February 10, 2022 - 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today opened a proceeding to consider revisions to its Tribal Land Transfer Policy (TLTP) Implementation Guidelines.

On January 14, 2021, the CPUC approved Resolution E-5076 and the TLTP Implementation Guidelines. Resolution E-5076 ordered that within two years of its approval, the CPUC would consider opening a proceeding to consider revisions to the Implementation Guidelines. Today’s decision opens the proceeding, called an Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR).

The TLTP was developed to provide an opportunity for Native American Tribes to regain lands within their ancestral territory that are currently owned by CPUC jurisdictional utilities. The TLTP establishes the CPUC’s preference for the transfer of real property to Tribes when investor-owned utilities (IOU) plan to dispose of real property within a Tribe’s ancestral territory. The OIR is intended to further efforts by the CPUC, in recognition of and respect for Tribal sovereignty, to prioritize the return of aboriginal lands to their rightful Tribal ownership.

The OIR will also consider the CPUC’s Tribal Consultation Policy and mechanisms to enhance participation by Tribes in the CPUC’s proceedings and programs. The CPUC will conduct outreach and consultation with California Tribes to seek input on the appropriate scope of the proceeding and provide information about the OIR, including how to participate in the proceeding.  

“This is an incredibly important Rulemaking that will result in setting the process for ongoing implementation of the CPUC’s Tribal Land Transfer Policy, or TLTP,” said Commissioner Darcie L. Houck. “The TLTP provides an opportunity for California Native American Tribes to regain lands within their ancestral territory when surplus lands owned by investor-owned utilities are divested. The Rulemaking will also take a fresh look at the CPUC’s Tribal Consultation Policy and address how to improve and promote Tribal participation in CPUC programs and proceedings. We will conduct extensive outreach as part of this Rulemaking and look forward to engaging and consulting with Tribes across the state as to the identified issues in the preliminary scope and any additional issues that should be included in this proceeding.”

The CPUC welcomes comments and further suggestion as to additional issues that could be included in the scope of this OIR that would further the goals of the TLTP, promote improved positive government-to-government relationships between the CPUC and California Tribes, as well as improve capacity building and access for Tribal participation in CPUC proceedings and programs.

For more information, or to request a consultation with Commissioner Houck, please contact Commissioner Houck’s Chief of Staff, Pouneh Ghaffarian, at pouneh.ghaffarian@cpuc.ca.gov, Kathleen Yip, Advisor to Commissioner Houck, at Kathleen.yip@cpuc.ca.gov, and CPUC Tribal Advisor, Ken Holbrook, at Kenneth.holbrook@cpuc.ca.gov.

The proposal voted on is available at https://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M449/K173/449173753.PDF.

The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

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Press Release