Va. Order Gives Tribes More Power Over State Permits
Native American Law Team Leader James Meggesto spoke with Law360 about an executive order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam requiring consultation with Native American tribes when evaluating permits for projects that might affect tribal resources. Other states already require some form of consultation, but the Virginia order goes a step further by mandating a process through which tribes can recommend that certain permits not be granted without tribal consent. The order affects a variety of state projects, such as transmission lines, offshore wind projects and drilling. Mr. Meggesto commented the order could mark a major development, both for tribes themselves and for industries looking to develop in areas with tribal history.
"If what this does on the state level is not only a consultation component but also a tribal consent depending on the circumstances, then that's potentially significant," he said. "I've never seen one specifically tailored to tribes at the state level to require consent because states, generally, leave that to the federal level in most circumstances. If there's truly a comprehensive requirement to consult and get the consent of tribes for state projects that impact environmental resources, it's significant."