Fort Berthold

The Baken Oil Field:

northdakota.jpegSince early 2006, production from what’s known as the Baken formation has increased nearly 150-fold, to more than 660,000 barrels a day, moving North Dakota into second place among domestic suppliers, behind Texas and ahead of Alaska. Consider that there’s about 2.65 billion barrels of oil in the Bakken. There are possibly 3.73 billion barrels of oil in the Three Forks, which underlays the Bakken – if we can get that out. Now, consider a couple other things. Massive pipeline infrastructure will need to be installed, which will mean spills. And until those pipelines are built, there will be a sharp increase in the number of trucks used to transport oil, equipment and both fresh and polluted water – which will mean our roads are torn up, and our people are put in harm’s way.

And the man camps that come with the oil and gas fracking has lead to trafficking of women and girls, and crime. Drug crimes in eastern Montana have increased 172 percent. Assaults in Dickinson, North Dakota, are up 300 percent[2].

The US consumed 6.8 billion barrels of oil in 2012. In other words, the Bakken represents half a year of US oil. We cannot afford to see our communities destroyed for short-term gain for the few.

What to say when they want to renew your lease…

  1. A mineral lease is a binding contract and typically remains in effect until the primary term expires (assuming all bonus and rentals were timely and properly paid). If production is obtained during the primary term, the typical lease provisions provide it is extended for so long as oil and/or gas are produced.

    Leases for oil rights generally work like this: A company purchases the right to drill for oil underneath an acre of land by paying a one-time upfront payment, called a bonus, and a percentage of the profits earned on the well, known as a royalty. On Indian lands additional laws also apply, dictating who can negotiate for whom and how the government has to oversee the agreements.
  2. Our tribal government has an obligation to protect Mother Earth from any pollutants which may cause harm to its citizens, land, water, and air. As a tribal member I also have that obligation, and I choose to honor that by not renewing your lease of my land.
  3. Fracking will damage the integrity of this community, through the increased cost of living, and the crime and trafficking that comes with man camps. I cannot allow this, and will not renew your lease.
  4. We need meaningful investment in our people. North Dakota has the sixth largest wind resource potential in the United Sates[3], totaling 770,000 megawatts – which is more than ALL fossil fuel powered plants in the Unite States combined. We need to invest in less harmful development strategies like solar and wind, which can provide real jobs to our community members.