Ft. Peck Reservation: Feds Hindering Oil Development

It was the comments from the Crow Indian Reservation tribal chair last week that seemed to attract the most attention- as Darrin Old Coyote told Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that “war on coal is a war on our families and our children.” 

Chairman Old Coyote has offered similar pro-coal development statements before, including official remarks on Capitol Hill. 

However, after reading about the interesting remarks made during last weeks public meeting in Missoula, I decided to go back and listen to the audio from the meeting (sent to me by a University of Montana law school student).  

The remarks made by another leading tribal official should also be generating headlines all across Montana, if not the country. 

In addition to talking about the need for a “New Deal” of infrastructure spending in Indian Country, here’s what Fort Peck Councilman Stoney Anketell had to say on behalf of the Fort Peck Chairman last week: 

ANKETELL: “I testified to the shortcomings of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in Washington, DC in February of 2012, and I haven’t seen any improvement yet, and we need to because it takes too long to get leases approved, to get lease assignments approved, to get rights of way appproved.” 

Anketell added that the the BIA is now telling a seismograph company that they have to do unnecessary archealogical studies, which is hindering development.

ANKETELL: “We’re not shortchanging the need for archaelogical reviews, but on land that has been farmed for 70 years? It’s been tilled, plowed, planted, harvested…there’s no teepee rings.  70 years. Some of these restrictions are hurting us in oil and gas exploration.”

Click here to listen to Councilman Anketell’s remarks from the event.  By the way, video from a public access channel is available from this public event, at a public campus, featuring two US Senators.  However, Senator Tester’s office apparently bought the rights to the video, and so far has not granted my request to view the video. (*UPDATE- Initial request to Senator Tester’s office was made on Sept. 6th.  On Sept. 12th I got word that Senator Tester’s office had approved requests to access video)

Click to Listen

You may recall a post I featured last December where I asked the question:  When it comes to capitalizing off of the on-going Bakken oil boom in Montana and North Dakota, are Indian tribes being shortchanged by the federal government?

The Bozeman-based PERC, had this:

Fort Berthold Indian Reservation sits at the center of the Bakken Oil Field in North Dakota. Since the boom hit in 2010, hundreds of reservation wells have generated more than 30 million barrels of oil, earning the tribal nation more than $500 million. Oil companies will drill a thousand more wells on Fort Berthold in the next five years, with payouts in the billions—more than any western Indian nation has seen in that short a time.

But capitalizing on the boom has not been easy for Fort Berthold. All Indian minerals are managed in trust by the U.S. Department of Interior, a task largely delegated to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. To drill on Indian land, companies must endure a slow and costly bureaucratic gantlet; many avoid it altogether.


Tribal Chair: War on Coal, War on Our Children

I’d imagine there was some sour milk being sipped in the latte’s of Seattle this morning.  For the rich, white liberals in Seattle looking to block coal exports from the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana- I can only imagine the shock they might have had once they heard the Crow Tribal Chairman tell *their Senator* that *their war on coal* is really a war on the families and children on the Crow Indian Reservation.  

That was the message Chairman Darrin Old Coyote sent to Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) during a meeting on The University of Montana campus in Missoula.     (h/t Chris Shipp)



Here’s the actual quote from The Missoulian:

The Crow Nation has been mining coal since 1974, and Chairman Darrin Old Coyote said it now gets half its revenue from coal development, even though “coal is a four-letter word in D.C.”

The tribe has a model reclamation program it has invited investors in Cantwell’s state of Washington to come see.

“We need your help to diversify” programs like a multibillion-dollar coal-to-liquid fuels plant, Old Coyote said. “A war on coal is a war on our families and our children.”

By the way- #CrowCoal was also discussed in Billings, Montana on the same day, as a Crow tribal member expressed concerns over a potential Endanged Species listing of the sage grouse and how that could impact coal production on the Crow Indian Reservation.  While the tribal chairman was in Missoula, Channis Whiteman spoke before a US House Natural Resources Committee field hearing in Billings. 

As a side note to Montana politicos- a spokesman for the Fort Peck Indian Reservation also spoke of the need for a “New Deal” type of infrastructure funding for Indian Country.  I imagine the infrastructure funding vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) would have built some new roads and more that would travel right through Indian Country in Montana.   

Speaking of a war on coal….President Obama was in Norway building up support for the war yesterday.  Nope, not the war in Syria.  That’s right- the war on coal.

Politico’s Morning Energy has this:

OBAMA PICKS UP NORDIC SUPPORT FOR CLIMATE AGENDA ITEMS: While in Sweden yesterday, President Barack Obama got that nation and Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland on board with his plan to stop public financing for overseas coal-fired power plants (“except in rare circumstances”), part of the president’s climate change agenda announced earlier this year. In a joint statement, the leaders also pledged to work on getting other nations and development banks to do the same. The leaders also reiterated their goal of adopting a “comprehensive, fair, and inclusive climate agreement” in 2015 via the UN climate negotiations.

Meanwhile, here’s a press release posted at ShaleMarkets.com: Hydraulic Fracturing Market Worth $64 Billion by 2017

Dallas, TX — (SBWIRE) — 08/30/2013 — According to a new market research report, “Hydraulic Fracturing Market by Resource & Well Type – Global Trends & Forecasts up till 2017” published by MarketsandMarkets (www.marketsandmarkets.com), Global hydraulic fracturing market will grow from estimated $31 billion in 2011. This value is expected to increase from $40 billion in 2012 to $64 billion by 2017, with 10% CAGR during the same period. North America is expected to lead the global hydraulic fracturing production market in terms of hydraulic horse power supplied by the year 2011…

And, from the Minot, ND-based SayAnythingBlog.com: Fracking Has Lifted Household Incomes By $1,200

The environmental left has declared a jihad on hydraulic fracturing ostensibly because it’s devastating for the environment (a claim with little supporting evidence) but mostly because it means a resurgence for fossil fuels, particularly oil and natural gas. The goal of the left has been to hamstring fossil fuels with higher taxes and tougher regulations in order to make so-called “green power” more practical on the market.

But here’s the thing: While we can debate about the environmental impact of fracking, and whether concerns are valid or born of desire to give Big Green an edge over Big Oil & Gas, there’s no denying the economic impact. Income levels are on the rise thanks to the oil and gas energy revolution set off by fracking…

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