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U.S. Supreme Court

FPC v. Tuscarora Indian Nation, 362 U.S. 99 (1960)

Federal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian Nation

No. 63

Argued December 7, 1959

Decided March 7, 1960*

362 U.S. 99


Under § 21 of the Federal Power Act, certain lands purchased and owned in fee simple by the Tuscarora Indian Nation and lying adjacent to a natural power site on the Niagara River may be taken for the storage reservoir of a hydroelectric power project, upon payment of just compensation, by the Power Authority of the State of New York under a license issued to it by the Federal Power Commission as directed by Congress in the Act of August 21, 1957, 71 Stat. 401. Pp. 362 U. S. 100-124.

(1) Inasmuch as the lands here involved are owned in fee simple by the Tuscarora Indian Nation and no "interest" in them is "owned by the United States," they are not within a "reservation," as that term is defined in § 3(2) of the Federal Power Act, and therefore a Commission finding under § 4(e) "that the license will not interfere or be inconsistent with the purpose for which such reservation was created or acquired" is not necessary to the issuance of a license embracing the lands in question. Pp. 362 U. S. 110-115.

(2) By the broad general terms of § 21 of the Federal Power Act, Congress has authorized the Federal Power Commission's licensees to take lands owned by Indians, as well as those of all other citizens, when needed for a licensed project, upon payment of just compensation; the lands in question are not subject to any treaty between the United States and the Tuscarora Indian Nation, and 25 U.S.C. § 177, forbidding a transfer of lands from Indians unless made by a treaty or convention entered into pursuant to the Constitution, does not apply to the United States itself, nor prohibit it or its licensees under the Federal Power Act from taking such lands in the manner provided by § 21 upon payment of just compensation. Pp. 362 U. S. 115-124.

105 U.S.App.D.C. 146, 265 F.2d 338, reversed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 362 U. S. 100

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