April 24, 2014

Sovereignty an issue in oil development

By Jerry W. Kram

The Three Affiliated Tribes will exercise its sovereignty when it comes to regulating oil development on the reservation.

That was the message Tex Hall had for the industry and industry regulators at the 2014 MHA Nation Bakken Oil and Gas Expo held Tuesday and Wednesday at the 4 Bears Casino Events Center.

Hall pointed out that as he spoke, a hearing was starting in Bismarck to look at regulations to limit flaring in the Bakken. Hall emphasized that the tribes sovereign status gave it the authority and responsibility for regulating all aspects of oil development on the reservation.

"We are delivering testimony that the tribe is going to maintain its own regulation," Hall said. "We have conducted a feasibility study that should be almost finished. We think the amount of gas flared on the reservation could be as high as 60 percent. That’s because there was no infrastructure in place."

Hall said the tribe is calling for the creation of a gas gathering system. Hall wants the gas to be used on the reservation to generate electricity. He said the tribe is considering creating its own utility company to provide power to homes, business and industry on the reservation.

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