NEW TOWN N.D. — 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.Read full article