Powers Principal Brian Gunn was recently quoted in a Law360 article discussing U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s first four months in the position and his impact on Native American tribes.
The article discusses the effect Zinke is having on Native American tribes in four areas: energy, budget, land management, and appointments and staffing. Since taking over at the Department of the Interior in March, Zinke has built on his record with Native American tribes by touting tribal energy projects, according to the article.
The former Congressman, however, has advocated for steep cuts to many Indian programs in the Trump administration’s proposed budget, according to the article. Brian Gunn is quoted discussing Zinke’s support for the proposed budget, saying it is “still a bit of work-in-progress” and that some decisions were likely not in Zinke’s control.
Brian is also quoted discussing a DIO decision that shifted the authority to consider tribal applications to have off-reservation land taken into federal trust from the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ regional directors to higher-ups in the DOI’s power structure.
Additionally, Brian discusses Zinke’s push to reduce the department’s staffing and how that could put more strain on Indian programs that are already under heavy duress, including natural resource programs and social services.
Brian Gunn is a principal in the Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville Indian Tribal Governments group and a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Brian specializes in matters related to the federal budget and appropriations, natural resources, federal lands and federal land transfers, taxation, energy development, and Indian health.