New Town, ND - The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation last week hosted a two-day government -to government consultation meeting with Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The meeting was one in a series of consultations meetings between the BLM, BIA and Tribal nations on hydraulic fracturing. Chairman Hall invited the BLM to hold the consultation meeting here because he said, “the oil boom is happening here. It’s not happening in Oklahoma, Utah or Florida or even in Billings or anywhere else.”
BLM officials attending the meeting were Acting Deputy Director Neil Kornze, Assistant Director Mike Nedd, and Montana/Dakotas State Director Jamie E. Connell. BIA Acting Assistant Secretary Donald “Del” Laverdure joined the group on the second day of the Consultation meeting that was held in the 4-Bears Casino Mandan and Hidatsa rooms.
At the end of the meeting, BLM officials assured tribal officials they are listening to concerns of the MHA Nation and BLM Acting Deputy Director Neil Kornze said he would be available as contact person for the Tribes concerns.
- Chairman Hall told the BIA and BLM the Tribe wants to 638 the One-Stop Shop from BIA. He said he was told by BIA “it is not contractible. However, Hall said it makes sense. We can handle seven positions; we can get housing for these employees. Everyone in the Bakken is having housing shortages. We are right here.”
- He said the Tribe is planning a pipeline and we have a pending request to build one. The oil is on the west side of the Lake Sakakawea, we need to get it to the east side, to our refinery and onto a pipeline. Enbridge Pipeline is a common carrier, which is like a public highway. Right now they are refusing to discuss an interconnect with our proposed pipeline. I do not know how they can refuse if they are a common carrier. If we do not get an interconnect some of our oil will be stranded. Some of our oil is really discounted. We hired a firm to audit our tribal minerals and we can get more dollars for our tribal members and the tribe if we use a pipeline.
- In a letter, Hall also asked BIA Assistant Secretary Del Laverdure to affirm U.S title to the Missouri riverbed; he said we respectfully request you order a directive to the BIA to complete its work with the title documents and maps to show, consistent with the Solicitors’ Opinion and the IBLA decision, that the entire bed of the Missouri River within the Reservations boundaries is held in trust for the MHA Nation. He said a 1979 Interior Board of Land Appeals decision in which they found that the language and intent of the Treaty of Fort Laramie and the Executive Order of April 12, 1870, included the bed of the Missouri River, insofar as it runs through the Fort Berthold Reservation, among the lands of the Reservation.
- On fracking, Hall said, “Indian lands are not public lands. BLM has no authority on Indian lands. He emphasized, “There is no statue that gives them authority on Indian lands.” What they are doing by wanting oil companies to disclose the chemicals used will delay royalties to tribes and to allottees with mineral rights.
- The tribes and oil companies are working together now said Hall. There are studies out that say fracking does not harm surface water.
- BLM has extended the public comment period to September 10, 2012, and Chairman Hall asked if this applies to tribes as well.
- Tribes are looking at our own hydro fracking code. We want no duplicating of authority.
- There must be an opt out clause if BLM goes ahead with its plan to implement the proposed rule. One size does not fit all; all tribes cannot be in the same rule.