November 21, 2008

Dorgan, Pomeroy meet with tribal leaders

Dorgan, Pomeroy meet with tribal leaders


Sen.Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) met with Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Marcus Wells, Jr. and representatives of the Tribal Business Council Nov. 10 during the Great Plains Energy Expo and Showcase in Bismarck.

Nearly one month ago Dorgan addressed the U.S. Department of the Interior, per the request of Wells, on behalf of the Three Affiliated Tribes regarding the present oil and gas development efforts on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Dorgan requested the establishment of an "Oil and Gas One-Stop Shop" to expedite leasing and issuing of permits specifically for drilling on the reservation.

Below the surface of the Fort Bethold Reservation is the Bakken Shale Oil Formation, which is presently one of the leading oil and gas fields in the nation. However, there is a 49-step approval process required by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for oil and gas permits and leases on trust lands, also commonly referred to as Indian lands. There are four separate agencies that are involved in the leasing and drilling permit processes, which include: the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, and the Office of the Special Trustee.

During the meeting with tribal officials,, Dorgan, along with Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) discussed further plans and strategies to proceed with the proposed "Oil and Gas One-Stop Shop" on Fort Berthold. Dorgan expressed his commitment to the Three Affiliated Tribes that the "Oil and Gas One-Stop Shop" proposal will be secured by the end of this calendar year.

"We began addressing this issue in August, and we appreciate everything Senator Dorgan has done for us," said Wells. "We also want to extend our appreciation to Representative Pomeroy for taking time out of his schedule as well to meet with the Tribal Council and our Tribal Energy Department officials."

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