Mont. tribal officials cite oil-spurred crime spike
Residents of Montana’s Fort Peck Reservation told Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) last week that they’ve reaped little from the Bakken Shale boom besides a sharp rise in crime, including human trafficking.
“Because of our proximity to the Bakken oil field … we are already seeing the negative effects of oil and gas development without any financial benefits,” said Rusty Stafne, chairman of the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes. “Washington has been quick to promote the exploitation of natural resources but slow to provide the necessary funding for the increased demand on our services and infrastructure,” he said.
Local law enforcement is stretched thin, frequently drawn to the oil patch rather than the reservation.
“With the Bakken, we’re down on the east end dealing with all of that and not able to give as many officers to the reservation as we used to,” said Tina Bets His Medicine, administrative assistant at the county sheriff’s office.
The grievances were aired at a listening session Tester held in Poplar on Thursday. It also was attended by members of North Dakota’s Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, whose Fort Berthold accounts for 300,000 of the state’s 1 million daily barrels (Josh Wood, Associated Press, Aug. 28). — AI