Updated: Thursday, 14 Mar 2013, 3:03 AM MDT
Published : Thursday, 14 Mar 2013, 3:03 AM MDT
SANDIA PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — Sandia Pueblo will be one of the nation's first American Indian communities to have leasing rights under a law aimed at expediting home building and energy development on tribal lands.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is visiting the New Mexico pueblo Thursday for a ceremony.
The law was signed last summer by President Barack Obama. It enables tribes to approve trust land leases directly, rather than waiting for approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That process sometimes takes years.
The so-called HEARTH Act is expected to open the door to badly needed housing development on reservations, as well as wind and solar energy projects that tribes have been eager to launch.