Sessions Rescinds Obama-Era Marijuana Policy for Indian Tribes," Hobs-Straus General Memorandum 18-001, January 5th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-001, reported, "On January 4, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent the attached memorandum to all United States Attorneys announcing the termination of previous policies issued under the Obama Administration regarding the federal enforcement of federal criminal law prohibitions against marijuana activities in jurisdictions that met key criteria. This new memorandum also rescinds a policy specifically applicable to Indian tribes wishing to engage in marijuana-related activities. The Sessions Memorandum does not replace the rescinded memoranda with any new guidance.
        The 2013 Cole Memorandum to U.S. Attorneys described situations in which each U.S. Attorney could exercise discretion not to take enforcement actions against individuals or officials in states which had in place robust regulatory and enforcement systems governing recreational or medicinal marijuana production, processing, and sales. The Cole Memorandum described eight priority areas that the states would have to address - including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, the use of marijuana in criminal activities, and the diversion of marijuana to states that have not legalized marijuana. In 2014, the U.S. Justice Department issued similar guidance to U.S. Attorneys through the Wilkinson Memorandum regarding the production, processing, and sale of recreational and medicinal marijuana in Indian Country. In states such as Washington, Oregon, and Nevada, a number of Indian tribes have entered both the recreational and medicinal marijuana markets since the issuance of the Wilkinson Memorandum. Others have been considering undertaking such enterprises. Those tribes will need to review the Sessions Memorandum and review their legal options going forward.
        The Sessions Memorandum makes clear that the Cole and Wilkinson Memoranda are no longer in effect and that all U.S. Attorneys are free to prosecute marijuana related activities under existing federal laws and in accordance with the U.S. Attorney's Manual.
        We note that, of course, the Cole and Wilkson Memoranda did not legalize marijuana in the states and Indian Country. Both memoranda stated that the U.S. Attorneys always retained the power and discretion to take enforcement action as they saw necessary. Thus, the Sessions Memorandum does nothing to change any federal laws. Furthermore, the Sessions Memorandum provides that U.S. Attorneys retain their discretion to investigate or prosecute marijuana crimes based upon 'relevant considerations' including 'federal law enforcement priorities, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community.' Thus, it is possible that U.S. Attorneys who already have declined to take actions against actors in states which have legalized marijuana will continue to decline to do so. The same possibility exists for Indian Country as well.
        We also note that the Sessions Memorandum rescinds the 2014 Cole Memorandum (also called the FinCen Memorandum) regarding the ability of banks and other financial institutions to provide their services to marijuana-related businesses and still comply with the Bank Secrecy Act. Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions have remained leery about providing services to marijuana-related businesses and the Sessions Memorandum will likely have a further chilling effect on the financial industry and its willingness to provide banking services to individuals, organizations, and tribes involved in the marijuana industry.
        The Sessions Memorandum does not address the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment which currently prevents the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to prevent states from "implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana." (The Amendment only addresses medicinal marijuana and not recreational marijuana.) The Amendment was set to expire at the end of FY 2017 (September 30, 2017) but several continuing resolutions (CRs) have been enacted since that time which largely extended FY 2017 terms and conditions (including the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment) to January 19, 2018. It is unclear if Congress will pass another short-term CR that extends the Amendment or if Congress will include the Amendment in any deal they reach on an FY 2018 Omnibus spending bill. If not, the Amendment and its protections will expire.
        The impetus for any new federal investigations or prosecutions against actors in Indian Country will continue to be determined on a case-by-case basis by each U.S. Attorney. Because of the lack of any new guidance, there remains a great deal of uncertainty as to whether U.S. Attorneys in states covering Indian Country will begin new enforcement actions against tribes, tribal businesses, or consultants in the tribal marijuana industry."

        On Department of Justice tribal consultations, see "Tribal Governments Gain Access to Crime Victims Fund and AMBER Alert Funds; Tribal Consultation Teleconferences to be Held June 12 and 14," in Congressional Developments, above.

        "DOJ Background Paper on Tribal Access to Crime Victims Fund; Comments Due June 29; FY 2019 Appropriations Bills Would Continue Tribal Access." Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-023, June 15th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-023, reported, The Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking comments on the provision of direct tribal access to the Crime Victims Fund (Fund) for FY 2018. Consultation calls were held this week and written comments are being accepted through June 29, 2018. The DOJ's background paper is attached and described below. So far for FY 2019, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have each approved bills which would continue the provision of direct tribal access to the Crime Victims Fund. Direct access to the Fund means that tribes are now directly eligible for millions of dollars to assist victims of crime.
        Background. The Fund comes from the collection of federal criminal fines, penalties and assessments, not taxpayer funds. It is not subject to the appropriations process except that in annual appropriations bills, Congress places a cap on how much of these monies will be distributed from the Fund. The FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act provided the first ever direct tribal allocation under the Crime Victims Fund (Fund). The allocation is three percent, which for FY 2018, amounts to $133 million. (The spending cap for the entire Fund in FY 2018 is $4.4 billion.)
        Consultation on the FY 2018 Tribal Set Aside. On June 12 and 14, the DOJ held tribal consultation calls on the tribal set aside for FY 2018 (see our General Memorandum 18-022 of June 1, 2018). The attached background paper, which was released after our memo was published, provides a short explanation of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) (the authorizing statue for the Fund), including a list of eligible categories of activities for awards from the Fund. The DOJ notes the time pressure they are under to disperse these funds: the last day of FY 2018 is September 30, 2018. The paper explains that the DOJ is particularly interested in receiving feedback on the following questions:
        1) What can the Department do to ensure that information about the funding is available to all eligible potential applicants?;
        2) What can the Department do to encourage eligible entities to apply for this funding?; and
        3) Are there other activities and/or items that may be funded under VOCA that the Department should consider funding?
        Written comments are to be submitted on or before 5:00 PM, ET on June 29, 2018 via email to ovctribalsetaside@ojp.usdoj.gov or via first class mail to:
Office for Victims of Crime
Office of Justice Programs
810 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531
Attn.: Allison Turkel
        Further information can be found at the DOJ's page for the tribal set aside: https://www.ovc.gov/news/fy18-tribal-set-aside.html
        Status of the FY 2019 Tribal Set Aside. As we reported in our General Memorandum 18-022 the House Appropriations Committee has approved its FY 2019 appropriations bill which funds the Department of Justice (the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill) and it includes a five percent tribal allocation from the Fund. The cap for the Fund is set in the bill at $2.6 billion. Five percent of that is $130 million, roughly the same amount of tribal funding as in FY 2018. Since that memo, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its FY 2019 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill and it includes a five percent tribal allocation. Notable, however, is that the Senate Appropriations Committee's version would set the cap for the Fund at $4.4 billion, resulting in $220 million for tribes in FY 2019, if enacted. We are hopeful that as Congress considers FY 2019 appropriations bill that the tribal set aside will remain intact.
        Multi-Year Authorization Still Pending. The drawback to securing a tribal set aside through the appropriations process is that it only applies to the fiscal year for which the bill is written. Ultimately, the underlying law will need to be amended in order to provide a permanent tribal allocation. In the current Congress there is legislation pending in the House (HR 4608, Rep. O'Halleran (D-AZ)) and Senate (S 1870, Sen. Hoeven (D-ND)) which would provide a five percent tribal allocation for 10 years."

        Kim Maida, "#Honornativeland Campaign Aims To Raise Awareness Of Native Sovereignty And Rights," Cultural Survival, March 07, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/honornativeland-campaign-aims-raise-awareness-native-sovereignty-and-rights, reported, "The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) launched a new campaign called Honor Native Land in October 2017 that calls on individuals and organizations 'to open all public events and gatherings with an acknowledgment of the traditional Native inhabitants of the land.' Whether it be in a conference setting, classroom, place of worship or sports stadium, the practice of honoring the historic relationship Indigenous Peoples have with the land is a crucial step in the process of decolonization and reconciliation. It’s an act of respect toward Native peoples who have lived and continue to live on their land despite centuries of dispossession and oppression. According to the USDAC website, 75 organizations have already signed the pledge to make acknowledgment a regular practice including arts organizations, non-profits and educational institutions.
        The USDAC notes that acknowledgment is an important way to prevent the perpetuation of distorted history, it’s 'a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth.' It’s also seen as a way of exposing people, some for the first time, to the traditional inhabitants of the land they live on and interact with every day, therefor paving a way toward greater understanding of Native sovereignty and cultural rights.          Acknowledgment is intended to be a first step in addressing past injustices that when paired with 'authentic relationships and informed action' can lead to legitimate change.
        In Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, acknowledgment is not only common but is mandated by policy. In 2016, Toronto Public Schools began opening school days with an acknowledgment of the Indigenous inhabitants of the area, showing their commitment to instilling this practice in younger generations. In the United States, some individuals and institutions have adopted this practice, but the vast majority have not. The Honor Native Land campaign seeks to make acknowledgment a regular practice at all public and private events to increase public awareness and ideally promote further action.
        In partnership with Native allies and organizations including the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and Indigenous Direction, the USDAC has created a guide that offers a step by step process of how to research, formulate and deliver an acknowledgment of traditional lands. The guide emphasizes the importance of thoroughly researching local Indigenous Peoples in the area before making any statements. Identifying who to acknowledge can be complicated because of the history of erasure that has occurred along with resettlement and federal recognition issues, for this reason the guide suggests one on one dialogue with Native communities first. This way any acknowledgements respect the wishes of how Indigenous Peoples want to be named.
        A part of the campaign also includes using Native art that is downloadable on the USDAC website to acknowledge traditional lands. The posters designed by Native artists are customizable to include the Indigenous Peoples living in the area. To learn more about the practice of acknowledgement you can access the Honor Native Land Guide on the USDAC website at:  https://usdac.us/nativeland."

        "NIGC Announces the Publication of Final Rule for Part 547 Minimum Technical Standards for Class II Gaming Systems and Equipment," December 27, 2017, https://www.nigc.gov/news/detail/nigc-announces-the-publication-of-final-rule-for-part-547, stated, "The NIGC announces the culmination of two years of active engagement with tribes, the Indian gaming industry, and the public, on December 27, 2017, in the publication of an amendment to its regulations establishing minimum technical standards for Class II gaming systems and equipment. These amended standards continue to promote the integrity of Indian gaming while fostering the entrepreneurial spirit of tribes.
        The final rule amends part 547 to remove the sunset provision requiring systems manufactured before 2008 to either be compliant with all 547 standards or be removed from the gaming floor. Instead, the amended rule requires an additional annual review of the 2008 Systems by TGRA's and requires all modifications of Class II gaming systems to be compliant with post-2008 standards as verified by uniform independent laboratory testing and approved by the applicable TGRA.
        Consistent with the NIGC mission, this final rule comes after a series of substantial consultations with tribes. The feedback received during these consultations, as well as comments from the industry and the public, were essential in the commission’s decision to amend the regulation. “This final rule is good for the Indian gaming industry. It allows Tribes to continue to offer the Class II systems that their players continue to expect while at the same time ensuring the integrity of the industry. It is a result of working hand in hand with our regulatory partners to protect the industry while also protecting the entrepreneurial spirit of Indian country.” Chairman of the NIGC, Jonodev Chaudhuri said, “This is what good regulation is about – protecting the industry while not overregulating.”
        The final rule can be found in the Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/27/2017-27945/minimum-technical-standards-for-class-ii-gaming-systems-and-equipment
        EFFECTIVE DATE: January 26, 2018, FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Austin Badger, National Indian Gaming Commission; 1849 C Street NW., MS 1621, Washington, DC 20240. Telephone: 202–632–7003."

         For other actions by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NICG) go to: https://www.nigc.gov.


Federal Indian Budgets

FY 2018 Omnibus Enacted, Includes Indian Affairs
Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-014
April 11th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-014

On March 23, 2018, the President signed the FY 2018 Omnibus spending
bill (HR 1625) into law as PL 115-141, thus averting a government shutdown. The Omnibus funds the entire federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year (through September 30, 2018) and provides billions of dollars in increases for both domestic and defense discretionary spending above what the House and Senate had originally contemplated for FY 2018. These increases are possible because earlier this year, Congress reached a deal to increase the discretionary spending caps for both FY 2018 and FY 2019, titled the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (see our General Memorandum 18-008 of February 9, 2018), thus creating room for targeted spending increases on certain priorities. In this memorandum, we report on the FY 2018 funding for Indian Affairs (which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)), as well as a few other selected programs under the Department of Interior Title. For Indian Affairs, the lion's share of the increases were directed to the BIA Construction accounts and the BIA Public Safety and Justice account. Also, a one-time increase was directed to the BIE Post-Secondary account to complete the transition to a forward funded funding cycle for all tribal colleges and universities.
Guidance on Implementation. In lieu of a Conference Report, the Omnibus is accompanied by a Joint Explanatory Statement, which provides guidance on its implementation. Prior to enactment of the Omnibus, the House Appropriations Committee had reported out their version of an Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill (HR 3354) and report (H. Rept. 115-238) (see our General Memorandum 17-044 of August 25, 2017) but the Senate Appropriations Committee did not report out their own version. Instead, they later released an unofficial "Chairman's Mark" (see our General Memorandum 18-003 of January 16, 2018). Thus, the Joint Explanatory Statement explains that it is only H. Rept. 115-238 and the Joint Explanatory Statement which are to be complied with. We note that the Joint Explanatory Statement does repeat some language from the Senate Chairman's Mark. The following guidance is found at the beginning of Division G (Interior, Environment and Related Agencies) of the Joint Explanatory Statement:
Unless otherwise noted, the language set forth in House Report 115-238 carries the same weight as language included in this joint explanatory statement and should be complied with unless specifically addressed to the contrary in this joint explanatory statement. While some language is repeated for emphasis, it is not intended to negate the language referred to above unless expressly provided herein.
In instances where the House report speaks more broadly to policy issues or offers views that are subject to interpretation, such views remain those of the House and are not affirmed by this explanatory statement unless repeated herein. In cases where the House report or this explanatory statement directs the submission of a report, such report is to be submitted to both the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. Where this explanatory statement refers to the Committees or the Committees on Appropriations, unless otherwise noted, this reference is to the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and the Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.
INDIAN AFFAIRS (IA) OVERVIEW
The Omnibus provides $3 billion for Indian Affairs. This reflects not only a wholesale rejection of the $371.7 million in cuts proposed by the Trump Administration (including the proposed cuts to the Tiwahe Initiative) and a consensus on updating the estimate for Contract Support Costs, but also a $203.8 million increase above FY 2017. In keeping with prior years, the following statement of values was included in the House Report:
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs (together, "Indian Affairs") provide services directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts to a service population of more than 1.7 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) who are enrolled members of 567 federally recognized Tribes in the 48 contiguous United States and Alaska. While the role of the organization has changed significantly in the last four decades in response to a greater emphasis on Indian self-determination, Tribes still look to Indian Affairs for a broad spectrum of services. Almost 85 percent of all appropriations are expended at the local level, and over 62 percent of appropriations provided directly to Tribes and Tribal organizations through grants, contracts, and compacts. In preparation for the fiscal year 2018 appropriation bill, the Subcommittee held two days of hearings and received testimony from over 75 witnesses on a variety of topics pertaining to AI/AN programs. The Federal government has a legal and moral obligation to provide quality services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. On a nonpartisan basis, the Committee continues to protect and, where possible, strengthen the budgets for Indian Country programs in this bill in order to address longstanding and underfunded needs [emphasis added].
Indian Affairs-Specific Guidance on Implementation, Including: Fixed Costs, Transfers and Reports. The Joint Explanatory Statement, expanding on the general implementation guidance provided at the beginning of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Division, provides the following Indian Affairs-specific guidance:
The Bureaus are expected to execute their budgets in accordance with the justification submitted to the Congress, except as otherwise directed below or in the funding allocation table at the end of this report. The table has been expanded to include additional lines for the Bureau of Indian Education and Public Safety and Justice. The Bureaus are reminded of the guidance and reporting requirements contained in House Report 115-238 that should be complied with unless specifically addressed to the contrary herein, as explained in the front matter of this explanatory statement. The Committees also expect the timely submission of reporting requirements as contained in House Report 115-238 and as outlined in this explanatory statement. The agreement includes requested fixed costs and transfers except where discussed below, and the following details and instructions.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) Recommendations. The Joint Explanatory Statement states:
The Committees are concerned about the addition of several programs to the Government Accountability Office's 2017 high-risk list (GA0-17-317). The inclusion of these programs to this list indicate there are several challenges to overcome in order to improve the Federal management of programs that serve Tribes and their members. The Committees stand ready to work with the Bureaus to implement the necessary GAO recommendations.
NATIVE Act Implementation. Both the House Report and the Joint Explanatory Statement provide funding for and direction to the Administration on implementing the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act ("NATIVE Act", PL 114-221). The NATIVE Act is designed to facilitate international and domestic tourism in tribal communities via updating federal agency tourism strategies and providing increased resources and technical assistance to tribes, tribal organizations, and Native Hawaiian organizations for their tourism efforts. The focus of the NATIVE Act is the utilization of tribal communities' rich and diverse cultures and histories in the visitor experience (see our General Memorandum 16-060 of October 7, 2016).
Request for Indian Reorganization Act – Carcieri Fix Not Included. Each fiscal year from FY 2011 to FY 2017, the Obama Administration requested and Congress continued to not provide language which would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's 2009 decision that the Secretary of the Interior does not have authority to take land into trust for tribes who came under federal jurisdiction after 1934. The Trump Administration did not request this Carcieri Fix language, nor Congress provide it.
OPERATION OF INDIAN PROGRAMS
FY 2017 Enacted $2,339,346,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $2,082,506,000
FY 2018 House $2,362,211,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $2,365,373,000
FY 2018 Enacted $2,411,200,000
Operation of Indian Programs (OIP) budget includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).
BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
FY 2017 Enacted $1,447,833,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $1,296,134,000 FY 2018 House $1,458,999,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $1,476,517,000
FY 2018 Enacted $1,496,787,000
Activities within the Bureau of Indian Affairs are: Tribal Government; Human Services; Trust-Natural Resources Management; Trust-Real Estate Services; Public Safety and Justice; Community and Economic Development; and Executive Direction and Administrative Services.
TRIBAL GOVERNMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $308,815,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $290,307,000
FY 2018 House $312,600,000
FY2018 Senate Committee Mark $316,007,000
FY 2018 Enacted $317,967,000
The Tribal Government sub-activities are: Aid to Tribal Government; Consolidated Tribal Government Program; Self-Governance Compacts; New Tribes; Small and Needy Tribes; Road Maintenance; and Tribal Government Program Oversight. (Spending levels by sub-activity are found on p. 1 of the attached chart.)
Congress rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out funding for the Small and Needy Tribes sub-activity. For some sub-activities, modest increases are provided.
Consolidated Tribal Government Program. Congress rejected the Administration's requests for changes to this program, stating the following in the Joint Explanatory Statement:
The Committees are concerned about the Consolidated Tribal Government Program internal transfer of $1,733,000 and have not agreed to any changes from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level of $75,429,000 for this program. The Bureau is directed to report back to the Committees within 30 days of enactment of this Act with a description of the number of Tribes that use this program and how increases for this program compare to others that offer similar services.
New Tribes. This sub-activity provides $160,000 in Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) base funding per tribe to support newly federally-recognized tribes. Once a tribe has been acknowledged, it remains in this category for three fiscal years. The Administration proposed $160,000 (level funding) to assist the newly-recognized Pamunkey Tribe. Congress ultimately provided $1,120,000--enough to fund not only the Pamunkey Tribe but also the six Virginia tribes who were federally recognized after the Administration had already submitted its FY 2018 Budget Justification (see our General Memorandum 18-006 of February 6, 2018). In addition to providing this increase, Congress urged the Administration to, "efficiently administer the Tribal recognition process and strongly encourage action on pending requests."
Small and Needy Tribes. The purpose of this sub-activity is to provide small tribes with a minimum Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) base funding by which they can support their tribal governments. Congress rejected the Administration's request to zero out this sub-activity, instead providing level funding ($4,448,000) and explaining that the amount appropriated is for "ensuring that all Tribes receive the maximum base level provided by the Bureau to run Tribal governments."
Road Maintenance. Congress provided a $4.3 million increase for this sub-activity, specifying in the Joint Explanatory Statement that:
Road maintenance is funded at $34,653,000 and includes $1,000,000 to improve the condition of unpaved roads and bridges used by school buses transporting students, and $1,000,000 for road maintenance in support of implementing the NATIVE Act (P.L. 114-221). The Bureau is directed to report back to the Committees within 60 days of enactment of this Act on how the Bureau plans to allocate the funds provided in the bill and the progress being made to implement the GAO recommendations outlined in the report GA0-17-423.
Authorization for the BIA to Accept Road Funding From U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Act includes the following provision:
Provided further, That the Bureau of Indian Affairs may accept transfers of funds from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to supplement any other funding available for reconstruction or repair of roads owned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as identified on the National Tribal Transportation Facility Inventory, 23 U.S.C. 202(b)(1).
The Joint Explanatory Statement explains:
The Committees are aware that in some areas along the border, including the areas of the Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona, and the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Tribes work together on border security. The Committees have included bill language to support the transfer of funds from CBP to BIA, in consultation with affected Tribes, for the reconstruction or repair of BIA owned roads needed as a result of cooperative security efforts on the U.S. border.
HUMAN SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $159,161,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $123,949,000
FY 2018 House $159,540,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $161,063,000
FY 2018 Enacted $161,063,000
The Human Services sub-activities are: Social Services; Welfare Assistance; Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA); Housing Improvement Program (HIP); Human Services Tribal Design; and Human Services Program Oversight. (Spending levels by sub-activity are found on p. 2 of the attached chart.)
Tiwahe Initiative. Congress rejected the Administration's proposed cuts to the individual Human Services sub-activities (many of which support the broader Tiwahe Initiative) as well as the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Tiwahe Initiative demonstration project and the Housing Improvement Program sub-activity. Instead, the House Report affirms the importance of culturally-appropriate services to strengthen families and communities:
The Committee continues to recognize the importance of providing culturally-appropriate services with the goals of empowering individuals and families through health promotion, family stability, and strengthening Tribal communities as a whole. Indian Affairs is urged to make services available to law enforcement officers, in coordination with the Indian Health Service.
The Joint Explanatory Statement elaborates:
The agreement … includes funding to continue the Tiwahe initiative at the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The Bureau is directed to report back to the Committees within 90 days of enactment of this Act on the performance measures being used to monitor and track the Tiwahe initiative's effectiveness in Indian Country. The Committees are aware of the pressing needs women and children face in domestic violence situations; therefore, the Committees expect at least $200,000 from human services activities be used to support women and children's shelters that are serving the needs of multiple Tribes or Alaska Native Villages in the areas served by the Tiwahe pilot sites.
Welfare Assistance. The Congress, in the Joint Explanatory Statement, requests the following report:
The Committees are concerned about the funding distribution for welfare assistance and direct the Bureau to report back to the Committees within 30 days of enactment of this Act on how this funding would be distributed.
TRUST–NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $200,992,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $165,462,000
FY 2018 House $200,340,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $203,935,000
FY 2018 Enacted $204,202,000
The Trust–Natural Resources Management sub-activities are: Natural Resources, general; Irrigation Operation and Maintenance; Rights Protection Implementation; Tribal Management/Development Programs; Endangered Species; Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation; Integrated Resource Information; Agriculture and Range; Forestry; Water Resources; Fish/Wildlife & Parks; and Resource Management Oversight. (Spending levels by sub-activity are found on p. 2 of the attached chart.)
Congress rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, as well as the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation sub-activity. Instead, Congress funded the Trust–Natural Resources Management sub-activities at close to FY 2017 enacted levels.
Irrigation Operation and Maintenance. Notably, the Administration requested a rare $1.1 million increase for this sub-activity to which Congress agreed. As the Administration explains, this increase would be directed towards the Operations and Maintenance for the Gallegos Pumping Plant because in FY 2016, the responsibility for the plant was transferred from the Bureau of Reclamation to the BIA without any accompanying funds.
Transfer to the Tribal Management/Development Program. The Joint Explanatory Statement states, "The agreement includes $355,000 in the Tribal Management Development Program (TMDP) for fisheries activities previously funded within the Forestry program. Future funding requests should reflect the transfer of this activity to TMDP.
Cooperative Agreements and Alaska Subsistence. The Joint Explanatory Statement explains:
It is the Committees' understanding that the Bureau has entered into cooperative agreements with the Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission and the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission, and with other organizations interested in establishing similar agreements; therefore, it is the Committees' expectation that within the funding provided for the Tribal Management Development Program (TMDP), pilot projects and programs for Alaska subsistence will continue.
Resiliency and Resource Management Agreements with Tribes.
The House Report provides:
The Committee supports the Bureau of Indian Affairs' efforts to address the resiliency needs of Tribal communities by working to address threats to public safety, natural resources, and sacred sites. Consistent with the Federal government's treaty and trust obligations, the Committee directs the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work with at-risk Tribes to identify and expedite the necessary resources.
The Department of the Interior is expected to promote and expand the use of agreements with Indian Tribes to protect Indian trust resources from catastrophic wildland fire, insect and disease infestation, or other threats from adjacent Federal lands, as authorized by law.
The Joint Explanatory Statement provides:
Consistent with treaty and trust obligations, the Committees direct the Bureau to work with at risk Tribes to identify and expedite the necessary resources to address the resiliency needs of Tribal communities.
The Department of the Interior is expected to promote and expand the use of agreements with Indian Tribes to protect Indian trust resources from catastrophic wildfire, insect and disease infestation, or other threats from adjacent Federal lands, as authorized by law. The Committees direct the Bureau to coordinate with the Office of Wildland Fire to submit a report describing how the Department determines the use of wildfire suppression and rehabilitation resources and prioritizes Indian forest land, the title to which is held by the United States in trust.
Water Resources. The House Report and the Joint Explanatory Statement state that of the amount appropriated for the Water Resources sub-activity, $390,000 is to continue the Seminole and Miccosukee water study.
Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
Within the amounts provided for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the agreement continues $545,000 for substantially producing Tribal hatcheries in BIA's Northwest Region currently not receiving annual BIA hatchery operations funding. This funding should be allocated in the same manner as in fiscal year 2017 but should be considered base funding in fiscal year 2018 and thereafter.
The House Report specifies and that of the amount appropriated for the Fish, Wildlife and Parks sub-activity, $9,933,000 is for Projects.
Tribal Partnerships with USGS. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
The Bureau is directed to enter into a formal partnership with local Tribes and the United States Geological Survey to help develop a water quality strategy for transboundary rivers.
Funding Distributions for Tribes East of the Mississippi River. The Joint Explanatory Statement provides:
The Committees expect that Tribes east of the Mississippi River who have resource challenges also receive appropriate funding.
TRUST–REAL ESTATE SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $123,092,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $112,046,000
FY 2018 House $126,708,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $128,371,000
FY 2018 Enacted $129,841,000
The Trust–Real Estate Services sub-activities are: Trust Services; Navajo-Hopi Settlement Program; Land Title and Records Offices; Real Estate Services; Land Records Improvement; Environmental Quality; Alaska Native Programs; Rights Protection; and Trust-Real Estate Services Oversight. (The attached chart does not break down spending levels by sub-activity for the Trust–Real Estate Services activity.)
Congress rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, including the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Alaska Native Programs sub-activity and the Litigation Support/Attorney Fees program element within the Rights Protection sub-activity. The Joint Explanatory Statement explains:
The agreement provides $129,841,000 for real estate services. All program elements within this subactivity are continued at fiscal year 2017 enacted levels plus fixed costs and transfers, except where discussed below.
The following line items each receive a $500,000 program increase: land title and records offices; land records improvement-regional; and regional oversight. The Bureau is expected to distribute the program increases to regional offices to address administrative backlogs for Trust Real Estate Services programs.
Alaska Native Programs. Congress not only rejected the Administration's proposal to zero out the sub-activity, they provided a $400,000 increase for a total of $1,470,000, in order to, "support a program level of $450,000 for the ANCSA Historical Places and Cemetery Sites Program."
Outstanding Title Conveyance Requests.
The House Report directs:
The Committee directs the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to have no outstanding title conveyance requests older than 12 months, including those who have been initially rejected by the Land Titles and Record Offices for insufficient or incorrect documentation in TAAMS, by September, 2018. The Committee expects an update on the status of their outstanding conveyances by September, 2018 and a report on what the BIA will be changing in their operations policy to ensure these backlogs and documentation related rejections do not occur in the future.
The Joint Explanatory Statement reinforces the direction in the House Report:
As discussed in House Report 115-238, the Committees expect an update on the status of outstanding conveyances by September 2018, and an update on what the Bureau will be changing in its operations policy to ensure backlogs and documentation-related rejections do not occur in the future.
Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act. The Joint Explanatory Statement repeats the House Report language:
The Committees direct the Secretary, or his designee, to work with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to identify appropriate lands in Clallam County, Washington, to satisfy the requirements of section 7 of the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act (P.L. 102-495).
Report on Implementation of a 1992 Law that Transferred a BIA Administrative Site in Bethel, AK to the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
The Secretary, in consultation with other interested agencies, is directed to provide a report to Congress, on or before August 1, 2018, on the estimated cost of responses that are necessary under applicable Federal and State laws to protect human health and the environment with respect to any hazardous substance or hazardous waste remaining on the property as authorized by section 13 of Public Law 102-497.
Abandoned Wells. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
A program increase of $3,000,000 is included for the plugging of abandoned wells not under Bureau of Land Management authority. The Committees direct the BIA to conduct an inventory of wells for which the BIA is responsible to reclaim, including cost estimates for submission to the Committees within 180 days of enactment of this Act.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE
FY 2017 Enacted $385,735,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $349,314,000
FY 2018 House $390,417,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $393,588,000
FY 2018 Enacted $405,520,000
The Public Safety and Justice sub-activities are: Law Enforcement; Tribal Courts; and Fire Protection. (Spending levels by sub-activity and program element are found on p. 5 of the attached chart.)
Congress rejected all of the Administration's proposed cuts, including the proposal to eliminate funding for the Tiwahe Initiative-funded pilot programs focused on reducing recidivism in five targeted Indian communities. Further, Congress provided important increases, including $7.5 million to address the impacts of opioid addiction and a $3 million increase for tribal justice needs in PL 280 states.
Law Enforcement Funding for Restored Tribes. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
The Committees understand that several Tribes whose Federal recognition was terminated and then subsequently restored now face significant challenges in securing law enforcement funding through self-determination contracts. The Bureau is directed to work with affected Tribes to assess their law enforcement needs and submit a report within 120 days of enactment of this Act that details the amounts necessary to provide sufficient law enforcement capacity for them.
NAGPRA Implementation. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
Included within Criminal Investigations and Police Services is $1,000,000 to implement the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
New Funding to Address the Impacts of Opioid Addictions. This funding was added after Congress reached a deal to increase the FY 2018 domestic discretionary spending cap. The Joint Explanatory Statement provides:
Included within Criminal Investigations and Police Services is … $7,500,000 to help people affected by opioid addiction.
Program Funding for Recently Constructed Facilities. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
Within Detention/Corrections is a $1,400,000 increase for recently constructed facilities that do not currently have existing program funding within the BIA budget; additional funding in future years will be considered as information becomes available.
Educational and Health-Related Services for Individuals in Tribal Detention Centers Considered Allowable Costs. The House continued language from the FY 2017 House Report, stating:
For the purpose of addressing the needs of juveniles in custody at Tribal detention centers operated or administered by the BIA, educational and health-related services to juveniles in custody are allowable costs for detention/corrections program funding. Indian Affairs is urged to provide mental health and substance abuse services when needed by juvenile and adult detainees and convicted prisoners.
Tiwahe Initiative: Reducing Recidivism. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
Within Law Enforcement Special Initiatives is $3,033,000 to reduce recidivism through the Tiwahe initiative.
Tribal Courts and Tribal Justice Support in PL 280 States. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs funding to tribes affected by PL 83-280 and urges the BIA to take the following actions:
Within Tribal Justice Support is … $13,000,000 to address the needs of Tribes affected by Public Law 83- 280.
The Committees remain concerned about Tribal courts' needs as identified in the Indian Law and Order Commission's November 2013 report, which notes that Federal investment in Tribal justice in "P.L. 280" States has been more limited than elsewhere in Indian Country. The Committees expect the Bureau to continue to work with Tribes and Tribal organizations in these States to consider options that promote, design, or pilot Tribal court systems for Tribal communities subject to full or partial State jurisdiction under Public Law 83-280.
VAWA Implementation. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
Within Tribal Justice Support is $2,000,000 to implement the Violence Against Women Act for both training and specific Tribal court needs.
Office of Justice Services. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
Within Law Enforcement Program Management is a $500,000 increase for the Office of Justice Services' District III Office to promote timely payments.
COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $41,844,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $39,464,000
FY 2018 House $45,447,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $44,047,000
FY 2018 Enacted $46,447,000
The Community and Economic Development sub-activities are: Job Placement and Training; Economic Development; Minerals and Mining; and Community Development Oversight. (The attached chart does not break down spending levels by sub-activity for the Community and Economic Development activity.)
Congress rejected all of the Administration's proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out the elements of the Tiwahe Initiative funded under Job Placement and Training sub-activity. Congress also provided targeted increases to fund implementation of the NATIVE Act and to modernize the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System (NIOGEMS).
Continuation of the Tiwahe Initiative. Elements of the Tiwahe Initiative are funded by the Job Placement and Training sub-activity. Congress provided $12,549,000 for Job Placement and Training and designated $1,550,000 of those funds for the Tiwahe Initiative.
Economic Development. According to the FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, "This funding assists tribes in developing programs to build business or commercial capacity for individual tribal members, as well as opportunities for business and energy development to enhance reservation economies." Congress provided $1,826,000 for this sub-activity (near the FY 2017 level).
Implementation of the NATIVE Act. Congress provided $5,656,000 for the Community Development-Central Oversight program element, and designated $3.4 million of those funds "to implement the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act, including via cooperative agreements with Tribes or Tribal organizations."
Minerals and Mining and the Indian Energy Service Center. This sub-activity promotes and provides technical assistance for the development of renewable energy, conventional energy, and mineral resources. It also funds the Indian Energy Service Center, which Congress initially funded in FY 2016. The Center is to be tasked with expediting leasing, permitting, and reporting on conventional and renewable energy on Indian lands. For FY 2017, both the House and Senate report language pushed the Department of Interior to get the Energy Service Center up and running, requesting a report on the status of the Center and directing the Department of Interior to submit a budget request for FY 2018 to fund the next phase of the Center. For FY 2018, the Administration proposed to shield the Minerals and Mining sub-activity from the most onerous cuts, specifically protecting the funding for the Indian Energy Service Center. Ultimately, Congress continued to fund the Minerals and Mining sub-activity and the House directed Administration to submit a budget request in FY 2019 for the next phase of the Service Center.
Minerals and Mining and NIOGEMS. Congress provided a $1 million increase for the Minerals and Mining sub-activity and directed that to "the modernization of oil and gas records including the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System (NIOGEMS)" Further, the Joint Explanatory Statement requests the following report:
The Committees understand that the NIOGEMS has been distributed to some Tribes and regional offices; the Bureau is instructed to report back within 120 days of enactment of this Act on the cost to further expand this system to more reservations and offices.
GAO High Risk Report. The Joint Explanatory Statement requests the following report:
The recent high risk GAO report (GA0-17-317) found the Bureau does not properly manage Indian energy resources. The Committees request the Bureau to report back within 180 days of enactment of this Act outlining any barriers, statutory or regulatory, that impede development of these resources.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $228,824,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $215,592,000
FY 2018 House $223,947,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $229,506,000
FY 2018 Enacted $231,747,000
The Executive Direction and Administrative Services sub-activities are: Assistant Secretary Support; Executive Direction; Administrative Services; Safety and Risk Management; Information Resources Technology; Human Capital Management; Facilities Management; Intra-Governmental Payments; and Rentals. (The attached chart does not break down spending levels by sub-activity for the Executive Direction and Administrative Services activity.)
Congress rejected most of the Administration's proposed cuts, explaining, "All budget line items are funded at fiscal year 2017 enacted levels and adjusted for fixed costs and transfers, except for human capital management and intragovernmental payments, which are funded at the requested levels." Most of the Administration's proposed cuts had been in the form of proposed staffing cuts—60 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions, along with the proposed elimination of 13 vacant FTE positions.
Health and Safety Inspections of BIE Schools.
The House Report directs:
Indian Affairs is directed to complete annual health and safety inspections of all BIE system facilities, and to submit quarterly updates on the status of such inspections to the Committee. The Committee is deeply disappointed by continued GAO reports of shortcomings and delays in school safety inspections and repairs. Self-determination does not absolve the Federal government of the responsibility to inspect and repair buildings it owns. The Bureau is urged to exercise its authority to reassume the operation of federally-owned but tribally-operated schools when necessary.
The Joint Explanatory Statement echoes the request:
Indian Affairs is directed to complete annual health and safety inspections and background checks at all BIE system facilities, and to submit quarterly updates on the status of such efforts to the Committees.
Operating and Law Enforcement Needs for Treaty Fishing Sites on the Columbia River. The Joint Explanatory statement directs:
The Committees note that the Bureau has not yet complied with the fiscal year 2017 directive to provide a report on funding requirements associated with operating and law enforcement needs for congressionally authorized treaty fishing sites on the Columbia River. The Bureau is directed to transmit the report no later than 30 days following enactment of this Act. The Bureau is also urged to incorporate unfunded needs for these sites as part of future budget requests.
Report on Impacts of the Closure of the Navajo Generating Station Power Plant. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
Within 60 days on enactment of this Act, the Bureau is directed to make funds provided within executive direction available to solicit proposals from independent non-profit or academic entities to prepare a report on the likely impacts of the closure of the Navajo Generating Station power plant on affected Tribes, State and local governments and other stakeholders within the Four Comers region. In consultation with impacted Tribes, an entity shall be selected to prepare a report within 12 months of the award that (1) details potential economic impacts related to the plant's closure; and (2) identifies specific policy recommendations that would mitigate the potential economic and societal consequences of the plant's closure on affected Tribes or other stakeholders.
BUREAU OF INDIAN EDUCATION
FY 2017 Enacted $891,513,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $786,372,000
FY 2018 House $901,912,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $888,856,000
FY 2018 Enacted $941,413,000
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) category displays funds for the BIE-funded elementary and secondary school systems as well as other education programs including higher education and scholarships. The Bureau of Indian Education sub-activities are: Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); and Education Management.
Congress wholeheartedly rejected the Administration's proposal to dramatically cut the BIE's budget. Further, Congress provided a one-time increase to ensure that all remaining tribal colleges and universities (including those operated by the BIE) not currently on a forward funded cycle can transition to it.
Implementation of the BIE Transformation and GAO Recommendations.
The Administration describes the status of the BIE transformation as follows:
The BIE is currently in the process of reorganizing. Phase I involved the realignment of the internal organization of BIE from a regional basis to a structure based on the types of schools serviced; namely, (1) schools in the Navajo Nation, (2) tribally-controlled schools, and (3) BIE-operated schools. Phase I also replaced the Education Line Offices with Education Resource Centers (ERCs) which will house School Solutions Teams. The BIE began implementing Phase I of the reorganization in early 2016 after Congress issued a "notice of no objection" to the BIE. Phase II, to be implemented in 2017, involves a realignment of support operations within Indian Affairs including, contracting, IT, and facilities functions to BIE and includes an expansion of the School Support Solutions Teams to include school operations staff. (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-BIE-10)
The House Report provides the following direction:
Indian education remains among the Committee's top priorities because it is a fundamental trust responsibility and because elementary and secondary students in particular have fallen far behind their peers for reasons now well documented by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of Education, and others. The BIE system is undergoing a major transformation in direct response to these reports, in order to meet the changing needs of schools now that most schools are tribally-run, and in order to improve accountability. With the concurrence of elected Tribal leaders and major interTribal organizations, the Committee continues to support this transformation. All of the education-related responsibilities under Indian Affairs, including procurement, human resources, budget and finance, and BIE facilities operations, maintenance, and inspections, should be consolidated under the BIE, which should be led by an experienced and proven superintendent selected from a pool of qualified candidates inside and outside the BIE system.
The Committee remains concerned about recent GAO reports detailing problems within the K–12 Indian education system at the Department of the Interior, in particular as they pertain to organizational structure, accountability, finance, health and safety, and ultimately student performance. As the Department takes steps to reform the system, the Secretary is reminded that future support from Congress will continue to be based in large part upon successful implementation of GAO report recommendations. In particular, consistent with GAO report 13–774, the Secretary is urged to reorganize Indian Affairs so that control and accountability of the BIE system is consolidated within the BIE, to present such reorganization proposal in the fiscal year 2019 budget request, and to submit to the Committees on Appropriations a corresponding updated workforce plan. Consistent with GAO testimonies 15–389T, 15–539T, 15–597T, and any subsequent reports, the Secretary is urged to personally oversee immediate actions necessary to ensure the continued health and safety of students and employees at BIE schools and facilities.
The Joint Explanatory Statement concurs, raises concerns, and requests information:
The Committees remain concerned about recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports detailing problems within the K-12 Indian education system at the Department of the Interior, in particular as they pertain to organizational structure, accountability, finance, health and safety, and ultimately student performance. As the Department takes steps to reform the system, the Secretary is reminded that future support from Congress will continue to be based in large part upon successful implementation of GAO report recommendations. In particular, consistent with GAO report 13-774, the Secretary is urged to reorganize Indian Affairs so that control and accountability of the BIE system is consolidated within the BIE, to present such reorganization proposal in the next fiscal year budget request, and to submit to the Committees a corresponding updated workforce plan. Consistent with GAO testimonies 15-389T, 15-539T, 15-597T, and any subsequent reports, the Secretary is urged to personally oversee immediate actions necessary to ensure the continued health and safety of students and employees at BIE schools and facilities. The Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs is directed to report back within 60 days of enactment of this Act on the progress made towards implementing all the GAO recommendations and the current status of the reform effort.
Inter-Agency Coordination to Serve Native Children. The House Report urges the BIE is to coordinate with the Indian Health Service to integrate preventive dental care and mental health care at schools within the BIE system, while the Joint Explanatory statement repeats this language and urges coordination on a more extensive scale:
The Committees continue to encourage efforts to improve interagency coordination for the wide range of programs that affect the wellbeing of Native children and expect the Bureau to work with relevant Federal, State, local and Tribal organizations to make these programs more effective.
The BIE is encouraged to coordinate with the Indian Health Service to integrate preventive dental care and mental health care at schools within the BIE system.
Bill Language Continuing Limitations on New Schools and the Expansion of Grades, Charter Schools, Satellite Locations and BIE-funded Schools in Alaska. The Administration requested the continuation of this language from prior years. The House and the Senate provided it with one exception: the House proposed one change: modifying the restriction on BIE funds being used to support expanded grades for any school or dormitory beyond its current grade structure. Currently, the law allows for this restriction to be waived only under certain defined conditions and only for one additional grade to be added. The House proposed to continue these conditions but delete the provision restricting any such expansion to one additional grade.
The House Report explains this proposed change and also clarifies how the restrictions on charter schools and satellite locations should be interpreted:
The recommendation modifies bill language limiting the expansion of grades and schools in the BIE system, including charter schools. The intent of the language is to prevent already limited funds from being spread further to additional schools and grades. The intent is not to limit Tribal flexibility at existing schools. Nothing in the bill is intended to prohibit a Tribe from converting a tribally-controlled school already in the BIE system to a charter school in accordance with State and Federal law. The modification removes the grade expansion limitation of one grade.
The recommendation continues bill language providing the Secretary with the authority to approve satellite locations of existing BIE schools if a Tribe can demonstrate that the establishment of such locations would provide comparable levels of education as are being offered at such existing BIE schools, and would not significantly increase costs to the Federal government. The intent is for this authority to be exercised only in extraordinary circumstances to provide Tribes with additional flexibility regarding where students are educated without compromising how they are educated, and to significantly reduce the hardship and expense of transporting students over long distances, all without unduly increasing costs that would otherwise unfairly come at the expense of other schools in the BIE system.
The Joint Explanatory Statement explains:
The bill includes modified language limiting the expansion of grades and schools in the BIE system which allows for the expansion of additional grades to schools that meet certain criteria.
Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)
FY 2017 Enacted $575,155,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $520,044,000
FY 2018 House $578,374,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $567,495,000
FY 2018 Enacted $579,242,000
The Elementary and Secondary forward funded sub-activity includes the following program elements: ISEP Formula Funding; ISEP Program Adjustments; Education Program Enhancements; Tribal Education Departments; Student Transportation; Early Childhood Development; and Tribal Grant Support Costs (formerly titled Administrative Cost Grants). Funds appropriated for FY 2018 for these programs will become available for obligation on July 1, 2018, for SY 2018-2019. (Spending levels by program element are found on p. 3 of the attached chart.)
By and large, the House and the Senate Committee rejected the Administration's requests to deeply cut forward funded Elementary and Secondary Programs. Further, both Chambers recommended a more than $2 million increase for ISEP Formula Funds, a slight increase for Student Transportation, and full funding for Tribal Grant Support Costs.
Support for Native Languages Included in Funding Recommendations for ISEP and Education Program Enhancements. In FY 2017, Congress increased funding for Education Program Enhancements in order to support efforts to revitalize and maintain Native languages and expand the use of language immersion programs. For FY 2018, Congress rejected the Administration's request to cut this program element by more than 50 percent. Further, Congress specified that $2 million of the Education Program Enhancements funding is to be used for Native language immersion capacity building grants. The House Report affirms the importance of Native languages and requests the following report:
The Committee supports efforts to revitalize and maintain Native languages and expand the use of language immersion programs and has provided $2,000,000 within education program enhancements for capacity building grants for Bureau and tribally operated schools to expand existing language immersion programs or to create new programs. Prior to distributing these funds, the Bureau shall coordinate with the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that Bureau investments compliment, but do not duplicate, existing language immersion programs. The Bureau is also directed to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations within 180 days of enactment of this Act regarding the distribution of these funds and the status of Native language classes and immersion programs offered at Bureau-funded schools.
The Joint Explanatory Statement concurs and requests the following report:
The Committees support efforts to revitalize and maintain Native languages and expand the use of language immersion programs. The ISEP program is expected to continue to enhance access to Native language and culture programs in Bureau-funded schools, and the Bureau shall report back within 60 days of enactment of this Act on how funding has been and can continue to be used to support these programs. In addition, $2,000,000 is provided within Education Program Enhancements for capacity building grants for Bureau and tribally operated schools to expand existing language immersion programs or to create new programs. Prior to distributing these funds, the Bureau shall coordinate with the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that Bureau investments compliment, but do not duplicate, existing language immersion programs. The Committees also direct the Bureau to submit a report to the Committees within 120 days of enactment of this Act regarding the status of fiscal year 2017 funds and the planned distribution of funds in this Act.
Student Transportation. Congress provided a modest increase for this program element. The Joint Explanatory Statement also requests the following report:
The Committees are concerned by the recent Government Accountability Office report (GA0-17-423) on Tribal transportation, which identified potential negative impacts of road conditions on Native student school attendance. The Committees recommend BIE take steps to improve its data collection on the cause of student absences, including data on road and weather conditions, and to report back to the Committees within 120 days of enactment of this Act regarding its actions to improve student absence data tracking and analysis.
Early Childhood and Family Development Program ("FACE"). Congress rejected the Administration's proposed $10.7 million cut, instead providing near level funding. Separately, and to no impact on current FACE programs, Congress rescinded $8 million in prior year unobligated balances that were set to expire. The Joint Explanatory Statement provides the following detail:
The agreement includes $18,810,000 for early child and family development, which should be used to expand the Family and Child Education (FACE) program. The agreement rescinds $8,000,000 from expiring prior year balances that the Bureau failed to obligate. This rescission does not impact the program's operating level for fiscal year 2018.
Full Funding for Tribal Grant Support Costs. Congress provided $81 million (the current estimate for full funding) for Tribal Grant Support Costs for tribally-operated, BIE-funded schools. The Administration's estimate for full funding had come in slightly lower, but it had been calculated months earlier. Both Congress and the Administration stated their intent to fully fund Tribal Grant Support Costs.
Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)
FY 2017 Enacted $140,540,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $123,871,000
FY 2018 House $141,438,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $141,563,000
FY 2018 Enacted $141,563,000
The Elementary and Secondary non-forward funded sub-activity includes the following program elements: Facilities Operations; Facilities Maintenance; Juvenile Detention Center Grants; and Johnson-O'Malley Assistance Grants. (Spending levels by program element are found on p. 4 of the attached chart.)
Congress rejected the Administration's request to cut $16.6 million from all of the non-forward funded Elementary and Secondary programs, including the request to zero out the funding for Juvenile Detention Center Grants. In FY 2016, Congress initiated this grant program to meet the education and health related needs of Native youth detained or incarcerated in currently operating, BIA-funded, juvenile detention centers for an extended period of time.
Johnson-O'Malley Assistance Grants. Congress rejected the Administration's proposed $4.6 million cut to the Johnson O'Malley (JOM) program but expressed continued concerns about the distribution of funds. The House Report states:
The Committee remains concerned that the distribution of funds is not an accurate reflection of the distribution of students. The Bureau is reminded of the reporting requirement contained in the explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.
The Joint Explanatory Statement requests the following report:
The Johnson O'Malley program is funded at $14,903,000. The Committees remain concerned that the distribution of funds is not an accurate reflection of the distribution of students. The Bureau is directed to report back to the Committees within 90 days of enactment of this Act on the status of updating the student counts.
Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)
FY 2017 Enacted $77,207,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $72,689,000
FY 2018 House $84,196,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $89,142,000
FY 2018 Enacted $94,183,000
This sub-activity includes forward funded Tribal Colleges and Universities and forward funded Tribal Technical Colleges (United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) and Navajo Technical University (NTU)). (Spending levels by program element are found on p. 3 of the attached chart.)
Forward Funding for Haskell and SIPI. In FY 2017, Congress "encouraged" the Administration to request forward funding for the BIE-run Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell) and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in future budget requests "so that all tribal colleges are on the same funding schedule." For FY 2018, the Administration declined to request the one-time funding needed to put them on a forward funded (school year) schedule. Despite this, Congress appropriated $16.8 million in one-time funding to ensure that all tribal colleges and universities are on a forward funded schedule, explaining:
A one-time increase is provided to complete the transition to a school year funding cycle for all Tribal colleges and universities, including Haskell Indian Nations University and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute.
Study of Unfunded Tribal College Needs. The Joint Explanatory statement requests the following:
The Committees recognize that many Tribal colleges have significant unfunded needs, and direct the Bureau to work with Tribal leaders and other stakeholders to develop a consistent methodology for determining Tribal college operating needs to inform future budget requests. The Committees expect the methodology to address operating and infrastructure needs including classrooms and housing.
Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)
FY 2017 Enacted $63,561,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $45,721,000
FY 2018 House $62,650,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $64,171,000
FY 2018 Enacted $64,171,000
The two post-secondary schools overseen by the BIE are Haskell and SIPI. They are being transitioned to a forward funded schedule but appear in this chart for a final time this fiscal year. The non-forward funded Post Secondary Programs sub-activity also includes: Tribal Colleges and Universities Supplements; Scholarships and Adult Education; Special Higher Education Scholarships; and the Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund. (Spending levels by program element are found on p. 4 of the attached chart.)
Congress rejected the Administration's proposal to cut $11 million from non-forward funded Post Secondary programs, including the proposal to zero out Special Higher Education Scholarships and the Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund and cut $2.7 million from Haskell and SIPI. In FY 2019, Haskell and SIPI will appear only under the Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded) category.
Education Management
FY 2017 Enacted $35,050,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $24,047,000
FY 2018 House $35,254,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $26,485,000
FY 2018 Enacted $35,254,000
The Education Management sub-activity consists of Education Program Management and Information Technology. (Spending levels by program element are found on p. 4 of the attached chart.)
Congress rejected the Administration's request to cut $11 million from Education Management and weighed in on the matter of high-speed internet access schools.
High-Speed Internet Access for Schools.
The Administration described the status of providing all BIE-funded schools with adequate internet access:
The BIE is committed to supporting its educators by expanding the access of BIE-funded schools to adequate bandwidth. To this end the BIE has actively sought working partnerships with Federal, state, tribal, and private agencies. Over the course of the last year, BIE has worked in close conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission with regard to the E-rate program. Specifically, the BIE increased the bandwidth of 28 of its schools to 10 Mbps per 100 students. The ultimate goal of BIE is to increase the bandwidth of all of its schools to the State Education Technology Directors Association's (SETDA) standard of 100Mbps per school of 1,000 students. In addition, BIE ordered 77 circuits for its schools with another 71 upgraded circuits also being ordered. Once completed 81 percent of BIE-funded schools will meet the 100 Mbps per 1,000 student school standard. The BIE plans build upon its successes over the past year by continuing to seek out working partnerships with the goal of meeting SETDA minimum standards at all BIE-funded schools. (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-BIE-29)
The House Report explains:
Without question, high-speed internet access is essential for student success and economic development in modern society. However, the GAO recently identified Tribal internet access as an area of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication (GAO–16–375SP). Indian Affairs is urged to coordinate with larger, existing broadband access programs funded by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Joint Explanatory Statement expresses concern about the planning process and requests the following report:
The Committees understand the importance of bringing broadband to reservations and villages, but remain concerned about the planning process used for this type of investment. The Committees direct the agency to report back within 90 days of enactment of this Act on a scalable plan to increase bandwidth in schools, procure computers and software, and to include in this report how the Bureau is working with other Federal agencies to coordinate and plan for the technology buildout.
CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS
FY 2017 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $278,000,000)
FY 2018 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)
FY 2018 House Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)
FY 2018 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)
The Congress concurred with the Administration's request that Contract Support Costs (CSC) continue as a as an indefinite appropriation at "such sums as may be necessary" and that it continue in its own separate account comprised of Contract Support (such sums as may be necessary, estimated to be: $236,600,000) and the Indian Self-Determination Fund ($5,000,000). The lower number reflects an adjustment to the estimated amount.
General Provisions Continued. At the Administration's request, Congress continued the following general provisions:
Contract Support Costs, Prior Year Limitation
Sec. 405. Sections 405 and 406 of division F of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Public Law 113-235) shall continue in effect in fiscal year 2018.
Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2018 Limitation
Sec. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2018 under headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2018 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payment of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayment of payments for settlement or judgments awarding contract support costs for prior years.
CONSTRUCTION
FY 2017 Enacted $192,017,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $143,262,000
FY 2018 House $202,213,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $206,024,000
FY 2018 Enacted $354,113,000
The Construction budget includes: Education Construction; Public Safety and Justice Construction; Resources Management Construction; and Other Program Construction/ General Administration.
Recognizing the substantial unmet need in Indian Country, Congress roundly rejected the Administration's request to cut $48.7 million from the overall Construction budget and instead provided a record breaking $162 million increase—by far the largest increase in the FY 2018 Indian Affairs budget. Further, the Joint Explanatory Statement provides the following direction:
Account-wide. - Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, Indian Affairs shall submit an operating plan to the Committees detailing how fiscal year 2018 funding will be allocated and including specific projects where available and the methodology used in the prioritization. Where specific project allocations are not yet available, the plan shall provide the circumstances and Indian Affairs shall brief the Committees when project allocations are available.
Joint Ventures. - Indian Affairs is expected to comply with the directive in House Report 115-238 regarding the establishment of joint venture programs for schools and justice centers and modeled after the Indian Health Service's program.
EDUCATION CONSTRUCTION
FY 2017 Enacted $133,257,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 80,187,000
FY 2018 House $138,245,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $136,268,000
FY 2018 Enacted $238,245,000
The Education Construction sub-activities are: Replacement School Construction; Replacement Facility Construction; Employee Housing Repair; and Facilities Improvement and Repair.
Despite the substantial demonstrated need for school repair and replacement funding, the Administration had asked Congress to zero out funding for Replacement School Campus Construction and Replacement School Facility Construction in FY 2018. Instead, Congress provided one the largest and most substantial increases in decades to Education Construction, apportioning the funding as follows:
• Replacement School Campus Construction $105,504,000
• Replacement Facility Construction $ 23,935,000
• Employee Housing Repair $ 13,574,000
• Facilities Improvement and Repair $ 95,232,000
2016 National Review Committee List and Creation of 2019 List. In FY 2017, Congress directed the Administration to provide a plan to allocate the Replacement School Construction and Replacement Facility Construction funds and to create a 2018 replacement list. It appears that so far, the Administration has declined to do so. The House Report once again directs:
The Bureau is directed to submit an allocation plan to the Committee for campus-wide replacement and facilities replacement within 30 days of enactment of this Act.
The Committee recognizes the School Facilities and Construction Negotiated Rulemaking Committee established under Public Law 107–110 for the equitable distribution of funds. Appropriations in this bill for campus-wide replacement are limited to the 10 schools selected via the rulemaking committee process and published by Indian Affairs on April 5, 2016. The BIE should submit a similar list for facilities with the fiscal year 2019 budget request.
Innovative Financing Options to Supplement School Repair and Replacement Appropriations. In FY 2017, Congress urged the Administration to include in its FY 2018 budget request a proposal to reconstitute the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education. The Administration declined to do so. The House Report once again urges:
The Committee continues to strongly support innovative financing options to supplement annual appropriations and accelerate repair and replacement of Bureau of Indian Education schools, including through the use of construction bonds, tax credits, and grant programs. The Department is urged to revise and resubmit its proposal to reconstitute the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education, and to include authority for the Fund to facilitate public-private partnership construction projects.
The Joint Explanatory Statement affirms:
The Committees continue to strongly support innovative financing options to supplement annual appropriations and accelerate repair and replacement of Bureau schools, including through the use of construction bonds, tax credits, and grant programs.
Facilities Improvement and Repair: Safety Inspections, Implementation of GAO Recommendations, Provision of Training, and Long-Term Planning. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
The Committees expect the increase provided for facilities improvement and repair to be used to address deficiencies identified by annual school safety inspections.
The Committees continue to expect BIA and BIE to work together to ensure that annual safety inspections are completed for all BIE schools and remain concerned that the Bureaus have not developed concrete tracking and capacity-building systems to ensure that safety issues flagged by these inspections are addressed in a timely manner. The Committees are also concerned by reports from tribally operated schools that BIE is not providing necessary training or access to funding from the Facilities Improvement and Repair program to meet urgent safety and maintenance needs. The Committees direct BIE and BIA to provide an implementation plan to the Committees to address these concerns within 120 days of enactment of this Act.
The Bureau of Indian Education is directed to report back within 60 days of enactment of this Act on the progress the Bureau has made towards implementing a long-term facilities needs assessment modeled after the Department of Defense Education Activity, as directed by House Report 114-632.
PUBLIC SAFETY & JUSTICE (PS&J) CONSTRUCTION
FY 2017 Enacted $11,306,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $10,416,000
FY 2018 House $11,309,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $13,309,000
FY 2018 Enacted $35,309,000
The Public Safety & Justice Construction sub-activities are: Facilities Replacement/New Construction; Employee Housing; Facilities Improvement and Repair; Fire Safety Coordination; and Fire Protection.
Congress provided a substantial increase to Public Safety & Justice Construction, reviving the Facilities Replacement and New Construction program and apportioning the funding as follows:
• Facilities Replacement and New Construction $18,000,000
• Employee Housing $ 4,494,000
• Facilities Improvement and Repair $ 9,372,000
• Fire Safety Coordination $ 169,000
• Fire Protection $ 3,274,000
Facilities Replacement and New Construction. The Joint Explanatory Statement explains:
The Committees include funding for the replacement construction program, which has not received funding from the Bureau since fiscal year 2010, as other agencies have sought to build these facilities. The Committees also understand the Bureau currently has compiled a list of replacement facilities based upon the facilities condition index, inmate populations, and available space. It is the expectation the funding made available for this activity will utilize this list.
Master Plan Development. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
Further, the Committees encourage the Bureau to develop a master plan that details the location and condition of existing facilities relative to the user population, and incorporates the use of existing tribally constructed facilities and regional justice centers, such as the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes' Justice Center, as an efficient approach to filling gaps where additional facilities are needed. Reasonable driving distances for visitation should be taken into consideration.
Joint Venture Demonstration Program. In FY 2017, Congress encouraged the Administration to include in its FY 2018 budget request a legislative proposal for a joint venture demonstration program for regional justice centers. The Administration declined to do so. For FY 2018, the House Committee once again made this request, stating:
The Committee is concerned that Indian Affairs' focus on alternatives to incarceration has come at a cost to justice facilities construction. Indian Affairs, in coordination with the Department of Justice, is therefore urged to consider including with its fiscal year 2019 budget a legislative proposal for a joint venture demonstration program for regional justice centers, similar to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes' Justice Center, and modeled after the joint venture program for Indian health facilities.
Radio Tower Dead Zones. The House Report states, "Indian Affairs is urged to improve officer safety by eliminating radio tower communications dead zones."
RESOURCES MANAGEMENT CONSTRUCTION
FY 2017 Enacted $36,513,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $40,696,000
FY 2018 House $40,696,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $43,080,000
FY 2018 Enacted $67,192,000
The Resources Management Construction sub-activities are: Irrigation Project Construction; Engineering and Supervision; Survey and Design; Federal Power and Compliance; and Dam Projects.
Congress provided a substantial increase for Resources Management Construction, apportioning the funding as follows:
• Irrigation Project Construction $24,692,000
• Engineering and Supervision $ 2,596,000
• Survey and Design $ 1,016,000
• Federal Power Compliance $ 648,000
• Dam Safety and Maintenance $38,240,000
Irrigation Project Construction. The Administration had proposed a $1.5 million increase for the Irrigation Projects-Rehabilitation program element to address critical outstanding maintenance issues at the 17 Indian Irrigation Projects and a $724,000 increase to the Survey and Design program element to fast track the technical modernization studies needed to complete this rehabilitation work. Congress responded with an $18.6 million increase for Irrigation Project Construction, stating:
The Committees are aware of the aging Indian irrigation systems and that most of these systems are in need of major capital improvement; therefore, additional funding has been included to address the infrastructure needs. Additionally, it is the Committees' understanding that these projects are consistent with those activities authorized as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (P.L.114-322).
Dam Projects. The Administration had proposed a $2.4 million increase for the Safety of Dams program element to support the award of construction contracts for one or more of the 11 dam safety rehabilitation projects already designed or with expected design completion in FY 2018 and a $1.8 million increase for the Dam Maintenance program element to prioritize deferred maintenance projects at the 138 BIA dams classified as "high hazard." (According to the Indian Affairs FY 2018 Budget Justification, there is currently an identified deferred maintenance need of $538 million.) Congress responded with a $10.7 million increase for Dam Projects, stating:
The Committees are concerned that there are an unknown number of dams on reservations that have not received a hazard classification, and that the current review process is behind schedule. The Committees strongly encourage the Bureau to begin the work on these dams and report back to the Committees on the best way to effectively quantify the potential pool of dams on reservations in need of a review and/or classification.
OTHER PROGRAM CONSTRUCTION/ GENERAL ADMINISTRATION
FY 2017 Enacted $10,941,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $11,963,000
FY 2018 House $11,963,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $13,367,000
FY 2018 Enacted $13,367,000
The Other Program Construction sub-activities are: Telecommunications Improvement and Repair; Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair; and Construction Program Management.
Congress apportioned the funding as follows:
• Telecommunications $ 1,119,000
• Facilities and Quarters $ 3,919,000
• Program Management $ 8,329,000*
*(Includes $2,400,000 to continue the project at Fort Peck.)
INDIAN LAND AND WATER CLAIMS SETTLEMENTS AND MISCELLANEOUS PAYMENTS TO INDIANS
FY 2017 Enacted $45,045,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $13,999,000
FY 2018 House $55,457,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $45,045,000
FY 2018 Enacted $55,457,000
For FY 2018, Administration explained, "Funding allocations to enacted settlements in 2018 are contingent on the operating plan developed for FY 2017. The 2017 operating plan was not complete at the time the Budget Justification was written. An updated proposal for 2018 allocations will be provided once the 2017 operating plan is complete." (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-SET-3). Congress responded by providing both direction and specific funding amounts:
The bill provides $55,457,000 for Indian Land and Water Claims Settlements and Miscellaneous Payments to Indians, ensuring that Indian Affairs will meet the statutory deadlines of all authorized settlement agreements to date. The detailed allocation of funding by settlement is included in the table at the end of this explanatory statement. [See pages 6-7 of the attached chart.]
INDIAN GUARANTEED LOAN PROGRAM
FY 2017 Enacted $8,757,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $6,692,000
FY 2018 House $9,272,000
FY 2017 Senate Committee Mark $9,272,000
FY 2018 Enacted $9,272,000
The House Report describes the Indian Guaranteed Loan Program as "the most effective Federal program tailored, dedicated to, and capable of facilitating greater access to private capital for Indian Tribes and Indian-owned economic enterprises." Congress rejected the Administration's request for a $2 million cut and instead provided an increase.
OTHER RELATED AGENCIES
OFFICE OF NAVAJO-HOPI INDIAN RELOCATION
FY 2017 Enacted $15,431,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $14,970,000
FY 2018 House $15,431,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $14,970,000
FY 2018 Enacted $15,431,000
The Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation was established by Public Law 93–531. The Office is charged with planning and conducting relocation activities associated with the settlement of land disputes between the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe.
Closure of the Office.
The House Report directs:
The Committee recommends $15,431,000 for the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation (Office), equal to the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Of this amount, $200,000 shall be transferred to the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior for continued oversight of planning, transition, and closure of the Office.
The Committee has directed the Office to begin to communicate with Congress, the affected Tribes, and the Department of the Interior about what will be required to ensure relocation benefits and necessary support services are provided in accordance with the specifications in Public Law 93–531 and to initiate closure of the Office. The Committee requests continuation of the quarterly reports and a comprehensive plan for closing the Office, as outlined in House Report 114–632. Legal analysis on whether any enacting legislation is required to transfer or maintain any identified functions to another agency or organization should also be included. The Office should be transparent about the path forward and should actively consult with all affected parties and agencies.
The Joint Explanatory Statement directs:
The agreement continues the direction provided in the explanatory statement accompanying Division G of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, P.L. 115-31. The Committees remain committed to bringing the relocation process to an orderly conclusion and ensuring all eligible relocatees receive the relocation benefits to which they are entitled. Consultation with all affected parties and agencies is the key to a transparent, orderly closeout. The statute provides for termination of the Office when the President determines its functions have been fully discharged. That determination requires development of a comprehensive plan. The Committees expect to receive a progress report on development of this plan within 90 days of enactment of this Act.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
TRIBAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION
FY 2017 Enacted $10,485,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 8,996,000
FY 2018 House $ 9,485,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $10,485,000
FY 2018 Enacted $11,485,000
Congress rejected the Administration's requested cut and instead provided a $1 million increase. In its FY 2018 Budget Justification, the Administration had explained, "The proposed reduction would impact the tribes' capacity to conduct cultural and historic preservation activities and to participate in required consultation on federally-funded projects that impact tribal land or any historic property to which a tribe attaches religious or cultural significance." (FY 2018 National Park Service Budget Justification, p. 31)
NATIONAL RECREATION AND PRESERVATION
National Recreation and Preservation is found under a different part of the National Park Service budget than Historic Preservation. Under National Recreation and Preservation the Congress provided an increase for the Cultural Programs sub-activity, in order to support programs for Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native culture and arts development:
Cultural Programs.-The Committees provide $25,062,000 for Cultural Programs, an increase of $500,000 above the enacted level. The increase is provided for grants to nonprofit organizations or institutions pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 4451(b). The Committees direct the Department to consider funding the Northwest Coast arts program as outlined by the memorandum of agreement between the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Sealaska Heritage Institute. Funding for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Grant Program and the Japanese American Confinement Site Grant Program is maintained at the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
DEPARTMENTAL OFFICES: OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY [INTERIOR]
DEPARTMENTAL OPERATIONS
Congress provided the following direction to Secretary of Interior regarding national monument designations and tribal energy development:
National Monument Designations. The Department is directed to collaboratively work with interested parties, including Congress, States, local communities, Tribal governments, and others before making national monument designations.
Tribal Energy Development. The Committees direct the Secretary to provide a report to the Committees within 90 days of enactment of this Act on efforts to improve the ability of Tribes to develop energy resources on tribal lands. Such report should address any potential obstacles, including statutory or regulatory, to full resource utilization.
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FY 2018 Indian Health Service Final Appropriations
Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-013
April 6th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-013

On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Act) which funded the Indian Health Service (IHS) and other federal agencies through the remaining six months of fiscal year 2018. The Act is PL 115-141 and IHS bill language is in Division G of the Act. Prior to this signing, Congress had enacted five short-term Continuing Resolutions (CRs) to fund federal agencies at basically their FY 2017 levels. Congress rejected the deep cuts recommended by the Administration for IHS. The IHS made out well in the Act due in significant part to the earlier enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) which raised the spending cap on domestic discretionary spending cap by $63 billion for FY 2018 (and by $68 billion for FY 2019). As a result there are IHS programs funded for FY 2018 at significantly higher levels – notably in the Facilities Account– than either FY 2017 enacted appropriations or what was earlier (before the budget cap was raised) recommended for FY 2018 funding by the House or the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.
In lieu of a Conference Report, the Act is accompanied by a Joint Explanatory Statement which provides that the IHS is to comply with House Report language (H. Rept. 115-238) unless the Statement provides otherwise. Much of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee explanatory statement accompanying its recommendations last November is repeated in the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the Act as it was not filed as an official Committee report.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY 2018 bill and Explanatory Statement language may be found in the March 22, 2018, three-volume CONGRESSIONAL RECORD. Our General Memorandum 17-059 of December 18, 2017, provides a comparison of the House and Senate FY 2018 IHS budget recommendations prior to the additional funding that became available as a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act. We reported on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 in our General Memorandum 18-008 of February 9, 2018.
IHS OVERALL FUNDING
FY 2017 Enacted $5,039,886,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $4,739,291,000
FY 2018 House $5,136,873,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $5,040,886,000
FY 2018 Enacted $5,537,764,000
The Act increases IHS funding by nearly $500 million over FY 2017 which is a 10 percent increase.
Current Services (Pay Costs/Medical Inflation). The Act overall contains $98.2 million for pay costs increases and medical inflation, approximately $25 million over the FY 2017 amount.
Staffing Packages. The Act overall provides $65.8 million for staffing of newly opened health facilities. The Joint Explanatory Statement notes that this should fund the full amount estimated in a recent update to the Committees. Funds are for facilities funded through the Health Care Facilities Construction Priority System or the Joint Venture Construction Program that have opened in FY 2017 or will open in FY 2018. Of note is that the CR signed into law on December 21, 2017, contained $12.8 million in IHS funds for staffing packages.
Indian Health Care Improvement Act Unfunded Authorities Report. The House Report repeats the language from FY 2017 regarding funding for Indian Health Care Improvement Act authorizations. In the FY 2018 Budget Justification, IHS stated that 90 days is an insufficient time to provide the required report and also that the cost of it would be significant. The Joint Explanatory Statement repeats that the Committees want the report within 90 days of enactment. The House Report language is as follows:
It has been over six years since the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), yet many of the provisions in the law remain unfunded. Tribes have specifically requested that priority areas for funding focus on diabetes treatment and prevention, behavioral health, and health professions. The Committee requests that the Service provide, no later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, a detailed plan with specific dollars identified to fully fund and implement the IHCIA.
Reimbursable Funding. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs the IHS to report on population and service growth over the past 10 years and the funding sources used to address these needs:
This agreement directs the Service to report, within 180 days of enactment of this Act, on patient population and service growth over the past ten years and the funding sources used to provide for these medical services. The IHS is to include a breakdown, by dollar amount and percentage, of funding sources which supplement appropriated dollars to cover the provision of medical services at IHS operated and tribally contracted and compacted facilities. The Committees are interested in detailed information on whether medical services have been able to expand over this time period as a result of increases in the ability to charge medical services due to new authorities outlined in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and other Federal laws. As a point of comparison, and to the extent possible, the Service shall compare these impacts across the twelve Service areas, with the degree to which patient populations services in the respective states has increased.
CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS
FY 2017 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2018 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2018 House Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2018 Senate Mark Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2018 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
The Act continues Contract Support Costs (CSC) as a separate appropriation account with an indefinite amount—"such sums as may be necessary." The Joint Explanatory Statement notes:
The agreement continues language from fiscal year 2017 establishing an indefinite appropriation for contract support costs estimated to be $717,970,000, which is equal to the request. By retaining an indefinite appropriation for this account, additional funds may be provided by the agency if its budget estimate proves to be lower than necessary to meet the legal obligation to pay the full amount due to Tribes. The Committees believe fully funding these costs will ensure Tribes have the necessary resources they need to deliver program services efficiently and effectively.
Fortunately for tribes, Congress again ignored two CSC restrictions proposed in the President's Budget: (1) a command to count unspent CSC against a tribe's requirement in the next year—a provision that could be read to deny the carryover authority in the ISDEAA; and (2) a "notwithstanding" clause that IHS has relied on, in part, to deny CSC for some grant programs, such as the Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention program and the Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. For FY 2018, Congress has gone further on this matter and has called upon IHS to provide CSC for these programs. The Explanatory Statement provides:
ISDEAA Contracts. – The Committees encourage the transfer of amounts provided to tribal organizations for the Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Program, for the Domestic Violence Prevention Program, for the Zero Suicide Initiative, for aftercare pilots at Youth Regional Treatment Centers, and to improve collections from public and private insurance at tribally-operated facilities to such organizations through Indian Self-Determination Act compacts and contracts, and not through separate grant agreements. This will ensure that associated administrative costs will be covered through the contract support cost process.
The Act continues by reference sections 405 and 406 of the FY 2015 Appropriations Act. These provisions prohibit BIA and IHS from using FY 2018 CSC funds to pay past-year CSC claims or to repay the Judgment Fund for judgments or settlements related to past-year CSC claims. They do not preclude tribes from recovering such judgments or settlements from the Judgment Fund. The following is from Division G, Title IV of the Act:
Contract Support Costs, Prior Year Limitation
Sec. 405. Sections 405 and 406 of division F of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Public Law 113-235) shall continue in effect in fiscal year 2018.
Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2018 Limitation
Sec. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2018 under headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2018 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service:
Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payment of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayment of payments for settlement or judgments awarding contract support costs for prior years.
FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $3,694,462,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $3,574,365,000
FY2018 House $3,867,260,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $3,759,258,000
FY 2018 Enacted $3,952,290,000
Current Services/Staffing. The Act provides in the Services Account $23.5 million for pay costs increases, $70.4 million for medical inflation, and $60.3 million for staffing of newly opened facilities.
HOSPITALS AND CLINICS
FY 2017 Enacted $1,935,178,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $1,870,405,000
FY 2018 House $1,966,714,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $1,982,312,000
FY 2018 Enacted $2,045,128,000
Current Service/Staffing. Of the total $36 million is for current services (pay costs and medical inflation) and $43.7 million for staffing of new facilities.
Tribal Clinic Leases. The Act provides $11 million for village built and tribally leased clinics, the same as FY 2017 enacted. The Administration proposed only $2 million for this purpose. Congress rejected the Administration's proposal for bill language to amend the law in order to avoid full compensation for section 105(l) Indian Self-Determination and Education Act leases which would be contrary to the decision in Maniilaq Association v. Burwell, 170 F. Supp.3rd 243 (D.D.C. 2016).
Accreditation Emergencies. The Act provides $58 million for hospital accreditation emergencies, $30 million over the FY 2017 level. The Joint Explanatory Statement reads:
Accreditation Emergencies.-The Committees consider the loss or potential loss of a Medicare or Medicaid agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at any facility to be an accreditation emergency. The agreement includes $58,000,000 for accreditation emergencies at an increasing number of direct service facilities, and is based upon updated and itemized information provided to the Committees on December 13, 2017. The Service is encouraged to share this information with Tribes, and to keep Tribes and the Committees apprised of any need for significant deviations from the planned used of funds. Bill language has been added as requested to allow the use of a portion of the funds for facility expansion or renovation and staff quarters.
Of the amounts provided, no less than $20,000,000 is directed to facilities for purchased/referred care, replacement of third-party revenues lost as a result of decertification, replacement of third-party carryover funds expended to respond to decertification, and reasonable costs of achieving recertification, including recruitment costs necessary to stabilize staffing. Primary consideration should be given but is not limited to facilities that have been without certification the longest. Such funds shall be made available to Tribes assuming operation of such facilities pursuant to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (P.L. 93-638).
The Committees are concerned by the continued occurrence of deficiencies in patient care, facilities and hospital administration at IHS facilities, including the recent identification of these deficiencies at the Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC) by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Joint Commission. It is imperative that the Service take all needed steps to ensure patient safety, improve the quality of care, and ensure that GIMC does not lose access to third party reimbursements, which account for more than 90 percent of the facility's funding. Within 90 days of enactment of this Act, the Service is directed to provide a report to the Committees that details all actions taken to address the deficiencies identified by CMS and the Joint Commission and a list of any outstanding recommendations that require future action by GIMC or the Service to implement. The Service is expected to include its corrective action plans submitted to CMS and the Joint Commission as well as the CMS 2567 deficiency report as part of this report.
The following House Committee Report language is related to the accreditation crisis and the issue of communication between the IHS and tribes:
The accreditation crisis in the Great Plains and the subsequent House provision have highlighted the need for IHS facilities to be significantly more inclusive of Tribes in the decision-making process. The Committees on Appropriations are encouraged by the IHS's own recent initiative to reform its governing boards, but reforms are limited under existing statutes. The Committees are aware that the authorizing committees of jurisdiction are examining this issue and support these efforts to improve the communication and collaboration between the IHS and Tribes at direct service facilities.
Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. The Act includes $4 million to continue this program.
Prescription Drug Monitoring. The Act provides $1 million to continue the multi-state prescription drug monitoring program authorized by Section 196 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, equal to the FY 2017 enacted level.
Teleophthalmology Program. The Act includes $1 million for the teleophthalmology program for retinal camera upgrades.
DENTAL SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $182,597,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $179,751,000
FY 2018 House $185,920,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $189,790,000
FY 2018 Enacted $195,283,000
Current Services/Staffing. Of the total amount, $5.8 million is for current services and $6.8 million is for staffing of new facilities.
Oral Health Care. The House Committee Report states:
The Committee has recognized for many years the dire need to increase oral health care to American Indians/Alaska Natives. Because of funding increases, an additional 263,565 dental services were provided in fiscal year 2016. However, the demand for dental treatment remains overwhelming due to the high incidence of dental caries (cavities) in AI/AN children. Over 80 percent of AI/AN children ages 6–9 and 13–15 years suffer from dental caries, while less than 50 percent of the U.S. population in the same age cohort have experienced tooth decay. The Committee recognizes that more needs to be done to fully address the need for oral health care.
The Joint Explanatory Statement provides the following: "The Service is directed to backfill vacant dental health positions in headquarters and encouraged to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Education to integrate preventive dental care at schools across the system."
MENTAL HEALTH
FY 2017 Enacted $94,080,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $82,654,000
FY 2018 House $95,450,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $97,201,000
FY 2018 Enacted $99,900,000
Current Services/Staffing. Included in the total is $2.9 million each for current services and for staffing of new facilities.
Behavioral Health. The Act provides $6.9 million to continue behavioral health integration and $3.6 million to continue the suicide prevention initiative.
ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
FY 2017 Enacted $218,353,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $205,593,000
FY 2018 House $220,280,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $219,655,000
FY 2018 Enacted $227,788,000
Current Services/Staffing. Within the total is $8.2 million for current services and $1.2 million for staffing of new facilities.
Programs. Included is $6.5 million for the Generation Indigenous initiative; $1.8 million for the youth pilot project; and $2 million for detoxification and related services "provided by the Service's public and private partners to IHS beneficiaries".
The Joint Explanatory Statement says that IHS is to continue its partnership with the Na'Nizhoozhi Center in Gallup, NM and "to distribute funds provided for detoxification services in the same manner as fiscal year 2017."
PURCHASED/REFERRED CARE
FY 2017 Enacted $928,830,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $914,139,000
FY 2018 House $928,830,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $930,484,000
FY 2018 Enacted $962,695,000
Current Services/Staffing. Of the total $32.3 million is for current services and $1.5 million for staffing of new facilities.
CHEF. $53 million is for the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund (level funding).
Distribution of Funds. The House Committee expresses concern regarding distribution of funds and encourages, in certain circumstances, agreements with non-IHS federal facilities:
The Committee remains concerned about the inequitable distribution of funds as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO– 12–446). The IHS is encouraged to evaluate the feasibility of entering into reimbursable agreements with Federal health facilities outside of the IHS system for patient referrals. Such agreements should be considered only when such referrals save costs and patient travel times relative to referrals to the nearest non-Federal health facilities, and when such referrals do not significantly increase patient wait times at such Federal facilities.
INDIAN HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT FUND
The Act provides $72,280,000 for the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund. The last time it was funded was 2012. It is listed as its own line item under the Services account. House Report language notes the funds are provided "in order to reduce disparities across the IHS system." Bill language provides that the Fund "may be used, as needed, to carry out activities typically funded under the Indian Health Facilities Account."
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING
FY 2017 Enacted $78,701,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $77,498,000
FY 2018 House $80,372,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $82,546,000
FY 2018 Enacted $85,043,000
Current Services/Staffing. Within the total is $2.7 million for current services and $3.6 million for staffing of new facilities.
HEALTH EDUCATION
FY 2017 Enacted $18,663,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $18,313,000
FY 2018 House $18,896,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $19,193,000
FY 2018 Enacted $19,871,000
Current Services/Staffing. Within the total is $724,000 for current services and $484,000 for staffing of new facilities.
COMMUNITY HEALTH REPRESENTATIVES
FY 2017 Enacted $60,325,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $58,906,000
FY 2018 House $60,825,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $60,325,000
FY 2018 Enacted $62,888,000
HEPATITIS B and HAEMOPHILUS
IMMUNIZATION (Hib) PROGRAMS IN ALASKA
FY 2017 Enacted $2,041,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $1,950,000
FY 2018 House $2,058,000 FY 2018 Senate Mark $2,058,000
FY 2018 Enacted $2,127,000
URBAN INDIAN HEALTH
FY 2017 Enacted $47,678,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $44,741,000
FY 2018 House Committee $47,943,000
FY2018 Senate Mark $47,678,000
FY 2018 Enacted $49,315,000
Current Services. Within the total is $1.6 million for current services. The Joint Explanatory Statement provides that the IHS "is expected to continue to include current services estimates for urban Indian health in future budget requests".
Native Veterans. The House Report comments on the need for culturally appropriate services for Native veterans and also notes the provision in the FY 2018 House Veterans Administration appropriations report (H. Rept. 115-88) requiring a report regarding the cost differential for VA to reimburse IHS for services rather than to provide services directly to urban Indian veterans:
Seven out of ten American Indians/Alaska Natives live in urban centers and receive vital culturally appropriate health services from urban Indian health organizations. As such, many Indian veterans obtain their health care services from these organizations. Currently the Veterans' Administration (VA) and the Indian Health Service are operating under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which is effective through June 30, 2019. Under this agreement, VA reimburses care provided to Indian veterans at IHS facilities and Tribal health programs. The MOU recognizes the importance of a coordinated and cohesive effort on a national scope to meet the needs of individual tribes, villages, islands, and communities, through VA, IHS, Tribal and Urban Indian health programs; however, to date, there has not been equitable reimbursement for the culturally appropriate services provided to Native individuals, including Native veterans. This year, House Report 115–188 accompanying the fiscal year 2018 Military Construction, Veterans' Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriation bill included a directive requiring the VA to prepare a report for the Appropriations Committee examining the impact of Indian veterans receiving health services at urban clinics and the annual estimated cost differential for VA to reimburse IHS rather than provide services directly in these urban areas. The report is also to estimate the capacity of Indian urban clinics to treat increased Indian veteran caseloads and include any data supporting the use of the higher negotiated reimbursement rate in urban settings versus rural areas. The report is due 90 days after enactment of the Act, and the Committee directs IHS to work with the VA to complete this report.
INDIAN HEALTH PROFESSIONS
FY 2017 Enacted $49,345,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $43,342,000
FY 2018 House $49,363,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $49,345,000
FY 2018 Enacted $49,363,000
Programs funded under Indian Health Professions are: Health Professions Preparatory and Pre-Graduate Scholarships; Health Professions Scholarships; Extern Program; Loan Repayment Program; Quentin N. Burdick American Indians Into Nursing Program; Indians Into Medicine Program; and American Indians into Psychology.
Loan Repayment Program. The Act includes $36 million for the loan repayment program of which $18,000 is for current services. The House Report comments:
Loan repayment has proven to be the Service's best recruitment tool for staffing health professionals. The Committee was dismayed to learn that the Service has three thousand vacancies for health professionals. Overall, this is a vacancy rate of 20 percent, with a physician shortage rate of 30 percent and a dentist rate of 18 percent. The Committee has included $49,363,000 to better enable the Service to recruit and retain health providers. The Service is urged to consider making health administrators a higher priority for loan repayments, in consultation with Tribes.
Quentin N. Burdick American Indians into Nursing Program, Indians into Medicine Program, and American Indians into Psychology Program. The Joint Explanatory Statement provides that these programs are to be funded "at no less than fiscal year 2017 enacted levels."
Improving Access to Quality Care. The Joint Explanatory Statement provides:
Extension Services. The Committees continue to be concerned about the urgent need for skilled health providers in AI/AN communities and is encouraged by the success of the University of New Mexico's Project ECHO—Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes—in delivering timely care to underserved communities. The Service shall consider how Project ECHO could support existing Indian Health Service providers, and how potential partnerships with Project ECHO could aid in the recruitment and retention of healthcare providers to IHS sites, thereby expanding the provider network and improving access to care.
Patient Wait Times. The Committees are encouraged by the Service's recent focus on improving wait times for patients seeking primary and urgent care, including the August 2017 publication of Circular No. 17–11 and related efforts to track, report, and improve patient wait times. The Committees direct the Service to provide a report to the Committees on the status of these efforts no later than 90 days after enactment of this act. This report shall include a clear explanation of how these efforts will address GAO's recommendation in report number GAO–16–333 of setting and monitoring Agency-wide standards for patient wait times in federally operated facilities and an analysis of any potential barriers to continued monitoring of wait times caused by IT infrastructure limitations or incompatibility.
Quality of Care. The Committees are extremely concerned about the lack of access to quality healthcare for Tribes around the Nation, including the ongoing healthcare quality problems in the Great Plains. In order to address these issues, the agreement includes a pilot program and related directives to improve access to quality health services and to improve recruitment and retention of qualified medical personnel as detailed below [Housing Improvements; Workforce Development; Title 38 Personnel Authorities]:
Ø Housing Improvements. In addition to funds provided for staffing quarters within the Facilities Appropriation, the administrative provisions section of the bill also contains new language [see below] allowing for a program to provide a housing subsidy to medical personnel at facilities operated by the Indian Health Service. The Committees are concerned that the lack of affordable and available housing plays a significant role in the agency's personnel vacancy rates and contributes to lowering the quality of care. The Committee expects the Service to provide a plan within 90 days of enactment of this Act that details how the agency plans to use this authority is fiscal year 2018, including the measures it will use to determine whether the authority is successful and how it should be expanded in future years. The Committees have added funds for accreditation emergencies that could be made available for this purpose. The Committees also direct the Service to work with Tribes and with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop a long-term strategy to address professional housing shortages in Indian Country and to ensure that the Service and its partner agencies are fully utilizing existing authorities to improve the availability of housing stock.
(The bill language regarding housing subsidies is: "Provided further, That the Indian Health Service may provide to civilian medical personnel serving in hospitals operated by the Indian Health Service housing allowances equivalent to those that would be provided to members of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service serving in similar positions at such hospitals.")
Ø Workforce Development. The Committees believe that expanded workforce development training for all Service personnel—including non-clinical personnel—must be part of efforts to improve healthcare quality. In addition to continuing skills development opportunities, the Committees believe that IHS should expand its efforts to provide education to all staff and Federal employee management training to facility and area leadership that will provide employees a better understanding of their obligations to report failures in quality of care.
Ø Title 38 Personnel Authorities. The Committees are aware of significant differences between the personnel authorities used by the Service versus the Department of Veterans Affairs under Title 38 of the United States Code. The Committee believes that an analysis of these differences—which include hiring and benefits authorities—may provide strategies for recruiting and retaining qualified personnel in the same rural and remote locations as the VA. The Committees direct the Service to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to analyze the differences between the two agencies’ personnel authorities and to submit a report no later than 90 days after enactment of this Act that details the differences and makes specific legislative recommendations, as appropriate, to provide parity between the two agencies.
TRIBAL MANAGEMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $2,465,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request -0-
FY2018 House $,2465,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $2,465,000
FY 2018 Enacted $2,465,000
The Tribal Management grant program, authorized in 1975 under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, provides competitive grant funding for new and continuation grants for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of contracting IHS programs, developing tribal management capabilities, and evaluating health services.
DIRECT OPERATIONS
FY 2017 Enacted $70,420,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $72,338,000
FY 2018 House $72,338,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $70,420,000
FY 2018 Enacted $72,338,000
IHS estimates that 58.7 percent of the Direct Operations budget would go to Headquarters and 41.3 percent to the 12 Area Offices. Tribal Shares funding for Title I contracts and Title V compacts are also included.
SELF-GOVERNANCE
FY 2017 Enacted $5,786,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $4,735,000
FY 2018 House $5,806,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $5,786,000
FY 2018 Enacted $5,806,000
The Self-Governance budget supports implementation of the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program including funding required for Tribal Shares; oversight of the IHS Director's Agency Lead Negotiators; technical assistance on tribal consultation activities; analysis of Indian Health Care Improvement Act new authorities; and funding to support the activities of the IHS Director's Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee.
The IHS notes in its FY 2018 budget justification that in FY 2016, $1.9 billion was transferred to tribes to support 89 ISDEAA Title V compacts and 115 funding agreements.
SPECIAL DIABETES PROGRAM FOR INDIANS
While the entitlement funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) is not part of the IHS appropriations process, tribes and tribal organizations often include support for this program in their testimony on IHS funding. The Bipartisan Budget Act extended the SDPI program for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 at $150 million each year.
FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH FACILITIES
FY 2017 Enacted $545,424,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $446,956,000
FY 2018 House $551,643,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $563,658,000
FY 2018 Enacted $867,504,000
The Administration's proposal for the Facilities Account was especially harsh, proposing a $100 million reduction. The final FY 2018 Facilities appropriation is $421 million over the Administration's request.
Current Services/Staffing. The Act provides for the Facilities Account $2.4 million for pay costs, $1.9 million for medical inflation, and $5.5 million for staffing for newly opened facilities.
MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $ 75,745,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 60,000,000
FY 2018 House $ 77,502,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $ 77,527,000
FY 2018 Enacted $167,527,000
As of October 1, 2016, the Backlog of Essential Maintenance, Alteration, and Repair is $515.4 million. Maintenance and Improvement (M&I) funds are provided to Area Offices for distribution to projects in their regions.
The Joint Explanatory Statement directs IHS "to provide a spend plan within 60 days of enactment of this Act detailing how IHS plans to utilize this funding."
FACILITIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
FY 2017 Enacted $226,950,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $192,022,000
FY 2018 House $231,412,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $232,913,000
FY 2018 Enacted $240,758,000
Current Services/Staffing. The Act provides $3.3 million for current services and
$5.5 million for staffing of new facilities. An additional $5 million is provided "to address the increased workload in construction."
The Joint Explanatory Statement directs the IHS to "provide a spend plan within 60 days of enactment of this Act for the additional infrastructure funding provided above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level."
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $22,966,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $19,511,000
FY 2018 House $22,966,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $22,966,000
FY 2018 Enacted $23,706,000
The Act provides up to $500,000 for TRANSAM equipment and up to $2.7 million for purchase of ambulances.
CONSTRUCTION
Construction of Sanitation Facilities
FY 2017 Enacted $101,772,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 75,423,000
FY 2018 House $101,772,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $101,772,000
FY 2018 Enacted $192,033,000
Within the total is $261,000 for current services. The Joint Explanatory Statement directs the IHS "to continue following its existing interpretation of criteria for the funding of new, improved, or replacement sanitation facilities."
The sanitation facilities construction program provides funding for sanitation projects to serve new or like-new housing, existing homes, emergency projects, and studies and training related to sanitation facilities construction projects. The funds cannot be used to provide sanitation facilities for HUD-built homes.
Construction of Health Care Facilities
FY 2017 Enacted $117,991,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $100,000,000
FY 2018 House $117,991,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $128,480,000
FY 2018 Enacted $243,480,000
Small Ambulatory Program. The Act provides $15 million for the Small Ambulatory Program.
New and Replacement Quarters. The Act provides $11.5 million for this program and the Joint Explanatory Statement requires a report from IHS:
The Committees believe that additional funds for quarters is essential to help resolve the widespread housing shortages which have contributed to high vacancy rates for medical personnel throughout the system, particularly in rural areas. These funds have been used in areas with chronic housing shortages like Alaska and the Great Plains in order to ameliorate these problems. The Committees expect a report from the Service within 60 days of enactment of this Act on the distribution of funds.
Facility Construction Analysis. The House Report repeats language from the FY 2017 Explanatory Statement (conference report) addressing the need for a project-level funding distribution plan for healthcare facilities construction, and calls for a gap analysis of the level of healthcare services across the IHS system:
The Committee remains dedicated to providing access to health care for IHS patients across the system. The IHS is expected to aggressively work down the current Health Facilities Construction Priority System list as well as work with the Department and Tribes to examine alternative financing arrangements and meritorious regional demonstration projects authorized under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that would effectively close the service gap. Within 60 days of enactment of this Act, the Service shall submit a spending plan to the Committees on Appropriations that details the project-level distribution of funds provided for healthcare facilities construction.
The IHS has no defined benefit package and is not designed to be comparable to the private sector health system. IHS does not provide the same health services in each area. Health services provided to a community depend upon the facilities and services available in the local area, the facilities' financial and personnel resources (42 CFR 136.11(c)) and the needs of the service population. In order to determine whether IHS patients across the system have comparable access to healthcare, the IHS is directed to conduct and publish a gap analysis of the locations and capacities of patient health facilities relative to the IHS user population. The analysis should include: facilities within the IHS system, including facilities on the Health Facilities Construction Priority System list and the Joint Venture Construction Program list; and where possible facilities within private or other Federal health systems for which arrangements with IHS exist, or should exist, to see IHS patients.
MEDICARE LOW VOLUME PAYMENT ADJUSTMENTS
The Act contains a provision that allows retroactive payment of Medicare Low Volume Payment Adjustments to be made for tribal and non-tribal hospitals. Section 429 of the Act (Division G, Title IV) extends the right of certain tribal and non-tribal hospitals who see a low volume of Medicare patients to receive the low volume payment adjustments retroactively to 2011.
CONTINUING BILL LANGUAGE
Restriction of IHS Funds in Alaska to Regional Native Organizations Extended to October 1, 2019. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (PL 113-76) extended to October 1, 2018, the provision that provides that IHS funds for Alaska be made available only to regional Alaska Native health organizations (with some exceptions). Section 428 of the Act (Division G, Title IV) extends that period to October 1, 2019. We repeat here the language from the FY 2014 Appropriations Act:
Alaska Native Regional Health Entities SEC 424. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and until October 1, 2018, the Indian Health Service may not disburse funds for the provision of health care services pursuant to Public Law 93–638 (25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.) to any Alaska Native village or Alaska Native village corporation that is located within the area served by an Alaska Native regional health entity.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the disbursal of funds to any Alaska Native village or Alaska Native village corporation under any contract or compact entered into prior to May 1, 2006, or to prohibit the renewal of any such agreement.
(c) For the purpose of this section, Eastern Aleutian Tribes, Inc., the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, and the Native Village of Eyak shall be treated as Alaska Native regional health entities to which funds may be disbursed under this section.
The Act also continues language from previously enacted bills, including the following:
IDEA Data Collection Language. The Act continues the BIA authorization to collect data from the IHS and tribes regarding disabled children in order to assist with the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The provision is:
Provided further, That the Bureau of Indian Affairs may collect from the Indian Health Service and tribes and tribal organizations operating health facilities pursuant to Public Law 93-638 such individually identifiable health information relating to disabled children as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out its functions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (20 U.S.C. 1400, et. seq.)
Prohibition on Implementing Eligibility Regulations. The Act continues the prohibition on the implementation of the eligibility regulations, published September 16, 1987.
Services for Non-Indians. The Act continues the provision that allows the IHS and tribal facilities to extend health care services to non-Indians, subject to charges. The provision states:
Provided, That in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, non-Indian patients may be extended health care at all tribally administered or Indian Health Service facilities, subject to charges, and the proceeds along with funds recovered under the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 2651-2653) shall be credited to the account of the facility providing the service and shall be available without fiscal year limitation.
Assessments by DHHS. The Act continues the provision which provides that no IHS funds may be used for any assessments or charges by the Department of Health and Human Services "unless identified in the budget justification and provided in this Act, or approved by the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations through the reprogramming process."
Limitation on No-Bid Contracts. The Act continues the provision regarding the use of no-bid contracts. The provision specifically exempts Indian Self-Determination agreements:
Sec. 411. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act to executive branch agencies may be used to enter into any Federal contract unless such contract is entered into in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 33 of title 41 United States Code or chapter 137 of title 10, United States Code, and the Federal Acquisition Regulations, unless:
(1) Federal law specifically authorizes a contract to be entered into without regard for these requirements, including formula grants for States, or federally recognized Indian tribes; or
(2) such contract is authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education and Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638, 25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.) or by any other Federal laws that specifically authorize a contract within an Indian tribe as defined in section 4(e) of that Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)); or
(3) Such contract was awarded prior to the date of enactment of this Act.
Use of Defaulted Funds. The Act continues the provision that allows funds collected on defaults from the Loan Repayment and Health Professions Scholarship programs to be used to make new awards under the Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs.
Appropriations Structure. The Act continues language that has been in the bill for a number of years that the appropriations structure of the IHS may not be altered without advance notification to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. The Administration proposed to delete this provision in order "to maximize operational flexibility."
Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding FY 2018 Indian Health Service appropriations.
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        "FY 2018 Continuing Resolution to Fund Federal Agencies Enacted through January 19; Includes Funding for CHIP, SDPI, and Community Health Centers through March 31," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-060, December 22nd, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-060, reported, Late last evening, the President signed yet another Continuing Resolution (CR), this time to provide FY 2018 funding for federal agencies through January 19, 2018. This action occurred one day before the previous CR was set to expire. As with the prior CR, funding is, by and large, provided at FY 2017 levels and conditions. (See our GM 17-045 of September 11, 2017, and GM 17-058 of December 8, 2017). Also included in the CR are funding extensions through March 31, 2018, for: the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI); and Community Health Centers.
        Anomalies and Additions. Notably, the CR includes an 'anomaly' for the Indian Health Service (IHS) providing funding increases (to be 'apportioned as necessary') to cover the costs of staffing and operating newly constructed facilities. To this effect, the CR provides a rate of operations of $11,761,000 for IHS Services and a rate for operations of $1,104,000 for IHS Facilities in addition to the regular amounts provided by the CR. The CR includes $2.1 billion in mandatory funding for the Veterans Choice program. Also included in the CR is a provision waiving 'paygo' rules from applying to the $1.5 trillion tax cut enacted this week. If the provision to waive paygo rules had not been included, there would have been automatic spending cuts to important entitlement programs such as Medicare. Missing from the CR is a deal negotiated by Senators Alexander (R-TN) and Murray (D-WA) to stabilize the individual health insurance marketplaces.
        Outlook for Detailed FY 2018 Appropriations Bills. With this nearly month-long CR in place, Congress will (theoretically) have time to try to reach an agreement on FY 2018 funding levels and instructions for the 12 appropriations bills when they return in early January of 2018. If that does not come about they will need to enact yet another Continuing Resolution to avoid a partial government shutdown after January 19. A major issue that remains to be dealt with are the spending caps set by the Budget Control Act. There is significant support in Congress for raising the cap for defense funding but other members, primarily Democrats, want an equal raise in non-defense spending as well. In order to raise the spending caps for FY 2018, the Budget Control Act has to be amended. Should an agreement be reached on the spending caps it would likely be for a two-year period (FYs 2018-2019)."

        "President Signs Continuing Resolution through February 8; Government Shutdown Ended," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-005, January 23rd, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-005, reported, "This Memorandum is a follow-up to our General Memorandum 18-004 of yesterday, January 22, concerning the status of the federal government shutdown and the pending Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend funding for federal agencies. As we previously reported, the CR also extends the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years
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        Yesterday afternoon the Senate and the House each approved HR 195, a CR to provide funding for federal agencies through February 8, 2018. The President signed the bill last night, thus ending the shutdown.
A correction was made to the CR by the Senate before it was sent to the House for consideration by adding a provision that provides that military and civilian federal employees will receive back pay for periods when shutdown-related furloughs are in effect during FY 2018. It is significant that the promise of pay for shutdown-related furloughed days extends through all of FY 2018 (through September 30, 2018) as the issue of another government shutdown could occur when the current CR expires after February 8."

        "Senators Reach Agreement on Reopening Government," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-004, January 22nd, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-004, reported, "Today the Senate, on a bipartisan basis, reached an agreement paving the way for ending the three-day shutdown of the federal government. The Senate voted 81-18 to invoke cloture (end debate) on a Continuing Resolution (CR)– the 4th this fiscal year – that would provide funding for federal agencies through February 8, 2018. As with previous CRs, funding would, by and large, be at FY 2017 levels and conditions. The CR also includes a six-year reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and temporarily suspends the following health-related taxes: 1) a 2-year moratorium on the 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of medical devices; 2) a 2-year delay of the excise tax on high-cost employer health coverage (the "Cadillac" tax) until 2022; and 3) a 1-year moratorium on the annual excise tax imposed on health insurers for calendar year 2019. An extension of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) was not included in this CR. Funding for SDPI currently runs through March 31, 2018.
        With debate ended, the Senate is expected to vote to approve the CR later today, then the bill will go back to the House of Representatives for a vote (where we understand it is expected to pass) and finally to the President, who has indicated that he will sign it. Previously, the House had approved their own version of a bill which would have extended the CR through February 16 but a bill must pass both houses in an identical form in order to be sent to the President for signature.
        Late last week and throughout the weekend, Senate Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the standoff on the CR. Among other matters, many Senate Democrats wanted the Senate to take action on the "Dreamers" or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which protects nearly 700,000 persons who, as children, were brought to the U.S. without immigration documents. President Trump had halted that program as of March 5, 2018, and many Senate Democrats wanted DACA protections included in the CR. Prior to the shutdown, bipartisan negotiations with the President over DACA, other immigration matters, and border security had broken down.
        The Senate Democrats did not literally get what they wanted in this CR but Senate Majority Leader McConnell said today that if the Dreamers issue and other key matters are not resolved by February 8, then his "intention" is to "take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA, border security and related issues, as well as disaster relief, defense funding, healthcare, and other important matters." The category of "healthcare" would likely include an extension of funding for SDPI and community health centers. With regard to defense funding, it would likely require amending the Budget Control Act to increase the cap on discretionary defense spending – and many Senators want that paired with an equal increase in the spending cap for discretionary non-defense spending. Senator McConnell stressed that the Senate would take up legislation on these issues only if the federal government remains open. This is a rather tall order of legislative matters to consider within three weeks and the agreement does not/could not commit the House to any specific action.
        The use of Continuing Resolutions, which hamstrings the ability of federal agencies to undertake new initiatives and wrecks havoc on grant programs and distribution of funds, speaks to the need to seriously consider advance appropriations for some programs (i.e., the Indian Health Service) whereby funds are appropriated two years in advance. Health care funds for the Veterans Administration are already on an advance appropriations basis. In addition, some programs, mostly education programs, are funded on a 9-month forward funded basis. For example, most core Bureau of Indian Education funding for K-12 schools and the tribal colleges (except Haskell Indian Nations University and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI)) is appropriated on a forward funded basis and the appropriations committees have indicated an interest in extending this forward funding schedule to Haskell and SIPI."

"President Signs Continuing Resolution through March 23, Debt Ceiling Suspension and Increased Budget Caps for FYs 2018, 2019"
Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-008

February 9th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-008This morning, the President signed HR 1892, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Act). The Act averted a government shutdown, averted a default on the federal debt, and includes a (fifth) Continuing Resolution which funds federal agencies through March 23, 2018. Significantly, it increases the budget caps for both defense and non-defense spending for FYs 2018 and 2019, thus allowing the appropriations committees to re-work their pending FY 2018 appropriations bills taking the increased spending authority into account. The Act provides focus for where the increased funding should be directed. The goal is to have these appropriations bills finished by March 23. The Act also provides a full fiscal year of funding for the Defense Department and suspends the debt ceiling through March 1, 2019 (hence, no debt ceiling vote before the November elections). Also included are provisions concerning disaster aid, health and family programs reauthorizations, and "tax extenders". Notably, the Act does not include the funding that the President is seeking for a wall on our Nation's southern border nor does it include the protections that House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) and others are seeking for individuals known as "Dreamers". Thus, both will remain sources of contention and will likely continue to complicate the remainder of the congressional session. Below is information on selected provisions of significance in the Act for tribes/tribal organizations.
Spending Caps. The Act raises the Budget Control Act's discretionary spending caps for defense by $80 billion for FY 2018 ($629 billion total) and by $85 billion for FY 2019 ($647 billion total). For non-defense discretionary spending the cap is raised by $63 billion for FY 2018 ($579 billion total) and by $68 billion for FY 2019 ($597 billion total).
Via informal agreement, the additional non-defense spending authority would be geared toward addressing the opioid crisis ($6 billion over two years), infrastructure, including: rural drinking water and waste water, rural broadband, energy, innovative capital projects, and surface transportation ($20 billion over two years); child care ($5.8 billion over two years); Veterans Administration hospital and clinics improvements ($4 billion over two years); higher education ($4 billion over two years); and National Institutes of Health research ($2 billion over two years).
Disaster Aid. The Act provides an additional $89.3 billion to continue response and recovery from the damage caused by last year's hurricanes, wildfires and other severe weather events. This amount is largely directed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development's Block Grant Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Health Programs. The Act includes:
• Special Diabetes Program for Indians – extended for two years with $150 million for each of fiscal years 2018 and 2019;
• Community Health Centers – extended for two years with $3.8 billion in FY 2018 and $4 billion in FY 2019;
• Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – extended for an additional four years, through FY 2027. The previous CR (PL 115-120) had extended CHIP through FY 2023.
• Medicare – while not the subject of this Memorandum, the Act also contains numerous Medicare provisions, including the extension of certain expired Medicare programs.
Family/Social Services Programs. The Act includes an array of family service/child welfare reauthorizations:
• Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program – extended through FY 2022. This program, created through the Affordable Care Act, has mandatory funding of $400 million annually. Three percent of funds are reserved for tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations. This voluntary program provides for home visits relating to maternal and child health and development.
• Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program – extended through FY 2021. Although the statute does not specify a percentage or an amount of funds for tribes, they receive formula funds under this program, which is authorized under Title IV-B, Subpart 1 of the Social Security Act. Tribes currently receive about $6 million under this program.
• Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program – extended through FY 2021. This program receives both discretionary and mandatory funds and the authorization covers both sources. The Act provides for level funding for the mandatory source. Tribes receive a three percent statutory allocation of the mandatory and discretionary funds which amounts to approximately $12 million annually.
• Court Improvement Program – extended through FY 2021. These grants are for courts to improve their handling of child welfare cases. Tribes receive $1 million annually which is awarded competitively.
Family First Prevention Services Act – this lengthy portion of the Act is taken from five bills relating to child welfare passed earlier this Congress by the House. The Family First Act takes steps to reorient the title IV-E Foster Care, Adoption, and guardianship program from one that focuses on the child once he is removed from the home to providing support to the family in an effort to prevent the child from needing to be in foster care. We will write a separate report on this section of the Act.
Taxes. The Act includes extensions of specific provisions in the tax code, including a one year, retroactive extension of the:
• Indian Employment Tax Credit;
• Accelerated Depreciation for Business Property on Indian Reservations; and
• Production Credit for Indian Coal Facilities."
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House-Senate FY 2018 Indian Health Service Appropriations Recommendations
Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-059, December 18th, 2017,
http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-059

In this Memorandum we report on the Senate "Chairman's Mark" making recommendations on the FY 2018 budget for the Indian Health Service (IHS) and compare it to the House-passed bill.
We reported on the House Appropriations Committee recommendations for FY 2018 funding for the IHS in our General Memorandum 17-039 of July 27, 2017 and on the House-passed FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill which includes funding for the IHS in our General Memorandum 17- 047 of September 18, 2017. The House Interior Appropriations bill and report are HR 3354 and H. Rept. 115-238, respectively.
The House and Senate have not agreed on any appropriations bills for FY 2018 and consequently have had to pass two Continuing Resolutions (CR) funding programs, by and large, at FY 2017 levels and conditions. The current CR extends through December 22, 2017 (PL 115-90) (see our General Memorandum 17-058 of December 8, 2017). Hindering progress is the uncertainty regarding what the defense and non-defense spending caps will be – whether Congress will amend the Budget Control Act to allow for increased spending caps for FY 2018. Some members of Congress favor raising the cap for defense only, while the general position of Congressional Democrats is that the cap should be raised by the same amount for defense and non-defense discretionary spending alike.
Neither the Senate Appropriations Committee nor its Interior Appropriations Subcommittee marked up a FY 2018 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill. However, Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Murkowski (R-AK) released a "Chairman's Mark" and an Explanatory Statement on November 20, 2017, which will be used in negotiations with the House when crafting a final bill.
IHS OVERALL FUNDING
FY 2017 Enacted $5,039,886,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $4,739,291,000
FY 2018 House $5,136,873,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $5,040,886,000
Both the House and Senate bills reject the large IHS budget cuts proposed by the Trump Administration so increases provided in FY 2017 would be retained. The Administration had proposed decreases for behavioral health initiatives, accreditation emergencies, prescription drug monitoring, detoxification, small ambulatory construction program, domestic violence, clinic leases, and the Facilities account. Those proposed decreases were rejected. Notable among the differences between the House and Senate recommendations are in the areas of pay costs increases, staffing for new facilities, Indian Health Care Improvement Fund, small ambulatory program; and quarters funding. The Senate bill has new provisions regarding housing subsidies for civilian personnel at IHS hospitals and Medicare Low Volume Payment Adjustments.
Pay Costs Increases. The House recommended $36.7 million for pay costs in the Services Account which compares to a FY 2017 enacted amount of $13.2 million. For the Facilities Account, the House recommended $3.6 million for pay costs which compares to an FY 2017 enacted amount of $1.2 million. The Senate bill does not contain funding for pay costs increases.
Staffing Packages. The House recommended $20 million for the staffing of two newly constructed Joint Venture projects – the Flandreau Health Center in Flandreau, SD and the Choctaw Nation Regional Medical Center in Durant, OK. This is the same as the Administration's request. The Senate recommended $70 million and notes that the requested amount was $50 million short of need. The Explanatory Statement describes the Red Tail Hawk Health Center and the Phoenix Indian Medical Center in Arizona, the Fort Yuma Health Center in California and the Muskogee Creek Choctaw Nation Health Center in Oklahoma as needing staffing money (in addition to Flandreau and Choctaw). All the increases over FY enacted in the Senate Mark in the Services account are for the staffing of the new facilities.
Indian Health Care Improvement Act Unfunded Authorities Report. The House Report repeats the language from FY 2017 regarding funding for Indian Health Care Improvement Act authorizations. In the FY 2018 Budget Justification, IHS stated that 90 days is an insufficient time to provide the required report and also that the cost of it would be significant. The Committee language is as follows:
It has been over six years since the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), yet many of the provisions in the law remain unfunded. Tribes have specifically requested that priority areas for funding focus on diabetes treatment and prevention, behavioral health, and health professions. The Committee requests that the Service provide, no later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, a detailed plan with specific dollars identified to fully fund and implement the IHCIA.
Reimbursable Funding. The House Report also directs the IHS to report on population and service growth over the past 10 years and the funding sources used to address these needs:
The Committee directs the Service to report, within 180 days of enactment of this Act, on patient population and service growth over the past ten years and the funding sources used to provide for these medical services. The IHS is to include a breakdown, by dollar amount and percentage, of funding sources which supplement appropriated dollars to cover the provision of medical services at IHS operated and tribally contracted and compacted facilities. The Committee is interested in detailed information on whether medical services have been able to expand over this time period as a result of increases in the ability to charge medical services to supplementary funding sources. As a point of comparison, and to the extent possible, the Service shall compare these impacts across the twelve IHS areas, with the degree to which patient populations services in the respective states has increased.
Appropriations Structure. Both bills would continue language that has been in the bill for a number of years that the appropriations structure of the IHS may not be altered without advance notification to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. The Administration proposed to delete this provision in order "to maximize operational flexibility."
CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS
FY 2017 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2018 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2018 House Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2018 Senate Mark Such sums as may be necessary
The House and Senate have the same proposals regarding Contract Support Costs (CSC). The recommendations, consistent with the Administration's request for IHS and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), does not make any major changes in the structure or amount of CSC appropriations—although the IHS estimated expenditures are lower than predicted for FY 2017. Funding for CSC in each agency remains a separate appropriation account with an indefinite amount—'such sums as may be necessary.'
The estimation for CSC spending for IHS is $717,970,000, the same as in the Administration's budget justification.
The Senate proposal, consistent with the House recommendation, did not include two CSC restrictions proposed in the President’s Budget: (1) a command to count unspent CSC against a tribe's requirement in the next year—a provision that could be read to deny the carryover authority in the ISDEAA; and (2) a "notwithstanding" clause that IHS has relied on, in part, to deny CSC for some programs, such as the Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention program and the Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. These provisions last appeared in the FY 2016 appropriations act, but tribes successfully advocated for their removal in FY 2017.
Both bills would continue prior language in the General Provisions section:
Contract Support Costs, Prior Year Limitation
Sec. 405. Sections 405 and 406 of division F of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Public Law 113-235) shall continue in effect in fiscal year 2018.
Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2018 Limitation
Sec. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2018 under headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2018 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payment of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayment of payments for settlement or judgments awarding contract support costs for prior years.
FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $3,694,462,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $3,574,365,000
FY2018 House $3,867,260,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $3,759,258,000
HOSPITALS AND CLINICS
FY 2017 Enacted $1,935,178,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $1,870,405,000
FY 2018 House $1,966,714,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $1,982,312,000
Tribal Clinic Leases. Both bills would provide $11 million for tribal clinic leases, the same as FY 2017 enacted. The Administration proposed only $2 million for this purpose. They also rejected the Administration's proposal for bill language to amend the law in order to avoid full compensation for section 105(l) Indian Self-Determination and Education Act leases which would be contrary to the decision in Maniilaq Association v. Burwell, 170 F. Supp.3rd 243 (D.D.C. 2016).
Accreditation Emergencies. Both bills would provide $29 million for hospital accreditation emergencies, the same as the FY 2017 level. The Administration proposed only
$2 million for this purpose. The House Committee Report states:
Accreditation Emergencies.—The Committee considers the loss or potential loss of a Medicare or Medicaid agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at any facility to be an accreditation emergency. The recommendation includes a total of $29,000,000 for accreditation emergencies at an alarming number of facilities over the past year. Funds may be used for personnel or other expenses essential for sustaining operations of an affected service unit, including but not to exceed $4,000,000 for Purchased/Referred Care. These are not intended to be recurring base funds. The Director should reallocate the funds annually as necessary to ensure that agreements with CMS are reinstated, and to restore third-party collection shortfalls. Shortfalls should be calculated relative to a baseline, which should be the average of the collections in each of the two fiscal years preceding the year in which an agreement with CMS was terminated or put on notice of termination.
The following House Committee Report language is related to the accreditation crisis and related reform:
The accreditation crisis in the Great Plains and the subsequent House provision have highlighted the need for IHS facilities to be significantly more inclusive of Tribes in the decision-making process. The Committees on Appropriations are encouraged by the IHS's own recent initiative to reform its governing boards, but reforms are limited under existing statutes. The Committees are aware that the authorizing committees of jurisdiction are examining this issue and support these efforts to improve the communication and collaboration between the IHS and Tribes at direct service facilities.
The Senate Explanatory Statement likewise strongly disagrees with the proposal to virtually eliminate funding for accreditation emergencies:
The Committee strongly disagrees with the Service's request to virtually eliminate funding for accreditation emergencies when this has proven to be such a persistent problem that jeopardizes necessary healthcare delivery at numerous locations. The Committee has maintained funding for accreditation emergencies at the fiscal year 2017 level of $29,000,000. The Committee remains extremely concerned with the potential loss of Medicare or Medicaid agreements with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at any facility. This has been a particular problem in the Great Plains region and the Committee expects the Service to use these funds in order to correct problems at those facilities and to keep the Committee apprised of its progress.
Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. Both bills recommend $12.9 million for this program, equal to the FY 2017 enacted level.
Prescription Drug Monitoring. Both bills recommend $1 million to fund the multi-state prescription drug monitoring program authorized by Section 196 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, equal to the FY 2017 enacted level.
Teleophthalmology Program. The Senate Explanatory Statement proposes $1 million for the teleophthalmology program for retinal camera upgrades.
DENTAL SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $182,597,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $179,751,000
FY 2018 House $185,920,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $189,790,000
The House Committee Report states:
The Committee has recognized for many years the dire need to increase oral health care to American Indians/Alaska Natives. Because of funding increases, an additional 263,565 dental services were provided in fiscal year 2016. However, the demand for dental treatment remains overwhelming due to the high incidence of dental caries (cavities) in AI/AN children. Over 80 percent of AI/AN children ages 6–9 and 13–15 years suffer from dental caries, while less than 50 percent of the U.S. population in the same age cohort have experienced tooth decay. The Committee recognizes that more needs to be done to fully address the need for oral health care.
The Senate Explanatory Statement encourages the IHS "to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to integrate preventive dental care at schools within the BIE system."
MENTAL HEALTH
FY 2017 Enacted $94,080,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $82,654,000
FY 2018 House $95,450,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $97,201,000
Included in both bills is funding for a Behavioral Health Integration Initiative and the Zero Suicide Initiative ($21.4 million and $3.6 million, respectively, the same as in FY 2017).
ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
FY 2017 Enacted $218,353,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $205,593,000
FY 2018 House $220,280,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $219,655,000
IHS states that its request includes $101.5 million for drug control activities which will maintain the program's progress "in addressing the alcohol and substance abuse needs by improving access to behavioral health services through tele-behavioral health efforts and providing a comprehensive array of preventive, educational and treatment services."
The Senate notes that the IHS is to continue its partnership with the Na'Nizhoozhi Center in Gallup, NM and "to distribute funds provided for detoxification services in the same manner as fiscal year 2017." With regard to alcoholism and opioid addiction, the Senate Committee "encourages the Service to employ the full spectrum of medication assisted treatments (MAT) for alcoholism and opioid addiction, including non-narcotic treatment options that are less subject to diversion combined with counseling services."
PURCHASED/REFERRED CARE
FY 2017 Enacted $928,830,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $914,139,000
FY 2018 House $928,830,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $930,484,000
Of the total, $53 million is for the Catastrophic Health Emergency Program. The House expresses concern regarding distribution of funds and encourages, in certain circumstances, agreements with non-IHS federal facilities:
The recommendation includes $928,830,000 for Purchased/Referred Care (PRC), equal to the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The Committee remains concerned about the inequitable distribution of funds as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO– 12–446). The IHS is encouraged to evaluate the feasibility of entering into reimbursable agreements with Federal health facilities outside of the IHS system for patient referrals. Such agreements should be considered only when such referrals save costs and patient travel times relative to referrals to the nearest non-Federal health facilities, and when such referrals do not significantly increase patient wait times at such Federal facilities.
INDIAN HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT FUND
The House recommended $130 million for the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund. It is listed as its own line item under the Services account. Report language notes it is provided "in order to reduce disparities across the IHS system." Bill language would provide that the Fund "may be used, as needed, to carry out activities typically funded under the Indian Health Facilities Account." The Senate Mark does not include funding for the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund.
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING
FY 2017 Enacted $78,701,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $77,498,000
FY 2018 House $80,372,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $82,546,000
HEALTH EDUCATION
FY 2017 Enacted $18,663,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $18,313,000
FY 2018 House $18,896,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $19,193,000
COMMUNITY HEALTH REPRESENTATIVES
FY 2017 Enacted $60,325,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $58,906,000
FY 2018 House $60,825,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $60,325,000
HEPATITIS B and HAEMOPHILUS
IMMUNIZATION (Hib) PROGRAMS IN ALASKA
FY 2017 Enacted $2,041,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $1,950,000
FY 2018 House $2,058,000 FY 2018 Senate Mark $2,058,000
URBAN INDIAN HEALTH
FY 2017 Enacted $47,678,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $44,741,000
FY 2018 House Committee $47,943,000
FY2018 Senate Mark $47,678,000
Native Veterans. The House Report comments on the need for culturally appropriate services for Native veterans and also notes the provision in the FY 2018 House Veterans Administration appropriations bill requiring a report regarding the cost differential for VA to reimburse IHS for services rather than to provide services directly to urban Indian veterans:
The recommendation includes $47,943,000 for Urban Indian Health, $3,202,000 above the budget request. IHS is expected to continue to include current services estimates for Urban Indian Health in future budget requests. Seven out of ten American Indians/Alaska Natives live in urban centers and receive vital culturally appropriate health services from urban Indian health organizations. As such, many Indian veterans obtain their health care services from these organizations. Currently the Veterans’ Administration (VA) and the Indian Health Service are operating under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which is effective through June 30, 2019. Under this agreement, VA reimburses care provided to Indian veterans at IHS facilities and Tribal health programs. The MOU recognizes the importance of a coordinated and cohesive effort on a national scope to meet the needs of individual tribes, villages, islands, and communities, through VA, IHS, Tribal and Urban Indian health programs; however, to date, there has not been equitable reimbursement for the culturally appropriate services provided to Native individuals, including Native veterans. This year, House Report 115–188 accompanying the fiscal year 2018 Military Construction, Veterans' Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriation bill included a directive requiring the VA to prepare a report for the Appropriations Committee examining the impact of Indian veterans receiving health services at urban clinics and the annual estimated cost differential for VA to reimburse IHS rather than provide services directly in these urban areas. The report is also to estimate the capacity of Indian urban clinics to treat increased Indian veteran caseloads and include any data supporting the use of the higher negotiated reimbursement rate in urban settings versus rural areas. The report is due 90 days after enactment of the Act, and the Committee directs IHS to work with the VA to complete this report.
INDIAN HEALTH PROFESSIONS
FY 2017 Enacted $49,345,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $43,342,000
FY 2018 House $49,943,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $49,345,000
Programs funded under Indian Health Professions are: Health Professions Preparatory and Pre-Graduate Scholarships; Health Professions Scholarships; Extern Program; Loan Repayment Program; Quentin N. Burdick American Indians Into Nursing Program; Indians Into Medicine Program; and American Indians into Psychology.
Loan Repayment Program. Both bills include $36 million for the loan repayment program. The House Report also comments:
Loan repayment has proven to be the Service’s best recruitment tool for staffing health professionals. The Committee was dismayed to learn that the Service has three thousand vacancies for health professionals. Overall, this is a vacancy rate of 20 percent, with a physician shortage rate of 30 percent and a dentist rate of 18 percent. The Committee has included $49,363,000 to better enable the Service to recruit and retain health providers. The Service is urged to consider making health administrators a higher priority for loan repayments, in consultation with Tribes.
The Senate Committee notes that funding for the Americans into Nursing Program, Indians into Medicine Program, and American Indians into Psychology Program are to be funded "at no less than fiscal year 2017 levels."
The Senate Committee, in addition, comments on issues regarding extension services, patient wait times, and quality of care:
Extension Services. The Committee continues to be concerned about the urgent need for skilled health providers in AI/AN communities and is encouraged by the success of the University of New Mexico's Project ECHO—Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes—in delivering timely care to underserved communities. The Service shall consider how Project ECHO could support existing Indian Health Service providers, and how potential partnerships with Project ECHO could aid in the recruitment and retention of healthcare providers to IHS sites, thereby expanding the provider network and improving access to care.
Patient Wait Times. The Committee is encouraged by the Service's recent focus on improving wait times for patients seeking primary and urgent care, including the August 2017 publication of Circular No. 17–11 and related efforts to track, report, and improve patient wait times. The Committee directs the Service to provide a report to the Committee on the status of these efforts no later than 90 days after enactment of this act. This report shall include a clear explanation of how these efforts will address GAO's recommendation in report number GAO–16–333 of setting and monitoring Agency-wide standards for patient wait times in federally operated facilities and an analysis of any potential barriers to continued monitoring of wait times caused by IT infrastructure limitations or incompatibility.
Quality of Care. The Committee is extremely concerned about the lack of access to quality healthcare for Tribes around the Nation, including the ongoing healthcare quality problems in the Great Plains. In order to address these issues, the Committee recommendation includes a pilot program and related directives to improve access to quality health services and to improve recruitment and retention of qualified medical personnel as detailed below [Housing Improvements; Workforce Development; Title 38 Personnel Authorities]:
Housing Improvements. In addition to funds provided for staffing quarters within the Facilities Appropriation, the administrative provisions section of the bill also contains new language [see below] allowing for a program to provide a housing subsidy to medical personnel at facilities operated by the Indian Health Service. The Committee is concerned that the lack of affordable and available housing plays a significant role in the agency’s personnel vacancy rates and contributes to lowering the quality of care. The Committee expects the Service to provide a plan within 90 days of enactment of this Act that details how the agency plans to use this authority is fiscal year 2018, including the measures it will use to determine whether the authority is successful and how it should be expanded in future years. The Committee notes that it has restored funds for accreditation emergencies that could be made available for this purpose. The Committee also directs the Service to work with Tribes and with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop a long-term strategy to address professional housing shortages in Indian Country and to ensure that the Service and its partner agencies are fully utilizing existing authorities to improve the availability of housing stock.
(The Senate bill language regarding housing subsidies is: "Provided further, That the Indian Health Service may provide to civilian medical personnel serving in hospitals operated by the Indian Health Service housing allowances equivalent to those that would be provided to members of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service serving in similar positions at such hospitals.")
Workforce Development. The Committee believes that expanded workforce development training for all Service personnel—including non-clinical personnel—must be part of efforts to improve healthcare quality. In addition to continuing skills development opportunities, the Committee believes that IHS should expand its efforts to provide education to all staff and Federal employee management training to facility and area leadership that will provide employees a better understanding of their obligations to report failures in quality of care.
Title 38 Personnel Authorities. The Committee is aware of significant differences between the personnel authorities used by the Service versus the Department of Veterans Affairs under Title 38 of the United States Code. The Committee believes that an analysis of these differences—which include hiring and benefits authorities—may provide strategies for recruiting and retaining qualified personnel in the same rural and remote locations as the VA. The Committee directs the Service to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to analyze the differences between the two agencies’ personnel authorities and to submit a report no later than 90 days after enactment of this Act that details the differences and makes specific legislative recommendations as appropriate to provide parity between the two agencies.
TRIBAL MANAGEMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $2,465,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request -0-
FY2018 House $,2465,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $2,465,000
The Tribal Management grant program, authorized in 1975 under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA), provides competitive grant funding for new and continuation grants for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of contracting IHS programs, developing tribal management capabilities, and evaluating health services.
DIRECT OPERATIONS
FY 2017 Enacted $70,420,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $72,338,000
FY 2018 House $72,338,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $70,420,000
IHS estimates that 58.7 percent of the Direct Operations budget would go to Headquarters and 41.3 percent to the 12 Area Offices. Tribal Shares funding for Title I contracts and Title V compacts are also included.
SELF-GOVERNANCE
FY 2017 Enacted $5,786,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $4,735,000
FY 2018 House $5,806,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $5,786,000
The Self-Governance budget supports implementation of the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program including funding required for Tribal Shares; oversight of the IHS Director's Agency Lead Negotiators; technical assistance on tribal consultation activities; analysis of Indian Health Care Improvement Act new authorities; and funding to support the activities of the IHS Director's Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee.
The IHS notes in its FY 2018 budget justification that in FY 2016, $1.9 billion was transferred to tribes to support 89 ISDEAA Title V compacts and 115 funding agreements.
SPECIAL DIABETES PROGRAM FOR INDIANS
While the entitlement funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) is not part of the IHS appropriations process, tribes and tribal organizations routinely include support for this program in their testimony on IHS funding. SDPI is currently funded through December 31, 2017 at a rate of $150 million annually. The program needs to be extended this year. Tribes and tribal organizations are advocating for a $200 million annual funding level.
FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH FACILITIES
FY 2017 Enacted $545,424,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $446,956,000
FY 2018 House $551,643,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $563,658,000
The Administration's proposal for the Facilities Account was especially harsh, proposing a $100 million reduction. The House and the Senate Mark reject the proposed cut and recommend $6 million and $18 million, respectively, over the FY 2017 enacted level.
MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $75,745,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $60,000,000
FY 2018 House $77,502,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $77,527,000
As of October 1, 2016, the Backlog of Essential Maintenance, Alteration, and Repair is $515.4 million. Maintenance and Improvement (M&I) funds are provided to Area Offices for distribution to projects in their regions.
FACILITIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
FY 2017 Enacted $226,950,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $192,022,000
FY 2018 House $231,412,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $232,913,000
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $22,966,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $19,511,000
FY 2018 House $22,966,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $22,966,000
Both bills would provide up to $500,000 for TRANSAM equipment and up to
$2.7 million for purchase of ambulances. The IHS Budget Justification stated that IHS expects to provide $450,000 to purchase TRANSAM equipment from the Department of Defense and no funding for the purchase of ambulances, but both bills would restore those amounts.
CONSTRUCTION
Construction of Sanitation Facilities
FY 2017 Enacted $101,772,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 75,423,000
FY 2018 House $101,772,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $101,772,000
The House and Senate rejected the Administration's proposals to greatly reduce funding for sanitation projects to serve new or like-new housing, existing homes, emergency projects, and studies and training related to sanitation facilities construction projects.
The IHS sanitation facilities construction funds cannot be used to provide sanitation facilities for HUD-built homes.
Construction of Health Care Facilities
FY 2017 Enacted $117,991,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $100,000,000
FY 2018 House $117,991,000
FY 2018 Senate Mark $128,480,000
The House Report does not specify specific construction projects; while The IHS proposed construction funding for the following specific projects:
• $45 million to complete construction of the Rapid City Health Center, Rapid City, SD;
• $50 million to continue construction of the Dikon Alternative Rural Health Center, Dikon, AZ; and
• $5 million for design/build activities for the Alamo Health Center, Alamo, NM
Small Ambulatory Program/New and Replacement Quarters. The House recommends level funding for the Small Ambulatory Program ($5 million) and for New and Replacement Quarters ($8.5 million). The Senate Mark, on the other hand, recommends $10 million for the Small Ambulatory Program and $11.5 million for new and replacement quarters.
Facility Construction Analysis. The House Report repeats language from the FY 2017 Explanatory Statement (conference report) addressing the need for a project-level funding distribution plan for healthcare facilities construction, and calls for a gap analysis of the level of healthcare services across the IHS system:
The Committee remains dedicated to providing access to health care for IHS patients across the system. The IHS is expected to aggressively work down the current Health Facilities Construction Priority System list as well as work with the Department and Tribes to examine alternative financing arrangements and meritorious regional demonstration projects authorized under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that would effectively close the service gap. Within 60 days of enactment of this Act, the Service shall submit a spending plan to the Committees that details the project-level distribution of funds provided for healthcare facilities construction.
The IHS has no defined benefit package and is not designed to be comparable to the private sector health system. IHS does not provide the same health services in each area. Health services provided to a community depend upon the facilities and services available in the local area, the facilities' financial and personnel resources (42 CFR 136.11(c)) and the needs of the service population. In order to determine whether IHS patients across the system have comparable access to healthcare, the IHS is directed to conduct and publish a gap analysis of the locations and capacities of patient health facilities relative to the IHS user population. The analysis should include: facilities within the IHS system, including facilities on the Health Facilities Construction Priority System list and the Joint Venture Construction Program list; and where possible facilities within private or other Federal health systems for which arrangements with IHS exist, or should exist, to see IHS patients.
MEDICARE LOW VOLUME PAYMENT ADJUSTMENTS
The Senate bill contains a provision that would allow retroactive payment of Medicare Low Volume Payment Adjustments to be made for tribal and non-tribal hospitals. Section 437 of the bill would extend the right of certain tribal and non-tribal hospitals who see a low volume of Medicare patients to receive the low volume payment adjustments retroactively to 2014.
CONTINUING BILL LANGUAGE
Both bills would continue language from previously enacted bills, including the following:
Restriction of IHS Funds in Alaska to Regional Native Organizations Extended to October 1, 2019. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (PL 113-76) extended to October 1, 2018, the provision that provides that IHS funds for Alaska be made available only to regional Alaska Native health organizations (with some exceptions). Section 436 of the FY 2018 Senate bill would extend that period to October 1, 2019. We repeat here the language from the FY 2014 Appropriations Act:
Alaska Native Regional Health Entities SEC 424. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and until October 1, 2018, the Indian Health Service may not disburse funds for the provision of health care services pursuant to Public Law 93–638 (25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.) to any Alaska Native village or Alaska Native village corporation that is located within the area served by an Alaska Native regional health entity.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the disbursal of funds to any Alaska Native village or Alaska Native village corporation under any contract or compact entered into prior to May 1, 2006, or to prohibit the renewal of any such agreement.
(c) For the purpose of this section, Eastern Aleutian Tribes, Inc., the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, and the Native Village of Eyak shall be treated as Alaska Native regional health entities to which funds may be disbursed under this section.
IDEA Data Collection Language. Both bills would continue the BIA authorization to collect data from the IHS and tribes regarding disabled children in order to assist with the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The provision is:
Provided further, That the Bureau of Indian Affairs may collect from the Indian Health Service and tribes and tribal organizations operating health facilities pursuant to Public Law 93-638 such individually identifiable health information relating to disabled children as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out its functions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (20 U.S.C. 1400, et. seq.)
Prohibition on Implementing Eligibility Regulations. Both bills would continue the prohibition on the implementation of the eligibility regulations, published September 16, 1987.
Services for Non-Indians. Both bills would continue the provision that allows the IHS and tribal facilities to extend health care services to non-Indians, subject to charges. The provision states:
Provided, That in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, non-Indian patients may be extended health care at all tribally administered or Indian Health Service facilities, subject to charges, and the proceeds along with funds recovered under the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 2651-2653) shall be credited to the account of the facility providing the service and shall be available without fiscal year limitation.
Assessments by DHHS. Both bills would continue the provision which provides that no IHS funds may be used for any assessments or charges by the Department of Health and Human Services "unless identified in the budget justification and provided in this Act, or approved by the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations through the reprogramming process."
Limitation on No-Bid Contracts. Both bills would continue the provision regarding the use of no-bid contracts. The provision specifically exempts Indian Self-Determination agreements:
Sec. 411. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act to executive branch agencies may be used to enter into any Federal contract unless such contract is entered into in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 33 of title 41 United States Code or chapter 137 of title 10, United States Code, and the Federal Acquisition Regulations, unless:
(1) Federal law specifically authorizes a contract to be entered into without regard for these requirements, including formula grants for States, or federally recognized Indian tribes; or
(2) such contract is authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education and Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638, 25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.) or by any other Federal laws that specifically authorize a contract within an Indian tribe as defined in section 4(e) of that Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)); or
(3) Such contract was awarded prior to the date of enactment of this Act.
Use of Defaulted Funds. Both bills would continue the provision that allows funds collected on defaults from the Loan Repayment and Health Professions Scholarship programs to be used to make new awards under the Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs.
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Senate Appropriations Committee Releases FY 2018 Chairman's Mark for Indian Affairs
Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-003
January 16th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-003

In this Memorandum we report on the Senate Appropriations Committee's recommendations for FY 2018 funding for Indian Affairs (which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)), as well as a few other selected programs in the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not voted on this, rather the Committee released the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill language and accompanying explanatory statement as a "Chairman's Mark". This "Chairman's Mark" will be used as a negotiating position with the House as the House has already passed its own FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill (see our General Memorandum 17-044 of August 25, 2017). We include both House and Senate Committee numbers in this memorandum.
As of this writing, the federal government is being funded via a "Continuing Resolution" (CR) which by and large continues FY 2017 funding levels and conditions to January 19, 2018. Given Congress's inability to come to an agreement on whether or how to increase discretionary budget caps for FY 2018, we understand that yet another CR (the fourth this fiscal year) may be likely, this time extending at least some into February. If Congress does come to an agreement on increasing the budget caps, at least some of the appropriations bills will need to be reconfigured to reflect this—creating a potential opportunity for increases for Indian Country's priorities.
INDIAN AFFAIRS (IA) OVERVIEW
Fortunately for Indian Country, both the Senate Appropriations Committee's Chairman's Mark and the House's Omnibus bill recommend similar funding levels for Indian Affairs: $2.8 billion. This reflects a nearly wholesale rejection of the $371.7 million in cuts proposed by the Trump Administration (including the proposed cuts to the Tiwahe Initiative), a consensus on updating the estimate for Contract Support Costs, and a modest increase above FY 2017. In keeping with prior years, the following statement of values was included in the House Report:
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs (together, "Indian Affairs") provide services directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts to a service population of more than 1.7 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) who are enrolled members of 567 federally recognized Tribes in the 48 contiguous United States and Alaska. While the role of the organization has changed significantly in the last four decades in response to a greater emphasis on Indian self-determination, Tribes still look to Indian Affairs for a broad spectrum of services. Almost 85 percent of all appropriations are expended at the local level, and over 62 percent of appropriations provided directly to Tribes and Tribal organizations through grants, contracts, and compacts. In preparation for the fiscal year 2018 appropriation bill, the Subcommittee held two days of hearings and received testimony from over 75 witnesses on a variety of topics pertaining to AI/AN programs. The Federal government has a legal and moral obligation to provide quality services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. On a nonpartisan basis, the Committee continues to protect and, where possible, strengthen the budgets for Indian Country programs in this bill in order to address longstanding and underfunded needs [emphasis added].
Request for Indian Reorganization Act – Carcieri Fix Not Included. Each fiscal year from FY 2011 to FY 2017, the Obama Administration requested and Congress continued to not provide language which would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's 2009 decision that the Secretary of the Interior does not have authority to take land into trust for tribes under federal jurisdiction after 1934. The Trump Administration did not request this Carcieri Fix language, nor does the House or the Senate Committee bill provide it.
Authorization for the Tohono O’odham Nation to Accept Road Funding From U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The updated version of the House's bill now includes the following provision, "Provided further, That the Bureau of Indian Affairs may accept transfers of funds from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to supplement any other funding available for reconstruction or repair of roads on the Tohono O'odham Nation." The Nation had raised this issue in Congressional testimony and in other forums.
NATIVE Act Implementation. Both the House and the Senate Committee include in their Report and Explanatory Statement direction to the Administration on implementing the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act (NATIVE Act, PL 114-221). The NATIVE Act is designed to facilitate international and domestic tourism in tribal communities via updating federal agency tourism strategies and providing increased resources and technical assistance to tribes, tribal organizations, and Native Hawaiian organizations for their tourism efforts. The focus of the NATIVE Act is the utilization of tribal communities' rich and diverse cultures and histories in the visitor experience (for further information, see our General Memorandum 16-060 of October 7, 2016).
OPERATION OF INDIAN PROGRAMS
FY 2017 Enacted $2,339,346,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $2,082,506,000
FY 2018 House Committee $2,360,911,000
FY 2018 House Rules 8-Bill Minibus $2,362,211,000*
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $2,365,373,000
Operation of Indian Programs (OIP) budget includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).
The House Report directs, "Indian Affairs is expected to execute its budget in accordance with the justification submitted to the Congress, except as otherwise directed below and summarized in the table at the end of this report."
Fixed Costs and Transfers. From within this total, the Administration requests $17.1 million for fixed cost increases as well as a number of transfers between accounts.
The House and Senate Committee Mark agree to these requests.
*$1.3 Million Increase. The House Rules Committee print of the 8-Bill Minibus increases the amount recommended for Operation of Indian Programs by $1.3 million above the House Appropriations Committee recommendations; however, it does not detail which to accounts within OIP that increase would be directed. Thus, some amounts within OIP will be slightly higher than reported below.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports. The Senate Committee reminds the Bureau of the importance of meeting reporting requirements, noting:
The addition of programs to the Government Accountability Office's [GAO] 2017 high risk list (GAO–17–317) indicate there are several challenges to overcome in order to improve the Federal management of programs that serve Tribes and their members. The Committee stands ready to work with the Bureau to implement the GAO recommendations necessary changes to make these improvements and strongly encourages the Bureau to timely submit the reporting requirements and directives contained in this report.
BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
FY 2017 Enacted $1,447,833,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $1,296,134,000 FY 2018 House $1,458,999,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $1,476,517,000
Activities within the Bureau of Indian Affairs are: Tribal Government; Human Services; Trust-Natural Resources Management; Trust-Real Estate Services; Public Safety and Justice; Community and Economic Development; and Executive Direction and Administrative Services.
TRIBAL GOVERNMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $308,815,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $290,307,000
FY 2018 House $312,600,000
FY2018 Senate Committee Mark $316,007,000
The Tribal Government sub-activities are: Aid to Tribal Government; Consolidated Tribal Government Program; Self-Governance Compacts; New Tribes; Small and Needy Tribes; Road Maintenance; and Tribal Government Program Oversight.
The House and the Senate Committee largely rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out funding for the Small and Needy Tribes sub-activity. For some sub-activities, modest increases are recommended.
Consolidated Tribal Government Program. The Senate Committee recommends level funding for this sub-activity, stating:
The Senate Committee is concerned about the Consolidated Tribal Government Program TPA internal transfer of $1,733,000 and has included the fiscal year 2017 enacted level of $75,429,000 for this program. The Committee requests the Bureau report back to the Committee within 30 days of enactment of this act with a description of the number of Tribes that use this program and how increases for this program compare to others that offer similar services.
New Tribes. This sub-activity provides $160,000 in Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) base funding per tribe to support newly federally-recognized tribes. Once a tribe has been acknowledged, it remains in this category for three fiscal years. The Administration proposed $160,000 (level funding) to assist the newly-recognized Pamunkey Tribe. Both House and Senate Committee concurred with this funding level. The Senate Committee Explanatory Statement states:
The recommendation supports $160,000 for new Tribes and notes the challenge of reconciling the timing of the Tribal recognition process with the annual budget formulation process. If additional Tribes are recognized during fiscal year 2018 beyond those contemplated in the budget request, the Bureau is urged to support their capacity building efforts to the extent feasible.
The Committee is also aware that new Tribes seeking Tribal recognition are often met with delay. The Committee expects the Bureau to efficiently administer the Tribal recognition process and strongly encourages action on pending requests.
Road Maintenance. The House and the Senate Committee both recommend increases for this sub-activity, just differing amounts. The House recommends $31,653,000, an increase of $1,346,000 above FY 2017. Further, the House Report specifies that, "Not less than $1,000,000 must be used to improve the condition of gravel roads and bridges used by school buses transporting students." The Senate Committee recommends $33,653,000, stating that:
The Committee is concerned about the future funding of the Road Maintenance account, the backlog for deferred maintenance of roads in Indian Country, and the implementation of roads data in the National Tribal Transportation Facility Inventory; therefore, the Committee directs the Bureau to report back to the Committee within 60 days of enactment of this act on how the Bureau plans to allocate the funds provided in the bill and the progress being made to implement the GAO recommendations outlined in the report GAO–17–423. Within the program increase for road maintenance, $1,000,000 is to be directed towards the implementation of the NATIVE Act of 2016.
HUMAN SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $159,161,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $123,949,000
FY 2018 House $159,540,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $161,063,000
The Human Services sub-activities are: Social Services; Welfare Assistance; Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA); Housing Improvement Program (HIP); Human Services Tribal Design; and Human Services Program Oversight.
Tiwahe Initiative. The House and the Senate Committee rejected the Administration's proposed cuts to the individual Human Services sub-activities (many of which support the broader Tiwahe Initiative) as well as the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Tiwahe Initiative demonstration project and the Housing Improvement Program sub-activity. Instead, the House Report affirms the importance of culturally-appropriate services to strengthen families and communities:
The Committee continues to recognize the importance of providing culturally-appropriate services with the goals of empowering individuals and families through health promotion, family stability, and strengthening Tribal communities as a whole. Indian Affairs is urged to make services available to law enforcement officers, in coordination with the Indian Health Service.
The Senate Committee concurs and requests the following report:
The recommendation includes funding to continue the Tiwahe Initiative at the enacted levels. The Committee believes this initiative is a way to help strengthen Tribal communities by leveraging programs and resources; however, it is important to measure program effectiveness. The Committee directs the Bureau to report back in 90 days of enactment of this act on the performance measures being used to monitor and track the initiative’s effectiveness in Indian country.
Welfare Assistance. The Senate Committee requests the following report:
The Committee is concerned about the funding distribution for welfare assistance and directs the Bureau to report back to the Committee upon enactment of this act on how this funding would be distributed.
TRUST–NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $200,992,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $165,462,000
FY 2018 House $200,340,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $203,935,000
The Trust–Natural Resources Management sub-activities are: Natural Resources, general; Irrigation Operation and Maintenance; Rights Protection Implementation; Tribal Management/Development Programs; Endangered Species; Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation; Integrated Resource Information; Agriculture and Range; Forestry; Water Resources; Fish/Wildlife & Parks; and Resource Management Oversight.
The House and the Senate Committee largely rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, as well as the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation sub-activity. Instead, they recommended that the Trust–Natural Resources Management sub-activities be funded at close to FY 2017 enacted levels.
Irrigation Operation and Maintenance. Notably, the Administration requested a rare $1.1 million increase for this sub-activity to which the both the House and Senate Committee concurred. As the Administration explains, this increase would be directed towards the Operations and Maintenance for the Gallegos Pumping Plant because in FY 2016, the responsibility for the plant was transferred from the Bureau of Reclamation to the BIA without any accompanying funds. Regarding funding for Indian irrigation projects generally, the Senate Committee states:
The Senate Committee is aware the Indian Irrigation Fund was passed as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which became Public Law 114–322. This law authorized the creation of an Indian irrigation fund within the United States Treasury in order to address the deferred maintenance and water storage needs of irrigation projects. The Committee understands the significant infrastructure needs of Indian irrigation systems and strongly supports finding a way to provide a reliable water infrastructure source for Tribes. The Committee requests the Bureau report back to the Committee within 60 days of enactment of this act on the progress of establishing this fund and the estimated costs of deficiencies of the current inventory of irrigation systems.
Water Resources and Wildlife and Parks. The House Report specifies that of the $10,581,000 the Committee recommended for the Water Resources sub-activity, $390,000 is to continue the Seminole and Miccosukee water study and that of the $15,260,000 recommended for the Wildlife and Parks sub-activity, $9,933,000 is for Projects.
Cooperative Agreements and Alaska Subsistence. The Senate Committee directs:
It is the Committee's understanding the Bureau has entered into cooperative
agreements with Ahtna Inter Tribal Resource Commission and the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission with other organizations interested in establishing similar agreements; therefore, it is the Committee's expectation that within the funding provided, pilot projects and programs for Alaska subsistence will continue.
Resiliency. The House Report directs:
The Committee supports the Bureau of Indian Affairs' efforts to address the resiliency needs of Tribal communities by working to address threats to public safety, natural resources, and sacred sites. Consistent with the Federal government's treaty and trust obligations, the Committee directs the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work with at-risk Tribes to identify and expedite the necessary resources. The Department of the Interior is expected to promote and expand the use of agreements with Indian Tribes to protect Indian trust resources from catastrophic wildland fire, insect and disease infestation, or other threats from adjacent Federal lands, as authorized by law.
Tribal Partnerships with USGS. The Senate Committee directs:
The Committee directs the Bureau to enter into a formal partnership with local Tribes and the United States Geological Survey to help develop a water quality strategy for transboundary rivers.
Wildland Fire Coordination. The Senate Committee directs:
The Committee directs the Bureau to coordinate with the Office of Wildland Fire and submit a report describing how the Department determines the use of wildfire suppression and rehabilitation resources, prioritizes Indian forest land, and the title to which is held by the United States in trust.
Drought. The Senate Committee states:
The Committee also recognizes that many Tribes west of the Mississippi River tend to have reservations that are larger in terms of land mass than those east of the Mississippi River and face challenges including drought. However, the Committee expects that Tribes across the country who have resource challenges receive appropriate funding.
Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The Senate Committee directs:
Within the amounts provided for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the Committee includes $545,000 for substantially-producing Tribal hatcheries in BIA's Northwest Region currently not receiving annual BIA hatchery operations funding and it is the Committee's expectation this funding will be included in the base amount.
TRUST–REAL ESTATE SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $123,092,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $112,046,000
FY 2018 House $126,708,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $128,371,000
The Trust–Real Estate Services sub-activities are: Trust Services; Navajo-Hopi Settlement Program; Land Title and Records Offices; Real Estate Services; Land Records Improvement; Environmental Quality; Alaska Native Programs; Rights Protection; and Trust-Real Estate Services Oversight.
The House and the Senate Committee largely rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, including the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Alaska Native Programs sub-activity and the and Litigation Support/Attorney Fees program element within the Rights Protection sub-activity.
Alaska Native Programs. The Senate Committee not only rejected the Administration's proposal to zero out the sub-activity, they recommended an increase of $80,000 above FY 2017 "in order to sustain a program level of $450,000 for the certification of historical places and cultural sites, including ANSCA sites."
Trust-Real Estate Services Oversight. For Central Oversight, the House concurred with the Administration's proposed $164,000 cut, recommending a total of $3,160,000. For Regional Oversight, the House recommended a $500,000 increase, for a total of $10,977,000
Records and Titles. The House recommended a $500,000 increase to the Land Title and Records Offices sub-activity for a total of: $14,774,000 and a $500,000 increase to the Regional program element within the Land Records Improvement sub-activity for a total of $2,444,000. Regarding title conveyance requests, the House Report directs:
The Committee directs the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to have no outstanding title conveyance requests older than 12 months, including those who have been initially rejected by the Land Titles and Record Offices for insufficient or incorrect documentation in TAAMS, by September, 2018. The Committee expects an update on the status of their outstanding conveyances by September, 2018 and a report on what the BIA will be changing in their operations policy to ensure these backlogs and documentation related rejections do not occur in the future.
Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act. The House Report directs:
The Committee directs the Secretary, or his designee, to work with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to identify appropriate lands in Clallam County, WA to satisfy the requirements of Sec. 7 of the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act (P.L. 102–495).
Abandoned Wells. The Senate Committee directs:
A program increase of $3,000,000 has been included for the plugging of abandoned wells not under Bureau of Land Management authority. The Committee directs the Bureau to conduct an inventory of wells for which BIA is responsible to reclaim, including cost estimates, for submission to the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE
FY 2017 Enacted $385,735,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $349,314,000
FY 2018 House $390,417,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $393,588,000
The Public Safety and Justice sub-activities are: Law Enforcement; Tribal Courts; and Fire Protection.
The House and the Senate Committee rejected all of the Administration's proposed cuts, including cuts which would have eliminated funding for the Tiwahe Initiative-funded pilot programs focused on reducing recidivism in five targeted Indian communities (funded under the Law Enforcement Special Initiatives program element).
Law Enforcement. The House specified increases above FY 2017 for the following program elements within the Law Enforcement sub-activity for a total of:
• $98,056,000 for Detention/Corrections;
• $11,000,000 for Law Enforcement Special Initiatives (with all of the increase directed towards hiring "additional drug enforcement agents to assist Tribes in the fight against drugs, particularly opioids"); and
• $6,530,000 for Law Enforcement Program Management.
Educational and Health-Related Services for Individuals in Tribal Detention Centers Considered Allowable Costs. The House continued language from the FY 2017 House Report, stating:
For the purpose of addressing the needs of juveniles in custody at Tribal detention centers operated or administered by the BIA, educational and health-related services to juveniles in custody are allowable costs for detention/corrections program funding. Indian Affairs is urged to provide mental health and substance abuse services when needed by juvenile and adult detainees and convicted prisoners.
NAGPRA Implementation. The Senate Committee directs:
Within the funding provided for criminal investigations and police services, $1,000,000 is to be continued for the implementation of Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Recidivism Initiative. The Senate Committee directs:
The Committee also expects the recidivism initiative administered within the Office of Justice Services to be continued at current levels.
Tribal Courts and Tribal Justice Support in PL 280 States. The Senate Committee states:
The Committee does not accept the proposed decrease for Tribal justice support and restores this amount to ensure $10,000,000 remains available to address the needs of Public Law 83–280 States.
The Committee remains concerned about the Tribal courts needs as identified in the Indian Law and Order Commission’s November 2013 report which notes Federal investment in Tribal justice for Public Law 83–280 States has been more limited than elsewhere in Indian Country. The Committee expects the Bureau to continue to work with Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to consider options that promote, design, or pilot Tribal court systems for Tribal communities subject to full or partial State jurisdiction under Public Law 83–280.
VAWA Implementation. The Senate Committee directs:
Within the amounts provided, the Committee has also included an additional $2,000,000 for the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act [VAWA] for both training and VAWA specific Tribal court needs.
TLOA Implementation. The Senate Committee urges:
The Committee is concerned the Bureau has not submitted reports required by the Tribal Law and Order Act, Public Law 111–211 on a timely basis. Providing this information would help ensure Tribal governments are receiving funding levels for public safety and justice programs based on need; therefore, the Committee strongly encourages the Bureau submit these reports on time.
Restored Tribes. The Senate Committee directs:
The Committee understands that several Tribes who were terminated and then subsequently restored now face significant challenges in securing law enforcement funding through self-determination contracts. The Bureau is directed to work with affected Tribes to assess their law enforcement needs and submit a report to the Committee within 60 days of enactment of this act that details the amounts necessary to provide sufficient law enforcement capacity for these Tribes.
COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $41,844,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $39,464,000
FY 2018 House $45,447,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $44,047,000
The Community and Economic Development sub-activities are: Job Placement and Training; Economic Development; Minerals and Mining; and Community Development Oversight.
The House and the Senate Committee rejected all of the Administration's proposed cuts.
Continuation of the Tiwahe Initiative. Elements of the Tiwahe Initiative, including Job Placement and Training, are funded under the Community and Economic Development activity. The Senate Committee urges: "Within these amounts, the Committee expects the funding for the Tiwahe initiative will continue at enacted levels."
Implementation of the NATIVE Act. The House recommended a $3.4 million increase for the Community Development Central Oversight sub-activity "to implement the Native American Tourism Improvement and Visitor Experience Act of 2016 (NATIVE Act), including via cooperative agreements with Tribes or Tribal organizations." The Senate Committee countered with a recommended $1 million increase to implement the NATIVE Act, explaining, "In addition to the funds provided within the Tribal government program for roads, the Committee has provided an additional $1,000,000 for cooperative agreements to carry out the provisions of the NATIVE Act."
Minerals and Mining including the Indian Energy Service Center. This sub-activity promotes and provides technical assistance for the development of renewable energy, conventional energy, and mineral resources. It also funds the Indian Energy Service Center, which Congress initially funded in FY 2016. The Center is to be tasked with expediting leasing, permitting, and reporting on conventional and renewable energy on Indian lands. For FY 2017, both the House and Senate report language pushed the Department of Interior to get the Energy Service Center up and running, requesting a report on the status of the Center and directing the Department of Interior to submit a budget request for FY 2018 to fund the next phase of the Center. For FY 2018, the Administration proposed to shield the Minerals and Mining sub-activity from the most onerous cuts, specifically protecting the funding for the Indian Energy Service Center. The House recommended no cuts to Minerals and Mining sub-activity and directed Administration to submit a budget request for FY 2019 for the next phase of the Service Center.
NIOGEMS. The Senate Committee recommended a $1 million increase "for the modernization of oil and gas records including the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System [NIOGEMS]" and requested the following report: "The Committee understands the NIOGEMS has been distributed to some Tribes and regional offices and instructs the Bureau to report back within 120 days of enactment of this act on the cost to further expand this system to more reservations and offices."
GAO High Risk Report. The Senate Committee made the following request:
The recent GAO high-risk report found the Bureau does not properly manage Indian energy resources held in trust and thereby limits opportunities for Tribes and their members to use those resources to create economic benefits in their communities. The Committee requests the Bureau work to make the necessary changes recommended by the GAO report and report back to the Committee outlining any barriers, statutory or regulatory, that prohibits or slows the pace of resource development as well as a status update on the open items that still need to be implemented according to the GAO report.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $228,824,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $215,592,000
FY 2018 House $223,947,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $229,506,000
The Executive Direction and Administrative Services sub-activities are: Assistant Secretary Support; Executive Direction; Administrative Services; Safety and Risk Management; Information Resources Technology; Human Capital Management; Facilities Management; Intra-Governmental Payments; and Rentals.
The House and the Senate Committee rejected the majority of the Administration's proposed cuts. These cuts had largely been proposed in the form of staffing cuts—73 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to be precise.
Health and Safety Inspections of BIE Schools. The House Report directs:
Indian Affairs is directed to complete annual health and safety inspections of all BIE system facilities, and to submit quarterly updates on the status of such inspections to the Committee. The Committee is deeply disappointed by continued GAO reports of shortcomings and delays in school safety inspections and repairs. Self-determination does not absolve the Federal government of the responsibility to inspect and repair buildings it owns. The Bureau is urged to exercise its authority to reassume the operation of federally-owned but tribally-operated schools when necessary.
Operating and Law Enforcement Needs for Treaty Fishing Sites on the Columbia River. The Senate Committee directs:
The Committee notes that the Bureau has not yet complied with the fiscal year 2017 directive to provide a report on funding requirements associated with operating and law enforcement needs for congressionally authorized treaty fishing sites on the Columbia River. The Bureau is directed to transmit the report no later than 30 days following enactment of this act. The Bureau is also urged to incorporate unfunded needs for these sites as part of the Bureau’s fiscal year 2019 budget.
BUREAU OF INDIAN EDUCATION
FY 2017 Enacted $891,513,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $786,372,000
FY 2018 House $901,912,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $888,856,000
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) category displays funds for the BIE-funded elementary and secondary school systems as well as other education programs including higher education and scholarships. The Bureau of Indian Education sub-activities are: Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); and Education Management.
The House and the Senate Committee rejected the Administration's proposal to dramatically cut the BIE's budget. Further, both Chambers specified that: (1) Tribal Grant Support Costs will continue to be fully funded, and (2) a one-time increase is provided to ensure that all remaining tribal colleges and universities (including those operated by the BIE) who are not currently on a forward funded cycle can transition to it.
Implementation of the BIE Transformation and GAO Recommendations.
The Administration describes the status of the BIE transformation as follows:
The BIE is currently in the process of reorganizing. Phase I involved the realignment of the internal organization of BIE from a regional basis to a structure based on the types of schools serviced; namely, (1) schools in the Navajo Nation, (2) tribally-controlled schools, and (3) BIE-operated schools. Phase I also replaced the Education Line Offices with Education Resource Centers (ERCs) which will house School Solutions Teams. The BIE began implementing Phase I of the reorganization in early 2016 after Congress issued a "notice of no objection" to the BIE. Phase II, to be implemented in 2017, involves a realignment of support operations within Indian Affairs including, contracting, IT, and facilities functions to BIE and includes an expansion of the School Support Solutions Teams to include school operations staff. (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-BIE-10)
The House Report provides the following direction:
Indian education remains among the Committee's top priorities because it is a fundamental trust responsibility and because elementary and secondary students in particular have fallen far behind their peers for reasons now well documented by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of Education, and others. The BIE system is undergoing a major transformation in direct response to these reports, in order to meet the changing needs of schools now that most schools are tribally-run, and in order to improve accountability. With the concurrence of elected Tribal leaders and major interTribal organizations, the Committee continues to support this transformation. All of the education-related responsibilities under Indian Affairs, including procurement, human resources, budget and finance, and BIE facilities operations, maintenance, and inspections, should be consolidated under the BIE, which should be led by an experienced and proven superintendent selected from a pool of qualified candidates inside and outside the BIE system.
The Committee remains concerned about recent GAO reports detailing problems within the K–12 Indian education system at the Department of the Interior, in particular as they pertain to organizational structure, accountability, finance, health and safety, and ultimately student performance. As the Department takes steps to reform the system, the Secretary is reminded that future support from Congress will continue to be based in large part upon successful implementation of GAO report recommendations. In particular, consistent with GAO report 13–774, the Secretary is urged to reorganize Indian Affairs so that control and accountability of the BIE system is consolidated within the BIE, to present such reorganization proposal in the fiscal year 2019 budget request, and to submit to the Committees on Appropriations a corresponding updated workforce plan. Consistent with GAO testimonies 15–389T, 15–539T, 15–597T, and any subsequent reports, the Secretary is urged to personally oversee immediate actions necessary to ensure the continued health and safety of students and employees at BIE schools and facilities.
The Senate Committee's Explanatory Statement concurs, raises concerns, and requests information:
The Committee fully supports making much needed reforms to the Bureau of Indian Education [BIE] in order to improve the quality of education offered to address the performance gap of student’s education at BIE-funded schools. The first phase of the current reform effort was approved in 2015; however, the Committee has not received any updated information on the next phase nor has the Bureau complied with Committee directives to report on the status of multiple programs as part of the fiscal year 2017 appropriations process.
Over the past 3 years, the GAO has issued several reports (GAO–13–774, GAO–15–121, GAO–17–447, GAO–17–421, and GAO–16–313) outlining management challenges at the Bureau and there are still outstanding open recommendations to address as well as additional issues outlined in the high risk report (GAO–17–317). The Committee is fully supportive of efforts to reform and better the system, but concerns about how the Bureau manages funding, tracks school conditions, and manages the overall school system remain. The Committee stands ready to work with the administration on the appropriate steps forward and directs the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to report back within 60 days of enactment of this act on the progress made towards implementing all the GAO recommendations and the current status of the reform effort.
Inter-Agency Coordination to Serve Native Children. The House Report urges the BIE is to coordinate with the Indian Health Service to integrate preventive dental care and mental health care at schools within the BIE system, while the Senate Committee's Explanatory Statement concurs and takes this several steps further:
The administrations emphasis on education must be complemented by efforts to improve interagency coordination for the multiplicity of programs that affect the wellbeing of Native children. In addition to education, these include healthcare, social service, child welfare and juvenile justice programs. The Committee encourages the Bureau to work with other relevant Federal, State, local, and Tribal organizations to begin the process of identifying ways to make programs more effective in serving Native Children.
The Bureau, working with the Indian Health Service as appropriate, is also urged to consider integrating school-based preventative health services such as dental care into elementary schools in order to improve health outcomes of Tribal students.
Limitations on New Schools and the Expansion of Grades, Charter Schools, Satellite Locations and BIE-funded Schools in Alaska. The Administration requested the continuation of this language from prior years. The House and the Senate provided it with one exception: the House proposed one change: modifying the restriction on BIE funds being used to support expanded grades for any school or dormitory beyond its current grade structure. Currently, the law allows for this restriction to be waived only under certain defined conditions and only for one additional grade to be added. The House proposed to continue these conditions but delete the provision restricting any such expansion to one additional grade.
The House Report explains this proposed change and also clarifies how the restrictions on charter schools and satellite locations should be interpreted:
The recommendation modifies bill language limiting the expansion of grades and schools in the BIE system, including charter schools. The intent of the language is to prevent already limited funds from being spread further to additional schools and grades. The intent is not to limit Tribal flexibility at existing schools. Nothing in the bill is intended to prohibit a Tribe from converting a tribally-controlled school already in the BIE system to a charter school in accordance with State and Federal law. The modification removes the grade expansion limitation of one grade.
The recommendation continues bill language providing the Secretary with the authority to approve satellite locations of existing BIE schools if a Tribe can demonstrate that the establishment of such locations would provide comparable levels of education as are being offered at such existing BIE schools, and would not significantly increase costs to the Federal government. The intent is for this authority to be exercised only in extraordinary circumstances to provide Tribes with additional flexibility regarding where students are educated without compromising how they are educated, and to significantly reduce the hardship and expense of transporting students over long distances, all without unduly increasing costs that would otherwise unfairly come at the expense of other schools in the BIE system.
Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)
FY 2017 Enacted $575,155,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $520,044,000
FY 2018 House $578,374,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $567,495,000
The Elementary and Secondary forward funded sub-activity includes the following program elements: ISEP Formula Funding; ISEP Program Adjustments; Education Program Enhancements; Tribal Education Departments; Student Transportation; Early Childhood Development; and Tribal Grant Support Costs (formerly titled Administrative Cost Grants). Funds appropriated for FY 2018 for these programs will become available for obligation on July 1, 2018, for SY 2018-2019.
By and large the House and the Senate Committee rejected the Administration's requests to deeply cut forward funded Elementary and Secondary Programs. Further, both Chambers recommended a more than $2 million increase for ISEP Formula Funds a slight increase for Student Transportation and full funding for Tribal Grant Support Costs.
Support for Native Languages Included in Funding Recommendations for ISEP and Education Program Enhancements. In FY 2017, Congress increased funding for Education Program Enhancements in order to support efforts to revitalize and maintain Native languages and expand the use of language immersion programs. For FY 2018, the House and the Senate Committee rejected the Administration's request to cut this program element by more than 50 percent. Further, the House and Senate Committee specify that $2 million of the Education Program Enhancements funding is to be used for Native language immersion capacity building grants:
The House Report affirms the importance of Native languages and requests the following report:
The Committee supports efforts to revitalize and maintain Native languages and expand the use of language immersion programs and has provided $2,000,000 within education program enhancements for capacity building grants for Bureau and tribally operated schools to expand existing language immersion programs or to create new programs. Prior to distributing these funds, the Bureau shall coordinate with the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that Bureau investments compliment, but do not duplicate, existing language immersion programs. The Bureau is also directed to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations within 180 days of enactment of this Act regarding the distribution of these funds and the status of Native language classes and immersion programs offered at Bureau-funded schools.
The Senate Committee Explanatory Statement concurs and requests the following reports:
Within the funds provided for education program enhancements, $2,000,000 is directed to continue native language immersion grants. The Bureau is expected to report within 60 days of enactment of this act regarding the status of fiscal year 2017 funds and the planned distribution of funds in this act.
The Committee fully supports broadening access to Native language and culture programs, which have been linked to higher academic achievement for Native youth. The Committee expects the ISEP program should continue to enhance access to Native language and culture programs in BIE-funded schools and directs the Bureau to report within 60 days of enactment of this act on how previous funding provided has been and can continue to be used to support these programs.
Student Transportation. Both the House and Senate Committee recommend a modest increase for this program element. The Senate Committee Explanatory Statement also requests the following report:
The Committee is concerned by the recent Government Accountability Office report (GAO–17–423) on Tribal transportation, which identified potential negative impacts of road conditions on Native student school attendance. The Committee recommends BIE take steps to improve its data collection on the cause of student absences, including data on road and weather conditions, and to report back to the Committee within 120 days of enactment of this act regarding its actions to improve student absence data tracking and analysis.
Funding Cut Proposed for Early Childhood and Family Development Program ("FACE"). In a rare instance, the Senate Committee disagreed with the House and supported the Trump Administration's request to cut $10.7 million from the FACE program, explaining:
For the Early Childhood and Family Development Program, the Committee expects the Bureau to utilize prior year unobligated funds to support the Family and Child Education [FACE] programs. The Committee continues to support these types of programs and the program decrease as shown in the table is not a reflection of the program’s goals, but of the accrued balance from previous years that should be spent as expeditiously, efficiently, and as soon as possible. Amounts provided are sufficient to fund all currently operating FACE programs at their fiscal year 2017 levels.
Full Funding for Tribal Grant Support Costs. Because the Administration's FY 2018 budget request was written before the final FY 2017 Omnibus was enacted, the Administration used FY 2016 numbers as the budget baseline to compare with their FY 2018 request. By this accounting, the $74.3 million requested by the Administration for Tribal Grant Support Costs in FY 2018 was described as an "increase". This, however, failed to account for the fact that in FY 2017 after conferring with the BIE, Congress ultimately provided an increase for Tribal Grant Support Costs in order to ensure full funding for all tribally-controlled schools. For FY 2018, the House and the Senate Committee estimate that the $80.1 million they recommend will provide full funding.
Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)
FY 2017 Enacted $140,540,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $123,871,000
FY 2018 House $141,438,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $141,563,000
The Elementary and Secondary non-forward funded sub-activity includes the following program elements: Facilities Operations; Facilities Maintenance; Juvenile Detention Center Grants; and Johnson-O'Malley Assistance Grants.
The House and the Senate Committee rejected the Administration's request to cut $16.6 million from all of the non-forward funded Elementary and Secondary programs, including the request to zero out the funding for Juvenile Detention Center Grants. In FY 2016, Congress initiated this grant program to meet the education and health related needs of Native youth detained or incarcerated in currently operating, BIA-funded, juvenile detention centers for an extended period of time.
Johnson-O'Malley Assistance Grants. The House and the Senate Committee both rejected the Administration's proposed cuts to the Johnson O'Malley (JOM) program but expressed continued concerns about the distribution of funds.
The House Report states:
The Committee remains concerned that the distribution of funds is not an accurate reflection of the distribution of students. The Bureau is reminded of the reporting requirement contained in the explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017.
The Senate Committee also requests the following report:
The Committee remains concerned about the distribution methodology of the Johnson O’Malley [JOM] assistance grants and requests the Bureau report back to the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act on the status of updating the JOM counts and the methodology used to determine the new counts. The Committee would like the Bureau to include what, if any, barriers there are to providing updates to the JOM count.
Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)
FY 2017 Enacted $77,207,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $72,689,000
FY 2018 House $84,196,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $89,142,000
This sub-activity includes forward funded Tribal Colleges and Universities and forward funded Tribal Technical Colleges (United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) and Navajo Technical University (NTU)).
The House and the Senate Committee recommended level funding ($69.7 million) for the Tribal Colleges and Universities sub-activity. The House recommended a total of $14.4 million for the Tribal Technical Colleges sub-activity, specifying that this total reflects the $6.9 million internal transfer requested by the Administration from the non-forwarded funded Tribal Technical Colleges line item to the forward funded Tribal Technical Colleges line item. Discounting the $6.9 million transfer, the House and the Senate Committee recommendation for Tribal Technical Colleges is $7.5 million, the same as the FY 2017 level.
Forward Funding for Haskell and SIPI. In FY 2017, Congress "encouraged" the Administration to request forward funding for the BIE-run Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell) and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in future budget requests "so that all tribal colleges are on the same funding schedule." Haskell and SIPI are the final two non-forward funded colleges. For FY 2018, the Administration declined to request the one-time funding needed to put them on a forward funded schedule. Despite this, both the House and the Senate Committee have included it.
The Senate Committee's Explanatory Statement directs:
The Committee strongly supports the work that Tribal colleges and universities do to provide high quality, affordable higher education opportunities to Native students. The Committees provided sufficient funding to forward fund Tribal Technical Colleges in fiscal year 2017 and continues to believe there should be parity in the way that all Tribal colleges receive assistance and are funded.
Therefore, the Committee includes $11,844,000 toward the forward funding of Haskell Indian Nations University and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute [SIPI] and directs the Bureau report back in 30 days of enactment of this act on a phased approach with funding levels in order to accomplish the goal of having all colleges on the same funding schedule.
The Committee also recognizes that many Tribal colleges have significant unfunded needs and directs the Bureau to work with Tribal leaders and other stakeholders to develop a consistent methodology for determining Tribal college operating needs to inform future budget requests. The Committee expects the methodology to address operating and infrastructure needs including classrooms andIhousing.
Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)
FY 2017 Enacted $63,561,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $45,721,000
FY 2018 House $62,650,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $64,171,000
The two post-secondary schools overseen by the BIE are: Haskell SIPI. The non-forward funded Post Secondary Programs sub-activity also includes: Tribal Colleges and Universities Supplements; Tribal Technical Colleges; Scholarships and Adult Education; Special Higher Education Scholarships; and the Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund.
The House and the Senate Committee rejected the Administration's proposal to cut $11 million from non-forward funded Post Secondary programs, including the proposal to zero out Special Higher Education Scholarships and the Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund and cut $2.7 million from Haskell and SIPI
Education Management
FY 2017 Enacted $35,050,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $24,047,000
FY 2018 House $35,254,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $26,485,000
The Education Management sub-activity consists of Education Program Management and Information Technology.
While broadband deployment to BIE schools remains a stated priority, the House and the Senate Committee disagree over the Administration's request to cut $11 million from Education Management.
High-Speed Internet Access for Schools.
The Administration described the status of providing all BIE-funded schools with adequate internet access:
The BIE is committed to supporting its educators by expanding the access of BIE-funded schools to adequate bandwidth. To this end the BIE has actively sought working partnerships with Federal, state, tribal, and private agencies. Over the course of the last year, BIE has worked in close conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission with regard to the E-rate program. Specifically, the BIE increased the bandwidth of 28 of its schools to 10 Mbps per 100 students. The ultimate goal of BIE is to increase the bandwidth of all of its schools to the State Education Technology Directors Association's (SETDA) standard of 100Mbps per school of 1,000 students. In addition, BIE ordered 77 circuits for its schools with another 71 upgraded circuits also being ordered. Once completed 81 percent of BIE-funded schools will meet the 100 Mbps per 1,000 student school standard. The BIE plans build upon its successes over the past year by continuing to seek out working partnerships with the goal of meeting SETDA minimum standards at all BIE-funded schools. (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-BIE-29)
The House Report explains:
Without question, high-speed internet access is essential for student success and economic development in modern society. However, the GAO recently identified Tribal internet access as an area of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication (GAO–16–375SP). Indian Affairs is urged to coordinate with larger, existing broadband access programs funded by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Senate Committee Explanatory Statement expresses concern about the planning process and requests the following report:
The Committee understands the importance of bringing broadband to reservations and villages, but remains concerned about the planning process used for this type of investment. The Committee directs the agency to report back within 90 days of enactment of this act on a scalable plan to increase bandwidth in schools, procure computers, and software include in this report how the Bureau is working with other Federal agencies to coordinate and plan for the technology buildout.
CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS
FY 2017 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $278,000,000)
FY 2018 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)
FY 2018 House Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)
The House and the Senate Committee concurred with the Administration's request that Contract Support Costs (CSC) continue as a as an indefinite appropriation at "such sums as may be necessary" and that it continue in its own separate account comprised of Contract Support (such sums as may be necessary, estimated to be: $236,600,000) and the Indian Self-Determination Fund ($5,000,000). The lower number reflects an adjustment to the estimated amount. As the Senate Committee's Explanatory Statement explains:
By retaining an indefinite appropriation for this account, additional funds may be provided by the Bureau if its budget estimate proves to be lower than necessary to meet the legal obligation to pay the full amount due to Tribes. The Committee believes fully funding these costs will ensure that Tribes have the necessary resources they need to deliver program services efficiently and effectively.
General Provisions Continued. The Administration, the House and the Senate Committee requested that the following general provisions be continued:
Contract Support Costs, Prior Year Limitation
Sec. __. Sections 405 and 406 of division F of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Public Law 113-235) shall continue in effect in fiscal year 2018.
Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2018 Limitation
Sec. __. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2018 under headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2018 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payment of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayment of payments for settlement or judgments awarding contract support costs for prior years.
CONSTRUCTION
FY 2017 Enacted $192,017,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $143,262,000
FY 2018 House $202,213,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $206,024,000
The Construction budget includes: Education Construction; Public Safety and Justice Construction; Resources Management Construction; and Other Program Construction/ General Administration.
The House and the Senate Committee concurred with the Administration's request for certain changes for fixed costs and related transfers but jointly rejected the Administration's request to cut $48.7 million from the overall Construction budget (nearly all of which would have come from the Education Construction budget).
EDUCATION CONSTRUCTION
FY 2017 Enacted $133,257,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 80,187,000
FY 2018 House $138,245,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $136,268,000
The Education Construction sub-activities are: Replacement School Construction; Replacement Facility Construction; Employee Housing Repair; and Facilities Improvement and Repair.
The House and the Senate Committee rejected all of the cuts to Education Construction proposed by the Administration for FY 2018, including the Administration's request to zero out funding for out both the Replacement School Construction and Replacement Facility Construction sub-activities. The House and the Senate Committee instead recommended level funding for all sub-activities plus an increase for Facilities Improvement and Repair (the House recommends a $5 million increase while the Senate Committee recommends a $2 million increase) These funds would come at a critical time: construction continues for the remaining schools on the 2004 replacement list and planning and design work are moving forward for schools on the 2016 list. According to the FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, 70 BIE schools are in "good" condition, while 41 are in "fair" condition and 68 are in "poor" condition. Further, the Justification states that there is currently over $770.4 million in deferred maintenance across BIE-funded school facilities and grounds that needs corrective action.
2016 National Review Committee List and Creation of 2019 List. In FY 2017, Congress directed the Administration to provide a plan to allocate the Replacement School Construction and Replacement Facility Construction funds and to create a 2018 replacement list. It appears that so far, the Administration has declined to do so. The House Report once again directs:
The Bureau is directed to submit an allocation plan to the Committee for campus-wide replacement and facilities replacement within 30 days of enactment of this Act.
The Committee recognizes the School Facilities and Construction Negotiated Rulemaking Committee established under Public Law 107–110 for the equitable distribution of funds. Appropriations in this bill for campus-wide replacement are limited to the 10 schools selected via the rulemaking committee process and published by Indian Affairs on April 5, 2016. The BIE should submit a similar list for facilities with the fiscal year 2019 budget request.
National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education. In FY 2017, Congress urged the Administration to include in its FY 2018 budget request a proposal to reconstitute the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education. The Administration declined to do so. The House Report once again urges:
The Committee continues to strongly support innovative financing options to supplement annual appropriations and accelerate repair and replacement of Bureau of Indian Education schools, including through the use of construction bonds, tax credits, and grant programs. The Department is urged to revise and resubmit its proposal to reconstitute the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education, and to include authority for the Fund to facilitate public-private partnership construction projects.
Facilities Improvement and Repair: Safety Inspections, Implementation of GAO Recommendations, Provision of Training, and Long-Term Planning. The Senate Committee directs:
The Committee remains concerned about the deferred maintenance projects at schools and directs the Bureau to submit the allocation plan as required by Public Law 115–31.
The Committee expects the increases provided for the facility improvement and repair program shall be used to address deficiencies identified by annual school safety inspections.
The Committee is encouraged to learn that BIA and BIE continue to work together to ensure annual safety inspections are completed for all BIE school facilities. However, the Committee is concerned that, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office in report GAO–16–313, BIA and BIE have not developed concrete tracking and capacity-building systems to ensure safety issued flagged by these inspections are addressed in a timely manner.
Furthermore, the Committee is concerned by reports from tribally operated BIE schools that BIE does not provide timely access to or training about the Facilities Improvement and Repair Program and other available emergency maintenance funding. The Committee directs BIE and BIA report back within 90 days with a detailed implementation plan to address these remaining concerns.
The Committee understands many schools are in need of repair, improvement, and upgrades in order to bring schools into good condition. The Committee stands ready to work with the administration and Tribes to develop a comprehensive strategy that provides safe, functional, and accessible facilities for schools. The Committee directs the Bureau to report back within 90 days of enactment of this act on the progress the Bureau has made towards implementing a long-term facilities plan similar to the Department of Defense [DoD] process in 2009 as encouraged in the joint explanatory statement accompanied by Public Law 114–113.
PUBLIC SAFETY & JUSTICE (PS&J) CONSTRUCTION
FY 2017 Enacted $11,306,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $10,416,000
FY 2018 House $11,309,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $13,309,000
The Public Safety & Justice Construction sub-activities are: Facilities Replacement/New Construction; Employee Housing; Facilities Improvement and Repair; Fire Safety Coordination; and Fire Protection.
Facilities Improvement and Repair. The Senate Committee surpassed the House's recommendation and suggested a $2 million program increase for this sub-activity.
Joint Venture Demonstration Program. In FY 2017, Congress encouraged the Administration to include in its FY 2018 budget request a legislative proposal for a joint venture demonstration program for regional justice centers. The Administration declined to do so. For FY 2018, the House Committee once again made this request, stating:
The Committee is concerned that Indian Affairs’ focus on alternatives to incarceration has come at a cost to justice facilities construction. Indian Affairs, in coordination with the Department of Justice, is therefore urged to consider including with its fiscal year 2019 budget a legislative proposal for a joint venture demonstration program for regional justice centers, similar to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ Justice Center, and modeled after the joint venture program for Indian health facilities.
Radio Tower Dead Zones. The House Report states, "Indian Affairs is urged to improve officer safety by eliminating radio tower communications dead zones."
RESOURCES MANAGEMENT CONSTRUCTION
FY 2017 Enacted $36,513,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $40,696,000
FY 2018 House $40,696,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $43,080,000
The Resources Management Construction sub-activities are: Irrigation Project Construction; Engineering and Supervision; Survey and Design; Federal Power and Compliance; and Dam Projects.
The House concurred with the overall amount requested by the Administration but provided no further details. The Senate Committee exceeded the Administration's request, providing the following direction in the Explanatory Statement:
Resources management receives a total of $43,080,000 and includes: $6,181,000 for irrigation projects related to the WIIN Act, $29,740,000 for dam projects and $1,016,000 for survey and design. Proposed reductions within resources management are not accepted.
Irrigation Project Construction. The Administration proposed a $1.5 million increase for the Irrigation Projects-Rehabilitation program element to address critical outstanding maintenance issues at the 17 Indian Irrigation Projects and a $724,000 increase to the Survey and Design program element to fast track the technical modernization studies needed to complete this rehabilitation work.
Dam Projects. The Administration proposed a $2.4 million increase for the Safety of Dams program element to support the award of construction contracts for one or more of the 11 dam safety rehabilitation projects already designed or with expected design completion in FY 2018 and a $1.8 million increase for the Dam Maintenance program element to prioritize deferred maintenance projects at the 138 BIA dams classified as "high hazard." There is currently an identified deferred maintenance need of $538 million.
The Senate Committee states:
The Committee includes the requested increases for dam safety and is concerned there is an unknown number of dams on reservations that have not received a hazard classification and that the current review process is behind schedule resulting in delays for dams to receive a comprehensive review. The Committee strongly encourages the Bureau to begin the work on the dams and report back to the Committee on the best way to effectively quantify the potential pool of dams on reservations in need of a review and/or classification.
OTHER PROGRAM CONSTRUCTION/ GENERAL ADMINISTRATION
FY 2017 Enacted $10,941,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $11,963,000
FY 2018 House $11,963,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $13,367,000
The Other Program Construction sub-activities are: Telecommunications Improvement and Repair; Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair; and Construction Program Management.
The House concurred with the overall amount requested by the Administration but provided no further details. The Senate Committee exceeded the Administration's request, providing some details on where the increases should be directed.
Telecommunications Improvement and Repair. The Administration proposed a $263,000 increase to support the repair and modernization of BIA telecommunication systems across the regions and agencies. The Senate Committee specifically concurred with the request.
Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair. The Administration proposed a $1.7 million increase to fund deferred maintenance projects at BIA Administration facilities. There is approximately $253 million of deferred maintenance.
Construction Program Management. The Senate Committee recommends an additional $400,000 above the Administration's request for this sub-activity in order to "fully fund" the Ft. Peck water system.
INDIAN LAND AND WATER CLAIMS SETTLEMENTS AND MISCELLANEOUS PAYMENTS TO INDIANS
FY 2017 Enacted $45,045,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $13,999,000
FY 2018 House $55,457,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $45,045,000
For FY 2018, Administration explained, "Funding allocations to enacted settlements in 2018 are contingent on the operating plan developed for FY 2017. The 2017 operating plan was not complete at the time the Budget Justification was written. An updated proposal for 2018 allocations will be provided once the 2017 operating plan is complete." (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-SET-3)
The House responded:
The Committee recommends $55,457,000 for Indian Land and Water Claim Settlements and Miscellaneous Payments to Indians. A detailed table of funding recommendations below the account level is provided at the end of this report [see attachment]. The recommended level enables Indian Affairs to meet statutory deadlines of all authorized settlement agreements to date.
The Senate Committee countered with the following recommendation:
The bill provides a total appropriation of $45,045,000 for the Indian Land and Water Claim Settlements account which is equal to the enacted level. The Committee appreciates the importance of settling the numerous land and water settlements and directs the Department to submit a spending plan to the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act for how it plans to allocate the funds provided by the bill for the specific settlements detailed in the budget request. The Committee understands that several high priority projects critical to the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project must be funded no later than December 31, 2019 as required by law and expects the operating plan to ensure that the FruitlandCambridge Project and the rehabilitation of the Hogback-Cudei Irrigation Project are appropriately funded and deposits to the Navajo Nation Water Resources Development Trust Fund are made.
INDIAN GUARANTEED LOAN PROGRAM
FY 2017 Enacted $8,757,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $6,692,000
FY 2018 House $9,272,000
FY 2017 Senate Committee Mark $9,272,000
The House Report describes the Indian Guaranteed Loan Program as "the most effective Federal program tailored, dedicated to, and capable of facilitating greater access to private capital for Indian Tribes and Indian-owned economic enterprises." The House and the Senate Committee rejected the Administration's request for a $2 million cut.
OTHER RELATED AGENCIES
OFFICE OF NAVAJO-HOPI INDIAN RELOCATION
FY 2017 Enacted $15,431,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $14,970,000
FY 2018 House $15,431,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $14,970,000
The Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation was established by Public Law 93–531. The Office is charged with planning and conducting relocation activities associated with the settlement of land disputes between the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe.
Closure of the Office.
The House Report directs:
The Committee recommends $15,431,000 for the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation (Office), equal to the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Of this amount, $200,000 shall be transferred to the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior for continued oversight of planning, transition, and closure of the Office.
The Committee has directed the Office to begin to communicate with Congress, the affected Tribes, and the Department of the Interior about what will be required to ensure relocation benefits and necessary support services are provided in accordance with the specifications in Public Law 93–531 and to initiate closure of the Office. The Committee requests continuation of the quarterly reports and a comprehensive plan for closing the Office, as outlined in House Report 114–632. Legal analysis on whether any enacting legislation is required to transfer or maintain any identified functions to another agency or organization should also be included. The Office should be transparent about the path forward and should actively consult with all affected parties and agencies.
The Senate Explanatory Statement directs:
The bill provides $14,970,000 for the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation, a decrease of $461,000 below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
The Committee again directs the Office of Navajo and Hopi Relocation [OHNIR], in consultation with the Secretary of Interior, to report back to the Committee within 90 days after enactment of this act detailing the functions of the OHNIR that could be transferred to the Department of Interior. It is the Committee's expectation this report include any costs associated with a potential transfer and any costs to maintain ongoing activities of the OHNIR. This report should also include a legal analysis examining whether any potential office closure would require enacting legislation to transfer or maintain any identified functions to another agency or organization.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
TRIBAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION
FY 2017 Enacted $10,485,000
FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 8,996,000
FY 2018 House $ 9,485,000
FY 2018 Senate Committee Mark $10,485,000
The House proposed to restore a portion of the Administration's requested cut while the Senate Committee rejected the proposed cut wholesale. In its FY 2018 Budget Justification, the Administration explained, "The proposed reduction would impact the tribes' capacity to conduct cultural and historic preservation activities and to participate in required consultation on federally-funded projects that impact tribal land or any historic property to which a tribe attaches religious or cultural significance." (FY 2018 National Park Service Budget Justification, p. 31)
NATIONAL RECREATION AND PRESERVATION
National Recreation and Preservation is found under a different part of the National Park Service budget than Historic Preservation. Under National Recreation and Preservation the Senate Committee proposed an increase for the Cultural Programs sub-activity, in order to support programs for Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native culture and arts development:
Cultural Programs.—The Committee recommends $25,062,000 for cultural programs, an increase of $500,000 above the enacted level. The increase above the enacted level is provided pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 4451(b) for grants to nonprofit organizations or institutions for the purpose of supporting programs for Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native culture and arts development. The Committee directs the Department to consider funding the establishment of the Northwest Coast arts program as outlined by the memorandum of agreement between the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Sealaska Heritage Institute. This program is a good example of a multi-state, multi-organizational collaboration as envisioned under the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Culture and Art Development Act."
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FY 2019 Proposed Indian Health Service Appropriations
Hobs-Straus General Memorandum 18-015,
April 18th, 2018, http://hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-18-015

In this Memorandum we report on the Trump Administration's proposed FY 2019 budget for the Indian Health Service (IHS). The Administration issued a summary proposed budget request for federal agencies on February 12 and it was many weeks after that before the detailed IHS Budget Justification was available. The FY 2019 proposed budget was developed long before we knew what final FY 2108 budget amounts would be, and thus the numbers reported as FY 2019 proposed increases or decreases in the IHS Budget Justification are described in relation to the annualized FY 2018 CR – which is essentially FY 2017 funding levels. We reported on the final FY 2018 IHS budget in our General Memorandum 18-013 of April 6, 2018, and we show the FY 2019 proposed account numbers in this Memorandum in relationship to FY 2018 enacted levels (not annualized FY 2018 CR numbers).
Legislative Proposals. The IHS made several legislative proposals as part of its FY 2019 Budget Justification:
• Expand the scope of IHS scholarship and loan repayment awards by not taxing those monies; thus providing more funding for scholarships and loans and not requiring the recipients to count it as income;
• Allow IHS loan repayment and scholarship obligations to be allowed for part time work (20 hours per week) in return for two-year clinical service or accept half the amount of IHS discretionary use of awards in exchange for a two-year service obligation; another option is to work part time clinical and part time administrative services;
• Allow the IHS discretionary use of all USC Title 38 Personnel Authorities which the Veterans Health Administration is allowed to use. The point is to increase the ability for IHS and to recruit and retain health professionals. Currently the IHS can access some, but not all, of these authorities. The Budget Justification notes the need to access the authorities regarding annual leave, hiring non-citizens (often trained in the U.S.) and instituting two-year probationary period for staff appointed under Title 38.
• While not mentioned under Legislative Proposals in the Budget Justification, the Administration proposes bill language to change the funding for the Special Diabetes Program from mandatory to a discretionary basis (see below).
IHS OVERALL FUNDING
FY 2017 Enacted $5,039,886,000
FY 2018 Enacted $5,537,764,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $5,424,023,000
The FY 2019 requested amount above is for the Services, Contract Support Costs, and Facilities accounts. It also includes $150 million for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) for which the Administration is requesting bill langue to change its funding from mandatory to discretionary spending. Discounting SDPI funding being discretionary, the request figure would be $5,274,023,000 or $263.7 million below the FY 2018 enacted level.
Programs Funding Proposed for Deletion. The Administration proposes to delete all funding for the Community Health Representatives ($62.8 million), the Health Education ($19.8 million), and the Tribal Management ($2.4 million) programs.
Opioid Funding. Proposed is $150 million for the IHS to address the opioid crisis. This is funding that would be passed to IHS from the Department of Health and Human Services – it is part of the $10 billion made available by the Bipartisan Budget Act to address the opioid epidemic and mental health issues. As pass-through funding it would not count against the Interior Appropriations Subcommittees' allocations. The Budget Justification states; "Funding will be awarded to Tribes using competitive grant amounts based on need with a portion of funding made available to Title V Urban Indian organizations. IHS facilities operating a primary care clinic will be eligible to apply for a federal program award with agreement from the direct service Tribe." (p. CJ-213). IHS Acting Director Weahkee has testified before Congressional committees with regard to this funding that the IHS is initially looking at the SDPI funding process as a model where the funds are allocated via a needs formula based on tribes submitting eligible applications. IHS has indicated that there will be a tribal consultation process on this funding distribution.
Current Services (Pay Costs/Medical Inflation). $46.7 million for pay raises and $47.9 million for medical inflation (combined, the total is $3.6 million below FY 2018 enacted).
Staffing Packages for Newly Constructed Facilities. $159 million.
CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS
FY 2017 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2018 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2019 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary
The Administration's proposal would continue Contract Support Costs (CSC) as a separate appropriation account with an indefinite amount—"such sums as may be necessary." The FY 2019 estimate is $822,227,000.
The Administration proposes to reinstate two provisions from the FY 2016 Appropriations Act for IHS which are contrary to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) with regard to CSC. The first is the "carryover" clause that could be read to deny the CSC carryover authority granted by the ISDEAA; the other is the "notwithstanding" clause used by IHS to deny contract support cost for their grant programs – Domestic Violence Prevention; Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention; Zero Suicide Initiative; after-care pilot projects at Youth Regional Treatment Centers; funding for the improvement of third party collections; and accreditation emergencies. Congress has not gone along with those two proposals in the past. In fact, the FY 2018 House Report encourages IHS to provide CSC for its grant programs.
105(l) Clinic Leases. The Administration proposes to amend the law in order to avoid full compensation for leases under section 105(l) of the ISDEAA. The proposed bill language in the IHS Administrative provisions is designed to overrule the decision in Maniilaq Association v. Burwell, 170 F. sup. 3d 243 (D.D.C. 2016) which held that section 105(l) of the ISDEAA provides an entitlement to full compensation for leases of tribal facilities used to carry out ISDEAA agreements. The proposed language would make section 105(l) lease funding entirely discretionary, essentially nullifying the provision. The Administration made the same proposal in last year's budget, but Congress ignored it.
Continuation of Sections 405 and 406 of General Provisions. The FY 2019 budget proposal would continue by reference sections 405 and 406 of the FY 2015 Appropriations Act. These provisions prohibit BIA and IHS from using FY 2019 CSC funds to pay past-year CSC claims or to repay the Judgment Fund for judgments or settlements related to past-year CSC claims. They do not preclude tribes from recovering such judgments or settlements from the Judgment Fund. The following is from Division G, Title IV of the Act:
Contract Support Costs, Prior Year Limitation
Sec. 405. Sections 405 and 406 of division F of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Public Law 113-235) shall continue in effect in fiscal year 2019.
Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2019 Limitation
Sec. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2019 under headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2019 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payment of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayment of payments for settlement or judgments awarding contract support costs for prior years.
FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $3,694,462,000
FY 2018 Enacted $3,952,290,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $3,945,975,000
HOSPITALS AND CLINICS
FY 2017 Enacted $1,935,178,000
FY 2018 Enacted $2,045,128,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $2,189,688,000
Current Services/Staffing. $31.7 million for pay increases; $13.5 million for medical inflation; $103.6 million for staffing of new facilities.
Tribal Clinic Leases. The request is $11 million for village built and tribally leased clinics, the same as FY 2018 enacted.
Accreditation Emergencies. The request is $58 million for hospital accreditation emergencies, the same as the FY 2018 enacted level.
New Tribes Funding. $1.9 million is requested for the following newly-recognized or reinstated tribes: the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (Oklahoma) and the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians (California).
DENTAL SERVICES
FY 2017 Enacted $182,597,000
FY 2018 Enacted $195,283,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $203,783,000
Current Services/Staffing. $3.2 million for pay raises; $2.8 million for medical inflation; and $13.9 million for staffing of new facilities.
Oral Health Care. $800,000 is proposed to be transferred from the Direct Operations account to backfill vacant dental health position in Headquarters as requested in the FY 2018 Joint Explanatory Statement.
MENTAL HEALTH
FY 2017 Enacted $ 94,080,000
FY 2018 Enacted $ 99,900,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $105,169,000
Current Services/Staffing. $1.5 million for pay costs; $1.4 million for medical inflation; and $7.7 million for staffing of new facilities.
ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
FY 2017 Enacted $218,353,000
FY 2018 Enacted $227,788,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $235,286,000
Current Services/Staffing. $2.9 million for pay raises; $4.5 million for medical inflation; and $8.7 million for staffing of new facilities.
PURCHASED/REFERRED CARE
FY 2017 Enacted $928,830,000
FY 2018 Enacted $962,695,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $954,957,000
Current Services/Staffing. $22 million for medical inflation, $3.6 million for staffing of a new facility. The staffing money is for the Fort Yuma Health Center in Winterhaven, California, an outpatient facility which is replacing an inpatient facility.
CHEF. $51.5 million is proposed for the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund which is $1.5 million below the FY 2018 enacted level.
INDIAN HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT FUND
No new funding is requested for the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund, which was funded at $72,280,000 in FY 2018, although those funds are built into the base. The FY 2018 House Report language notes the funds are provided "in order to reduce disparities across the IHS system." FY 2018 bill language provides that the Fund "may be used, as needed, to carry out activities typically funded under the Indian Health Facilities Account." IHS recently testified that the federal/tribal workgroup on the Fund has been meeting and hopes to have recommendations regarding a distribution formula by late May after which tribal consultation will occur.
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING
FY 2017 Enacted $78,701,000
FY 2018 Enacted $85,043,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $87,023,000
Current Services/Staffing. $1.4 million for pay raises; $1.3 million for medical inflation; and $6.8 million for staffing of new facilities.
HEALTH EDUCATION
FY 2017 Enacted $18,663,000
FY 2018 Enacted $19,871,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request -0-
The Budget Justification notes: "In order to prioritize health care services and staffing of newly constructed facilities, the Budget discontinues the Health Education program." (p. CJ-129)
COMMUNITY HEALTH REPRESENTATIVES
FY 2017 Enacted $60,325,000
FY 2018 Enacted $62,888,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request -0-
The Budget Justification notes: "In order to prioritize health care services and staffing of newly constructed facilities, the Budget discontinues the Community Health Representatives program." (p. CJ-129)
HEPATITIS B and HAEMOPHILUS
IMMUNIZATION (Hib) PROGRAMS IN ALASKA
FY 2017 Enacted $2,041,000
FY 2018 Enacted $2,127,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $2,035,000
Current Services. $37,000 for pay raises; $48,000 for medical inflation.
URBAN INDIAN HEALTH
FY 2017 Enacted $47,678,000
FY 2018 Enacted $49,315,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $46,422,000
Current Services. $726,000 for pay raises; $955,000 for medical inflation.
INDIAN HEALTH PROFESSIONS
FY 2017 Enacted $49,345,000
FY 2018 Enacted $49,363,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $43,394,000
Current Services. $52,000 for pay raises.
Programs funded under Indian Health Professions are: Health Professions Preparatory and Pre-Graduate Scholarships; Health Professions Scholarships; Extern Program; Loan Repayment Program; Quentin N. Burdick American Indians Into Nursing Program; Indians Into Medicine Program; and American Indians into Psychology.
Loan Repayment Program. The Administration proposes $36 million for the loan repayment program, the same as FY 2018 enacted.
See Legislative Proposals Sections elsewhere in this Memorandum regarding IHS loan repayment and scholarship programs.
TRIBAL MANAGEMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $2,465,000
FY 2018 Enacted $2,465,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request -0-
The Tribal Management grant program, authorized in 1975 under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, provides competitive grant funding for new and continuation grants for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of contracting IHS programs, developing tribal management capabilities, and evaluating health services.
The Budget Justification notes: "The budget request does not fund this program to prioritize funding for direct care services." (p. CJ-159)
DIRECT OPERATIONS
FY 2017 Enacted $70,420,000
FY 2018 Enacted $72,338,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $73,431,000
IHS estimates that 58.7 percent of the Direct Operations budget would go to Headquarters and 41.3 percent to the 12 Area Offices. Tribal Shares funding for Title I contracts and Title V compacts are also included.
Current Services. $1 million for pay increases. In addition, $800,000 is transferred to Dental Services to backfill dental vacancies in Headquarters per the direction of the FY 2018 House Appropriations report.
SELF-GOVERNANCE
FY 2017 Enacted $5,786,000
FY 2018 Enacted $5,806,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $4,787,000
Current Services. $52,000 for pay raises.
The Self-Governance budget supports implementation of the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program including funding required for Tribal Shares; oversight of the IHS Director's Agency Lead Negotiators; technical assistance on tribal consultation activities; analysis of Indian Health Care Improvement Act new authorities; and funding to support the activities of the IHS Director's Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee.
The IHS notes in its FY 2019 budget justification that in FY 2017, approximately
$2 billion was transferred to tribes to support 94 ISDEAA Title V compacts and 120 funding agreements.
SPECIAL DIABETES PROGRAM FOR INDIANS
While the entitlement funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) has not been part of the IHS appropriations process, tribes and tribal organizations often include support for this program in their testimony on IHS funding. The Bipartisan Budget Act extended the SDPI program for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 at $150 million each year.
However, the Administration has proposed to change the SDPI from a program whose funds are mandatory to one whose funds are discretionary. Under that proposal, the SDPI funds would then come through the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill and would count against the allocations of those Subcommittees. The proposed bill language to put the funding on a discretionary basis is: "For making grants under 330C of the Public Health Service Act, $150,000,000 to remain available until expended." (p. CJ-19)
FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH FACILITIES
FY 2017 Enacted $545,424,000
FY 2018 Enacted $867,504,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $505,820,000
The amount is $361 million below FY 2018 enacted and $40 million below FY 2017 enacted.
MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $ 75,745,000
FY 2018 Enacted $167,527,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $ 75,745,000
The proposed reduction is $92 million below FY 2017 and FY 2018 enacted levels. As of October 1, 2016, the Backlog of Essential Maintenance, Alteration, and Repair is $515.4 million. Maintenance and Improvement (M&I) funds are provided to Area Offices for distribution to projects in their regions.
FACILITIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
FY 2017 Enacted $226,950,000
FY 2018 Enacted $240,758,000
FY 2019 Admin, Request $228,852,000
Current Services/Staffing. $3.9 million for pay costs increases; $317,000 for medical inflation; and $14.6 million for staffing of newly opened facilities.
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
FY 2017 Enacted $22,966,000
FY 2018 Enacted $23,706,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $19,952,000
The Budget Justification notes the request consists of $441,000 for medical inflation, $14.4 million for new and routine replacement of medical equipment for 1,500 federally and tribally-operated health facilities; $5 million for new medical equipment in tribally-constructed health facilities and $500,000 for the TRANSAM program.
Not mentioned in the Budget Justification is the authority to use up to $2.7 million for purchase of ambulances which is close to the amount of the decrease proposed for the Medical Equipment account. Bill language would continue the option for the IHS to use this amount for purchase of ambulances.
CONSTRUCTION
Construction of Sanitation Facilities
FY 2017 Enacted $101,772,000
FY 2018 Enacted $192,033,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $101,772,000
The proposed amount is $91 million below the FY 2018 enacted level.
The sanitation facilities construction program provides funding for sanitation projects to serve new or like-new housing, existing homes, emergency projects, and studies and training related to sanitation facilities construction projects. The funds cannot be used to provide sanitation facilities for Department of Housing and Urban Development-built homes.
Construction of Health Care Facilities
FY 2017 Enacted $117,991,000
FY 2018 Enacted $243,480,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $ 79,500,000
The reduction from FY 2018 would be $164 million. No funds would be provided for the Small Ambulatory Program which received $15 million in FY 2018 nor for New and Replacement Quarters which received $11.5 million in FY 2018.
CONTINUING BILL LANGUAGE
The FY 2019 budget would continue language from previously enacted bills, including the following:
IDEA Data Collection Language. Continue the BIA authorization to collect data from the IHS and tribes regarding disabled children in order to assist with the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The provision is:
Provided further, That the Bureau of Indian Affairs may collect from the Indian Health Service and tribes and tribal organizations operating health facilities pursuant to Public Law 93-638 such individually identifiable health information relating to disabled children as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out its functions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (20 U.S.C. 1400, et. seq.)
Prohibition on Implementing Eligibility Regulations. Continue the prohibition on the implementation of the eligibility regulations, published September 16, 1987.
Services for Non-Indians. Continue the provision that allows the IHS and tribal facilities to extend health care services to non-Indians, subject to charges. The provision states:
Provided, That in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, non-Indian patients may be extended health care at all tribally administered or Indian Health Service facilities, subject to charges, and the proceeds along with funds recovered under the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 2651-2653) shall be credited to the account of the facility providing the service and shall be available without fiscal year limitation.
Assessments by DHHS. Continue the provision which provides that no IHS funds may be used for any assessments or charges by the Department of Health and Human Services "unless identified in the budget justification and provided in this Act, or approved by the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations through the reprogramming process."
Limitation on No-Bid Contracts. Continue the provision regarding the use of no-bid contracts. The provision specifically exempts Indian Self-Determination agreements:
Sec. 411. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act to executive branch agencies may be used to enter into any Federal contract unless such contract is entered into in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 33 of title 41 United States Code or chapter 137 of title 10, United States Code, and the Federal Acquisition Regulations, unless:
(1) Federal law specifically authorizes a contract to be entered into without regard for these requirements, including formula grants for States, or federally recognized Indian tribes; or
(2) such contract is authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education and Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638, 25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.) or by any other Federal laws that specifically authorize a contract within an Indian tribe as defined in section 4(e) of that Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)); or
(3) Such contract was awarded prior to the date of enactment of this Act.
Use of Defaulted Funds. Continue the provision that allows funds collected on defaults from the Loan Repayment and Health Professions Scholarship programs to be used to make new awards under the Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs."

        On projected 2019, as of June 1, 2018, tribal funding for the Crime Victims Fund and the AMBER Alert Fund, see, "Tribal Governments Gain Access to Crime Victims Fund and AMBER Alert Funds; Tribal Consultation Teleconferences to be Held June 12 and 14," in Congressional Developments, above.

        National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), "Analysis of the FY 2019 President’s Budget,"
February 13, 2018, is available at: http://www.ncai.org/FY2019_Presidents_Budget_Analysis7.pdf.

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In the Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court

         Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter Poza, "Is the Supreme Court coming around on Indian law? New ruling favors tribes," Daily Kos, May 21, 2018, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/5/21/1766011/-Is-the-Supreme-Court-coming-around-on-Indian-law-New-ruling-favors-tribes, reported concerning a case in which the Upper Skagit Tribe of Washington State had land a survey undertaken which found that found that it owned an acre of land that was fenced off by a neighbor.
        "After the tribe conveyed that it would be reclaiming its acre and building a new fence, the Lundgrens filed a quiet title action, asking a court to declare that the acre was theirs, 'quieting' other claims. Their arguments? Adverse possession (c’mon guys, it’s been this way for a long time) and mutual acquiescence (the guy who owned this property before the tribe didn’t mind us taking his acre)."
        "The Washington Supreme Court agreed with them. Gorsuch did not. Rather, he quoted their finding and noted simply, 'That was error.' The majority clarified that Yakima cannot be used to abrogate tribes’ sovereign immunity. The case now returns to state court for consideration of the Lundgrens’ secondary, common law argument.
        Gorsuch claims the justices opted for remand because the Lundgrens’ fallback argument was belatedly introduced in an amicus brief from the U.S. government. That’s probably not the full story; Gorsuch likely wanted to go farther, ruling that there’s no abrogation of tribal sovereign immunity for a fee land purchase within a tribe’s reservation. That would mean tribal land is tribal land, as protected as the tribe itself.
        Lacking five votes for the right course, Gorsuch opted to assemble a seven-justice majority for the next best option. Which is, to be clear, a big, big deal. It is a procedural win for the tribe, and a victory that resolves a subject of contention in the lower courts in favor of tribes, opening the door for litigation.
        Bigger yet? It signals a potential shift for the Supreme Court toward protecting tribal sovereign immunity. The anti-tribe block, as a friend who practices Indian law describes it, has had six votes for a while, sometimes seven. That Gorsuch managed a seven-justice majority is spectacular. Especially given his reputation for clashing with his colleagues."

        John Eligon ‘This Ruling Gives Us Hope’: Supreme Court Sides With Tribe in Salmon Case," The New York Times, June 11, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/us/washington-salmon-culverts-supreme-court.html, reported, "The Supreme Court, in a 4-to-4 deadlock, let stand a lower court’s order that the state [of Washington] make billions of dollars worth of repairs to roads that had damaged the state’s salmon habitats and contributed to population loss."
        The hope is that this will bring back salmon along the Skagot river, once teaming with the fish, harvested by the Swinomish Indians. Salmon harvests have declined by 75% over the past 30 years.

        Vincent Schilling, "Supreme Court: Remaining $300 Million To Native Farmer Orgs," ICTMN, March 28, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/supreme-court-remaining-300-million-to-native-farmer-orgs-XAfT2LeVRU29kqpHMOGOeg/, reported, "On Monday, the Supreme Court denied a petition seeking to overturn a D.C. Circuit Court decision to distribute $380 million dollars in leftover funds from the landmark Keepseagle class action case involving Native American farmers and ranchers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
        Simply stated, $380 million dollars remaining in the settlement will not all be going to original claimants, but to organizations that serve Native farmers and ranchers."

Lower Federal Courts

        Laura Paskus, "Federal court, Zinke call for consultation with tribes on Chaco. But what will that mean?" New Mexico Political Report, April 10, 2018, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/824086/federal-court-zinke-call-for-consultation-on-chaco-but-what-will-that-mean-en/?mc_cid=edd87e1d1d&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported, "At the end of March, a federal court said the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has not adequately considered protection of cultural sites near Chaco Culture National Historical Park when granting permits for oil and gas drilling. The full order is still forthcoming, but the six-page memo by Judge James Browning echoed comments by U.S. Department of the Interior Ryan Zinke earlier this spring.
        When Zinke postponed the sale of oil and gas leases on 4,434 acres of BLM land in San Juan, Sandoval and Rio Arriba counties, he told the Albuquerque Journal, 'We’re going to defer those leases until we do some cultural consultation.'
        Under federal law, agencies must consult with tribes that have cultural ties to an area being developed, whether the plan is to drill oil and gas wells, inundate a reservoir, build a pipeline or create a national monument.
        Yet, what often constitutes consultation is already considered inadequate by tribes and activists—and some wonder how the Interior Department will address the problem in northwestern New Mexico while simultaneously prioritizing energy development."

        U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hoveland ruled, in April 2018, that the State of North Dakota must expand the proof of eligibility that American Indians in North Dakota can use for participating in elections. He overturned a state rule that Native residents must list a street address, which they often did not have, allowing them to use a post office box as an address for voting. He also expanded the valid forms of identification Indians could use to include more tribal documents. When the Republican Secretary of State raised what the judge called a "litany of embellished concerns" over the details, the judge suggested the Secretary negotiate the matter with the tribes, to avoid further litigation. A May2018 meeting failed to reach agreement (James MacPherson, "North Dakota tribes fail to reach settlement over voter ID," NFIC, June 2018).

        A U.S. District Court ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to restore to Navajo Nation the $7.3 million cut from the Nation's head start budget, on the grounds that HHS failed to undertake required consultation before so acting (Arlyssa Becenti, "Court restores full funding for Navajo Head Start," Navajo Times, March 29, 2018).

        U.S. District Court Judge Boasberg denied the request of Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes to have more say in the court ordered Army Corps of Engineers Review of the Dakota Access Pipelines impact on tribal interests. The nations alleged that the Engineers had not listened to them, or included them in discussions, sufficiently, while the Engineers alleged that the two nations were difficult to deal with (Blake Nicholson, "Tribes' request for more say in Dakota Access environmental study denied," NFIC, May 2018).

        The U.S. Justice Department announced, at the end of February 2018, that it is supporting law suits in federal court by various tribes, municipalities and states against a number of drug companies. Indian Nations involved in the suit include the Lac Flambeau Chippewa, the Muscogee Nation, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, the Navajo Nation, and the Northern Arapaho Tribe (Various reports in NFIC, April, 2018; and Cindi Yurth, "Tribes sues opioid manufacturers, distributers,"Navajo Times, April 22, 2018).

        A Federal District Court in Tulsa, OK ruled that the Cherokee Nation Tribal Court had no jurisdiction over drug companies that distribute opioids, leading the Nation to move its suit against the companies to state court ("Cherokee plan to move their opioid lawsuit to state court, " NFIC, January 2018).

        The Native American Rights Fund, Porter Hedges LLP(PH) and Dorsey and Whitney LLP(DW) announced a settlement, in February 2018, of Native American Church of North America and Sandor Iron Rope v Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the U.S. District Court of the Western Division of Texas, under which the TSA agreed to publish a "know before you go: fact sheet to educate concerning American Indian religious items and create a less intrusive method of inspecting those items. The parties agreed to cooperate in producing an educational webinar on Native religious items for TSA employees ("TSA to improve handling of Native American sacred objects," NFIC, February 2018).

        The Havasupai Tribe has sued the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), in Stephen C, v. Bureau of Indian Education, charging that the bureau has failed to provide adequate education and special education at the Havasupai Elementary School, in Arizona. The school is considered one of the worst BIE schools. The case could become a major precedent regarding the BIE's responsibility to provide reasonable quality education (Christopher S. Pineo, "Havasupai lawsuit cold impact BIE's nationwide system," Navajo Times, March 22, 2018).

        New York City and eight coastal California cities and counties, including San Francisco and Oakland, have filed lawsuits in federal court against ExxonMobil and other oil and gas companies, charging that by contributing to global warming induced climate change, they injured their communities under common law (Elliott Negin, "ExxonMobil Is Being Sued for Climate Damages by American Inland Communities for the First Time: Communities in Colorado—one of the fastest-warming states—have joined coastal cities in trying to make Big Oil pay," Portside, April 17, 2018, https://portside.org/2018-04-17/exxonmobil-being-sued-climate-damages-american-inland-communities-first-time).

        The St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin brought suit in the U.S, District Court of Wisconsin, seeking to enjoin the Wisconsin Department of Justice from attempting to sanction the nation from producing industrial hemp on tribal lands. The nation contends that since the state legalized industrial hemp and medical use of non-psychoactive hemp oil in 2014, the nation has the sovereign right to produce these products, even though the state has yet to establish regulations concerning their production and distribution (J.S. Decker, " The St. Croix Chippewa suit Wisconsin over CBC and hemp oil production sanctions," NFIC, February 2018).

         The Navajo Nation, March 27, 2018, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Winslow, AZ police department, in the March 27 police shooting death of tribal member Loreal Tsingine (Donovan Quintero, "Tribe files lawsuit as Tsingine's family marks death anniversary," Navajo Times, April 5, 2018).

State and Local Courts

        A three judge panel of Division 1 of the Arizona Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision, holding that the Hopi Tribe dis have standing to sue in a public nuisance case against the City of Flagstaff, in which the tribe claimed that the Arizona Snow Bowel’s use of reclaimed waste water was improper, and that the case could proceed (Krista Allen, "Appeals Court hands Hopis a win in Snowbowl case," Navajo Times, March 1, 2018)

        The City of Boulder, Boulder County and San Miguel County, CO filed suit, April 17, 2018, in Colorado District Court against ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy, Canada's largest oil company, seeking compensation for damage and adaptation costs resulting from extreme weather events resulting from their contributions to global warming induced climate change. This is the first such case brought in state or municipal court (Elliott Negin, "ExxonMobil Is Being Sued for Climate Damages by American Inland Communities for the First Time: Communities in Colorado—one of the fastest-warming states—have joined coastal cities in trying to make Big Oil pay," Portside, April 17, 2018, https://portside.org/2018-04-17/exxonmobil-being-sued-climate-damages-american-inland-communities-first-time).

        The New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Education, that, in April 2018, was proceeding in the New Mexico First Judicial Court in Santa Fe, charging that the department has been failing to provide adequate education to American Indian and other students of color from low income families (Colleen Keane, "Yazzie lawsuit challenges NM to close 'opportunity gaps,'" Navajo Times, April 5, 2018).

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Tribal Government and State and Local Government Developments

        Mark Trahant,"Blackfeet water compact signed by Blackfeet Nation, Montana & the United States," ICTMN, June 12, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/blackfeet-water-compact-signed-by-blackfeet-nation-montana-the-united-states-7IPzoU1ptUKYIC3Se-0uew/, "Tuesday three government came together in a formal ceremony at the Department of Interior to sign and celebrate the Blackfeet Water Compact.
        This begins the implementation phase of a modern treaty that has been in negotiation for three decades. The compact required approval of the tribe, Montana, and the United States. The Montana Legislature approved the compact in 2009. Congress passed a bill that was then signed into law by President Obama on December 16, 2016, which provided federal approval of the compact as well as $422 million (in addition to the state contribution of $49 million) in funding for water-related projects on the Reservation. Then on April 20, 2017, Blackfeet citizens voted to approve the Blackfeet Water Compact and Settlement Act."
        "In March Zinke transferred $800,000 to the tribe for projects including a water implementation oversight committee and staff.
        The total cost of the compact will be $422 million, plus the state’s contribution of $49 million. So far Tester has been able to secure $10 million in federal funds. The deal is authorized for funding through 2025."

        The governor of Wisconsin signed into law Senate Bill 488 authorizing the use of tribal identification for the purposes obtaining prescription medications; purchasing alcohol and tobacco products; selling scrap, antiques, and second hand articles to pawnbrokers ("ID bill signed into law allows tribal identification for everyday Wisconsin needs, " NFIC, April 2018).

        The Governor of Michigan signed into law legislation insuring the right of Indian nations in the state to have access to child protection records ("MI Governor signs legislation ensuring tribes get child records," NFIC, March 2018).

        "Tribes Support State’s Efforts to Sustain Critical Oral Health Program: Tribes applaud legal appeal by Washington Health Care Authority supporting oral health providers," ICTMN, June 8, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/the-press-pool/tribes-support-state-s-efforts-to-sustain-critical-oral-health-program-JP5G2dXB8UipEaOugKlknQ/, News Release, Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, stated, "Tribes and tribal organizations in Washington, Idaho and Oregon are applauding an appeal filed today by the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) to ensure sustainability of a new provider type--dental therapists--employed by their oral health programs.
        Similar to nurse practitioners and physician assistants, dental therapists are highly trained primary oral health care providers who expand the capacity of dentists by delivering a number of routine and preventive dental services, including fillings and simple extractions.
        'The introduction of this evidence-based provider in our clinics is an important tool to increase access and improve oral health outcomes. Recruited from their community, dental therapists are able to provide the culturally relevant and consistent care needed in a population that faces barriers including chronic provider shortages, geographic isolation and historical trauma,' said Vicki Lowe, Executive Director of the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State.
        'Tribal communities are struggling under the weight of devastating and persistent oral health disparities, and this evidence-based solution needs to be an option for any tribe wanting to use it to turn the tide on those disparities,' said Joe Finkbonner, Executive Director of the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board.
        According to the 2014 Oral Health IHS Survey in the Pacific Northwest, 53.2% of AI/AN children under age 5 experienced tooth decay, and 31% of AI/AN children under age 5 had untreated tooth decay. These rates of decay and untreated decay are three and four times, respectively, those of the general population under age 5. A 2016 IHS Oral Health Survey revealed that in the Pacific Northwest, 64% of AI/AN adults aged 35-49 had untreated tooth decay, 54% of adults aged 50-64 had untreated tooth decay and 83% had missing teeth.
        Dental therapists are able to practice in Indian health programs on tribal lands in Washington State, after the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (SITC) exercised its sovereignty and created a dental provider licensing authority in 2016 and a subsequent state law recognized the licensing authority of all Washington Tribes.
        The new Washington law also directed the state to work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to ensure that this new provider is eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. The HCA carried out Washington law by submitting a State Plan Amendment (SPA) proposal to CMS that included dental therapists as eligible Medicaid providers. But this past May, CMS denied Washington’s proposal to amend the State Plan, leading to today’s filing of a notice of appeal by HCA.

        Vincent Schilling, "Native Legislators in Minnesota Call For Task Force to Stop Violence," ICTMN, March 2, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/native-legislators-in-minnesota-call-for-task-force-to-stop-violence-nzdeH51rMkGYlbzn5locjQ/, reported, "Today in St. Paul, Minnesota, two of four Minnesota Native American legislators, Rep. Kunesh-Podein, a descendant of the Standing Rock Lakota Tribe and Rep. Becker-Finn, a descendant of the Leech Lake Ojibwe, called for a Governor’s Task Force to stop violence against Indigenous women.
        Nationwide, Native women suffer from violence at a rate two and a half times greater than any other group. In some regions of Minnesota, Native women are murdered at rates that are more than 10 times the national average."

        Vincent Schilling, "Community And Alaska Native Leaders Travel To Juneau, Call For Better Salmon Hab," ICTMN, March 1, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/community-and-alaska-native-leaders-travel-to-juneau-call-for-better-salmon-hab-Rbtm9R8X40C-uARzfqi4Gg/, reported, "Community leaders from around the state of Alaska visited with legislators last week urging them to pass House Bill 199, “The Wild Salmon Legacy Act.”
        The bill would update Alaska’s law governing the development of salmon habitats and would also encourage responsible salmon habitat development. Earlier that week, a separate group of community leaders provided testimony against Pebble Mine in a legislative hearing, citing the harmful impacts the mine would have on wild salmon.

        After the state of Maine had cut tribal health programs by almost one-half, in September, Governor Paul LePage restored state health, including mental health, program funding that benefitted Main's four recognized tribes ("Maine: Governor Restores Tribes' Public Health Funding," Cultural Survival Quarterly, December 2017).
        The Governor of South Dakota signed legislation empowering students, who wish to do so, to wear eagle feathers or plumes at graduation ("Eagle feathers, plumes at graduations now protected by law," NFIC, April 2018).

        Peter Hancock, "Bill protecting Native American rights to wear tribal regalia advances in Kansas Senate committee," Lawrence Journal World, March 5, 2018, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2018/mar/05/bill-protecting-native-american-rights-wear-tribal/, reported, "A bill that would guarantee Native Americans in Kansas the right to wear their tribal regalia and other objects of cultural significance at government-sponsored public events is on its way to the full Senate.
        The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee heard testimony Monday from several Native Americans, including some from Lawrence, who said they often face resistance when they try to wear their native outfits at events such as graduations or other kinds of public ceremonies."
        "House Bill 2498 cleared the House on Feb. 21 by a vote of 122-0. It is sponsored by Rep. Ponka-We Victors, D-Wichita, who is a member of both the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona."

        The Washington State Senate passed a bill supported by 21 tribal Chairmen, February 8, 2018, that would phase out salmon net-pen farming in Washington. The bill went to the House for consideration. The action came following the collapse of a net pen in the summer of 2017, releasing hundreds of thousands of invasive fish farmed Atlantic salmon ("Washington State Senate OKs measure to phase our salmon net-pen farming," NFIC, February 2018).

        The Arizona state legislature pased and the governor signed, March 27, 2018, SB1235, an act establishing June 2 as Native American Day, a state (unpaid) holiday. The Senate passed resolutions naming 3 state highways after American Indian veterans (Cindy Yurth, "Ariz. enacts Native American Day, renames highways," Navajo Times, April 12, 2018).

        Tribal leaders in Utah have been working to have the elevate the Utah Division of Indian Affairs into a separate department with an appointed head in the governor's cabinmate ("Tribal leaders lobbying to change Indian Affairs Division," NFIC, March 2018).

        American Indian artists in Santa Fe, NM objected, as burdensome, in April 2018, to a measure proposed by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs that would add 4 pages to the existing 7 pages of regulations for sale of jewelry in the Santa Fe Plaza ("Native artists slam newly proposed jewelry sale rules," NFIC, April 2018).

        The Bemidji, MN Police Department has added to the slogan on its police vehicles, "To Protect and Serve," a translation of the statement in Ojibwe: "Ganawenjigeng miinawaa Naadamaageng." The idea to do so came from the Ojibwe Language Project's founders. The project has collaborated with some 200 area businesses in posting English/Ojibwe signage in their place of business ("Bemidji Police add Ojibwe language to all city police cars," NFIC, March 2018).

        The Boulder Colorado City Council, March 5, 2018, approved an agreement permitting the local American Indian community to build and lite ceremonial fires, and be exempted from city fire rule enforcement ("Denver, Indigenous community agree on ceremonial fires," NFIC, March 2018).

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Tribal Developments

        Madeline Streilein, "2017 Ushrn Human Rights Status Report Covers Indigenous Peoples," Cultural Survival, January 18, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/2017-ushrn-human-rights-status-report-covers-indigenous-peoples, reported, "The 5th edition of the US Human Rights Network’s Human Rights Status Report (available at: https://www.ushrnetwork.org/sites/ushrnetwork.org/files/2017_ushrn_human_rights_report-_final.pdf) was released on January 15, 2018 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). The report was drafted 'in order to highlight the issues that Dr. King organized around and issues that grassroots leaders in the U.S. continue to fight for, namely racial, economic and climate justice,' says US Human Rights Network Executive Director Colette Pichon Battle. '2017 saw a record number of climate disruptions and corporate attacks on natural resources that continue to uncover the thinly veiled structural discrimination faced by Indigenous, Black and poor communities across the country,' Battle continued in the introduction of the report.
        In regards to Indigenous and Native communities, the thinly veiled structural discrimination Battle refers to is not limited to the environment, but is evident in myriad human rights violations detailed in the report. USHRN sought to provide an accessible snapshot of the status of human rights in the US in 2017, with an emphasis on economic, social, and cultural rights. Eight of the fourteen issue areas presented in the report are significant to Indigenous and Native communities.
        Considering environmental and climate justice, 2017 violations of the human right to a healthy environment included the United States Global Change Research Program defining Indigenous communities as a 'vulnerable population' in the midst of climate change. Under the subsection Native Lands and Pipelines, the report specifically named the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines as human rights violations of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Article 25.
        The pipelines were mentioned further as violations of the human right to food, water, and sanitation, as they threaten the availability of clean drinking water for multiple Native communities. Following her official visit to the US, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Vicky Tauli Corpuz recommends that 'for any extractive industry project affecting Indigenous peoples, regardless of the status of the land, the United States should require a full environmental impact assessment of the project in consideration of the impact on Indigenous Peoples’ rights.'
        The report delved into immigrant’s rights and the border wall. President Donald Trump’s executive order for the construction of the 1,250 mile wall between the United States and Mexico in early 2017 is resisted by the Tohono O’odham Nation. Sixty-two miles of their land is on US-Mexico border. 'The construction of this border wall on Tohono O’odham land violates rights recognized under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.'
        Under the category violations of the right to health, the report states that in 2015, “17% of Indigenous children live in extreme poverty as opposed to 6% of white children, according to the Kids Count Data Center.” The report dedicated an entire subsection to Native Americans as the state of health in Indigenous communities is grim due largely to poverty: “Native Americans are twice as likely as White Americans to report asthma, diabetes, and overall poor health status. A recent study indicated that 19 percent of Native Americans delayed or did not receive healthcare over the course of 12 months due to the cost.” Environmental pollution, specifically due to energy development initiatives such as the Bakkan formation in North Dakota that is flaring natural gas, has resulted in adverse health effects in proximal Native American communities. These are violations of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Article 5, and the UDHR Articles 3 and 25.
        A section on human rights issues related to reproductive health describes barriers to access of contraception, Plan B, and lawful abortion services in Indigenous communities. 'To date, a mere 10% of surveyed Indian Health Service (HIS) pharmacies have Plan B® available over-the-counter (OTC). Even with a prescription, Plan B was available at 50% of the pharmacies in the same study from January 2008. Further, a 2002 study from the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC) found that the IHS was not providing lawful abortion services to Native American women. 85% of the IHS units surveyed were “noncompliant with official IHS abortion policy” and 62% stated that they do not provide abortions even in the case of life endangerment.” This violates UDHR Article 3, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Article 12.
        Concerning the right to housing, Native Americans are overrepresented in the unhoused population in some regions of the country. When it comes to the right to education, the report states that 'Native American girls are three times more likely to be suspended than white girls,' and 'national rates of school-based arrests are disproportionately high for Black, Native American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander girls.' The title of this section, School-to-Prison Pipeline, is telling.
        Indigenous communities saw continuous violations of their human right to marry and start a family in 2017. Despite the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), Native American children 'are still being removed from their homes and communities at disproportionate rates, preventing Indigenous children from fully exercising their rights to culture and community . . . Of the 1,600 Cherokee youth in state custody, nearly 900 are outside the tribe’s jurisdiction.'
        The 5th edition of the USHRN Status Report is based upon research conducted by partners, allies, journalists, and USHRN’s research team. The US Human Rights Network is 'a national network of organizations and individuals working to build and strengthen a people-centered human rights movement in the United States, where leadership is centered on those most directly affected by human rights violations, and the full range of diversity within communities is respected and embraced.'"

        "NCAI Releases Five-Year Report on Tribal Governments Exercising VAWA 2013 Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction Over Non-Indians," National Congress of American Indians, March 20, 2018, finding, "The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has released a new report summarizing results of the first five years of tribal government-expanded criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians under the tribal provisions of the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA 2013).
        The report was released in conjunction with the March 19th Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on “The Need to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.”
        VAWA 2013 created a framework for tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians for certain violent crimes against Indian citizens—something that has not happened in 35 years, since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish Tribe reversed this sovereign jurisdiction. VAWA 2013 recognized and affirmed the inherent sovereign authority of tribal nations to exercise criminal jurisdiction over certain non-Indians who commit domestic or dating violence against Indian victims on tribal lands.
        NCAI works closely with the 18 tribal nations who have arrested non-Indians under this landmark provision. These tribes report 143 arrests of 128 different non-Indian abusers. These arrests have led to 74 convictions and 5 acquittals to date, with some cases still pending. VAWA 2013 has allowed tribes to finally prosecute these long-time abusers who previously had evaded justice, and provide increased safety and justice for victims who previously had little recourse against their abusers. The report highlights specific examples illustrating successes as well as gaps in the law that Congress should address.
        The report documents how committed each tribe has been to successfully implementing VAWA and ensuring the effective administration of justice in their communities. Not only do non-Indian offenders receive a fair day in court, but many tribes include broader resources aligned with cultural values for community wellness to ensure that these defendants receive help and support. Fifty one percent of the defendants were sentenced to batterer intervention or other rehabilitation programs as a part of their tribal court sentences.
        'The success of VAWA 2013 demonstrates that tribes can and will provide effective justice to their communities, and fair process to all those who appear in tribal courts,' said NCAI President Jefferson Keel.
        VAWA 2013 only allows tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians for a narrow set of crimes. The report also documents the limitations of the law, including the lack of tribal court jurisdiction over crimes against children, law enforcement personnel, and sexual assault crimes committed by strangers. Tribes express continued frustration at their inability to prosecute these crimes—many of which occur in conjunction with a domestic violence offense—often with dangerous and devastating consequences for victims. Many tribes also report that a lack of funding is the only thing preventing them from implementing VAWA. 'NCAI and its member tribal nations stand ready to advocate for further expansions of this law to ensure public safety and justice in Indian Country,' said Juana Majel-Dixon, Co-Chair of the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women.
        This project was supported by the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice however this report does not necessarily reflect the view of the Department of Justice.
        View the report at: http://www.ncai.org/resources/ncai-publications/SDVCJ_5_Year_Report.pdf, as well as additional resources on NCAI’s Tribal VAWA website. Please direct any questions to NCAI Legal Counsel John Dossett at john_dossett@ncai.org and NCAI Project Attorney Elizabeth Reese at ereese@ncai.org."
        The "Executive Summary
        Five years ago, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013).2 In response to the high rates of domestic violence being perpetrated against American Indian and Alaska Native women by non-Indian men,i and harrowing stories from victims whose abusers seemed out of justice’s reach, the law contained a new provision. VAWA 2013 recognized and affirmed the inherent sovereign authority of Indian tribal governments to exercise criminal jurisdiction over certain non-Indians who violate qualifying protection orders or commit domestic or dating violence against Indian victims on tribal lands.3 This provision in VAWA 2013 created a framework for tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians again—something that had not happened in 35 years, since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish Tribe, which removed tribal authority to prosecute non-Indians.4
        VAWA 2013’s limited reaffirmation of inherent tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, known as Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ), has fundamentally changed the landscape of tribal criminal jurisdiction in the modern era. By exercising SDVCJ, many communities have increased safety and justice for victims who had previously seen little of either. SDVCJ has allowed tribes to 'respond to long-time abusers who previously had evaded justice'5 and has given a ray of hope to victims and communities that safety can be restored.
        To date, 18 tribes are known to be exercising SDVCJ (throughout this report these tribes are referred to collectively as “implementing tribes”).ii Tribes are implementing SDVCJ with careful attention to the requirements of federal law and in a manner that upholds the rights of defendants. In order to exercise SDVCJ, tribes must comply with a series of federal statutory requirements that include, among other things, providing certain due process protections to non-Indian defendants.6 Most of these implementing tribes have worked closely with a group of over 50 other tribes as part of an Inter-tribal Technical-Assistance Working Group (ITWG) on SDVCJ that has been an important forum for tribal governments to work collaboratively to develop best practices.
        To date, the implementing tribes report 143 arrests of 128 non-Indian abusers. These arrests ultimately led to 74 convictions, 5 acquittals, and 24 cases currently pending. There has not been a single petition for habeas corpus review brought in federal court in an SDVCJ case. Although preliminary, the absence of habeas petitions suggests the fairness of tribal courts and the care with which tribes are implementing SDVCJ.
        Implementation of SDVCJ has had other positive outcomes as well. For many tribes, it has led to much-needed community conversations about domestic violence. For others it has provided an impetus to more comprehensively update tribal criminal codes. Implementation of SDVCJ has also resulted in increased collaboration among tribes and between the local, state, federal, and tribal governments. It has revealed places where federal administrative policies and practices needed to be strengthened to enhance justice, and it has shown where the jurisdictional framework continues to leave victims—including children and law enforcement—vulnerable. Implementation thus far has also revealed that additional resources are necessary in order for the benefits of the law to expand to more reservations.
i See infra Section I.
ii Since the end of the pilot period, tribes are not required to notify the U.S. Department of Justice if they begin exercising SDVCJ. This report covers the 18 implementing tribes that have reported implementation to the National Congress of American Indians and its partner technical assistance providers, although it remains a possibility that there are other tribes implementing SDVCJ.
        This report summarizes how VAWA 2013’s landmark provision has been implemented and analyzes its impacts in the 5 years since it was enacted.iii This examination of the tribes’ early exercise of SDVCJ suggests that VAWA 2013 has been a success. As Congress intended, the law has equipped tribes with the much-needed authority to combat the high rates of domestic violence against Native women, while at the same time protecting non-Indians’ rights in impartial, tribal forums.7
        The report begins in Section I with a brief overview of the need for the tribal provisions in VAWA 2013 and the context for their passage. It then provides in Section II, an overview of nationwide SDVCJ prosecution statistics and analyzes tribal experiences exercising SDVCJ over the past four years. It identifies four key findings, which are as follows:
1. Tribes use SDVCJ to combat domestic violence by prosecuting offenders harming their communities
1-1. Non-Indian perpetrated domestic violence is a real problem
1-2. Many defendants have numerous prior contacts with tribal police, demonstrating SDVCJ can end impunity
1-3. Many SDVCJ defendants have criminal records or outstanding warrants
1-4. A diverse array of tribes have successfully implemented SDVCJ
2. Tribal courts uphold the rights of defendants and are committed to their rehabilitation 2-1. SDVCJ case outcomes demonstrate fairness
2-2. Tribes are invested in helping defendants get the help they need
3. Implementation revealed serious limitations in the law
3-1. The statute prevents tribes from prosecuting crimes against children
3-2. The statute prevents tribes from prosecuting alcohol and drug crimes
3-3. The statute prevents tribes from prosecuting crimes that occur within the criminal justice system, thereby endangering law enforcement and undermining the integrity of the system 3-4. There was initial confusion concerning the scope of the federal statutory definition of 'domestic violence'
3-5. SDVCJ is prohibitively expensive for some tribes
3-6. Detention issues and costs create implementation challenges
3-7. SDVCJ is jurisdictionally complex
4. SDVCJ implementation promotes positive changes
4-1. SDVCJ promotes positive tribal reforms
4-2. Inter-tribal collaboration creates successes beyond SDVCJ 4-3. SDVCJ promotes better relationships with other jurisdictions
        Following the findings in Section II, Section III provides an overview of the requirements of those provisions and how they are structured. After supplying this context on the law, Section IV includes brief profiles of the 18 implementing tribes, including individual prosecution statistics. Finally, Section V examines the diversity in how tribes have chosen to meet the statutory requirements of VAWA 2013 and illustrates how the statute has allowed tribes to implement SDVCJ differently depending on the needs and values of their communities. The appendices to this report include resources on implementation of SDVCJ and other materials that may be of interest.
        The full 90 pp. report covers:
Executive Summary.............................................................................................................................1
I.The Need for and Enactment of SDVCJ...........................................................................................3
II. Overview & Findings......................................................................................................................5
 Nationwide Implementation...............................................................................................................5
5-Year Prosecution Statistics ..............................................................................................................7
Findings................................................................................................................................................9
1. Tribes use SDVCJ to combat domestic violence by prosecuting offenders harming their
communities..........................................................................................................................................9
1-1. Non-Indian perpetrated domestic violence is a real problem .................................................... 10
1-2. Many defendants have numerous prior contacts with tribal police, demonstrating
 SDVCJ can end impunity................................................................................................................. 14
1-3. Many SDVCJ defendants have criminal records or outstanding warrants ................................. 15
1-4. A diverse array of tribes have successfully implemented SDVCJ.............................................. 16
2. Tribal courts uphold the rights of defendants and are committed to their
 rehabilitation ..........................................................................\........................................................... 18
2-1. SDVCJ case outcomes demonstrate fairness................................................................................ 18
2-2. Tribes are invested in helping defendants get the help they need................................................. 20
3. Implementation revealed serious limitations in the law .................................................................. 22
3-1. The statute prevents tribes from prosecuting crimes against children ......................................... 24
3-2. The statute prevents tribes from prosecuting alcohol and drug crimes ........................................ 26
3-3. The statute prevents tribes from prosecuting crimes that occur within the criminal justice
 system, thereby endangering law enforcement and undermining the integrity of the
 system ................................................................................................................................................. 27
3-4. There was initial confusion concerning the scope of the federal statutory definition
 of “domestic violence”........................................................................................................................ 28
3-5. SDVCJ is prohibitively expensive for some tribes........................................................................ 29
3-6. Detention issues and costs create implementation challenges....................................................... 30
3-7. SDVCJ is jurisdictionally complex................................................................................................. 31
4. SDVCJ implementation promotes positive changes.......................................................................... 32
 4-1. SDVCJ promotes positive tribal reforms....................................................................................... 32
4-2. Inter-tribal collaboration creates successes beyond SDVCJ........................................................... 34
4-3. SDVCJ promotes better relationships with other jurisdictions ...................................................... 36
III.OverviewofSDVCJ.............................................................................................................................38
Recognizing Sovereignty ....................................................................................................................... 38
Criminal Conduct Covered..................................................................................................................... 38
Limits on SDVCJ Eligible Crimes.......................................................................................................... 39
Due Process Requirements ..................................................................................................................... 39
Pilot Project............................................................................................................................................. 40
IV. Profiles of the 18 Tribes Exercising SDVCJ .................................................................................... 42
Pascua Yaqui Tribe ................................................................................................................................. 42
Tulalip Tribes .......................................................................................................................................... 44
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation......................................................................... 45
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation.................................................................. 46
Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes.................................................................................................. 47
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians ......................................................................................... 48
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas......................................................................................................... 49
Choctaw Nation........................................................................................................................................ 50
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians........................................................................................................... 51
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma ............................................................................................................... 52
Sac and Fox Nation ................................................................................................................................. 53
Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma ................................................................................................................. 54
Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi ....................................................................................... 55
Muscogee (Creek) Nation ....................................................................................................................... 56
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe...................................................................................................................... 57
Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians........................................................................................ 58
Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana ................................................................................................................ 59
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe .................................................................................................................... 60
V. Laboratories of Justice: Contrasting Tribal Codes and Implementation Choices................................ 61
Right to Counsel ....................................................................................................................................... 61
Jurisdictional and Procedural Facts .......................................................................................................... 64
Definition of Offenses............................................................................................................................... 65
Jury Composition...................................................................................................................................... 66
Law-Trained Judges ................................................................................................................................. 69
Victims’ Rights and Safety....................................................................................................................... 70
Appendicies .............................................................................................................................................. 73
Appendix A: 25 U.S.C. §§ 1301-1304 ..................................................................................................... 73
Appendix B: OVW SDVCJ Grants........................................................................................................... 77
Appendix C: Additional Resources........................................................................................................... 78
NOTES ...................................................................................................................................................... 81"

        NCAI, "VAWA Pilot Project Report 2015," Published on June 08, 2016, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2016/06/08/vawa-pilot-project-report-2015, reported, "The Reauthorization of Violence Against Women in 2013 created the Pilot Project, which comprised of five tribes the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation in North Dakota. These tribes exercised the Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction, which restored their partial power to criminally prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence offenses. The Pilot Project Report provides a brief account of the activities during the Pilot Project period from February 2014 – March 2015 and shares recommendations for next steps."
        The entire report is available at: http://www.ncai.org/attachments/NewsArticle_VutTUSYSfGPRpZQRYzWcuLekuVNeeTAOBBwGyvkWYwPRUJOioqI_SDVCJ%20Pilot%20Project%20Report_6-7-16_Final.pdf.
        Excerpts from "Lessons Learned from the Pilot Project & Recommendations:"          
        "The Pilot Project proved incredibly successful in allowing the participating tribes to prosecute many long-time repeat offenders who had threatened the tribal community"
        "Where Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction was implemented during the Pilot Period, impunity ended for non-Indian domestic abusers."
        "The implementing tribes are unable to prosecute non- Indians for many of the crimes against children that co- occur with domestic violence."
        "While much of the work as tribes prepare to implement SDVCJ focuses on revising tribal codes, policies, and procedures, the Pilot Project tribes all devoted considerable resources to training for tribal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other key stakeholders. Oftentimes the need for training became evident as the tribes encountered an unexpected obstacle of one kind or another. " "...tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) officers needed to be fully trained about the scope of the tribe’s authority.... demonstrated the importance of training law enforcement about how to properly investigate whether there is a qualifying relationship sufficient to trigger SDVCJ in a particular case."
        "The Pilot Project tribes have all worked closely with their local U.S. Attorney’s Offices to make decisions about which jurisdiction is most appropriate to prosecute a particular case."
        "The ITWG has proven to be an incredibly productive and useful mechanism for tribes to share information and best practices among themselves, to discuss challenges, and to jointly strategize about how to overcome obstacles. With the logistical support and substantive expertise of a group of DOJ funded technical assistance providers,48 the tribes participating in ITWG have tackled many difficult questions and have developed a collection of resources that will make it easier for tribes who wish to implement SDVCJ in the future. The ITWG continues to serve as an important resource for the implementing tribes as they encounter new questions and challenges."
        "One area of major concern among the Pilot Project tribes is the narrow class of crimes covered under SDVCJ.49 The limitations with regard to children who are victimized by domestic abusers was discussed above. Additionally, since tribal jurisdiction is limited to domestic violence, dating violence, and protection order violations, any other attendant crimes that occur also fall outside the scope of the tribe’s jurisdiction."
        "Tribal prosecutors from the Pilot Project tribes also report uncertainty regarding the definition of 'domestic violence'."
        "The primary reason tribes report for why SDVCJ has not been more broadly implemented is lack of resources."
        "Summary of 9 Lessons Learned
        1. Non-Indian domestic violence is a significant problem in tribal communities
        2. Most Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction defendants have significant ties to the tribal communities
        3. Children are impacted by non-Indian domestic violence at high rates
        4. Training is critical for success
        5. Federal partners have an important role
        6. Peer-to-peer learning is important
        7. Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction is too narrow
        8. There is confusion about the statutory definition of 'domestic violence'
        9. Tribes need resources for Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction implementation”


        Rebecca Clarren and Jason Begay, "Reckoning with the Native Harvey Weinstein's,'" The Nation, April 23, 2018, discusses that, "When Indigenous women are harassed at work, gaps in tribal law can leave them in a precarious gray area."

        Emily Benson, "Tribal nations hold some of the best water rights in the West: But to use them, tribes often must negotiate settlements that need federal approval," High Country News, May 23, 2018, https://www.hcn.org/articles/water-tribal-nations-hold-some-of-the-best-water-rights-in-the-west, reported, "Tens of thousands of people on the Navajo Nation lack running water in their homes. But that could change in the coming years, as the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project goes into effect. It’s expected to deliver water to the reservation and nearby areas by 2024, as part of a Navajo Nation water rights settlement with New Mexico, confirmed by Congress in 2009.
        Many tribal nations are currently asserting those rights as a way to ensure economic vitality, affirm sovereignty and provide basic services that some communities lack. In many places, however, Native water rights have yet to be quantified, making them difficult to enforce. Settlement is usually the preferred remedy; it’s cheaper, faster and less adversarial than a lawsuit, and can include funding for things like pipelines or treatment plants. With settlements, 'the tribes are able to craft solutions that work for them and that can be more flexible than anything that could be achieved through litigation,' says Kate Hoover, a principal attorney for the Navajo Nation Department of Justice water rights unit."
        Three tribal water settlements are awaiting congressional approval. S.1770, the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2017 (details at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1770) would allocate 4,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water per year from the Central Arizona Project to the 2,300-member Hualapai Nation, along with authorization for a federally financed water pipeline to the reservation’s main residential community the reservation’s main residential community of Peach Springs, and to Grand Canyon West, where the nation has a tourist drawing skywalk extending out over the canyon.
        The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act of 2017, S.664 (details at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/664) would allow the Navajo Nation right 81,500 acre-feet of water a year from the Utah portion of the San Juan River, a tributary of the Colorado River tributary, and would authorize funds for treating and transporting drinking water. The allocated water is sufficient for about 160,000 households. This settlement is unusual in that it would transfer money directly to the tribe for constructing and maintaining water infrastructure.
        The Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act, S.2154 (details at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/2154), would authorize the nation taking 4705 acre feet of water per year from the Delaware River Basin in northeastern Kansas. This would resolve the long-standing dispute over how to ensure the tribe has reliable water, including during droughts, which have been increasing with global warming. To meet drought, the Kikapoo would construct a reservoir holding over 18,000 acre-feet of water, that has been proposed for more than 40 years. A 2016 settlement relating to the tribe acquiring private land for the reservoir was settled in 2016.

        Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Joyce A. Martin, M.P.H., Michelle J.K. Osterman, M.H.S., Anne K. Driscoll, Ph.D., and Lauren M. Rossen, Ph.D., Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, "Births: Provisional Data for 2017," Vital Statistics Rapid Release (page1image783856672), Report No. 004, May 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/report004.pdf, found overall U.S. births declining and American Indian and Alaska Native births also down. In part:
        "Results—The provisional number of births for the United States in 2017 was 3,853,472, down 2% from 2016 and the lowest number in 30 years. The general fertility rate was 60.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down 3% from 2016 and another record low for the United States. Birth rates declined for nearly all age groups of women under 40, but rose for women in their early 40s. The birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 was down 7% in 2017 to 18.8 births per 1,000 women; rates declined for both younger (aged 15–17) and older (aged 18–19) teenagers. The cesarean delivery rate increased to 32.0% in 2017; the low-risk cesarean delivery rate increased to 26.0%. The preterm birth rate rose for the third year in a row to 9.93% in 2017; the 2017 rate of origin of the mother and by state of residence) for selected topics than is shown in the quarterly estimates."
        Among the three largest race and Hispanic-origin groups, the provisional number of births declined 2% for Hispanic and 3% for non-Hispanic white women from 2016 to 2017; the number of births for non-Hispanic black women was essentially unchanged (Table 2) (3). The number of births declined 2% for non-Hispanic Asian and 5% for non-Hispanic AIAN women but was essentially unchanged for non-Hispanic NHOPI women.
        ■ The provisional general fertility rate (GFR) for the United States in 2017 was 60.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down 3% from the rate in 2016 (62.0), reaching another record low for the nation (Table 1 and Figure 1) (3,5,6).
        The decline in the rate from 2016 to 2017 was the largest single- year decline since 2010 (3,5,6)."
        "Maternal and infant health characteristics
        Key findings, illustrated in Tables 3–6 and Figures 3 and 4, are listed below:
        Prenatal care
        ■ The percentage of women receiving first trimester prenatal care in 2017 was 77.3%, up from 77.1% in 2016 (Table 3). The percentage of women receiving late (beginning in the third trimester) or no prenatal care remained unchanged at 6.2%. For prenatal care initiation by state, see Table 4.
        ■ The percentage of first trimester prenatal care ranged from 52.1% for non-Hispanic NHOPI women to 82.5% for non-Hispanic white women (Table 3). First trimester care increased for non-Hispanic white (82.3% to 82.5%), non-Hispanic Asian (80.6% to 81.1%), and Hispanic (72.0% to 72.3%) women from 2016 to 2017; there was essentially no change for non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic AIAN, and non-Hispanic NHOPI women.
        ■ Late or no care ranged from 4.4% (non-Hispanic white women) to 20.3% (non-Hispanic NHOPI women) (Table 3). Late or no care increased from 2016 to 2017 for non-Hispanic white (4.3% to 4.4%) and non-Hispanic black (10.0% to 10.2%) women, decreased for non-Hispanic Asian women (5.4% to 5.1%), and remained essentially unchanged for non-Hispanic AIAN and non-Hispanic NHOPI women.
        Cesarean delivery
        ■ In 2017, the overall cesarean delivery rate increased to 32.0% (from 31.9% in 2016) (Tables 3 and 5). The rate had declined for years in a row (2013–2016) after peaking in 2009 at 32.9% (3). See Table 5 for state-specic rates.
        The cesarean delivery rate ranged from 28.5% of births for non- Hispanic AIAN women to 36.0% for non-Hispanic black women (Table 3). Cesarean delivery among Hispanic women increased from 2016 (31.7%) to 2017 (31.8%); rates for non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic AIAN, non-Hispanic Asian, and non-Hispanic NHOPI women were essentially unchanged.
        The low-risk cesarean delivery rate also increased in 2017 to 26.0% of births from 25.7%
in 2016 (Figure 3). Low-risk cesarean is cesarean delivery among nulliparous (first birth), term (37 or more completed weeks based on the obstetric estimate), singleton (one fetus), vertex (head first) births.
        Low-risk cesarean rates ranged from 22.8% for non-Hispanic AIAN women to 30.4% for non-Hispanic black women (Table 3). Low-risk cesarean rates increased from 2016 to 2017 for non-Hispanic white (24.7% to 24.9%), non-Hispanic AIAN (21.2% to 22.8%), and Hispanic (25.1% to 25.6%) women; rates for other groups remained essentially unchanged.
        Preterm birth
        The preterm birth rate rose for the third year in a row to 9.93%
in 2017, from 9.85% in 2016 (3) (Table 3). The percentage of infants born preterm (births at
less than 37 completed weeks of gestation) fell 8% from 2007 (the first year for which national data are available based on the obstetric estimate of gestation) to 2014 but rose 4% from 2014 to 2017 (3). See Table 6 for state-specific rates.
        All of the rise in the overall preterm rate from 2016 to 2017 is due to an increase in late preterm births (34–36 completed weeks of gestation) (Table 3), which rose from 7.09% of births to 7.17%. The percentage of infants born early preterm (less than 34 weeks) was unchanged from 2016 at 2.76%."
        "References
Rossen LM, Osterman MJK, Hamilton BE, Martin JA. Quarterly provisional estimates for selected birth indicators, 2015–Quarter 4, 2017. National Center for Health Statistics. National Vital Statistics System, Vital Statistics Rapid Release Program. 2018. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/ products/vsrr/natality.htm.
Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Osterman MJK, Driscoll AK, Rossen LM. Births: Provisional data for 2016. Vital Statistics Rapid Release; no 2. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. June 2017. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/ data/vsrr/report002.pdf.
Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK, Driscoll AK, Drake P. Births: Final data for 2016. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 67 no 1. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ nvsr/nvsr67/nvsr67_01.pdf.
4. U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Revisions to the standards for the classification of federal data on race and ethnicity. Fed Regist 62(210):58782–90. 1997. Available from: https:// obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/ omb/fedreg_1997standards.
5. Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK, Driscoll AK, Mathews TJ. Births: Final data for 2015. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 66 no 1. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ nvsr/nvsr66/nvsr66_01.pdf.
6. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital statistics of the United States, 2003, Volume I, Natality. 2003. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/ products/vsus/vsus_1980_2003. htm.
7. Ventura SJ, Hamilton BE, Mathews TJ. National and state patterns of teen births in the United States, 1940–2013. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 63 no 4. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2014. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ nvsr/nvsr63/nvsr63_04.pdf.
8. Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Sutton PD, Ventura SJ, Menacker F, Kirmeyer S, Mathews TJ. Births: Final data for 2006. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 57 no 7. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2009. Available from: https://www. cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/ nvsr57_07.pdf.
9. National Center for Health Statistics. User guide to the 2016 natality public use file. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/ data_access/vitalstatsonline.htm.
10. National Center for Health Statistics. Quarterly provisional estimates–Technical Notes– Natality, 2015–Quarter 4, 2017. Available from: https://www.cdc. gov/nchs/products/vsrr/natality- technical-notes.htm.
11. National Center for Health Statistics. U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth. 2003. Available from: https://www. cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/birth11- 03final-ACC.pdf.
12. National Center for Health Statistics. Report of the Panel
to Evaluate the U.S. Standard Certificates. 2000. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/ data/dvs/panelreport_acc.pdf.
13. Martin JA, Osterman MJK, Kirmeyer SE, Gregory ECW. Measuring gestational age in vital statistics data: Transitioning to the obstetric estimate. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 64 no 5. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015. Available from: https://www. cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/ nvsr64_05.pdf.
14. U.S. Census Bureau. Population Division. Annual estimates of the resident population by single year of age and sex for the United States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017 (NC– EST2017– AGESEX–RES). Available
from: https://www2.census. gov/programs-surveys/popest/ datasets/2010-2017/national/asrh/ nc-est2017-agesex-res.csv.
15 Parker JD, Talih M, Malec DJ, Beresovsky V, Carroll M, Gonzalez Jr JF, et al. National Center for Health Statistics Data Presentation Standards for Proportions. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 2(175). 2017. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ series/sr_02/sr02_175.pdf.
        List of Detailed Tables [available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/report004.pdf]
        Report tables
1. Births and birth rates, by age of mother: United States, final 2016 and provisional 2017. . . . . . . . . . . . .7
2. Births, by race and Hispanic origin of mother: United States and each state and territory, provisional 2017 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
3. Selected maternal and birth characteristics, by race and Hispanic origin of mother: United States, final 2016 and provisional 2017 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
4. Prenatal care beginning in the rst trimester and late or no prenatal care: United States, each state and territory, final 2016 and provisional 2017 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
5. Births, by total cesarean delivery and low-risk cesarean delivery: United States, each
state and territory, final 2016 and provisional 2017 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
6. Preterm and late preterm births: United States, each state and territory, final 2016 and provisional 2017 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15"

        The Arizona Child Fatality Review Program 24th Annual Report, November 15, 2017, www.azdhs.gov/prevention/womens-childrens-health/injury-prevention/, reported in part, that for all Arizona populations, "In 2016, 783 children under 18 years of age died in Arizona. CFR teams reviewed 100% of these deaths and determined that 330 of these deaths (42%) were preventable including 100% of the maltreatment, suicide, and accidental deaths.
        Key findings in this year's report were a 12% increase in accidental deaths from 2015 to 2016, including increases in motor vehicle crash deaths and infant deaths due to unsafe sleep environments. Motor vehicle crash deaths increased 42% from 50 deaths in 2015 to 71 deaths in 2016. Unsafe sleep deaths increased 7% from 74 deaths in 2015 to 79 in 2016. Forty-one of these infants died of sleep suffocation due to bed-sharing with adults or other children.
        Maltreatment (child abuse and/or neglect) directly caused or contributed to 10% of all deaths in 2016. The total number of maltreatment deaths decreased 6% from 2015 (87deaths) to 2016 (82 deaths). Substance abuse of drugs or alcohol was a contributing factor in 58 of the 82 deaths.
        In 2016, substance use was a contributing factor in 107 child deaths including 20 deaths due to motor vehicle crashes and 21 firearm deaths. In 56 of these substance use related deaths the child's parent use or misuse of alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine or other drugs alone or in combination either directly caused or contributed to a child's death."
        Concerning prematurity, "For the purposes of this report, a death due to prematurity is when the infant was born before 37 weeks gestation and the infant did not have a lethal congenital malformation or other perinatal condition that was the primary cause of death. In 2016, twenty-one percent (n=162) of all Arizona child deaths were due to prematurity."
        While the highest rates of prematurity deaths were for African Americans and Hispanics, "American Indian and Asian child deaths also had higher risk than White, non-Hispanic children."
        Concerning causes and prevention, "In 2016, the most common risk factors for prematurity deaths included medical complications during pregnancy (85%, n=138), preterm labor (70%, n=113), and no prenatal care (23%, n=37). There were 13 prematurity deaths with drug/alcohol abuse and 13 with smoking as a risk factor. The viability or survival rate of premature infants also depends on the gestational age at birth. When infants are less than 28 weeks of gestation at birth they are classified as extreme prematurity. Extreme prematurity accounted for 91% of prematurity deaths (n=147)."
        For all populations, "The mortality rate for unintentional injury deaths increased 12% from 2015 (n=160) to 2016 (n=179) (Figure 13). Over the last six years, the unintentional mortality rate varied from 9.8 to 11.7 deaths per 100,000 children. Thirty-five percent of unintentional injury deaths occurred in children less than one year of age (n=62).
        In 2016, motor vehicle crashes (MVC) and suffocation were the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths and accounted for 70% of these deaths. Other injuries include drownings, poisoning, falls, or fire/burn, or firearm injuries."
        Motor vehicle crashes causing deaths were at the highest rate for Naive Americans of any measured group. With 5% of the population, Native Americans suffered 15% of the child motor vehicle accident deaths. Paul Denetclaw, "Report: One-third of child deaths could be prevented," Navajo Times, December 21, 2018, discusing the report and comments by the chair of the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program, reports that leading causes of child auto accident deaths on the Navajo reservation are: that while in a moving vehicle, only 27%-30% of children are in car seats or booster seats, and a high proportion of older children do not use seat belts. [In addition, the bad condition of many reservation roads is a major reason for the high motor vehicle accident rate on reservations].
        Suicides were a major cause of American Indian child deaths in Arizona in 2016, as with 5% of the population, American Indians suffered 21% of the suicides. As to causes, for all populations, the report found, " As with other categories of death, understanding the circumstances, risk factors, and events leading up to the suicide aids in developing appropriate interventions for future prevention efforts. Several risk factors were identified by local CFR teams that may have contributed to the child’s despondency prior to the suicide. The most common factors noted were that children had a history of family discord (47%), were known to have a history of substance use (39%), and had an argument with parent (39%)." Denetclaw noted that an important factor in whether or not someone commits suicide, often is the availability of mental health services, which generally are less available on reservation then in general, and less available to people with lower incomes, which includes many Native people.
        In contrast to suicides, in 2016 the rate of Native children killed by homicide was low, and may have been the lowest of any group measured in Arizona.
        Concerning preventable child crib deaths, Denetclaw, quoted Rimza, thc chair of the review program, "There has been a good job in the Native American community in addressing it but more could be done. Fatalities from unsafe sleep environments have been going up [over all] and that's why it's especially a focus for us."
        The report discusses other causes of child deaths, in many cases comparing the rates for specific populations. Noting that every case is unique, the report considers general causes and preventive steps, but these are not discussed relative to specific populations.

        Research by The Navajo Times finds that many American Indians have significant debts for medical service despite being fully covered by the Indian Health Service (IHS). In some instances Indians with health problems have gone to non-IHS facilities for care, either because there was not a nearby IHS facility, or they unsatisfied with their treatment at an IHS facility. When an Indian patient needs treatment not provided by IHS, the patient is often referred to a non-IHS provider. Almost all the legitimate uses of non-IHS providers by IHS covered persons are supposed to be reimbursed by IHS. However, funding constraints often prevent this from occurring. For example, in 2013, IHS denied more than $760 million in referral requests for 146,938 services, almost half of the $1.56 billion in referral requests made to IHS that year by American Indiana and Alaska Natives (Christopher S. Pineo, "Natives carry medical debt despite IHS coverage," Navajo Times, February 15, 2018).

        First Nations Economic Development Institute, "Indian Country Food Price Index: Exploring Variation in Food Pricing Across Native Communities: A Working Paper II, 2018, available at: https://firstnations.org/system/files/Food%20Price%20Index%202018FINALsmall.pdf, includes detailed tables of findings. Some finding summaries are as follows"
        "The national average cost of a gallon of milk for urban consumers from December 2016 through November 2017 was $3.25, and the average cost of milk by counties priced was $4.82. While the overall price of milk continued to be higher on reservations than the national average, there were still variations depending on the state and county. In Arizona, the price of milk was actually 36 cents less compared to the national average. When broken down by county, there were only seven counties that showed lower prices. e price by county ranges from $2.11 in Brown County, Wisconsin, to $24.43 in Kodiak Island, Alaska. Overall, the data for the year by state suggests that consumers in Indian Country pay 56 cents more for a gallon of milk in the lower 48 states and $5.45 more for milk in Alaska."
        "The average national cost for a loaf of bread in urban communities from December 2016 through November 2017 was $1.34. On average, the cost of bread in our sample was $1.09 higher than the national average, at $2.43 a loaf. When we look at the averages broken down by state, Oklahoma is the only one that showed a lower price for bread than the national average, at $1.25 a loaf. By county, there were only three communities where the price of bread was actually lower than the national average. e average cost of bread ranged from a low of 82 cents in McKinley County, New Mexico, to a high of $6.01 in Bethel, Alaska. Overall, the data for the year by state suggests that Indian Country consumers pay an average of 84 cents more for a loaf of bread in the lower 48 states and $3.09 more in Alaska."
        "The average national cost for a pound of ground beef in urban communities from December 2016 through November 2017 was $3.69. On average, the cost of beef in our sample was 66 cents higher than the national average, at $4.35 a pound. there are five states that showed an overall lower price per pound of ground beef than the national average. By county, there were 12 communities where the price of beef was lower than the national average. e average cost per pound ranged from a low of $2.60 in Benson County, North Dakota, to a high of $9.98 in Kodiak Island, Alaska. Overall, data for the year by state suggest that Indian Country consumers pay an average of 14 cents more for a pound of ground beef in the lower 48 states and $2.58 more in Alaska."
        "The average national cost for a whole chicken in urban communities from December 2016 through November 2017 was $1.47 per pound. On average, the cost of chicken in our sample was $1.02 higher than the national average, at $2.49 per pound. When we look at the averages broken down by state, three showed a lower price for chicken than the national average. By county, there were four communities where the price of chicken was lower than the national average. e average cost for a pound of chicken ranged from a low of $1.00 in Swain County, North Carolina, to a high of $7.05 in Aleutians West, Alaska. Overall, the data for the year by state suggests that Indian Country consumers pay an average of 61 cents more for a pound of chicken in the lower 48 states and $3.08 more in Alaska."
        "The average national cost of a dozen eggs in urban communities from December 2016 through November 2017 was $1.42. On average, the cost of eggs in our sample was 59 cents higher than the national average, at $2.01 per dozen. When we look at the averages broken down by state, three states showed a lower price for eggs than the national average. By county, there were nine communities where the price of eggs was lower than the national average. e average cost for a dozen eggs ranged from a low of $1.06 in Fremont County, Wyoming, to a high of $4.41 in Aleutians West, Alaska. Overall, the data for the year by state suggests that Indian Country consumers pay an average of 47 cents more for a dozen large eggs in the lower 48 states and $2.35 more in Alaska."
        "The average national cost of a pound of Red Delicious apples in urban communities from December 2016 through November 2017 was $1.30. On average, the cost of apples in our sample was 41 cents higher than the national average, at $1.71 per dozen. When we look at the averages broken down
by state, ve showed a lower price for apples than the national average. By county, there were 13 communities where the price of apples was lower than the national average. e average cost for a pound of apples ranged from a low of 97 cents in McKinley County, New Mexico, to a high of $4.91 in Kodiak Island, Alaska. Overall, the data for the year by state suggests that Indian Country consumers pay an average of 10 cents more for a pound of apples in the lower 48 states and $1.24 more in Alaska."
        "The average national cost of a pound of tomatoes in urban communities from December 2016 through November 2017 was $1.92. On average, the cost of tomatoes in our sample was 10 cents higher than the national average, at $2.02 per pound. When we look at the averages broken down
by state, nine showed a lower price for tomatoes than the national average. By county, there were 20 communities where the price of tomatoes was lower than the national average. e average cost for
a pound of tomatoes ranged from a low of 99 cents in McKinley County, New Mexico, and Je erson, Oregon, to a high of $4.29 in Aleutians West, Alaska. Overall, the data for the year suggest that Indian Country consumers pay an average of 27 cents less for a pound of tomatoes in the lower 48 states and $1.65 more in Alaska."
        "The average national cost of a pound of regular co ee in urban communities from December 2016 through November 2017 was $4.47. On average, the cost of co ee in our sample was $3.32 higher than the national average, at $7.79 per pound. When we look at the averages broken down by state, two showed a lower price for co ee than the national average. By county, there were three communities where the price of co ee was lower than the national average. e average cost for a pound of co ee ranged from a low of $1.99 in Mahnomen County, Minnesota, to a high of $26.77 in Grays Harbor, Washington. Overall, the data for the year by state suggests that Indian Country consumers pay an average of $2.40 more for a pound of co ee in the lower 48 states and $8.06 more in Alaska."
        "All data were compiled into quarterly averages in an attempt to nd seasonal changes. We have noticed that overall, there were only two items, ground beef and tomatoes, that were priced lower on reservations than in urban communities. Both were more expensive in urban communities during the second quarter by 45 and 36 cents, respectively."
        Effects On Health
        Understanding that grocery prices are significantly higher in Native American communities is important, but this only tells us a small part of an economic story. There are potential health impacts to be concerned about that may be exacerbated by high grocery prices in already economically vulnerable communities. In the following section we examine the effect grocery prices have on important health outcomes4.
        Previous studies have found a relationship between food prices and negative health outcomes.
In sum, these studies have suggested that higher priced foods may influence consumer behavior. When healthier and more nutritious foods are more expensive, lower-income individuals, who are consumers driven by cost, are forced to purchase less-expensive (and often less nutritious) foods (“How Food Prices Impact Body Fat”)5. Moreover, scholars have found that this connection between health outcomes and food prices are more prevalent in economically vulnerable and minority communities6.
        Given these past studies, we wanted to see if there was an empirical relationship between food prices in the counties where we collected food data and health outcomes. In other words, we wanted to know if higher food prices was correlated with counts of new diabetes cases, diabetes prevalence, and obesity rates. Data on both diabetes and obesity were collected from what was reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention7.
        Our statistical models tell us that generally there is a correlation between some food prices and higher instances of negative health outcomes. An example of our findings related to food prices
and new diabetes cases is presented... as the prices of bread, ground beef, apples and decaffeinated coffee increase, so do new reported cases of diabetes."
        "Conclusion
        At a basic level, price is the relationship of supply and demand. In our study, food prices in Indian Country were higher than the national average. However, determining whether that is a supply issue or a demand issue is still undetermined. We have speculated reasons for higher prices, from the cost of gas for transportation to more remote areas to fewer retail food outlets which can drive up prices. However, price is a primary indicator of many factors within a market and narrowing in on the factor that causes high prices may vary by region and we have yet to explore the factors that lead to the higher prices. On another note, price is also supposed to re ect the changes in a market from the demand of the product, basic materials costs, transportation costs and transaction costs. Again, the comparison of price to market changes wasn’t fully explored, but can be explored in future studies.
        We do see some relationship between food prices and health indicators, but again, a much larger study is needed to tease out the nature of the relationship in Indian Country. Although, we do have some exploration of food prices and health indicators from other similar studies.
        Generally, individuals in Native communities have lower incomes but pay higher costs for basic food products. In consideration of higher retail food prices, community-based food projects are important strategies to address access and higher food prices. Community gardens, traditional food education programs, and food-system control, taken together, can have a potentially significant impact on individual health. Not coincidently, the focus on community gardens and community based food system projects are community responses to individual household economic strain that may be felt from higher food prices. In short, Native communities are applying their own solutions to seemingly insurmountable issues like high food prices and creating communities of practice purposefully."
        Jorge Rivas, "Native American Tribe on U.S.-Mexico Border Blocks Trump's National Guard Troops From Its Lands, Splinter, April 16, 2018, https://splinternews.com/native-american-tribe-on-u-s-mexico-border-blocks-trum-1825301911, reported, "There’s at least 75 miles of the U.S.‐Mexico border where National Guard troops can’t go, no matter what President Donald Trump says.
        The Tohono O’odham Nation says its people have inhabited what is now southern and central Arizona and northern Mexico since “time immemorial—in other words, way before any borders were put in place.
        But a U.S.-Mexico land deal in the 1800s “dissected” the nation’s indigenous lands in half. The tribe has been fighting border walls ever since so that their people can travel freely.
        Now the Tohono O’odham people are worried about Trump’s plan to send “anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000" members of the National Guard to the border."

        Brown University, in Rhode Island, signed an agreement, in September 2017, with the Pokanoket Nation, following weeks of protests, putting a 375 acre tract of land, known as the Mt. Hope/Potumtuk, into a preservation trust, emphasizing cooperation amongst local nations, who have a historical connection to the land (Rhode Island: Pokanokets Reach agreement with Brown University Over Land Dispute," Cultural Survival Quarterly, December 2017).

        Andrea Germanos, "With Cleveland Indians to Drop Racist Logo, Eyes on Washington 'Redskins': 'The Cleveland baseball team has rightly recognized that Native Americans do not deserve to be denigrated as cartoon mascots'," Common Dreams, January 29, 2018, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/29/cleveland-indians-drop-racist-logo-eyes-washington-redskins, reported, "News Monday that the racist Chief Wahoo logo will finally no longer appear on the Cleveland Indians' uniforms starting next year prompted calls for other sports teams to follow suit, and for the Midwest team to go further if there's to be a real shift towards justice.
        'Over the past year,' Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said in a press statement, 'we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the Club's use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, [Cleveland Indians owner] Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team. Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan's acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.'
        The statement implies that previous decades of use of the caricature were 'appropriate for on-field use.'
        The Associated Press notes, 'Every year, groups of Native Americans and their supporters have protested outside the stadium before the home opener in hopes of not only getting the team to abolish Chief Wahoo but to change the Indians' nickname, which they feel is an offensive depiction of their race.'
        The statement also makes clear the logo won't be eradicated completely. As Cleveland.com notes, 'You'll still be able to buy T-shirts and hats featuring the controversial Native American caricature, though according to The New York Times, Wahoo won't be sold on Major League Baseball's website.'
          As such, the move to ditch the 'utterly inappropriate and racist' mascot was met with tepid praise. One observer, for example, tweeted, 'Way past due, Cleveland Indians finally removing racist Chief Wahoo logo from uniforms. Why does it take until 2019?'
        Way past due, Cleveland Indians finally removing racist Chief Wahoo logo from uniforms. Why does it take until 2019?
        Another journalist tweeted, "This is a big moment for Philip Yenyo, @zhaabowekwe and other Native American activists who've argued for decades that #ChiefWahoo is a blatantly racist caricature."
        This is a big moment for Philip Yenyo, ‪@zhaabowekwe and other Native American activists who've argued for decades that ‪#ChiefWahoo is a blatantly racist caricature. Wrote about their efforts in 2016:
        While a welcome development, other justice advocates said that it should not be the end of the road for the team.
        'If they were committed to real justice, they would deny admission to anyone wearing a headdress and a painted face. If it's 'inappropriate' for the players to display the logo, then fans shouldn't be allow to either,' commented one Twitter user. 'Exactly,' another native observer responded. "The team must to do more—much more, like change the name, ban the use of the racist mascot from its stadium altogether (also agree to cease selling merch w/ the racist logo), and apologize for creating a hostile climate for Natives in Cleveland and in state of Ohio.'
        Exactly. The team must to do more -- much more, like change the name, ban the use of the racist mascot from its stadium altogether (also agree to cease selling merch w/ the racist logo), and apologize for creating a hostile climate for Natives in Cleveland and in state of Ohio.
        The Change the Mascot grassroots movement said that while Cleveland's move was good, it should force other teams, including the NFL's Washington Redskins, to take a look in the mirror.
        'The Cleveland baseball team has rightly recognized that Native Americans do not deserve to be denigrated as cartoon mascots, and the team's move is a reflection of a grassroots movement that has pressed sports franchises to respect Native people,' said Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, leader of the campaign.
        'Cleveland's decision should finally compel the Washington football team to make the same honorable decision. For too long,' he continued, 'people of color have been stereotyped with these kinds of hurtful symbols—and no symbol is more hurtful than the football team in the nation's capital using a dictionary-defined racial slur as its team name. Washington Owner Dan Snyder needs to look at Cleveland's move and then look in the mirror and ask whether he wants to be forever known as the most famous purveyor of bigotry in modern sports, or if he wants to finally stand on the right side of history and change his team's name. We hope he chooses the latter.'
        This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License"

        Vincent Schilling, " Native American Lacrosse teams expelled from league after reporting racial abuse," ICTMN, May 21, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/native-american-lacrosse-teams-expelled-from-league-after-reporting-racial-abuse-hpWuPTAItUmKy4ILToQUwA/, reported, "Three Native American lacrosse teams, 7 Flames, Subseca, Lightning Stick Society expelled from Dakota Premier Lacrosse League after citing racial insults and injuries over rougher playing.
        Last month, three Native American lacrosse teams, 7 Flames, Subseca and Lightning Stick Society from the Lakota and Dakota territories were expelled from the Dakota Premier Lacrosse League after they complained about racial insults from coaches, players and fans of the opposing teams.
        The Dakota Premier Lacrosse League is the only lacrosse league in the territory, and includes players from age 11 through high school ages.
        The 7 Flames lacrosse team draws most of its players from the Lakota reservations in the Rapid City area, Susbeca (dragonfly in the Dakota language) in the Sisseton area and Lightning Stick Society, part of the Oceti Sakowin Sports Council in Eagle Butte, draw Native players from Dakota reservations. The league includes a roster of 28 teams from Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, the Black Hills, Brookings, Oglala, Watertown, Bismarck, Grand Cities, and Red River.
        In an article by Deadspin, Native players, coaches and assistant coaches cited a wide range of racial abuse that have been occurring for years. Many coaches even cite the abuse as something they have prepared their Native players to deal with as it happens so often.
        On March 8, Cody Hall, director of 7 Flames Lacrosse, called DPLL league administrator Corey Mitchell to discuss the allegations of racism. Hall told Deadspin that Mitchell responded by acknowledging that racism against Native American players was an issue in the league, but said he couldn’t do anything about it."

        Vincent Schilling, "Native man removed by police from Hibbett Sports after “weird dreads” 911 call, ICTMN, May 24, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/native-man-removed-by-police-from-hibbett-sports-after-weird-dreads-911-call-1rLhjL3rZUi4zlmPSR1y0A/, reported, Back in February, Robert Robedeaux, Pawnee, Ponca, Otoe nations, was shopping at a Hibbett Sports store in Owasso, Oklahoma. While in the store, he was trying on clothes and sending photos to his wife. During his time in the store, an employee called 911 and stated Robedeaux was making them uncomfortable. On the call, the employee says Robedeaux asked if the female employee was working alone, and stated his hair had ‘weird dreads or something.’
        When Robedeaux walked out of the dressing room, he was met by three police officers and asked to leave. He filmed himself being escorted off the property by the officers.
        While recording the incident, Robedeaux stood outside the door and described what was transpiring. Robedeaux was told he was being issued a trespass order not to return to the store. He was also later arrested on an unpaid parking violation warrant.
        In an interview with Indian Country Today, Robedeaux said he was wrongfully removed from the Hibbett Sports store and the staff’s actions were racially motivated."
        "ICT video including the 911 call and Owasso Police bodycam footage is at: https://youtu.be/4vKARYQ2WpM."

        Christopher F. Schuetze, "Berlin Museum Returns Artifacts to Indigenous People of Alaska," The New York Times, May 16, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/arts/design/berlin-museum-artifacts-chugach-alaska.html, reported, "The foundation overseeing state museums in Berlin returned nine artifacts to indigenous communities in Alaska this week after it determined that they had been taken from a burial site in the 1880s.
        'The objects were taken from graves without permission of the native people, and thus unlawfully,' said Hermann Parzinger, the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees Berlin's publicly funded museums."

        Vincent Schilling, " UPDATE: AMNH Removes Headdress — American Museum of Natural History had $999 Native headdress," ICTMN, May 22, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/update-amnh-removes-headdress-amnh-had-999-native-headdress-z6exEK2TvkeDjucqrwgUgA/, reported on complaints about the American Museum of Natural History in New York City selling a faux Native American-style headdress in it’s gift shop, "The museum’s communications department sent an email to Indian Country Today stating: 'Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The headdress has been removed from our shop while we work with our vendors to conduct a review.'”

        The Red Lake Ojibwe broke ground on four new facilities, April 30, 2018: the Red Lake Dialysis Center, a Chemical Dependency Treatment Center, and the Red Lake Fire Hall. On that day the tribal leadership also broke ground on the Ponemah Fire Hall (Michael Meuers, " Red Lake Ojibwe brake ground on four new facilities," NFIC, May 2018).

        The Southern Ute Indian Tribe of Colorado revised its traffic code, in April 2018, to allow its police officers to give traffic tickets within its jurisdiction to non-Indians as well as Indians (McKayla Lee, "Southern Utes fill casino for general meeting," Southern Ute Drum, April 27, 2018). Following what has become its usual procedure, the Council finalized the amended traffic code only after a period of public commentary. And when at first the council received few replies to its query to the membership about the revisions, the council extended the comment period ("Public comment period ends for revised Traffic Code," Southern Ute Drum, February 16, 2018).

        Navajo Nation obtained software that is making possible its operation of AMBER Alert across the reservation which spans three states (Arlyssa Becenti, "New software paves the way for AMBER Alert," Navajo Times, December 21, 2017).

        The Navajo Water Project, run by DigDeep, a human rights organization working to bring clean running water to places in need of it, in December 2017, had brought water to about 90 of the 238 homes on its list in the Thoreau, Smith Lake, Mariano Lake, Casamero Lake, Baca, Prewitt, Haystack, Star Pond, Borrego Pass and surrounding areas of the Navajo Reservation (Stacy Thacker, "Coffee in half the time," Navajo Times, December 21, 2017).

        The Navajo Nation and the University of New Mexico have arranged for affordable student housing at the University for close to 100 Dine students, in the UNM Rainforest Building, on campus in Albuquerque, NM (Jessica Dyer, "'An incredible Environment:' UNM, Navajo Nation strike deal for student housing," Albuquerque Journal, January 13, 2018).

        The Navajo Nation Council, in January 2018, began a debate about increasing the council from 24 to 44 delegates, on receiving the results of a survey that it had requested to be made on the matter by Navajo Government Development. The survey showed that the current council, which had been reduced from its original 88 members, was viewed by many as too thin or sparse in carrying out their representative duties. 60% said that delegates did not attend chapter meetings, and 68% said that they thought the council would do a better job if its numbers were increased. Not all delegates were happy with the survey, either because of who was questioned, or what questions were included. Some thought a comparison with the former 88 member council should be included, including those who believed the smaller council was more efficient (Arlyssa Becenti, "Delegates debate increasing Council to 44," Navajo Times, January 18, 2018).
        The Navajo Nation Council amended Title 17 of its code to make cyber bullying a punishable offense, hopefully deterring it ("Council OKs cyber-bullying changes," Navajo Times, February 1, 2018).
        The Navajo Nation Board of election supervisors approved the removal from voter registration rolls of more than 5200 people who did not vote in the 2014 Navajo presidential or 2016 chapter elections (Bill Donovan, "Election board OKs purge of 52,00+ voters," Navajo Times, February 1, 2018).

        Vincent Schilling, "New Mexico’s Laguna Elementary School receives $26.2 million for new school," ICTMN, May 17, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/new-mexico-s-laguna-elementary-school-receives-26-2-million-for-new-school-TGGLZw70406EyFv23CaEEw/, reported, "Laguna Elementary School is the first school to be awarded under the BIA Replacement School List."
        "The U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced Wednesday that the Laguna Elementary School in New Laguna, New Mexico, will receive $26.2 million for the construction of a new school."
          “The Pueblo of Laguna is realizing a dream come true with the award to replace the previously condemned Laguna Elementary School." It was one of many that for many years have been in very poor, and sometimes dangerous, conditions.

        The Estelline, SD School District is ending the use of a Native American mascot, and of the name "Redmen" for its athletic teams. As of May 2018, the disrict was in the process of choosing from one of six alternative names ("South Dakota school district dropping 'Redmen' nickname," NFIC, May 2018).

        American Indian women have the possibility of being elected in record numbers in November 2018, with 4 of their number running for U.S. Congress, three campaigning for governor, and 31 seeking seats in state legislatures. Most are Democrats running in Opposition to the Trump administration and its policies. At least 8 are Republicans. This includes Native Hawaiian member of the Hawai'i legislature, Andria Tupola, running for governor of the state, and Sharon Clahchischilliage, is running for re-election to the New Mexico House. She served as a co-chairwoman of Donald Trump’s Native American coalition in 2016. For more, see Mark Trahant, "#NativeVote18," reports in Research Notes below (Julie Turkewitz, "There’s Never Been a Native American Congresswoman. That Could Change in 2018," The New York Times, March 19, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/us/native-american-woman-congress.html?smid=tw-nytpolitics&smtyp=cur; and Laura Clawson, "Native American women have a chance to make history in the 2018 elections," Daily Kos, March 19, 2018, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/3/19/1750254/-Native-American-women-have-a-chance-to-make-history-in-the-2018-elections?detail=emailLL).
        For details on the candidates from Mark Trahant, his Congress list, Congress & statewide list, State legislature candidates, and #SheRepresents — Native American women who are running for office in 2018, go to: https://trahantreports.com/nativevote16-data-sets/, and for State Legislative Candidates: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sbC9E1WW-5BuFlqsOcs7LOU2Zq3N_trB37H6H32mdB0/edit#gid=0.
        Paulette Jourdan won the Idaho Democratic nomination for governor with more than 60% of the vote in the primary election (Mark Trahant, "#NATIVEVOTE18 — Paulette Jordan’s Convincing Win In Idaho Primary," Trahant Reports, May 16, 2018, https://trahantreports.com).
         Donna Bergstrom of Red Lake, Republican; Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Ojibwe, Democrat; and Debra Topping Fond du Lac Ojibwe, Independence Party, are candidates for Minnesota Lieutenant Governor. Anastasia Pittman, Seminole, Democrat, is running for Lieutenant Governor in Oklahoma. Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott is Tlingit (Mark Trhahant, "#NativeVote18 Donna Bergstrom tapped as candidate for MN Lieutenant Governor," ICYMN, May 19, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/nativevote18-donna-bergstrom-tapped-as-candidate-for-mn-lieutenant-governor-XFmjLYzh4ky38YXphNTf0A/; and "Matk Trahant, "Debra Topping latest Minnesota candidate to run for Lt. Governor on the Independence Party," NFIC, June 2018).

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Economic Developments

        In Arizona, statewide recovery from the Great recession has been quite slow, but has hardly occurred at all for Indigenous Americans in the state, so that the income gap between Indians and other Arizonans has been widening. The rates of poverty and unemployment for Native Arizonans have been twice that of non-Native Arizonans, with Indian per capita incomes averaging half of that for non-Indians in the state (Trevor Fay, "Native Americans' recovery from recession brings little advancement," Navajo Times, January 4, 2018).

        Saul Elbein, "Red Cloud’s Revolution: Oglalla Sioux freeing themselves from fossil fuel," Mongabay, February 19, 2018 , https://news.mongabay.com/2018/02/red-clouds-revolution-oglalla-sioux-freeing-themselves-from-fossil-fuel/, reported, "Henry Red Cloud, like so many Oglalla Sioux young men, left the reservation to work in construction. When he returned home in 2002, he needed a job, and also wanted to make a difference. He attended a solar energy workshop and saw the future.
        Today, Red Cloud runs Lakota Solar and the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, which have become catalysts for an innovative new economic network – one that employs locals and connects tribes, while building greater energy independence among First Nations.
        The company is building and installing alternative energy systems, and training others to do the same, throughout remote areas of U.S. reservations, thus allowing the Sioux and others to leap past outdated fossil fuel technology altogether.
        Henry Red Cloud’s company has another more radical purpose: it helps provide energy to remote Water Protector camps, like the one at Standing Rock protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Solar power and other alternative energy sources are vital at such remote sites, as they power up cellphones, connecting resistors to the media and outside world."

        Navajo Nation, having completed its Kayenta I solar electric generating array in June 2018, which produces 78,000 megawatts of electricity, began moving in February to double its solar generating capacity with the 78,000 megawatt Kayenta II solar project. The first project construction created considerable jobs and income, and is expected to be about equaled in Kayenta II, which anticipates paying construction workers between $6.2 and $7.5 million in wages. In two years, the project is expected to provide between $18.6 and $22.5 million in economic activity to the Kayenta region of Navajo Nation. To February 2018, Kayenta I had produced $3,017,055 in tax revenue to the Nation, and is expected to produce $211,853 a year for the next 20-25 years. Kayenta II is likely to have a similar economic and revenue impact (Krista Allen, "Nation to double solar power generation," Navajo Times, February 15, 2018).
        The Ojo Encino Chapter of Navajo Nation's chapter house became solar powered, giving excess generated electricity to the grid, March 11, 2018, with assistance from students, professors and the nonprofit, Grid Alternatives (Cindy Yurth, "Giving back to the grid," Navajo Times, March 15, 2018).

        Navajo Nation has launched economic development at Crownpoint, investing $3.75 million in a hotel and conference center and $3.1 million for a convenience store and gas station, with construction to begin late in 2018 (Bill Donovan, "Crownpoint gas station, hotel construction set to start," Navajo Times, April 5, 2018).
        As of late May 2018, the short term projections for Navajo Nation revenue were quite positive, with the nation expecting to bring in $173.3 million in 2019, $8 million more than anticipated in 2018. However, the outlook for 2020 is much worse, with the closing of the Navajo Generating Station.at the end of the year expected to drop the nation's income by about one-third. That will mostly be noticed in 2021, with some mitigation expected from a new 6% sales tax, and from some increase in revenue from solar electricity and other projects (Arlyssa Becenti, "Tribe's short-term revenue projections look good," Navajo Times, May 27, 2018).
        Meanwhile, Navajo Nation revenue from gaming has been increasing, with the Nation receiving $10 million as of May 2018, compared to $8.5 million in the previous five years (Bill Donovan, "Gaming gives $10 million to tribe," Navajo Times, May 27, 2018).
        Declining has been coal revenue for Navajo Nation, as demand for the fuel has been declining. Preliminary estimates are that coal will provide $199 million in revenue in 2018, down from $200 million in 2017 (Arlyssa Becenti, "Coal crash burns up revenue projections," Navajo Times, March 30, 2018).

        The decline in coal will hit the Hopi nation especially hard, particularly if the Navajo generating station closes as anticipated at the end of 2019. That will also bring the closing of its main fuel supplier, the Kayenta mine, cutting off almost 85% of the Hopi Tribe's income. That will be especially hard with Hopi unemployment already around 60% (Krista Allen, "Hopi leaders discuss end of budgetary lifeline," Navajo Times, March 22, 2018).

        With the U.S. Supreme Court having declared that sports betting is a state, not a federal matter, numerous Indian Nations are seeking a share in the new gaming activity. In Connecticut and California, gaming tribes claim that their compacts with their states give them exclusive rights to undertake sports betting. It will be interesting to see how this issue is settled in different places. Tens of millions of dollars could be involved. The New York Oneidas announced, in May, 2018, that they plan to offer sports betting at venues on their reservation (Kevin Draper, Tim Arango and Alan Blinder, "Indian Tribes Dig In to Gain Their Share of Sports Betting," The New York Times, May 21, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/21/sports/sports-betting-indian-casinos.html; and "New York Oneidas to offer sports betting after US Supreme Court decision," NFIC, June 2018).

        Vincent Schilling, "South Dakota Lakota Funds, Supports Increase in Native-Owned Agri-Businesses, ICTMN, April 12, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/south-dakota-lakota-funds-supports-increase-in-native-owned-agri-businesses-WvEJeojsX0aJw0L7e3jEMg/, reported, about South Dakota Nonprofit, "Lakota Funds is working to increase agricultural operations on Indian reservations by giving loans to Native American farmers and ranchers.
        The latest USDA Census of Agriculture shows 3,218 agricultural operations on Indian reservations in South Dakota, but only 924 – less than a third – are actually Native American-owned. Lakota Funds, a nonprofit organization, is working to increase that number by supporting Native American farmers and ranchers through their agricultural business program.
        A major barrier to starting or expanding any type of business is lack of access to capital. This is especially true for agri-businesses, because of their large working capital needs. If you factor into the mix a business location that is on a reservation, finding a lender that will meet your financing needs can be nearly impossible."
        One example of Lakota funds effort is its two loans to the Lafferty Family LLC to expand cattle operations on the Rosebud Reservation to 200 head.

        If President Trump's tariffs continue, with counter measures from other countries including China, the impact in Indian country likely will be two sided. Indigenous American consumers probably will benefit as the prices of pork, beef and chicken drop from increased supply on the market, while Indian farmers will have reduced income.
        The National Congress of American Indians reports, “Agriculture is increasingly important to Native economies, representing the economic backbone of more than 200 tribal communities and witnessing an 88 percent increase in the number of American Indian farmers between 2002 and 2007. According to the Census of Agriculture, in 2007 annual Indian agriculture production exceeded $1.4 billion in raw agriculture products” (Mark Trahant, "What Is A Tariff? And How Does A Campaign Against China By Trump Affect Indian," ICTMN, April 4, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/what-is-a-tariff-and-how-does-a-campaign-against-china-by-trump-affect-indian-wT_achgNMEmZDuTTBSRjhg/).

        C. Jarrett Dieterle and Kevin R. Kosar, "Why Can’t Native Americans Make Whiskey?" The New York Times, June 4, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/opinion/native-american-whiskey.html. reported, "In 2016, the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, in southwestern Washington State, began selling craft spirits and beer at a restaurant in their Lucky Eagle casino. But when the Chehalis wanted to start making their own hooch, the federal government said no.
        The Bureau of Indian Affairs informed the tribe that federal law prohibits the building of a distillery on tribal grounds. The Chehalis would have to continue to purchase spirits from producers off the reservation."
        "This distilling prohibition originates from an 1834 law regulating trade on Indian lands. The law threatened fines and asset forfeiture for anyone who sold, possessed or made strong drink of any kind on tribal grounds. In drafting the law, Congress appears to have been partly motivated by concerns over non-Indian settlers dodging federal alcohol taxes by setting up distilleries on tribal grounds. But Congress could have dealt with this matter straightforwardly by taxing alcohol production on the reservations."
        On efforts in Congress to repeal the prohibition on distilling echolalic beverages on Indian land, see Congressional Developments, above.

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Education and Culture

        U.S. census data from 2011 to 2015 shows that, despite efforts to preserve Native languages in Arizona, during the 5 year period the percentage of American Indians in the state speaking only English a home rose from 49% to 53% (Nathan J. Fish, "Majority of Native Americans now speak only English at home," Navajo Times, August 17, 2017).
        The decline in fluent speakers of Dine has been occurring among the Navajo, despite many efforts, including Dine language immersion at reservation schools. As of fall 2017, it was projected that by 2020, less than half of all Navajo will be fluent in their traditional language (Pauly Denetclaw, "Data show huge reduction in Dine speakers," Navajo Times, November 16, 2017).

        The Indigenous Language Institute (ILI) in Santa Fe, NM, https://ilinative.org/news/, "provides vital language related service to Native communities so that their individual identities, traditional wisdom, and values are passed on to future generations in their original languages."
         "ILI provides hands-on training workshops that instruct teachers, parents, administrators, leaders, and community members the best practices to develop speaking skills using our Native languages."
        "Every year ILI conducts regional workshops in New Mexico and Minnesota, which gather participants from multiple nations." It also undertakes consultations and provides technology services.

        "Hozo" A Dine Coloring Book, both in print and on line, has been developed to help teach the Navajop language (Christopher S. Pineo, "Multimedia coloring book teaches Dine blzaad," Navajo Times, September 14, 2017).
        Carol Green, a New Mexico public school teacher living near the Navajo Nation, has developed a braille code for the Navajo language which has been adopted by the Navajo Nation Board of Education to teach blind and visually impaired Dine ("Teacher develops braille cod for Navajo," NFIC, January 2018).

        The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma initiated a pilot progam, a the beginning of 2018, to ensure that its students who graduate from its immersion charter school continue to speak their Cherokee language in high school and in community settings. For more information contact Cherokee Nation and Community Outreach Office, (918)207-4950 (New language progrm launched for Cherokee Immersion Charter School graduates," NFIC, January, 2018).

        American Indian College Fund and the United Health Foundation, "Scholarship Program for Native Americans to Create Pipeline of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Professionals in North Dakota," E-mail, May 3, 2018, reported, "The American Indian College Fund, in partnership with United Health Foundation, has launched The United Health Foundation Tribal Wellness Scholarship Program to create a pipeline of mental health and substance abuse professionals in North Dakota to serve remote and rural communities.
        This pilot scholarship program, funded through a $360,000 grant from the United Health Foundation, will help individuals, families and communities affected by substance abuse to rebuild their lives and ensure their tribal heritage and traditions are passed along to the next generation.
        The United Health Foundation Tribal Wellness Scholarship Program will include scholarships, mentoring, academic support, job training and research opportunities. A cohort of 12 Native American students from North Dakota pursuing degrees in recovery-related fields will receive educational support, with six awards designated for associate degree candidates and six for students seeking a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
        This program was discussed at a recent event at the Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten. The event, attended by North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, highlighted the need for holistic solutions to address substance abuse within Native American communities.
        'As tribal communities face the ongoing opioid and meth crisis, it’s critical that we improve access to high-quality health care on North Dakota reservations, including behavioral health services and addiction treatment,' said Sen. Heitkamp. “Through this new program, the American Indian College Fund and the United Health Foundation are demonstrating the importance of training the next generation of health care professionals in the fight against addiction in rural communities and Indian Country. I look forward to following the program’s progress as we work together to put more tribal members on a path to long-term recovery.”
        'Substance abuse has devastated communities in North Dakota. All of us know people who have been affected by it,' said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund. 'Expanding access to culturally relevant treatment is an important step forward. Together, we can improve our society and build a better world.'”
        For more information contact: Dina Horwedel, American Indian College Fund, dhorwedel@collegefund.org, 303-430-5350, or Jenifer McCormick, United Health Foundation, jenifer_mccormick@uhg.com, 952-936-1917.

        Bemidji State University (BSU), in Minnesota, signed agreements with leaders from Leach Lake, Red Lake, White Earth, and Fond du Lac tribal colleges establishing duel enrolment, so that student who complete two years at the tribal institutions are automatically accepted at BSU ("An easier path to Bemidji State," Leach Lake Tribal College Windmaage Newsletter, Summer 2017).

        New Mexico Outreach and Patient Empowerment graduated its first class of 24 certified Navajo Nation Community Health Works (CHWs), under a program created in 2014 (Pauly Denetclaw, "First class of community health workers graduates," Navajo Times, March 15, 2018).

        Two American Indian young men on an organized tour of Colorado State University were pulled off the tour and questioned by campus police, in late April 2018, after a nervous parent called the police. The students were soon released, but by then the tour had left and they returned home to New Mexico.
        A university official sent an apology by e-mail saying, “This incident is sad and frustrating from nearly every angle, particularly the experience of two students who were here to see if this was a good fit for them,” University officials stated publicly, “As a University community, we deeply regret the experience of these students, while they were guests on our campus. The fact that these two students felt unwelcome on our campus while here as visitors runs counter to our Principles of Community and the goals and aspirations of the CSU Police Department, even as they are obligated to respond to an individual’s concern about public safety, as well as the principles of our Office of Admissions,” they continued.
        The officials said they contacted the men’s families and would meet with them to discuss how a similar incident can be prevented and better responded to in the future" (Walter Einenkel, "Native American students have campus police called on them during tour for making parent 'nervous'," Daily Kos, May 03, 2018, https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/5/3/1761726/-Native-American-students-have-campus-police-called-on-them-during-tour-for-making-parent-nervous?detail=emaildkre).
        The American Indian College Fund released the following Statement on the incident.
        Two Native Americans Detained on Colorado Campus Tour, American Indian College Fund Urges Colleges to Make Institutions Welcoming," Dina Horwedel, dhorwedel@collegefund.org, 303-430-5350, May 7, 2018, Denver, Colo.— "The story of two young Native American men detained by CSU Campus Police after a nervous parent called to report them has been in the news. The American Indian College Fund is urging education institutions to take steps to make their campuses welcoming environments for Native people and other people of color.
        Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, released a statement, which was featured on Denver7 and TheDenverChannel.com.
        'We at the Denver-based national non-profit, the American Indian College Fund, were angry to learn about the incident at Colorado State University. People of color deserve to be included in higher education like anyone else.
        College visits are an important part of the pre-college experience, and we encourage potential students to visit colleges to feel safe and accepted at the college of their choice. It is upsetting when Native students are hesitant to consider a college based on experiences, such as what occurred at Colorado State University (CSU).
        American Indians and Alaska Natives have a 14% degree-attainment rate, according to the National Center for Education statistics—which is less than half of the national average.
        Colleges and universities must promote access to an equitable higher education for Native American students by investing in education, resources, and processes to eliminate institutionalized racism and to provide an equitable education. Native American students comprised only 1% of CSU’s undergraduate and graduate student body in 2015, according to the CSU web site.
        We urge higher education institutions to join us in our efforts to increase the numbers of Native people with college degrees by making their institutions more welcoming. They can acknowledge the indigenous people on whose lands work is being done and where institutions exist; implement training to help students, faculty, and staff to name racism when it happens; train college personnel about indigenous culture, history, and inclusion; and examine existing curriculum to ensure fair representation of Native people’s history, accomplishments, and contributions. Finally, we urge higher education institutions to report on the status of Native American students at their institutions by including their student data in all institutional data points.'”

        Denise Juneau, Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tribes, has become the first American Indian chosen to be superintendent of Seattle City Schools. The district serves 53,000 children, including about 2,000 Native Americans (Mark Trahant, Denise Juneau is Picked to Lead Seattle’s Public Schools, ICTMN, April 5, 2018, https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/denise-juneau-is-picked-to-lead-seattle-s-public-schools-r_5mt2Xof0eeTt0syF8cbw/).

        A Wyoming law, The American Indian Education for All Act, passed in March 2017, requires the teaching of American Indian history, but did not set specific standards. A Social Studies Review Committee developed a set of American Indian history standards for Wyoming schools in the fall of 2017, which were approved by the state Board of Education, April 30, 2018.
        One of the learning vehicles that has been developed for teaching Indian history in Wyoming is a board game, The Bozeman Trail, played by fourth and fifth graders at the Journeys School, that shows the socioeconomic forces that led to change for Indians on the Northern Plains in the Nineteenth Century (Kylie Mohr, "Students learning Native American past through board game," NFIC, June 2018).

        The Narional Museum of the Ameican Indian has been carruing out Native Knwoledge 360°, on line at http://www.nmai.si.edu/nk360/, to integrate American Indian and Alaska Native experience and perspective into social studies, language arts andother K-12 classes. Native Knwoledge 360° provides curriculum that counterspopular misconceptions and lack of knowledge about Native peoples and people with facts andNative understandings onculture, U.S. and world history, along with information on contributions tothe arts sciences and literature ("Native Knwoledge 360° brings Native American online curriculum to classrooms across the country," NFIC February 2018).

        The San Juan School District, in Blanding, UT, has been running a Native Youth Community Project, under a U.S. Office of Indian Education Native Youth Community Project Demonstration grant. The projects many aspects include leadership and service opportunities with the UNITY Club, part of national UNITY; carrying out Navajo Nation Peacemaking services in the district schools, Some Native Curriculum and assistance to students to prepare for and retake the test, ACT, providing six Native social workers ("imbedded student advocates") in the schools, and afterschool programing. Students in the program who were in the ACT program went for scores of 13.85 their junior year to 16.38 their senior year ("San Juan School District begin Native Youth Community Project," Navajo Times, November 16, 2017).

        Cochiti Pueblo Learning Center (KCLC), http://kclcmontessori.org/about-us.html, is a not-for-profit educational organization that supports Cochiti Pueblo children and families in maintaining, strengthening, and revitalizing their heritage language of Keres. We are a Montessori school that uses the Cochiti Keres language for daily instruction across all areas of learning, beginning with children ages 3-6 years old in the Primary Keres Immersion classroom. Our Dual Language Education Elementary I classroom was added in school year 2015-2016, where the children receive 50% of their instruction in Keres and 50% of their instruction in English (50/50 model). KCLC is located on the Pueblo de Cochiti reservation in New Mexico.
        "Our Mission
        Keres Children's Learning Center (KCLC) strives to reclaim our children's education and honor our heritage by using a comprehensive cultural and academic curriculum to assist families in nurturing Keres-speaking, holistically healthy, community minded, and academically strong students.
        Our Families
         KCLC recognizes that language maintenance and strengthening cannot happen without also focusing on the parent generation. Healthy languages are ones that practice inter-generational transmission of the language everyday. Therefore, KCLC is proud and inspired by the parents that send their children to KCLC as they are right in there with their children ACTIVELY learning, reinforcing, and maintaining our Keres language in the home along with their parents and other fluent Keres speakers.
        Philosophy Statement
        The Cochiti people have always recognized that each individual who enters this world has a gift to share, 'which is manifested through one’s contribution to the community' (Romero, 2004). To assist each child in beginning the development of his/her potential “gift” and “contribution,” the Keres Children’s Learning Center will provide the child learning opportunities in the following areas:
        Physical Development - development of gross/fine motor skills, culturally appropriate nutritional practices, and physical activities that are necessary for sound, healthy living;
        Spiritual Development — based on Keres ways of socializing and guiding children in their formative years of development, an essential aspect of this spiritual development is respect for the child;
         Social Development — based on Keres beliefs and practices that promote cooperative skills in social interactions, including respect for others.  For instance, through the acquisition and development of appropriate pueblo manners and behaviors, children begin to learn their roles and responsibilities as family and community members.
         Intellectual Development — based on the intellectual traditions of Cochiti people, children will be provided challenging and developmentally appropriate opportunities to engage them in examining, exploring, and discovering their natural world within the context of Cochiti daily life.
         Emotional Development — based on two fundamental Keres principles of harmony (spirituality) and kinship (relationship with others), children will learn their dual roles as individual and community members through vital practices that emphasize cooperation and sharing. This emphasis reaffirms the individual child as an integral and important part of a community rather than focusing on an individualistic or competitive emphasis.
         Linguistic Development— The Cochiti language is fundamental in the transmission of cultural knowledge and traditional values and the development of strong individual and community identities. Therefore, it will serve as the primary medium of instruction by which individual tribal members develop and maintain their relationships to family and community.
         Grace and Courtesy- Respect is one of the most important values in Pueblo culture. Our Keres language has many sayings and behaviors that teach children the ways in which we show one another respect so as to live more harmoniously in our communities. KCLC honors these practices of grace and courtesy according to the traditional values and beliefs of Cochiti Pueblo
        The maintenance of traditional Cochiti Pueblo life in today's world requires a deep commitment and constant vigilance from Native families, leaders, educators, and non-Native allies. Critical in the process of language and cultural maintenance is the inherent right for Native peoples to educate their children in their own languages and through their own world view. Consequently, Keres Children's Learning Center aims to support Cochiti families and the community as they continue to guide their children through the formative years of their early development, which will serve as the most critical foundation for their future education in and beyond their homes and communities."
        "Our Methods
        Addressing the Whole Child
        In the 'Giftedness among Keresan Pueblos' study, feedback from elders on the various Keresan pueblos identified four domains of being a “successful pueblo person,” (Romero, 1994): 1) giving from the heart; 2) possessing linguistic abilities; 3) abundant cultural knowledge; 4) the notable ability to create with the hands. 'Success' in the Pueblo world is the ability to learn, share, and utilize information for the benefit of the entire community. This philosophy is fundamental to our approach. KCLC also recognizes the importance of a strong academic program. Thus the Montessori Method has been chosen as the framework for educating the 'whole child.' Educating the 'whole child' means that we support all areas important to the successful growth of Pueblo children, including linguistic, spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development.
        Pueblo people have always recognized that each individual who enters this world has a gift to share, which is manifested through one’s contribution to the community. To assist each child in developing his or her potential gift and contribution, the classroom will consist of a prepared environment that will provide learning opportunities in the following areas: language, math, history, geography, zoology, sensorial, practical life, music, art, agriculture, grace and courtesy, peace education, and movement.
        Natural Language Use Leading to Bilingualism and Biculturalism
        KCLC will use the Keres language naturally, supporting children who are already bilingual in Keres and/or supporting families in helping their children learn Keres. KCLC adheres to the belief preached by elders and tribal leadership that the primary responsibility of language learning belongs first to the family and the community. KCLC’s purpose is to provide a setting that will support already fluent children in continuing to speak Keres and to make Keres accessible to children and families who want to learn. KCLC will use immersion techniques, under the guise of natural usage.
        Children will participate in culturally relevant, age-appropriate activities everyday that will build their Keres vocabulary, Cochiti identity, self-discipline, and sense of community, assisting them in developing a Pueblo worldview.
        Montessori Method and the Whole Pueblo Child

         Keres Children’s Learning Center’s central goals are 1) to ensure that children learn the indigenous language early in childhood, a time of life when it is relatively easy to acquire language; 2) to build a strong foundation for life-long learning by developing essential cognitive, social, and learning skills that will enable our children to function successfully both in community and mainstream learning environments; and 3) to encourage families to play a continuing role in the education of their children."

        "History

  Keres Children’s Learning Center was founded with the purpose of reclaiming the education of our Pueblo children and educating them in a manner that maximizes their development and potential as Pueblo people. In Keres-speaking villages from the north central Rio Grande to the western Keres-speaking communities, tribal leaders and elders remind parents and families of the crucial importance of passing on their language, and in essence, passing on history, values, beliefs, and a worldview like none other.

  In 2006, KCLC’s co-founders, Trisha Moquino and Olivia Coriz, felt that they had done what their grandparents, families, and elders had preached to them all their lives to do. They had continuously worked for and supported their respective language maintenance and revitalization programs and promoted them through constant dialogues with family, teachers, tribal leaders, and elders. They each have a daughter whom they were rearing to be fluent Keres speakers. Yet they found themselves working together in a school system that caused them to ask themselves, as educators, if they would continue to perpetuate a cycle of assimilation and education that does not address the needs of the whole Pueblo child, or would they work to create a different kind of educational setting that is consistent with their own Pueblo expectations and values, a setting in which they felt comfortable placing their own daughters. KCLC is the answer to Moquino’s and Coriz’s soul searching.

  Moquino and Coriz set out to ask a group of very thoughtful, wise, and committed people to be on their board. The tireless efforts of the co-founders, board members, tribal leaders, and many, many supporters have resulted in Keres Children's Learning Center, for children ages 3-6, whose goal is to educate the whole Pueblo child using the Keres language as the medium of instruction."
        In addition to adapting Montessori methods to its particular situation and purposes, in developing its process, KCLC has partnered with Dual Language Education of New Mexico: www.dlenm.org.
        For more information contact: Keres Children’s Learning Center, P.O. Box 113, Cochiti Pueblo, NM 87072, info@kclcmontessori.org, (505) 465-2185, http://kclcmontessori.org/about-us.html.

        The last Miwuk village in Yosemite National Park is being rebuilt by the Park Service so that young tribal members can learn about their history and culture. The village will be visitable by tourists, except during some tribal ceremonies ("Last Native village in Yosemite being rebuilt," NFIC January 2018).
--==+==--

        "The Impact Of Native Mascots In Massachusetts," Cultural Survival, January 19, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/impact-native-mascots-massachusetts, reported, "The Impact of Native Mascots in Massachusetts: Film Screening of More Than A Word and Discussion to Follow [took place] March 3, 2018, [at] Milton High School, Milton, MA.
        Organized by the Massachusetts Native Peoples Working Group, the goal of this event is to educate communities about the use and impact of native mascots, foster relationships among those interested in addressing native mascots and build consensus on next steps. In addition to the film, a panel of speakers will frame the issue and lead a discussion among attendees. Native and non-native individuals are welcomed and encouraged to attend."

        "About FNX," https://fnx.org/about/, stated, "FNX: First Nations Experience is the first and only broadcast television network exclusively devoted to Native American and World Indigenous content. Through Native-produced and/or themed documentaries, dramatic series, nature, cooking, gardening, children’s and arts programming, FNX strives to accurately illustrate the lives and cultures of Native people around the world.
        Created as a shared vision between Founding Partners, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the San Bernardino Community College District, FNX is owned by and originates from the studios of KVCR-PBS San Bernardino. FNX began terrestrial broadcast in the Los Angeles area on September 25, 2011, and went national on November 1, 2014 via the Public Television Interconnect System (PBS satellite AMC–21 Channel SD08), making the network available to PBS affiliates, community and tribal stations, and cable television service providers across the country.
        FNX is working diligently to get the channel carried in as many communities as possible across the country. Currently, FNX is carried by 22 affiliate stations broadcasting into 14 states from Alaska to New York and is seen by more than 46 million households across the United States! New stations are always coming on board, so stay tuned – FNX may be available in your city very soon!
        FNX is currently available in the greater Los Angeles media market on Frontier FiOS Channel 471, DirecTV Channel 24-2, Time Warner Channel 1272, and over-the-air on KVCR-Ch. 24.2."
        Information about current programing is at: https://fnx.org/watch/.

        Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People was in its fourth season on television stations OETA and RSU-TV and its affiliates in Oklahoma and parts of Missouri and Arkansas ("Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People" debuted season 4 at special screenings in Oklahoma," NFIC, March 2018).

        The Sun Dance Film Festival in January 2018 featured 8 Indigenous films, along with a 20th anniversary showing of Smoke Signals ("8 Indigenous-made films premiering at Sundance Film Festival," NFIC, January 2018).

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International Developments

International Organization Developments

17th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)
16-27 April 2018, United Nations Headquarters, New York
“Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and resources”
https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples
        The following documents from the session were available on June 15, 2018 at: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/unpfii-sessions-2/2017-2.html. Others were likeley to be available later.
        DRAFT REPORT:
L.2 Chapters I, II, III and IV
L.3 Draft decisions recommended by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for adoption by the Economic and Social Council
L.4 Implementation of the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum with reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (item 4)
L.5 Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (item 10)
L.6 Discussion on the theme “Indigenous Peoples’ Collective Rights to Lands, Territories and Resources” (Agenda Item 8)
L.7 Follow-up Outcome Document on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (Agenda Item 11)
Agenda Items 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 12
The draft report of the 17th session of the Permanent Forum will be adopted on Friday, 27 April from 3 pm. to 6 pm.
        The Forum members decided on changes to the two week annual session. The first week was all open plenary meetings. There were no closed meetings during the first week.
        A condensed schedule during the first week enabled the Permanent Forum to discuss all substantive agenda items.
        During the second week of the 2018 session of the Permanent Forum, members of the Forum held informal meetings with representatives of indigenous peoples, Member States and UN entities. The purpose of these meetings were to draw on information presented during the first week, and channel this into policy recommendations that are strategic, focused and actionable. Regional dialogues were also held during the second week. See the Concept Note for more details.         
        Indigenous representatives, Member States and UN entities that were accredited to attend the 2018 session of the Permanent Forum were invited to attend these meetings.Download the Calendar of meetings for the two weeks of the Permanent Forum
        President of the General Assembly Informal Interactive Hearing with Indigenous Peoples
        On Tuesday 17 April, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the UN Trusteeship Council Chamber, the President of the General Assembly conducted the first of three (2018, 2019, 2020) informal interactive hearings on the enhanced participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations. This hearing was requested by the General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/71/321 and was open to indigenous participants accredited to attend the 2018 session of the Permanent Forum.
        Additional information on the 17th session, as well as on past sessions, is available at: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/unpfii-sessions-2/2017-2.html, and on the 17th session at: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/news/2018/02/unpfii17-programme/#more-27845.

        Diego Lopez, "European Parliament Releases Study On The Situation With Indigenous Children With Disabilities, Cultural Survival, February 15, 2018, Https://Www.Culturalsurvival.Org/News/European-Parliament-Releases-Study-Situation-Indigenous-Children-Disabilities, reported, "In December 2017, the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights published a study titled The Situation of Indigenous Children with Disabilities. The study outlines some of the major challenges facing Indigenous children with disabilities around the world and suggests what can be done to address the obstacles. Indigenous children with disabilities face challenges unique to most demographics and suffer from a lack of data and attention to their struggles. The number of Indigenous children with disabilities is estimated to be about 54 million around the world. This number is uneven though as some countries, such as Brazil and Colombia, have a lower percentage than others, such as Canada and New Zealand. Estimations for their population are also difficult to determine, as there is no systemic data and many countries dispute who may be considered Indigenous. For example, China and Thailand do not recognize any Indigenous persons within their borders.
          Some of the key issues facing Indigenous children with disabilities are the protections of their fundamental human rights in regards to their health and safety. The rights violations include infanticide, violence, forced sterilization for girls and female adolescents, sexual abuse and sexual violence, denial of their right to education, discrimination, and forced segregation from their communities. All of these problems are ones which Indigenous children with disabilities face at much higher rates than average. In Latin America, malnutrition disproportionately affects Indigenous children with disabilities, even when compared to their siblings.
          Another fundamental right that is often violated is freedom of movement. In many Indigenous communities in Africa, Indigenous children with disabilities never leave home in order to avoid being seen. Depending on the degree of their disability, some children may never leave their bedroom or even their bed. Some cases have reported children with disabilities being chained to their beds in Nepal.
         Indigenous children with disabilities also need to be guaranteed the right to full and effective inclusion in their societies through participation in social activities appropriate for their ages, especially the right to education. UNESCO has found that approximately 90% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school. Not having access to formal education may jeopardise children’s opportunity to have access to a decent job in the future and their ability to speak or communicate in the national language(s). When Indigenous or bilingual schools are close to Indigenous communities, sometimes teachers lack specific formation on how to teach to children with disabilities.         
        Many underlying factors aggravate the cases of Indigenous children with disabilities around the world. In particular, poverty and can lead to a lack of care for disabilities, and disabilities can aggravate poverty even further. Indigenous children with disabilities may be the first to be taken out of school or to have reductions in food when resources become scarce for families. Families may also not be able to afford necessities for their children, such as wheelchairs or hearing aids. An example of this in the study’s survey, where 100% of respondents indicated that in their communities there are Indigenous children with hearing difficulties, but only 4 out of 14 of the respondents reported that these children having hearing assistance. Similarly, although 13 out of 14 of respondents indicated that in their communities there are children who have difficulties with walking, only 4 out of 13 reported that these children use special equipment for walking such as wheelchairs or crutches.
        Cultural barriers and remoteness also prevent Indigenous children with disabilities from receiving care that they may need and remote groups often have higher instances of disabled children. Environmental problems and natural disasters can be particularly dangerous for Indigenous children with disabilities as they are often left behind when families need to flee. Language barriers may also prevent groups from receiving the relief they need from natural disasters, and a lack of resources can hurt Indigenous children with disabilities more than others.
        The European Union (EU) has pledged to support marginalized groups, including Indigenous Peoples and people with disabilities. They have also crafted suggestions for countries on how to better aid Indigenous children with disabilities within their borders. These suggestions include new initiatives to collect data on Indigenous children with disabilities and Indigenous persons in general as well as studies on these populations to determine their needs. The EU itself has been urged to ensure inclusion of Indigenous children with disabilities around the world and to be open to dialogue with other countries in doing so. They have also been called on to allocate funds to programs benefiting Indigenous children with disabilities, such as initiatives to train teachers, educate about Indigenous children with disabilities struggles, and improve health care access."

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Regional and Country Developments

         Ian Austen and Jason Horowitz, "Pope Rejects Call for Apology to Canada’s Indigenous People," The New York Times, March 28, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/world/canada/pope-apology-canada-indigenous.html, reported, "Despite a personal appeal from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Roman Catholic Church has said that Pope Francis will not apologize for its role in a Canadian system that forced generations of Indigenous children into boarding schools.
        The residential school system, as it is commonly known in Canada, was described as a form of 'cultural genocide' by a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 that also concluded that many students were physically and emotionally abused.
        Among its 94 recommendations was a call for an apology from the pope. The Catholic Church, along with several Protestant denominations, operated most of the schools for the government.
        "The pope and others before him have issued apologies in other situations."
        "Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Canada’s largest Indigenous group, said he was disappointed by the church’s decision and would continue to press the Vatican for an apology."

        The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that it is undertaking a process of reconciliation with First Nations in Canada. Here is on government minister speaking on the matter.
        "The Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework Talk," From: Department of Justice Canada
        Speech
        Notes for an address by The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, PC, QC, MP. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
        To the Business Council of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, April 13, 2018, https://www.canada.ca/en/department-justice/news/2018/04/the-recognition-and-implementation-of-rights-framework-talk-1.html
        Check against delivery
        "Gilakas'la.
        Thank you for that very kind introduction.
        I would like to acknowledge that we are on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.
        I want to thank the BC Business Council for hosting and organizing this event, and in particular, Greg D’Avignon, the President. It is my pleasure to be here today to participate in this important dialogue. I also want to acknowledge the National Chief, all the business leaders here, and a number of other Chiefs and Indigenous leaders that I see in attendance. Welcome.
        As you all know, a critical national conversation is taking place about reconciliation, the recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights, and the place of Indigenous peoples in decision-making and governance in Canada. On February 14 of this year, in a historic address, the Prime Minister made a bold statement in the House of Commons confirming that all relations with Indigenous peoples are to be based on the recognition of Indigenous rights, and that a new Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework will be developed. And this work has now begun with a national engagement process, being led by my colleague Minister Bennett.
        Today, we are here together as part of that conversation – and, in particular, to speak about the importance of this work in building a better future for Indigenous peoples in a more inclusive Canada, and for all Canadians, the Canadian economy and resource development.
        I expect that there are specific issues and topics on your minds. You want to understand how the work of reconciliation will lead to greater certainty and clarity for decision-making and economic development. You want to understand how the recognition of rights relates to how projects will be approved and what processes will look like. You have questions about Indigenous consent, and whether it will make things more or less challenging.
        I imagine some of you are also thinking about specific applications of these questions – including in light of the highly publicized and challenging issues of energy development, pipeline construction, and protection of our environment – or any other number of projects. Will the recognition and implementation of rights result in a future where the current realities of conflict, tension, cost, uncertainty, and litigation that we see embroiling some projects – and which no one desires – be changed or transformed for the better?
        You want to know how what we are doing today is different from what has been tried before.
        It is true in the past there have been attempts to reset the relationship with Indigenous peoples – attempts at Constitutional reform, legislative initiatives, and development of new policies - again so… “what is different today?”
        In brief, my message to you today is that what we are proposing is different – that by coming from a rights recognition perspective, the government of Canada is finally being proactive – and in doing so is not only transforming the status quo of how Canada operates and interacts with Indigenous peoples but is also challenging, and supporting, Indigenous communities themselves – in a positive way – to lead change, rebuild and find solutions, and take their rightful place within confederation, in ways that reflect Indigenous self-determination.
        And, if I can be so bold, had the approach we are taking today been the policy some 36 years ago, we might not be where we are today – that is playing catch-up – and trying to navigate the reactive politics that uncertainty breeds. It is precisely because rights have been denied, in the misplaced belief that it was prudent to do so, that we are here - seeking to undue decades of mistrust and begin, as we should have, on a solid foundation based on the recognition of rights
        So let us dive in by addressing the issue of 'certainty'. I think it is important to provide a definition of 'certainty' at the outset, because it is so often used in different ways, and means different things to different people in different contexts.
        Certainty, for me, means clarity and predictability about the basic elements of decision-making regarding lands and resources: who is making the decision, how the decisions are being made and through what process and timelines, what information and factors are relevant to the decision, and the respective roles and responsibilities of everyone involved.
        To say it another way, it is about clarity with respect to jurisdiction, law-making, and authority.
        Certainty, based on this definition, is something I think everyone desires – industry, Indigenous peoples and governments. However, currently, it does not exist enough.
        Where it does exist in some form, it is typically through agreements between the Crown and Indigenous peoples, such as modern treaties and land claims agreements. And, there have been modern treaties – in fact over 40% of Canada’s land mass, mostly in the North, is covered by modern treaties. But such agreements in BC have been few and far between, for reasons I will touch on later. And, of course, there is a long history of agreements, such as historic treaties—which could provide some certainty—not being implemented or honoured.
        Another circumstance where certainty, to a degree, sometimes exists has been when leadership has been shown by industry and Indigenous peoples working together – forging relations and agreements about decision-making and partnership regarding proposed projects. Certainty is also is contributed to through initiatives like the Champions Table, a joint project of BCBC and BCAFN, where executives and Chiefs come together to develop common policy advice. But this can only go so far. Government too must act.
        But beyond specific examples like these, for the most part we often live in a context of significant uncertainty. This is not good. And this is why we all have a stake in the ambitious agenda our government has set for reconciliation based on recognition. An agenda that must be non-partisan and must survive beyond the life of any one government.
        So why is certainty – which we all desire – so rare and elusive?
        The answer lies in long-standing patterns and assumptions regarding Indigenous rights…which – until we understand and transform them – will continue to be detrimental to Indigenous peoples, Canadian society and the economy as a whole.
        Let me explain…In Canada today, and ever since the adoption of section 35 of the Constitution in 1982, there has been a strong tendency to perceive and treat Indigenous rights differently than other rights, such as Charter rights. When we think of or speak about freedom of expression, freedom of religion, or equality… I think it is fair to say we have a deep sense that these rights are part of what makes us uniquely Canadian. We do not question the existence of these rights – rather we celebrate them.
        Without question, we view these rights as expressing an important aspect of who we are, our shared values, and what binds and defines us as a diverse and democratic society. While there always will be some disagreement on the margins about the precise scope or extent of these rights, they exists in the context of a broad consensus about what these rights definitely do mean and require.
        To say it another way, since 1982, when a Canadian says to its government, “I have a right to free speech”…under the Charter the response of the Canadian government has not been to say, “prove it”. Rather, governments organize themselves – their laws, policies, and operational practices – to ensure they are upholding these rights.
        Indigenous rights, on the other hand, even though they were entrenched in section 35 of the Constitution at the same time as the Charter – I would argue – have never been treated or thought of in the same way as Charter rights. Since 1982, when an Indigenous Nation raises a collective right under section 35, the response of governments has been to say…“prove it”. Despite section 35 saying that Indigenous rights are “recognized and affirmed”, successive governments have explicitly chosen to not recognize or affirm them – and, in so doing, have forced conflict and confusion about Indigenous rights.
        I would suggest that it is this choice – denial – that is at the heart of why we do not have certainty.
        Of course, this choice did not take place in a vacuum. It has been a long-standing pattern in Canadian history of denying Indigenous peoples and their rights. This despite the fact the British Crown initially recognized Indigenous peoples and their rights in the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
        By the time of Confederation in 1867, the fact that Indigenous peoples had lived on and governed the lands and resources of their territories – something affirmed in the Royal Proclamation – was not considered. This denial has manifested itself throughout Canada’s history, including through the passage and imposition of the Indian Act, the establishment of residential schools, efforts to eradicate Indigenous cultures and languages, the alienation of Indigenous peoples from their homelands and territories, and the lack of implementation of treaties, or… the failure to complete them altogether. And, of course, in the positions the Crown has historically taken in Court.
        Critically important in this approach was the clear strategy by the Crown to divide up, and disempower, Indigenous nations and governments. The goal was to remove and limit the capacity of Indigenous nations to make decisions about their territories as they had always done…in order to assimilate them. This was largely accomplished through creating and imposing an administrative reality that we are still confronting today – where, in the First Nations context, there are hundreds of Indian Act bands, rather than dozens of linguistic and culturally structured Nations, meaning there are hundreds of groups – rather than dozens – representing peoples with historical and constitutionally protected rights and interests that often intersect, overlap, or interconnect with each other.
        The uncertainty that we all experience today – Indigenous peoples, Industry, governments and the Crown – whether what we witness in relation to pipelines or any of a number of projects, has its roots directly in this history of denial and division.
        Moving forward, this has critical implications for reconciliation. It means Indigenous nations – the proper title and rights holders – because of colonial imposition, may not be operating with political, economic, and social structures, or the resources necessary to fully discharge their responsibilities as caretakers of their lands, or a context for clear Indigenous governance, law-making, and decision-making.
        The entrenchment of Indigenous and treaty rights in section 35 of the Constitution was supposed to break this pattern. However, the maintenance of a “prove it” approach by governments after 1982 made success in transforming relations extremely difficult.
        We experience the effects of this denial every day.
        It is at the root of the conflict and ever-increasing complexity about decision-making.
        It plagues agreement-making and treaty implementation because often untenable positions are advanced.
        It explains why we have so much litigation, where instead of developing a shared understanding of rights – including…crucially…the inherent right of self-government, and the jurisdiction of Indigenous laws – and implementing those through legislation, policies, and practices, as well as agreements with Indigenous Nations, we turned to the Courts as the central institution of Crown – Indigenous relations.
        It has delayed the critical work of Nation building and rebuilding which is necessary so Indigenous peoples can take back control of their own affairs, make their own decisions and be, once again, responsible for their own future. Rather than investing as much as we could have in the institutions, processes, and capacity development needed for re-building Indigenous nations and governments and ultimately improving the lives of Indigenous peoples, we have all spent far too much of our limited resources and energy on conflict.
        The costs of denial have been immense.
        As an Indigenous woman, I know the effect of these choices directly and intimately. They have perpetuated the impoverishment and marginalization of Indigenous peoples from Canadian society – with massive impacts on both individual lives, and collective Indigenous well-being. But…they have…also been negative for Canada as a whole – socially, economically, and culturally – including in how they have influenced our investment climate, efforts at environmental protection, and regulation of lands and resources.
        So what does it take to actually build certainty?
        It requires that we finally address the impediment to increased certainty by overturning its root cause—the denial of rights. This is one thing that the recognition of rights approach that our government has committed to will help accomplish.
        Through the recognition and implementation of rights framework, the work of government will shift from processes primarily focused on assessing whether rights exist – which inevitably is adversarial and contentious – to seeking shared understandings about how the priorities and rights of Indigenous peoples may be implemented and expressed within a particular process, and its outcome. This shift – supported by legislative measures that help build trust that government will act according to certain transparent standards in doing this – will help create opportunities for collaboration and reduce the intensity of conflict.
        This shift will also include a movement away from reliance upon and use of the courts. Not only will there be less incentives to fight, there will also be new opportunities to avoid fighting when conflict may arise.
        For example, I will shortly be releasing a new litigation directive to my department regarding section 35 rights. While there will be many details of the directive worth exploring in the future – its overall orientation is most critical. It will aim to re-position Canada’s legal approach to being problem solvers on the path of reconciliation, with the courts as a last resort to be turned to only in increasingly rare circumstances. This means a re-focusing of lawyers and their ways of thinking, and stronger investments in preventing and proactively resolving matters before they reach the stage of litigation. To this end, a significant emphasis will also be placed on new dispute resolution and accountability mechanisms that will help resolve matters outside of the courts.
        A recognition of rights approach also includes abandoning old positions that were the main barriers to reaching broad understandings and arrangements with Indigenous peoples about how rights will be respected and implemented collaboratively. For example, Canada is abandoning its positions that treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements must include the extinguishment, modification, or surrender of rights – a position that has resulted in negotiations being interminably slow, or never beginning in the first place. The result of this shift is already being felt as Canada is now rapidly accelerating tables with dozens of communities and Nations based on the recognition of rights.
        Perhaps most importantly, however, a shift to recognition of rights, including Indigenous self-determination and the inherent right of self-government, means that Canada will be an active supporter in the building and re-building of Indigenous nations and governments.
        We will finally be active partners in supporting Indigenous Nations and governments as they do the work of defining and clarifying their constitutions, laws, and decision-making processes, the structures they will work through, and how they will govern as part of historic rights-bearing groups, including those with historic treaties.
        We will also finally be partners in building with those Indigenous governments the proper inter-governmental arrangements that allows everyone to have clarity and certainty about the who, how, and what of land and resource decision-making. In short, we will support Nation building and re-building so we know who speaks for the Nation and that when the Nation does speak their voice can be relied upon.
        We have already begun to reflect this approach in Bill C-69 that deals with major project reviews and impact assessment—where the legislation contemplates an increased role for Indigenous peoples in decision-making with a placeholder for what is contemplated to be forthcoming in light of the more fulsome rights recognition framework with self-governing reconstituted nations. As this legislation goes through the Parliamentary process, and is implemented it will be informed by the Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework as we continue to work with Indigenous peoples, industry, and all Canadians, to ensure we implement new processes that build regulatory certainty and predictability, recognize and respects the rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as protecting the environment for generations to come.
        To be clear then, this work of recognition is very much two-pronged. There was and is signifcant work to do for Canada to get its house in order. There is also significant work for Indigenous peoples to do. We are in a period of transition, and, as I said at the outset, we are challenging the status quo.
        This work involves Nations, based on their right to self-determination, re-building and re-constituting themselves, including for First Nations re-building their own political, social, and economic structures and moving beyond the Indian Act as they determine. This is work only Indigenous peoples, Nations, and governments can lead and do. They must make the hard choices of how they want to structure and govern themselves as Nations and governments today as well as determine the laws and processes they will apply for decisions to be made.
        Government must support Indigenous nations in this work—to thrive and be effective in making decisions, and caring for the well-being of their citizens. This will mean new mechanisms and tools that support their effectiveness, including a new fiscal relationship with the government.
        I hope this has given you a clear vision of how I view “certainty” and how the Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework will advance certainty. By moving from denial to recognition—by embracing this transition—we also move from uncertainty to clarity and predictability.
        This brings me to the second and related topic that I want to address briefly, that of free, prior, and informed consent, and more generally, the role of Indigenous peoples in decision-making.
        I think too often “consent” is used as a rhetorical device in the context of potential conflict, or for political purposes…while too rarely do we actually have a discussion about how to pragmatically operationalize and implement it. I think consent requires a bit of de-mystification, as well as some straight talk. I have three observations to share…
        First, we need to be clear that the issue of consent is not a 'new' one, which has somehow arisen because of the United Nations Declaration. Consent has been noted as a matter to be addressed in Crown-Indigenous relations by the Courts for many years in the interpretation of section 35, including in cases such as Delgamuukw, Haida, and Tsilhqot’in. Indeed, in Tsilhqot’in the court in paragraph 97 recommended and encouraged shifting to “obtaining consent” as the standard for governments and industry in relations with Indigenous peoples…regardless of whether court declarations or findings had been issued. The rationale for doing this is that it would remove the likelihood of conflict, legal struggles, and uncertainty about a project or decision.
        More so, even though we have tended to use different language, de facto consent is something that both governments and industry have, over the years, sometimes realized is necessarily part of the path forward. This is one of the underlying reasons for many of the “impact and benefit agreements” that industry has properly pursued.
        Second, we have tended to think about consent through the lens of the processes we currently used for consultation and accommodation, and that somehow consent involves doing what we have already been doing, with additional enhancements involving whether or not consent is achieved.
        I would suggest that this is not a very helpful way of thinking about consent. Consent is not simply an extension of existing processes of consultation and accommodation, nor is the law of consultation – being heavily procedural in its orientation – a particularly practical or helpful way for thinking about how to operationalize consent. We need to see consent as part and parcel of the new relationship we seek to build with Indigenous Nations, as proper title and rights holders, who are reconstituting and rebuilding their political, economic, and social structures.
        In this context there is a better way to think about consent…grounded in the purposes and goals of section 35 and the UN Declaration. Consent is analogous to the types of relations we typically see, and are familiar with, between governments. In such relations, where governments must work together, there are a range of mechanisms that are used to ensure the authority and autonomy of both governments is respected, and decisions are made in a way that is consistent and coherent, and does not often lead to regular or substantial disagreement.
        These mechanisms are diverse, and can range from shared bodies and structures, to utilizing the same information and standards, to agreeing on long term plans or arrangements that will give clarity to how all decisions will be made on a certain matter or in a certain area over time. Enacting these mechanisms is achieved through a multiplicity of tools – including legislation, policy, and agreements.
        The structures and mechanisms for achieving this consent, once established, are also consistent over time and across types of decisions – they are known and transparent—roles and responsibilities are defined, and they are ready to be implemented when needed. One result of this is significant certainty.
        So coming back to where I began my comments – consider for a moment if we spent even a little time over the last 35 years since section 35 came into being building those structures – including, and in my mind more significantly, undertaking and supporting Indigenous Nation re-building – rather than endlessly litigating. I think we would be in a totally different place than what we are witnessing now regarding the challenges we see in project development, economic growth, and environmental protection.
        I see our work of moving towards consent-based decision-making as building these structures and mechanisms of consistent, collaborative decision-making with Indigenous nations.
        The recognition of rights framework we are working towards in partnership with Indigenous peoples is intended to create the legislative and policy space to do this work, and also accelerate it so that we are not waiting another generation for this work to be substantially advanced. We cannot wait. Through the engagement process we are hearing, amongst other things, about the need for recognition legislation, the need for new institutions and supports for Indigenous nation-building, new accountability and oversight mechanisms, and new forms of dispute resolution.
        The proposed rights recognition framework should not prescribe or define a new way of consulting and accommodating, or of obtaining consent, but rather should focus on establishing legislative space and standards, as well as investments in the work of building effective relations between the federal government and Indigenous governments including around how decisions are made.
        Third – and building on what I have already said about nation rebuilding – this understanding of consent also clarifies that for consent to be fully operationalized as part of a relationship between governments, significant work has to be done by Indigenous nations, in addition to the federal or provincial governments.
        In particular, Indigenous nations need to do work to reconstitute their nations and governments consistent with the principles in domestic law around the proper rights holder, and understandings of Indigenous peoples at international law. This is part of Indigenous peoples ensuring that Indigenous jurisdiction and authority, including the giving of consent, is being properly granted and exercised consistent with the right of self-determination. One implication of this is that consent will not be operationalized in a linear or uniform manner. It will occur in a diversity of ways, with various steps and stages being taken in different context and relationships at different times.
        So…I have said a lot –I would just leave you with this before taking some questions and listening to your comments. There will inevitably be critics of this work. Some of it will come from Indigenous leadership. There were those that did not support section 35 and there were those that do not like the United Nations Declaration. But, and this is where I speak to you not as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, but as a former Regional Chief, a former Councillor in my community, and a proud Indigenous person, I know that for the vast majority of Indigenous leaders—past and present—this has been what people have been saying needs to be done for years. These are not new ideas. They are not necessarily my ideas. So as my colleague Minister Bennett goes out and “consults” – please keep this in mind.
        This is because the changes we are pursuing through the Framework have the potential to uproot longstanding obstacles and attitudes – from all quarters – that have held back Indigenous peoples, and all of Canadian society, including industry.
        Uncertainty, conflict, and endless litigation are the not the result of trying to do the right thing – they are the result of trying to avoiddoing the right thing for whatever political motivation.
        The promise of section 35 of our Constitution is rights recognition. It is through rights recognition that we will build patterns of effective and strong Indigenous governments who are implementing increasingly stable and proper decision-making arrangements with the Crown as well as industry.
        The changes to legislation and policy our government will bring forward will lay the foundation for this shift. And while the changes will not be felt overnight, in the upcoming years a new, inclusive, level of clarity and predictability will be brought to land and resource decision-making.
        I look forward to carrying on this dialogue with business community in the coming months, and, in particular, witnessing the innovative ways that industry and Indigenous peoples will deepen their work together in the years to come. As the Prime Minister likes to say, better is always possible, and as we collectively take on the challenge of truly decolonizing Canada, I am confident we will continue to build a Canada that we all aspire to live in—a Canada that is prosperous, just and fair for all.
        Gilakas’la.
        Search for related information by keyword: LW Law | Department of Justice Canada | Canada | Justice | general public | speeches | Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould"

        The Frist Nations Strategic Bulletin, Vol. 16, Nos. 1-3, Russell Diabo, Notes on the Canadian Federal Budget for First Nations, "The Trudeau government distinguishes between 'non-selfgoverning' Indian Act Bands and Aboriginal groups who have signed Modern Treaties & Self-Government Agreements. This is reflected in Budget 2018 in the two different fiscal relations processes.
        For the bands under the Indian Act, the Canada-AFN Fiscal Relations process seems to be about improving the federal Contribution Funding Agreements and preparing Indian Act bands to be federally recognized as 'Indigenous Governments' through 'self-government ' and/or 'comprehensive claims' agreements.
        This is why Budget 2018 includes:
        $127.4 million over two years to directly support First Nations communities in building internal fiscal and administrative capacity. This includes $87.7 million over two years to ensure that communities under default management are able to move forward on projects that form part of their management action plans, and to support pilot projects in order to strengthen governance and community planning capacity in First Nations.
[emphasis added]
        In addition to supporting band capacity building, especially in financial and administrative management, as well as, community planning (known as comprehensive community planning), Budget 2018 includes the following measures to support the transition from being Indian Act bands into becoming federally recognized 'Indigenous Government ':
        $50 million over five years, and $11 million per year ongoing, to strengthen the First Nations Financial Management Board, the First Nations Finance Authority and the First Nations Tax Commission.
        $2.5 million over three years to support the First Nations Information Governance Centre’s design of a national data governance strategy and coordination of efforts to establish regional data governance centres.
        $8.7 million over two years to continue and broaden work with First Nations leadership, technical experts, researchers and community representatives on the new fiscal relationship.
        The Government, with First Nations partners, will also undertake a comprehensive and collaborative review of current federal government programs and funding that support First Nations governance. The purpose of the review will be to ensure that these programs provide communities with sufficient resources to hire and retain the appropriate financial and administrative staff to support good governance, plan for the future and advance their vision of self-determination. [emphasis added]
        The federally created institutions referred to above are to help facilitate the transition from Indian Act bands into self-government agreements, including collecting baseline data for determining methods and levels of funding for the transition. Comprehensive community plans are now making their way into historic Treaty Nations and territories – these are meant to prepare bands to move into selfgovernment.
        Those “Indigenous Governments ” either negotiating or implementing selfgovernment and/or modern treaty agreements are involved in a separate fiscal relations process with Canada focused on funding formulas for transfer payments and involve using their federally granted taxation powers for “own source revenue ”.
        Budget 2018 clarifies that with the dissolving of the federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development the 'Framework' is divided into two parts: 1) The Department of Indigenous Services under Minister Jane Philpott for “Achieving Better Results ” for funding programs and services for bands still under the Indian Act, until the Indian Act bands transition to a new fiscal relationship and the Department of Indigenous Services will cease to exist once all bands are converted into federally recognized 'Indigenous Governments'; and 2) The Department of Crown-Indigenous and Northern Affairs under Minister Carolyn Bennett for federal 'Rights Recognition' and transfer payments through self-government agreements, what the Trudeau government is calling 'selfdetermination' and 'Modern Treaties'.
        Besides the self-government and modern treaties negotiation tables there is now a third category of Recognition of Rights and Self-Determination Negotiation Tables.
        Through the coming federal 'framework' a key objective is keeping costs down by encouraging bands to merge to 'reconstitute their nations' and support cheaper economies of scale, so there is a section in Budget 2018 called 'Helping Indigenous Nations Reconstitute', which states as follows:
        'The Government has committed to a forward-looking and transformative agenda to renew relationships with Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous groups are seeking to rebuild their nations in a manner that responds to their priorities and the unique needs of their communities—a message they have shared with the Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies related to Indigenous Peoples. This was also a key recommendation of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and is an objective outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As stated by the Prime Minister at the United Nations General Assembly, the Government supports this vital work.'
        Through Budget 2018, the Government proposes to provide $101.5 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, to support capacity development for Indigenous Peoples. Funding would be made available to Indigenous groups to support activities that would facilitate their own path to reconstituting their nations. [emphasis added]
        This raises serious questions for Member Bands about the future of their existing Tribal Councils, Service
Delivery Organizations, historic Treaty areas, Provincial-Territorial Organizations and ultimately, the Assembly
of First Nations structure.
        The Prime Minister said the following in his February 14th speech:
        'In fact, by fully embracing and giving life to the existing Section 35 of the Constitution, we will replace policies like the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy and the Inherent Right to Self-Government Policy with new and better approaches that respect the distinctions between First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
        This will give greater confidence and certainty to everyone involved. '[emphasis added]
        Despite the Prime Minister’s statement, from all evidence I’ve seen so far it doesn’t appear that the federal government is hanging much in the selfgovernment and comprehensive claims policies.
        The specific claims process (not policy, so far) is being reviewed through a AFNINAC Joint Technical Review process.
        As of this writing, the federal government has not agreed to publicly review the self-government and comprehensive claims policies, so it seems when the Prime Minister says he intends to “replace” these two policies with a 'new and better approach' he seems to mean elevating these two federal policies into his coming 'legislative framework' and greasing the wheels of negotiations.
        In an effort to speed up existing comprehensive claims and self-government negotiations
the Trudeau government announced in Budget 2018:
        'Budget 2018 outlines new steps the Government will take to increase the number of modern treaties and self-determination agreements in a manner that reflects a recognition of rights approach. These changes, along with the new approach brought forward through the Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination negotiation process, will shorten the time it takes to reach new treaties and agreements, at a lower cost to all parties.
        As part of this new approach, the Government of Canada will be moving away from the use of loans to fund Indigenous participation in the negotiation of modern treaties. Starting in 2018–19, Indigenous participation in modern treaty negotiations will be funded through non-repayable contributions.
          The Government will engage with affected Indigenous groups on how best to address past and present negotiation loans, including forgiveness of loans.
        Through Budget 2018, the Government also proposes to invest $51.4 million over the next two years to continue its support for federal and Indigenous participation in the Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination discussion tables.' [emphasis added]
        This new federal 'reconstituting of nations' approach should raise questions among the Indian Act bands about re-organizing or merging with other bands, especially when there are no details about the subjects being discussed at the 'Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination discussion tables', which according to federal statements are supposed to be used in designing this new federal 'Framework', scheduled to be introduced into Parliament later this year.
        It is at these “discussion tables” that the federal government is 'co-developing' new negotiation mandates with the federal Cabinet in secret to shape federal policy for Aboriginal Title territories and historic Treaty territories, indeed all Indigenous Peoples.
        Conclusion
        So, as I’ve stated before, the Trudeau government is developing a 'Canadian Definition' of UNDRIP to re-colonize Indigenous Peoples with racist, colonial laws and termination policies.
        The Trudeau government rarely, if ever, mentions 'lands, territories & resources' and federal land claims & self-government policies are written to help the provinces clear Aboriginal Title and Rights by getting bands to consent to agreements that place Federal & Provincial jurisdiction over Indigenous Peoples.
        Under Canadian law Indigenous Peoples not only have the burden of proof on them, but section 35 Aboriginal & Treaty rights can be justifiably infringed for development deemed a priority by the Crown, such as Site C Dam in British Columbia and the Kinder-Morgan Pipeline.
        The Trudeau government’s Bill C-69: An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, reinforces the distinction between Indian Act bands and those groups negotiating and/or implementing self-government or comprehensive claims (Modern Treaty) agreements.
        It should be noted that Bill C-69 was vetted and released by the federal Working -Group on Law and Policy and the narrow definitions of Indigenous rights and jurisdiction in Bill C-69 reflect what is coming in the federal Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework.
        In addition, past experience shows us that Security & Intelligence Agencies are Monitoring & Developing Individual Profiles of Indigenous Peoples for Future Action.
        In conclusion, Indigenous Grassroots Peoples and the remaining honest, sincere Indigenous Chiefs/Leaders had better critically analyze the federal government’s rhetoric, policy, legislation and actions before it’s too late! In my review of the current legislative and policy situation, we are at a critical time in our history where Indigenous peoples will need to make some important decisions in a very short period of time on our collective futures, if we want to retain lands/rights that are inherently ours and left for us to look after.
        First and foremost, peoples and leaders of Aboriginal Title territories and historic Treaty Nations can call out the federal government on these unlawful interferences; as they interfere with their Creator-granted exercise of sovereignty and ownership of the lands. Just as important as the Aboriginal Title Nations the historic Treaty Nations, including Treaties 1-11 lands must remain intact and remain free from interferences such as land designations. Nations cannot claim to be such without the lands. These lands are to be protected for the unborn, our heirs and whose interests supersede the present.
        The warnings I have been giving for several decades now is coming to a head. Look at the facts and the evidence.
        I can only hope my analysis, which is based upon decades of experience, is shared and acted upon."
        (Diabo's economic analysis is taken from a longer consideration a wide range of aspects the Trudeau government's policies in his article, "Our Right of Indigenous Self-Determination is Being Hijacked by
Trudeau: Recognition & Implementation of Rights Framework").

        James Wilt, "Implementing UNDRIP is a Big Deal for Canada. Here’s What You Need to Know," First Nations Strategic Bulletin, November-December 2017, December 12, 2017, commented, "First opposed, then endorsed. It’s now pledged, but called 'unworkable.'
        In Canada the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is not ratified, nor from a legal perspective even really understood."
        "Yet onlookers say the declaration’s implementation is now hung on
an NDP private member’s bill in the House of Commons and while there is broad support for its implementation, the actual meaning of UNDRIP for Canada is unclear and, as a technically non-binding document, may mean less than many think it should.
        Interpretation of UNDRIP Strongly Contested
        This past week the private member’s bill C-262 — first tabled by NDP MP Romeo Saganash back in April 2016 — was debated following its second reading in the House of Commons.
        The bill requires the federal government to “take all measures necessary to en- sure that the laws of Canada are consistent” with UNDRIP and develop a national action plan to do so in “consultation and cooperation” with Indigenous peoples.
        The concise bill received full support from the federal Liberals only two weeks prior to the second reading. That catapulted it very much into the realmof possibility.
        Yet the actual interpretation of UNDRIP is strongly contested.
        The declaration itself is a document that lays out the basic rights Indigenous peo- ples that should be afforded around the world. It outlines specific obligations on the part of nations in how they relate to Indigenous peoples and their land, and contains some clauses that fly in the face of Canada’s historic treatment of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.
        The federal Liberals have seemingly contradicted themselves on multiple occasions about what UNDRIP means while some Indigenous scholars have an altogether different take on what the declaration truly means for Indigenous sovereignty and nationhood. "
        Chief David Jimmie, Squiala First Nation, President, Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe, and President, Sto:lo Nation Chiefs Council is among the leader of First Nations opposing the federal government’s decision to buy the $4.5 billion Trans Mountain pipeline and participating in the court case challenging the Order in Council approval of the project on the grounds that First Nation communities were not adequately consulted and accommodated. Jimmie complained in a public letter, June 14, 2018, that ,"Neither the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe nor the Sto:lo Nation Chiefs’ Council were invited to attend the meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 5, 2018." The meeting apparently involved the prime minister discussing the Pipeline project with First Nation leaders who were more favorable to it. Jimmie commented, "The federal government’s decision to buy the $4.5 billion Trans Mountain pipeline goes against the promises made with respect to reconciliation in Canada with Aboriginal peoples. The federal government has a duty to adequately consult with First Nations when rights and title will be impacted. The decision to spend $4.5 billion on a pipeline project in Canada impacts our rights and title because it changes the controlling body of the project and makes it more likely that the project will be built. The purchase decision triggered the duty to consult and accommodate, but there was absolutely no engagement with any of our communities with respect to that decision." The letter was published in The Chilliwack Progress, "Surprise pipeline meeting disappoints Indigenous leader: Local leaders were neither told nor invited to the meeting with the prime minister, writer says." June 14, 2018, https://www.theprogress.com/letters/surprise-pipeline-meeting-disappoints-indigenous-leader/).

        Andrew Crosby and Jeffrey Monaghan, "RCMP files say “violent aboriginal extremists” are undermining pipeline plans: RCMP files say 'violent aboriginal extremists' are undermining pipeline plans," Vice News, May 4, 2018, "While dominant media and political pundits continue to describe the conflict over Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline as a 'constitutional crisis,' some commentators have acknowledged that the real constitutional crisis involves the lack of Indigenous consent, with Indigenous activists declaring that they will prevent the pipeline from being built. Yet, the Trudeau government’s response to that constitutional crisis has been to criminalize opponents of the pipeline. Similar to how the energy policies of the Liberal government remain almost identical to the days when Stephen Harper’s Conservatives boasted of creating an 'energy superpower,' current policing practices also involve widespread surveillance and criminalization of Indigenous activists."

        Andrew Kurjata, "Historic B.C. treaty vote could transform future of Lheidli T'enneh First Nation: Self-governance, millions of dollars, over 43 square kilometers of land on table," CBC News, June 16, 2018, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/lheidli-tenneh-treaty-final-vote-1.4706551, reported, "The Lheidli T'enneh First Nation has roughly 600 members, most living in and around Prince George, B.C. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)
        Voting is underway to determine the fate of a groundbreaking treaty in north-central British Columbia, 11 years after it was first rejected by members of the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation.
        At stake is more than 43 square kilometres of land in and around Prince George, millions of dollars and the nature of the Lheidli T'enneh's relationship with the federal and provincial governments.
        It's largely the same document that was defeated by a vote of 123 to 111 by the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation in 2007, fizzling hopes it would be the first of many agreements adopted under the B.C. Treaty Commission.
        To date, only four treaties have reached the implementation stage."
        Some of those favoring the proposed treaty emphasize that it provides the Lheidli T'enneh a constitution that allows the Nation to tax, and takes it out from under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Indian Act. Some opponents argue that in current conditions the Nation is entitled to as much as 15,000 square kilometers, much more than the treaty would provide.

        "Gitanyow hereditary chiefs appeal moose decision," Smithers Interior News, May 9, 2018, https://www.interior-news.com/news/gitanyow-hereditary-chiefs-appeal-moose-decision/amp/?__twitter_impression=true, reported, "The Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs have filed an appeal of Gamlaxyeltxw v. Her Majesty the Queen (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations) a BC Supreme Court decision that significantly impacts aboriginal hunting rights of not only the Gitanyow, but any First Nation in BC whose neighbouring First Nations have or will be signing a modern treaty with overlapping territory."
        The decision states that the rights of First Nations with treaties are superior to the rights of nations without treaties. The case involves the 65% decline in the Moose population in overlapping territory of the Nisga’ First Nation and the Gitanyow foirst nation since the Nisga treaty went into effect in 1999. The Nigsa have stated that their allowable moose harvest was set too high after the treaty was signed, leading to the reduction in Moose population.

        Keith Mcneill, "Simpcw troubled by Lheidli T’enneh Treaty process: Traditional territories of bands from North Thompson: and Prince George have considerable overlap, Clearwater Times, May. 8, 2018, https://www.clearwatertimes.com/news/simpcw-troubled-by-lheidli-tenneh-treaty-process/, reported, "Simpcw First Nation states in a media release that it is troubled that the governments of Canada, the Province and Lheidli T’enneh (formerly Fort George Indian Band) held a ceremony to initial a treaty on May 5.
        A vote to ratify the treaty is to take place in June.
        The proposed Lheidli T’enneh Treaty would include a considerable amount of territory in the Valemount area that the Simpcw consider theirs.
        'Canada, the province and Lheidli T’enneh must address our concerns before proceeding with this treaty. Simpcw must be able to rely upon our lands and resources, and must be able to exercise our right to make decisions that protect our lands and resources for this and future generations,' said Simpcw Chief Nathan Matthew.
According to a media release that came out May 8, the treaty encroaches on Simpcwul’ecw, the Simpcw’s ancestral lands."

        In Canada, the Haida are assisting reviving their language with the first Haida language film, Edge of a Knife (Catherine Porter," A Language Nearly Lost Is Revised in a Script," The New York Times, June 12, 2017).
        "Environmental Defender Guadalupe Campanur Tapia Murdered In Mexico," Cultural Survival, February 16, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/environmental-defender-guadalupe-campanur-tapia-murdered-mexico, reported, "Cultural Survival condemns the murder of the Purépecha environmental activist Guadalupe Campanur Tapia, whose body was found on January 16, 2018 in the municipality of Checrán, Michocán, Mexico. She was strangled to death by two unidentified killers. Investigators have not indicated that Campanur’s death was due to her activism, but they have not ruled it out either.
        Threats of violence and violent acts against Indigenous human rights and environmental defenders, particularly women, is an increasingly widespread problem. Frontline Defenders reported that in 2017 they received reports on the murder of 312 defenders in 27 countries.
        67% of the total number of activists killed, were defending land, environmental and Indigenous peoples’ rights, nearly always in the context of mega projects, extractive industry and big business.
        84% of murdered defenders received at least one targeted death threat prior to their killing.
        Femicides, sadly common in the Mexico, have ended the life of a talented and passionate woman: a defender for women’s rights, Indigenous Peoples, and the environment. Campanur’s work earned her the admiration and respect from many in her Purépecha community, but she posed a threat to others.
        Campanur died at a young age of 32 years old, leaving a legacy of courageous work that will continue to inspire her generation and future generations. In April 2011, she was among Indigenous leaders of Cherán, who rung the bell calling on people to defend their forests against against illegal and merciless logging. Organized crime groups had been operating in the area destroying the municipality’s natural resources with the aid of the corrupt local officials. Campanur was the only female member of the founding team of the Forest Rangers of Cherán, a community initiative that held community patrols in defense of the life in the forest. Her fellow rangers praised her bravery and dedication.
        In the midst of the struggle to defend their lands and resources, the community of Cherán decided to claim their rights as Indigenous Peoples in self-government by electing representatives directly and independently from the costly and corrupt conventional elections, expelling politicians, policies and other state and organized crime authorities involved in corruption from their territory. Campanur contributed to creating one of the best functioning examples of self-government in Mexico. These changes also successfully reduced violence in the area, with the last murder occurring in 2012.
        Friends of Campanur reported that she had stopped patrolling the forests, but remained involved in the reconstruction of Cherán’s communal territory and culture as well as social work. Campanur became a member of the community's Concejo Mayor or “Great Council” which aims regulate and aid public life. Her work for seniors, children, and workers made her an icon in her community.
        The Attorney General of the State of Michoacán has announced that a investigation is in process in coordination with the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders through the Secretariat of State Government."

        Diego Lopez "Armed Group Attacks Caravan Of Indigenous Presidential Candidate In Michoacán, Mexico," Cultural Survival, January 26, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/armed-group-attacks-caravan-indigenous-presidential-candidate-michoacan-mexico, reported, "On January 21, 2018, The National Indigenous Congress released a report via Twitter that a group of heavily armed men in two vans intercepted the caravan of aspiring Mexican Indigenous presidential candidate, María de Jesús Patricio Martínez (Nahua), also known as Marichuy, in the state of Michoacán. The report stated that the group intercepted the caravan between Tepalcatepec and Buenavista and threatened the journalists traveling with the candidate before stealing their cellular phones and camera equipment. Patricio was on a tour of Michoacán and was en route to visit the community of Santa María Ostula, located in the municipality of Aquila, which is frequently targeted by organized crime groups. According to the report, all members of her team arrived safely. Before the attack, Patricio had stated that while she and her team had not been personally threatened, intimidation to give up their rights is something Indigenous leaders, environmental, and human rights defenders often face.
        Threats of violence and violent acts against Indigenous human rights and environmental defenders, particularly women, is an increasingly widespread problem. Frontline Defenders reported that in 2017 they received reports on the murder of 312 defenders in 27 countries.
67% of the total number of activists killed, were defending land, environmental and Indigenous peoples’ rights, nearly always in the context of mega projects, extractive industry and big business.
84% of murdered defenders received at least one targeted death threat prior to their killing.
        Patricio has become well known in Mexico for her role as the first Indigenous woman to run for president. Her campaign is seeking to represent Mexico’s most marginalized communities, where corporations, such as mines, often exploit the land they inhabit and repress their communities. In Patricio’s words, “All these problems motivate me to take on this great responsibility to participate; it’s the reason that Indigenous communities look to me...At first I was afraid because it’s something very big and I thought maybe I will not be able to do it, but then I saw that it was a task that had been entrusted to me by the community.”
        Patricio has had a lifelong career in activism for her community with accomplishments that include being elected as a representative of Tuxpan, as well as being a traditional healer, for which she has been awarded for her efforts to preserve her people’s traditional knowledge and culture. She aims to keep inspiring others by spreading her message that “It is the time of the people. It is time that women participate in their communities, they are the ones that give life by having children and taking care of them...It is very important that we walk together, because that’s the way the Indigenous communities are; they are not just men, it’s all of us.”
        Patricio plans to finish her tour of the state in the coming days."

        A series of law suits in Mexico recently ruled in favor of Huichol people in more than a century old a conflict with ranchers over farm land in central Sierra Madre. However, in September, court officials failed to attend a scheduled meeting to complete returning the land, so Huichol families set up camps awaiting the completion of the legal process ("Mexico: Courts Fail to Sign Over Land to Huichol People," Cultural Survival Quarterly, December 2017).
        "Seven Human Rights Defenders In Guatemala Killed In The Last Month," Cultural Survival, June 13, 2018, In the past weeks, three human rights defenders from the Campesino Development Committee have been killed, totaling seven fatal attacks on human rights defenders in Guatemala over the past four weeks.
        CODECA (by its Spanish acronym) is an Indigenous-led grassroots human rights organization that fights for Indigenous and campesino rights in Guatemala. Its main goals include improving working and living conditions of the rural poor, fighting against exploitative energy companies and engaging in political advocacy.
         On June 8, 2018, Francisco Munguia was found hacked to death by machete in the Jalapa region in eastern Guatemala. Munguia, a member of the marginalized Indigenous Xinca nation in Guatemala, was the community vice president of CODECA in the village of Divisadero Xalapan Jalapa.
         This comes four days after Florencio Pérez Nájer and Alejandro Hernández García, were found dead by machete attack on June 4, 2018. As human rights defenders for CODECA, they mainly advocated for farmers’ labor rights, land reform and the nationalization of electric energy.
        Last month, the regional director of CODECA, Luis Arturo Marroquín, also Xinca, was fatally shot on May 9, 2018 in San Luis Jilotepeque central square when he was on his way to a training of Indigenous women. This came only a week after president Jimmy Morales made a speech that publicly defamed CODECA, which CODECA leaders believe “strengthen[ed] hatred and resentment" towards their organization.
        In response to the murder of their colleagues, CODECA issued a press release, saying 'While the murder of our friends hurts us dearly, it will never intimidate us. We will fight harder and more united to reach our goals and those of our deceased defenders and friends.'
          In a speech from the community cemetery in Xinca territory of Xalapán, Thelma Cabrera Perez, National Director of CODECA, declared, “What we demand is the defense of our rights and to live a dignified life [and] when we organize ourselves to defend our rights, that is when we are persecuted.”
        In addition to the murders of these CODECA members, three other Indigenous Q’eqchi human rights defenders have been murdered this month; Ramon Choc Sacrab, José Can Xol and Mateo Chamám Paau from the Campesino Committee of the Highlands (Comité Campesino del Altiplano, CCDA). Attacks on human rights defenders has been on the rise in Guatemala, as UDEFEGUA reported 493 attacks against human rights defenders in Guatemala in 2017. This is happening in the context of government attempts to criminalize and defame human rights organizations such as CODECA.
          Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples condemned these murders in an op-ed in the Washington Post last week, calling them evidence of institutionalized racism against Guatemala’s Indigenous Peoples. The UN has also called out Guatemala in the past for its criminalization and imprisonment of human rights defenders. Guatemala has received 17 recommendations from UN member states through the Universal Periodic Review system to combat this wave of violence; for example,
          In 2012, Australia recommended Guatemala to: “Ensure effective and independent investigations into all reports of extrajudicial executions and ensure that reports of killings, threats, attacks and acts of intimidation against human rights defenders and journalists are thoroughly and promptly investigated and those responsible brought to justice."
          Often times, murders of Indigenous activists are not featured in mainstream news or media outlets, despite Indigenous activists constituting 40 percent of environmental activists murdered worldwide last year.
         On June 12, 2018, CODECA supporters marched in protest to Guatemala City to 'demand justice for the murder of their colleagues” and call for the resignation of president Jimmy Morales. They demand a fair investigation into the murders of those killed.
          CODECA tweeted, 'From the fields to the city, our southern contingency at the Trébol begins to organize. We demand justice for the assassination of our defenders; we demand the resignation of Jimmy Morales, his inept cabinet, and corrupt congressmen.'
        CODECA is one of Cultural Survival’s grant partners for the community media grants project, through which it receives support for its radio programs on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, decolonization, and the establishment of a plurinational democratic nation.
          Cultural Survival stands in solidarity with CODECA and firmly condemns these murders of Indigenous human rights defenders. We call for an immediate investigation into the pattern of violence against human rights defenders in Guatemala, in line with international human rights recommendations."

        "Indigenous Peoples And Human Rights Organizations Denounce Arrest Of Q'eqchi Leader María Cuc Choc," Cultural Survival, January 18, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/indigenous-peoples-and-human-rights-organizations-denounce-arrest-qeqchi-leader-maria-cuc-choc, reported, "On the afternoon of January 17, 2018, Guatemalan police arrested Q’eqchi Maya community leader and land rights activist María Cuc Choc. Cuc Choc has been involved in the defense of Mother Earth and the territory of the Q'eqchi Maya People of the department of ​​Izabal, Guatemala.
        According to Cuc Choc’s sister, Angélica Cuc Choc, the leader was detained by agents of the National Civil Police as she left a court hearing in Puerto Barrios, Izabál, where she was serving as a translator for the Rubel Pek community of El Estor, Izabal. 'She had no knowledge of an arrest warrant against her,' Angélica Cuc Choc says.
        The National Network of Human Rights Defenders of Guatemala says in a statement that Cuc Choc is accused of the crimes of aggravated assault, threats, and illegal detention. Angélica Cuc Choc reports that a hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, January 19, at 10:30am in court in Puerto Barrios. Lawyers from the Toriello Foundation are providing Cuc Choc’s legal defense.
        According to Prensa Comunitaria, an independent community media organization, various community members in Livingston, Izabál, have had complaints brought against them by LISBAL company, the supposed owner of the Isabel Farm. The legal representative of the company is Ángel Alvarado Cruz. Moreover, the public prosecutor Gilberto Bernal Oliva and the judge Edgar Aníbal Arteaga López were in charge of requesting the arrest warrants for María Cuc Choc, Luis Xol Caal, and Antonio Asp Pop.
        María Cuc Choc is the youngest of six siblings and from an early age has supported the Q'eqchi People’s plight to recover their ancestral lands in Polochic, El Estor, and Livingston. She and other community leaders have filed complaints and lawsuits against the Guatemalan Nickel Company in Izabal for mining activities and for this they have faced persecution by the company and the government.
        For Cuc Choc’s family, it was very upsetting to receive the news of the arrest. “However, it does not mean that we lower our guard. We will continue working to defend our territory, Mother Earth, and our rights,” says Angélica Cuc Choc. 'We hope they release her tomorrow so she can return home to be with her four children, because she has not committed any crime. Her only crime is defending Indigenous lands and Mother Earth.'
        Daniel Pascual, leader of the organization Campesino Unity Committee, adds that these illegal arrests are the follow-up to displacements of Maya communities in the northern part of the country in 2017. The arrests are carried out in order to intimidate leaders for their work to reclaim Maya Q’eqchi’ lands and territories.
        Local communities and organizations are condemning this arrest, which serves as yet another example of the Guatemalan government criminalizing those who work to defend human rights and Indigenous Peoples’ collective rights. These groups demand justice and Cuc Choc’s quick release.
        Dalee Sambo Dorough (Inuit), a legal expert who has served as an expert member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for 2016 and 2017 and as a member of the International Law Association Committee on Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, comments, “It is extremely unfortunate that Indigenous Peoples are criminalized for the defense of their land rights and the rights to their territories in a way that no other peoples are criminalized for such actions. When individuals demand respect for and recognition of their “property rights,” they are not persecuted or criminalized in the same way [as] Indigenous Peoples [who] stand up for their right to their lands and their territories and their resources.=”
          "In 2012, Maria Cuc Choc visited Canada to speak about injustices Indigenous communities have experienced related to Canadian mining operations." Watch the video at: .

        "Honduras Police Arrest Executive in Killing of Berta Cáceres, Indigenous Activist," The New York Times, March 3, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/03/world/americas/honduras-berta-caceres.html, reported, "The Honduran police have arrested a high-ranking executive with a hydroelectric company in connection with the 2016 killing of an activist who led a decade-long fight against a dam project, saying that he had helped to plan the crime.
        The executive, Roberto David Castillo Mejia, was executive president of the Honduran company that is building the dam, Desarrollos Energéticos S.A., or Desa, at the time the activist, Berta Cáceres, was shot and killed.
        Mr. Castillo was arrested on Friday at an airport in San Pedro Sula, in northern Honduras, as he was about to fly to Houston, news reports said, citing the prosecutor’s office. The Public Ministry said Mr. Castillo was “the person in charge of providing logistics and other resources to one of the material authors already being prosecuted for the crime,” according to Reuters."
        Laura Hobson Herlihy, "Yatama Vindicated by Nicaraguan Protests," Cultural Survival, April 27, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/yatama-vindicated-nicaraguan-protests, reported, "The Miskitu Yatama (Yapti Tasba Masraka Nanih Aslatakanka/Children of the Mother Earth) organization remained silent during last week’s violent protests in Nicaragua, ignited by the government’s April 16, 2018 approval of social security reforms. Many Miskitu people on the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast claimed the Instituto Nicaragüense de Seguridad Social (INSS) reform was not their fight, as Miskitu fisherman and lobster divers were excluded from the national system of social security and would not retire with pensions. Yet, they were supportive of the larger issue of the protests -- the end of the Ortega dictatorship.
        The Yatama Youth Organization released a statement on April 25, 2018, a week after the protests began, affirming their solidarity with the Nicaraguan university students now calling for President Ortega to step down. That evening by phone, the long-term Yatama Director and Nicaraguan congressman Brooklyn Rivera framed Yatama’s fight solely within the framework of Indigenous rights. Rivera stated, 'We are still fighting for the same rights we have always fought for.' The Miskitu leader mentioned their right to saneamiento (the removal of mestizo colonists from Indian lands), as stipulated by Nicaraguan law 445; elections by ley consuetudinaria (customary law) in the autonomous regions, as ruled by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; and fortification of the autonomy process (law 28).
        Like an elderly statesman, Brooklyn Rivera sounded hopeful that he could use his position as an opposition congressman in the National Assembly to advance Indigenous rights during the up-coming dialogue for peace with Ortega’s Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) government, to be mediated this Sunday by the Catholic Church and headed by Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes. The interviewer suggested that Yatama is well-positioned as an opposition party to the FSLN in the up-coming regional elections in November 2018. Rivera insisted, 'Yatama will not enter any elections if there is not electoral reform first.'
        Fraudulent Elections: A History of Violence
        Yatama broke their alliance (2006-2014) with the Sandinistas, partially due to alleged electoral fraud during the 2014 regional elections. Indeed, Yatama claimed the FSLN stole the last three elections--the 2014 regional, the 2016 general, and the 2017 municipal elections. After each election, Yatama held peaceful marches but were met with force and attacked by the police, antimotines (riot police) sent from Managua, and the Juventud Sandinista (armed Sandinista youth gangs).
        In the 2017 municipal elections, Yatama lost control of its remaining municipalities in the North (RACN) and South (RACS) Caribbean Autonomous Regions. Violence erupted in three towns along the coast. In Bilwi, the capital of the RACN, the police and riot police (antimotines) stood by watching as paramilitary Sandinista turbas (youth gangs) burned Yatama headquarters and radio Yapti Tasba to the ground, toppled the Indian statue in the town center, subverted the green Yatama flag with a black and red FSLN flag, and attempted to shoot Yatama leader Brooklyn Rivera, who escaped.
        Police arrested one-hundred Yatama members and detained them in jail for more than a month. Like the university students recently persecuted by the FSLN in Managua, Yatama peaceful protestors were called ‘delincuentes’ and accused of looting stores and setting fires to public property. The state criminalized both groups of protestors--Yatama sympathizers and university students-- to justify using force against them. Similarly, the state attacked, detained, disappeared, and murdered university students last week in Nicaragua. Captured and shared through social media, the vivid videos of government repression served to vindicate, support, and liberate the formerly criminalized Yatama protestors.
        Yatama Reaction to Protests
        Yatama members remained glued to their smart phones and social media all week, watching university students fight and broader society organize massive protest marches in Managua. They replayed the video up-loads of the fall of Chayopalos, the metal trees of life placed across the capital that have come to symbolize the First Lady/Vice President Rosario Murillo’s overreaching power and the government’s wasteful spending of scarce resources. Like a dream come true, they envisioned the Ortega-Murillos stepping down from power.  
        Rivera was busy fighting for Indigenous and Afro-descendant rights at the 2018 United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues in New York, when the protests began in Nicaragua. He commented in retrospect, “I was not surprised by the protests. The Nicaraguan people are tired of the Ortega regime.”

        Diego Lopez "Nasa Journalist Eider Campo Hurtado Killed In Colombia," Cultural Survival, March 09, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/nasa-journalist-eider-campo-hurtado-killed-colombia, reported, "On March 5, 2018, La Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia (ONIC) condemned the death of a young Nasa journalist Eider Campo Hurtado after his murder the previous night in the Pioyá Reservation in the Cauca department.
        The Consejo Regional Indigena del Cauca or Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca, released a statement saying 'at approximately midnight on March 5th, four men heavily armed with long-range weapons and grenades made a raid on the house in the Indigenous community of Pioyá in Caldono, Cauca. They entered the first floor of the two-story house, intimidated and subdued the few guards (2 or 3)... and took a prisoner ...on the second floor of the house.' An Indigenous guard attempted to rescue him and fired upon the attackers, but Hurtado was killed in the ensuing fight. ONIC later reported that one of the murderers had a criminal record and had previously been threatening the Indigenous people in Pioyá.
        These events happened shortly followed the death of Efigenia Vásquez Astudillo, another Indigenous journalist who was recently murdered in Cauca. Astudillo was killed during an eviction in the territory of the Kokonuko People on October 8, 2017.
        Indigenous activists are calling on international organizations, the government, and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to address these acts of violence that are putting a risk to Indigenous journalism and freedom of expression. The community of Pioyá has since gathered in demonstration against this violence.
        The perpetrators, who have connections to the FARC, were later captured and charged with Hurtado’s murder. They are awaiting a hearing on the by the Indigenous government, which have the right to prosecute these men on their land.
        Since the murder, the group Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP) translated as Foundation for Freedom of the Press, which monitors the right to free press in the country, has announced that they will investigate the incident.
        Source: Article in Spanish: https://www.telesurtv.net/news/Asesinan-en-Colombia-a-comunicador-indigena-Eider-Hurtado-20180305-0022.htm

        The Supreme Court of Columbia ruled, in April 2018, that the Amazon region is a legal entity with its own rights to "legal protection, preservation, faineance and restoration," requiring the government to make significant improvements in how it protects the rainforest, specifically concerning deforestation and climate change ("Colombia: Supreme Court Rules for Protection of Amazon Region," Cultural Survival Quarterly, June 2018).

        Kirk Semple, "AIDS Runs Rampant in Venezuela, Putting an Ancient Culture at Risk: The disease threatens an entire indigenous population, the Warao people of the Orinoco Delta, as government programs collapse," The New York Times, May 7, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/07/world/americas/aids-venezuela-indigenous-people-threatened.html, "In recent years, amid profound shortages of medicine coupled with widespread ignorance, H.I.V. has spread rapidly throughout the Orinoco Delta and is believed to have killed hundreds of the Warao indigenous people who live in settlements like Jobure de Guayo along the serpentine channels winding through this swampy, forested landscape.
        Even under the best of circumstances, it might be difficult to control the disease’s spread in such an isolated and deprived area. But the government has ignored the issue, medical specialists and Warao community leaders say, leaving the population to face a profound existential threat alone. Already, deaths and the flight of survivors have gutted at least one village.
        Dr. Jacobus de Waard, an expert on infectious diseases at the Central University of Venezuela, who has worked and traveled among the Warao for years, said that nothing less than the future of the ancient culture was at stake."

        "Uncontacted'Colu tribes’ rights recognized in Peru's historic land pledge," Survival International, April 5, 2018, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11949, reported, "Peru is to create two Amazonian reserves for the protection of uncontacted tribes , covering more than 2.5 million hectares. At least seven distinct groups of uncontacted tribes, including Matsés Indians, are known to be living in the areas comprising the new Yavari Tapiche and Yavari Mirin reserves in Peru’s NE Amazon state of Loreto.
        The remote region has been under intense pressure from oil exploration, logging and a proposed road that could wreak devastation on the tribes. Those wishing to exploit the area’s natural resources have long denied the existence of tribes living in these forests, whose presence would obstruct their plans.
        However, the Peruvian government has not ruled out further oil exploration and has taken over two oil concessions inside the new Yavari Tapiche and Yavari Mirin Reserves. Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples, and the only organization fighting worldwide to stop the extermination of uncontacted tribes, has written to the government, along with thousands of supporters, calling for a total ban on all resource extraction in the reserves and for the two existing oil blocks to be canceled.
        The reserves are crucial to the future survival of the uncontacted tribes, who face catastrophe unless their land is protected. Whole populations are being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and by diseases like the flu and measles to which they have no resistance. Entire groups can be rapidly decimated.
        A Matsés man told Survival International: 'Life before contact was incredible. Our uncontacted brothers still live in the forest. They live like we did before. Because the uncontacted people are out there, we want the government to protect the land.'
        Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said: 'Though we welcome the creation of the Yavari Tapiche and Yavari Mirin Reserves, the Peruvian government’s refusal to ban all resource extraction is a serious concern. Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. They’re our contemporaries and a vitally important part of humankind’s diversity.'
        The creation of the two new protected areas in Peru follows years of intense campaigning by indigenous peoples and their supporters. However, three more proposed reserves are still awaiting formation. The longer the government delays the creation of protected areas, the greater the threat to the tribes who live there.
        Background Information:
        - Uncontacted tribes are tribal peoples who have no peaceful contact with anyone in the mainstream or dominant society. These could be entire peoples or smaller groups of already contacted tribes.
        - Some may have been in touch with the colonist society in the past, and then retreated from the violence which that brought. Some may once have been part of larger tribal groups, and split off and moved away, fleeing contact.
        - Uncontacted tribes are not backward and primitive relics of a remote past. They are contemporary societies and where their rights are respected, they continue to thrive."

        "Peru passes law approving Amazonian 'death roads',” Survival International, January 25, 2018, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11915, reported, "Peru has approved a law that could devastate several uncontacted Amazon tribes.
        The law declares 'in the national interest' the construction of roads in the remote Ucayali region that borders Peru and Brazil.
        The area lies inside the Uncontacted Frontier, home of the highest concentration of uncontacted tribes on Earth.
        Several illegal roads that cut through uncontacted Indians’ lands have already been opened up. Thousands of illegal gold miners operate in the region, and have polluted dozens of rivers with mercury.
        Uncontacted tribes face catastrophe unless their land is protected. They have the right to their land under Peruvian and international law.
        Road building in the Amazon almost always leads to a devastating influx of settlers, loggers and ranchers.
        Pope Francis, speaking from the region just days before the road law was passed, said: 'Never before has there been a greater threat to indigenous peoples’ lands.
        We must break with the historical paradigm that sees the Amazon as an inexhaustible resource for other countries, without taking into account its inhabitants.'
        Survival is calling on the Peruvian government to scrap road building plans inside the Uncontacted Frontier."

        "Indigenous Leader Patricia Gualinga Of Sarayaku Receives Death Threats," Cultural Survival, January 24, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/indigenous-leader-patricia-gualinga-sarayaku-receives-death-threats, reported, Patricia Gualinga Montalvo, Indigenous Kichwa leader and lifelong defender of the Amazon rainforest in her community of Sarayaku, Ecuador, received death threats and her home was attacked in Puyo, Ecuador, on directed at Patricia. Local and national justice systems have yet to investigate the event, leaving the attackers unknown and unaccountable for their actions. Cultural Survival, along with a coalition of organizations led by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) and Amazon Watch will plan to send a letter to Ecuadorian authorities to demand action. A coalition of Indigenous women leaders in the Amazon region have published a press release on the attacks against Gualinga. Representing various organizations form the Indigenous Nations of the Kichwa, Waorani, Achuar, Shuar, Shiwiar, and Sapara expressed their concern for the situation facing many Indigenous communities trying to protect their land. They cited that the Ecuadorian government had promised to halt oil and mining deals in Indigenous lands, but they had only given this protection to certain zones, while others remained at risk of environmental destruction – including many communities who had outwardly expressed their disapproval of these measures. “For this reason, we Amazonian women once more express our rejection. We demand that the state and its respective petitions guarantee the well-being of, and take measures to protect, the women who are defenders of nature and life.”         
        Threats of violence and violent acts against Indigenous human rights and environmental defenders, particularly women, is an increasingly widespread problem. In many cases, community activists have been killed without any investigation into their deaths, as was the case for Bosco Wisum, José Tendentza, and Freddy Taish in Ecuador.  
        Frontline Defenders reported that in 2017 they received reports on the murder of 312 defenders in 27 countries.  
        67% of the total number of activists killed, were defending land, environmental and Indigenous peoples’ rights, nearly always in the context of mega projects, extractive industry and big business.
        84% of murdered defenders received at least one targeted death threat prior to their killing.

         The Cultural Survival team met Patricia Gualinga at New York’s People’s Climate March in 2014, where our Indigenous Rights Radio producer Rosy Gonzalez interviewed her on her work as a human rights and environmental defender. Patricia shared, “I believe it is very important that Indigenous Peoples are united [at this march for the climate] as well as united with people are conscious about climate change. We are here because we are the ones who are living in these areas with pristine, conserved forests, and they need to continue to be conserved for the wellbeing of humanity. That is the message that we have to send... What we are suffering from are the concessions being made by governments for extractive industries like petroleum. But we are fighting them. We are stopping companies from entering our territories and removing their operations that currently exist when possible… We want to keep fighting and crying out to the world that these environments need to be conserved. They need to be protected, and it is a responsibility not just of Indigenous Peoples but of the entire world. I fight for this from my place in the world, and you need to help us fight from your place in the world.'"

          "For more background on the attack against Patricia and demands by international environmental and human rights organizations see the following statements and urgent actions by: Amazon Watch, Frontline Defenders at: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/patricia-gualinga-attacked-received-death-threats and Amnesty International at: https://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent-actions/urgent-action-victory-indigenous-defender-no-longer-under-threat-ecuador-ua-8-18/."
        The President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, agreed, on December 11, 2017, to the ending of the granting of new mining concessions in Indigenous lands, and to reinstate the Indigenous bilingual education program, at the end of an Indigenous march of 200 miles, in two weeks, to the capital of Quito ("Ecuador: President Commits to No New Mining Concessions on Indigenous Lands," Survival International Quarterly, January 2018).

        "Breaking: Indigenous Shipibo Traditional Healer Assassinated In Peruvian Amazon," Ciultural Survival, April 20, 2018, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/breaking-indigenous-shipibo-traditional-healer-assassinated-peruvian-amazon, reported, "A traditional healer and elder Olivia Arévalo Lomas of the Shipibo Konibo Indigenous people of Peru was assassinated yesterday with five shots to the heart. The unknown assailants killed her in her home in the community of Victoria Gracia located 20 minutes from the town of Yarinacocha, in front of her family and in the presence of children.
        Cultural Survival joins FECONAU and COSHICOX, the highest authority of the Shipibo people, in strongly condemning these this bloodshed that is mourned by her family and the Shipibo people as a whole.
        FECONAU and COSHICOX call for national and international solidarity in calling on the Peruvian state to bring those responsible to justice, and to provide guarantees for the safety of two other Indigenous leaders of the Shipibo Konibo people who today face death threats and harassment.
        Video: Press Conference with COSHICOX, live at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples Issues in New York, interviewed by Indigenous K'iche communicator Avexnim Cojtí of Cultural Survival can be accesedat: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/breaking-indigenous-shipibo-traditional-healer-assassinated-peruvian-amazon.
        Read the COSHICOX press release in Spanish, at: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/es/news/comunicado-de-prensa-asesinan-lider-indigena-shipibo-olivia-arevalo-lomas-de-peru.
        In addition to the attach on Lomas, the following written death threat against another Shipibo female healer reads: "Señora y Sr Magdalena Florez Agustín, Bernardo Murayari Ochavano You have 48 hours to flee. One bullet for each of you and if you don't do as told there will be the consequence that more bullets will rain down on you"

        The government of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, in August 2017, was supporting the use of Indigenous languages in radio and television broadcasting, and in providing services in areas where Indigenous languages are predominantly spoken (Peru: Government Support for Indigenous Languages," Cultural Survival Quarterly, December 2017).
        "The government of Brazil announced, in January 2018, that it would no longer build the hydroelectric dams in the Amazon that have been damaging the environment, while displacing and destroying the way of life of Indigenous peoples. However, the expansion of extraction and agro-business into Indigenous territory and conservation areas was continuing ("Brazil: Government Announces End to Mega-Dam Building Policy," Survival International Quarterly, January 2018).

        A Brazilian federal court ruled unanimously, in December 2017, to revoke the mining permit of the Canadian owned Belo Sun to mine gold on the banks of the Xingu River, because the firm had failed to show in its environmental impact statement how the operation would impact the Juruna ("Brazil: Court Revokes License for the Belo Sun Mine," Survival International Quarterly, January 2018).


        "'Guardians of the Amazon' seize illegal loggers to protect uncontacted tribe," Survival International, May 22, 2018, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11961, reported, "Members of an Amazon tribe patrolling their rainforest reserve to protect uncontacted relatives from illegal loggers have seized a notorious logging gang, burned their truck, and expelled them from the jungle.
        The Guardians of the Amazon are from the Guajajara tribe: 'We patrol, we find the loggers, we destroy their equipment and we send them away. We’ve stopped many loggers. It’s working.'
        The area they are defending, Arariboia, is in the most threatened region in the entire Amazon. It is home to an uncontacted group of Awá Indians, a tribe well known for their affinity with animals and understanding of the forest, who face total annihilation if they come into contact with the loggers.
        The Guardians have recently found abandoned Awá shelters close to where the loggers operate.
        Although the area should be protected under Brazilian law, the lack of enforcement by the Brazilian government and the extreme danger posed to the uncontacted Awá has forced the Guardians to take matters into their own hands.
        They now fear violent retaliation. Three of the Guardians were murdered by loggers in 2016, and they have experienced arson attacks and regular death threats.
        The Guardians sent footage of the burning truck loaded with illegally cut timber to Survival International, along with the message: 'Please show the world the reality we face. We know it’s risky and we have enemies but now’s no time for hiding. We want you to release this to the world so we can continue to protect our forest.'
        Survival International has written urgently to the Brazilian government calling for the immediate and long term protection of both the Guardians themselves and of the area they fight to protect. Survival are also asking members of the public to send emails in support of the Guardians to government ministers via this page on their website.
        Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: 'Tribal territories are the best barrier to deforestation, and these Guardians are defending the last patch of green a