Sunday, April 22, 2012

Headed For The Supreme Court?

Link here to Minot Daily News.
The chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes questions whether the Bureau of Land Management has authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing on Indian reservations.

"Although the BLM has jurisdiction to regulate activities on 'public lands,' Indian lands are not public lands," Hall said. "Indian reservations are set aside and reserved for the exclusive use and benefit of Indian tribes. Neither the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 nor the Department of Interior's Departmental Manual provide BLM with direct or delegated authority over Indian lands."

The BLM is proposing regulations on hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, used in oil and gas development.
Whether it has legal jurisdiction or not, unfortunately, precedent suggests that BLM does, in fact, manage tribal land.
Senator Dorgan said he pressed the Interior Department for months to process the payments, which were being held in escrow by oil companies. The Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management manage oil and gas activities on tribal land.
I am way out of my depth on this issue, but I've always wondered why, in the modern age, the native Americans have not been given complete autonomy of the land they were "given" by the Federal government.

My hunch: if the BLM regulates fracking, the TAT will threaten to take this to the Supreme Court. If the federal government thinks they might lose this case, the administration might tell the BLM/EPA to back off. 

No comments:

Post a Comment