Suzanne (Susi) Schaeffer is a member of the Public Policy and Regulation practice and the Native American Law and Policy practice. She concentrates her practice on Indian lands and environmental compliance issues. Susi draws on her years of experience in both the federal government and the private sector working to resolve legal issues pertaining to Indian lands, natural resources and the federal environmental regulatory system.
Susi advises clients in acquiring land in trust for both gaming and non-gaming purposes pursuant to the fee-to-trust authorities of the US Department of the Interior (DOI), and she has extensive experience working with the DOI to achieve clients’ land acquisition objectives. She is also well versed in other Indian lands issues, including land claims, leasing and rights-of-way over Indian lands, and Section 81 approval requirements.
Susi has particular experience in handling environmental compliance issues on Indian lands, and she regularly counsels clients regarding compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as other environmental requirements in conjunction with acquiring land in trust. She also provides advice regarding environmental regulatory and jurisdictional issues, such as tribal environmental ordinances and the extent of state, tribal and federal permitting authority. She has participated at a number of conferences as an invited speaker on Indian land, energy and environmental matters.
In addition, Susi is very familiar with the requirements of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. She has significant experience working with both the DOI and the National Indian Gaming Commission on gaming matters, and she has spoken at several conferences on Indian gaming issues. This experience serves as a foundation for providing strategic and practical advice to clients regarding tribal gaming ordinances, management contracts, Indian lands issues and other matters related to the development of Indian gaming facilities. She also advises clients regarding federal acknowledgment and federal funding issues.