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Morton Moratorium

On April 26, 2022, Indian Affairs announced the rescission of the so-called Morton Moratorium, a 1975 memorandum from Secretary Morton to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that directed the withdrawal of delegated authority to lower-level Bureau of Indian Affairs' managers to approve tribal water use codes and ordinances pending further Departmental action.  In the nearly 50 years since this directive occurred, no regulation has issued, no court decision has truly addressed or clarified issues related to tribal water codes, and the directive ultimately serves no useful purpose and creates confusion for Indian Tribes and others.  Rescinding the Morton Moratorium removes this cloud, respects tribal sovereignty, and promotes self-determination. 

Indian Affairs invites you to consult on two general topics:

  1. the appropriate delegation of approval authority as between Regions and Central Office following the rescission; and
  2. guidance on standards for approval of tribal water codes.

Please submit written comments to consultation@bia.gov by Friday, August 5, 2022.  

If you have any questions regarding this effort, please contact Tracy Goodluck, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs at tracy_goodluck@ios.doi.gov or (202) 208-7163.


  • 26

    Consultation Session

    Tribal consultation session Online


    • Start and End Date(s)
      Start and End Date(s): Thu, May 26, 2022
    • Time
      Time: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern

Comment Deadline

Additional Information

Contact Us

Tracy Goodluck, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs
(202) 208-7163


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