Indian Tribe: New Federal Fracking Red Tape Would Impact Reservation Economy “Severely”
I posted previously about the folks on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation objecting to new federal rules regulating hydraulic fracturing. Tribal leader Tex Hall is now speaking out on the rules, saying they’re going to hurt his community’s economy.
Tex Hall, chairman of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, said the tribes oppose federal rules announced Friday that will require companies drilling for oil and gas on public and Indian lands to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.
Hall, who gave the opening comments Tuesday during the MHA Bakken Oil and Gas Expo, said he’s not opposed to disclosing the chemicals, but the proposed federal rules go too far and will slow down the permitting process.
“We shouldn’t be held up by federal obstacles or federal red tape,” Hall said. “These rules are severely impacting the bigger economy at Fort Berthold.”
Terry Kovacevich, an asset manager for Marathon Oil in Dickinson, echoed Hall’s comments during a presentation Tuesday afternoon.
Kovacevich said the proposed federal fracking rules duplicate what the state already has in place and will slow down oil development.
“All of this will drive development away from the reservation,” Kovacevich said.
Already, the Bureau of Land Management can’t keep up with approving drilling permits on tribal land, and this extra requirement will create further delays, Kovacevich said.
Really this is a matter of competition. The Fort Berthold Reservation takes up a relatively small part of the North Dakota oil fields. The Bureau of Land Management under President Obama already has a bad reputation for tying up oil permitting requests with delays and red tape. Adding more red tape is only going to exacerbate the problem and drive oil producers off the reservations, to the detriment of the communities there which, frankly, could use the jobs and commerce.
Unemployment rates on North Dakota’s Indian reservations hover around 50%. Clearly, tribal leaders understand that oil means jobs and economic growth. They don’t want to see the Obama administration choke it to death.
This is a microcosm of the fight between the states and the federal government over environmental regulation. The states think they’re perfectly capable of regulating their own environmental issues, and resent the federal government’s intrusion. Clearly, the Forth Berthold Reservation feels the same way.
On a related note, though, the tribe also wants the oil industry to take up some of the burden of maintaining roads on the reservation. I think that’s an idea whose time has come off the reservation as well. If one were to map out oil wells, and the routes oil companies use to access/service them, it would be relatively easy to assign the industry a sort of “user fee” for the impact they create on the roads.
The state and local governments are already spending a lot of money on western infrastructure, but they can’t keep up. This would be a way to improve that situation while tying the cost of the impact to those creating the impact.Tags: bureau of land management, forth berthold reservation, fracking, North Dakota News, tex hall