Congress mulls bill granting 99-year leasing rights for Chehalis tribe


Washington Congress’ Natural Resources met on September 14 to hear testimony on HR 6564, which would allow the Chehalis tribe to lease their land for up to 99 years.

The bill’s author, Representative Marilyn Strickland (D), testified before the committee’s Subcommittee for Indigenous People of the United States on behalf of her bill, which would amend the Long-Term Leasing Act of 1955, which limits First Nation tribes to lease their land to only 25 years.

“Amending this provision would allow the Chehalis Tribe to lease land for up to 99 years, alleviating financial hardship,” said Strickland’s press release.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D) also introduced companion legislation in the Senate for the tribe, formally known as the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis, which she hopes will “help them attract businesses, create jobs for Tribal members and the surrounding community.”

“The bill will provide the Tribe with the necessary level of flexibility to help finance and encourage economic development projects,” said Canwell during the May 19 session of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “The Chehalis Tribe – or, I believe, any other Tribes -- should not be hindered because of the 1955 bill that limits Tribal ability to lease their land.”

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) also expressed support for the bill, according to Strickland’s press release.

“I whole-heartedly support the Chehalis Tribe’s commitment to spurring economic development in our region,” the statement quoted Beutler. “It’s an honor to help advance this legislation through Congress that gives the Tribe long-term certainty with the goal of increased job opportunities for folks in Southwest Washington.”


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