STATEMENT: Three Affiliated Tribes members respond to House committee Energy Hearing

October 4, 2016


The following statement was issued by members of Fort Berthold P.O.W.E.R. (Protectors of Water and Earth Rights), an affiliate of Dakota Resource Council, in response to today’s House Natural Resources Committee field hearing, Tribal Prosperity and Self-Determination through Energy Development, held in Santa Fe, NM.

“Right now, tribal and state governments from North Dakota to New Mexico are facing huge budget shortfalls because of low energy revenues due to a low prices and a slowdown in development. Our people do not prosper when our environment is destroyed,” said Lisa DeVille. “Tribal communities have not been educated about the true cost of extraction. We are locked into deals for access to our land and minerals, then forced to live with the contamination.”

“Instead of holding field hearings to score political points for the oil and gas industry, the committee should be working with tribes on critical issues such as cutting natural gas waste on tribal lands that would actually boost revenues and working with tribes concerned about water impacts from pipelines,” said Joletta Bird Bear.

Watch the full hearing:

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Five need-to-know facts about tribal lands and energy development

  1. About $100 million dollars-worth of natural gas is wasted each year on tribal lands due to oil and gas companies deliberately venting and flaring methane (the primary component of natural gas) as well as methane leaks from leaky equipment and infrastructure.
  2. Oil and gas companies could reduce natural gas waste from drilling operations on tribal lands by 40 percent for about a penny per thousand cubic feet of gas produced.
  3. Energy revenues for the Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota are expected to fall short by $77 million over the 2014-2017 budget period.
  4. Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Mark Fox underscored the importance of cutting natural gas waste saying, “The oil companies don’t get paid, the tribes don’t get paid and the individuals that own mineral rights here on Fort Berthold do not get paid so flaring is not a good thing.”
  5. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has proposed a draft natural gas waste rule which to cut waste that meet or exceed national standards.



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