Panel Scales Back New Oil Rules for North Dakota Reservation
Tribal leaders from a prolific portion of North Dakota’s oil-rich Fort Berthold Reservation are scaling back proposed drilling regulations that industry officials warned could slow crude production.
Leaders of a section of the reservation that produces the most oil recently formed the West Segment Regulatory Commission, based in Mandaree, to impose its own regulations on oil drilling activity in its region. The idea was not well received by industry officials, existing regulators or overall leadership of the Three Affiliated Tribes, which represents the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara people on the million-acre reservation in western North Dakota.
John Mahoney, an attorney for the commission, said on 28 July that it agreed to back off on most of the proposed rules. The commission will continue to require companies working in the area to register and pay a “nominal fee” and will “supplement and enhance” state, federal, and tribal laws already in place, he said.
“We’re being very cautious and easing into this,” said Mahoney, who also is a part-time tribal judge on the reservation. “We’re not going into this with a big club.”