Future still bright at economic summit
By Jerry W. Kram
The boom is over but that doesn’t mean we are in a bust, yet.
That was one of the messages coming out of the Indigenous Nations Economic Development Summit held at the 4 Bears Casino and Lodge this week. Slumping oil prices have meant a reduction in oil tax revenue and royalties for the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, but the average oil production on the reservation is still more than 100,000 barrels per day, more than 10 times the average production in 2010.
"People have asked if it has slowed down because of the oil prices, and most people here would say, ‘Not really,’" said Ken Hall, North Segment tribal representative and one of the organizers of the summit. "Just look at our traffic every day. We are in the core area where development continues, and the impacts continue. So we are pretty blessed, where the revenue is still coming in. But it is not a lucrative as it was when oil was over $100 per barrel."
Hall said the dip in the MHA Nation’s cash flow has meant the Tribal Business Council has had to adjust its priorities. Some projects and initiatives have been put on hold for the present time. However, on Tuesday, the second day of the conference, Hall was looking forward to hearing the good things that were happening on the reservation.