Interpretation Restrictions must legally mandate a decrease in the quantity produced – regulations are distinct


Tribes chafing under the IMLA restrictions in the 1970s began to negotiate non-lease development deals



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Tribes chafing under the IMLA restrictions in the 1970s began to negotiate non-lease development deals, and between 1975 and 1980, the Secretary of the Interior approved a number of these deals, relying either on the tribe's authority to contract or on the theory that modern mineral "leases" needed to include more than the standard IMLA lease form. n44 In essence, Interior began to define "lease" in broad terms. As more and more tribes submitted negotiated agreements, however, Interior became increasingly ambivalent about its role. n45 An Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs noted that "the most serious [problem with using the IMLA [*102] as authority] is that it authorized development of tribal oil and gas resources only by leasing," and not by other types of ventures. n46 He added that the use of a tribal contracting statute n47 was also "inadequate," and concluded that "there is a question whether we have adequate authority to approve those nonlease ventures even by utilizing both acts." n48 That uncertainty led the Interior Solicitor to question the approval of non-lease agreements in 1980, n49 throwing the validity of existing approved agreements into doubt.


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