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



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It took passage of the IMDA in 1982 to resolve the issue of tribal authority to use non-lease options for mineral development. The IMDA was a clear "fix," and it effectively grandfathered in the existing approved agreements. n50 The same thing could happen if the Secretary of the Interior were to treat solar power, say, as a mineral under the IMDA. But just as Interior became squeamish about its approach to non-lease arrangements in 1980, so Interior could react squeamishly to treating sunlight as a mineral. If that were to happen, Congress would undoubtedly enact a legislative fix (such as the IMDA for non-leases), and existing agreements would undoubtedly be grandfathered in. But the period of uncertainty between Interior's doubts and congressional action is a wasted period. It is wasted time for Indian tribes, their non-Indian partners, and domestic energy production. It is much more preferable to have appropriate legislation in place before deals are struck, removing a potential impediment to renewable energy development.


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