With oil industry backing, tribes want bigger slice of oil fees

A North Dakota legislative committee that studied the issue last year agreed to support giving the tribe a greater share of oil tax revenues from tribal land, but declined to recommend a precise split. Mark Fox, vice chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, has pushed for an 80 percent share of the oil taxes from tribal land. He said in an interview he was not certain what the tribe would request once the Legislature begins this week.

“We are shooting for a higher number than what we’re getting right now,” Fox said. “We’ll be moving forward with some type of bill.”

Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, an industry group that represents oil producers, said the organization would back raising the tribal tax share from trust land production to 65 percent. By giving the tribe a larger slice of oil money, industry officials hope it will help ease pressure on the tribe to raise fees on oil companies and their suppliers, Ness said.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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