A change in leadership at an American Indian reservation in North Dakota wouldn't normally get a whole lot of attention. But come Tuesday, the oil industry will be watching this dusty area of the state as two reformers vie to become tribal chairman, an office with outsized power over the course of the state's booming oil industry.
That's because the reservation's Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation control roughly a third of North Dakota's oil output.
In the past two years alone, production on the MHA Nation has jumped 145 percent, cementing the state's role as the second-largest U.S. oil producer after Texas.
The reformers, Damon Williams, the tribal attorney, and Mark Fox, the tax director, each propose tighter environmental regulations. They also promise to ensure more money goes directly to projects that improve life for the 12,000 tribal members on the 980,000-acre reservation.
In other words: this stands to make things more complicated for the oil industry. So far, oil companies aren't saying a whole lot about the leadership change.
EOG Resources Inc, the largest oil producer on the reservation, said its goal is "to maintain good relationships with tribal members regardless of the election's outcome."
Marathon Oil Co and Exxon Mobil's XTO Energy declined comment.
The North Dakota Petroleum Council, an industry group, said the candidates each have an "open demeanor and are willing to sit down with companies, state and federal agencies" to resolve regulatory questions.
Lynn Helms, head of North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources, the state's oil regulator, is blunter: Oil producers are "deeply concerned," he said, adding: "drilling on the reservation could be slowed." That's because if the tribes give stricter scrutiny to environmental issues, more stringent rules could mean more obstacles for new drilling permits.
Amazon: Incredible Customer Service
A Note to the Granddaughters
This is quite a story. I couldn't find a replacement lens cover for a camera in the local big box stores. I ordered "the best" I could find on Amazon, hoping it would "fit." The lens cover arrived very quickly but unfortunately it did not fit.
I put the lens cap back in the OEM packaging and simply sent it back to the Amazon partner in the original mailer. I included a note thanking them for their quick service. I told them not to worry about a refund. It was my mistake and the process for a refund would likely be cumbersome for a $5.00 item.
Tonight, out of the blue as Shakespeare might have coined, just three days from when I mailed the package, I got an e-mail note from Amazon saying they would credit my account.
I am totally amazed. I have never had one bad experience with Amazon.
[I remember some years ago, Amazon accidentally sent me two identical items when I had just ordered one. I called them asking for details on returning the second item. They said it was not worth the trouble of receiving it and restocking it, telling me to simply keep the second item and consider it a "gift" from Amazon.]
[Years ago, a similar story in the US Air Force during one of the Gulf Wars. I assume it was the first George Bush war, but they seem to run together. Thousands of units of blood were being sent from the states to the Mideast in anticipation of hostilities. I was stationed at Bitburg Air Base, Germany, at the time, one of the staging areas for the blood headed toward the theater of operations. For some reason, long forgotten, an active duty member needed to send a unit of his own blood back to the states which he might need. The Bitburg AB lab officer thought it could not be done: thousands of units of blood going east and he would be sending one unit west. He was sure that some well-meaning airman would see the one unit, assume an address error and re-route it back to Bitburg. But lo and below, like a fish swimming upstream, that single unit made it back to Walter Reed. Some things just boggle the mind.]