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BLM>Colorado>Programs>Oil and Gas>Colorado BLM/Southern Ute Indian Tribe/BIA MOU
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Colorado BLM/Southern Ute Indian Tribe/BIA MOU

(Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Bureau of Land Management)
(Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management)

I. Purpose

This agreement between the Southern Ute Indian Tribe (Tribe), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is intended to: (1) provide clear and consistent procedures and policy for the review and evaluation of proposed spacing, pooling, and field rule requests that come before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC); (2) avoid duplication of effort by the participants of this memorandum of understanding (MOU); and (3) define trust responsibility in matters of oil and gas spacing and pooling.

The parties recognize that the Tribe is the beneficial owner of lands held by the United States Government in trust for the Tribe and that the Tribe is entitled to monitor and participate in the spacing, pooling, and field rule requests.

For the purposes of this agreement, the term "Indian lands" shall mean those lands located within the exterior boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian reservation, including allotted Indian lands, in which the legal, beneficial, or restricted ownership of the underlying oil, gas, or coal bed methane or of the right to explore for and develop the oil, gas, or coal bed methane belongs to or is leased from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe or allottee.

The BIA and BLM are agencies of the federal government charged with overseeing certain oil and gas related activities on tribal and allotted lands in a manner consistent with the highest fiduciary and trust standards.

II. Authority

Authority for this MOU includes, but is not limited to, the following: Indian Mineral Leasing Act of 1938; the Indian Self Determination Act of 1968; the Indian Mineral Development Act of 1982; the Constitution of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe; the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 as amended; the 1909 Mineral Leasing Act for allotted lands; and the Interior Department Secretarial Order No. 3087, as amended. This agreement shall not supersede existing law, rule, or regulation of either party; nor require commitments of manpower or funds beyond legal authority or appropriation. This agreement is not intended to abrogate or improperly delegate any of the Secretary of the Interior's fiduciary responsibilities towards Indian tribes within the State of Colorado.

III. Procedures

The Tribe, BIA, and BLM agree as follows:

A. Point of Contact

    Each party shall appoint a specific person or persons who shall be the point of contact to facilitate communication and coordination in implementing the agreement.

B. Coordination Meetings

    Coordination meetings will be held in conjunction with the established quarterly Tribe, BIA, and BLM coordination meetings. This agreement will be reviewed and updated from time to time as required in conjunction with coordination meetings, subject to lawful acceptance by the parties. In any event, however, this Agreement shall be reviewed at the first coordination meeting at the beginning of the calendar year.

C. Procedural Format

    In accordance with the terms of the Cooperative Agreement between the COGCC and the BLM, all spacing and pooling requests involving federal and Indian minerals shall initially be submitted to the COGCC.

      1. Oil and Gas Hearings

      The BLM will provide testimony or present evidence to the COGCC concerning hearings and other matters affecting Indian Lands.

        a. BLM Will:

          (1) Administratively review hearing notices and notices of other matters to determine if Indian lands may be affected by an application. Forward copies of notices affecting Indian lands to the BIA and the Tribe within 3 working days of receipt.

          (2) Schedule any requested meetings with BIA and/or the Tribe concerning hearing applications or other matters for all trust lands.

          (3) Conduct a technical review and develop evidence of impact on Indian owned and allotted Indian lands. Nonconcurrence will be handled in accordance with COGCC/BLM MOU.

          (4) Attend all hearings affecting Indian and allotted Indian lands to present the BLM's position and provide any evidence.

          (5) Provide BIA and the Tribe with a copy of all decisions of the COGCC which concerns Indian lands within 5 working days after receipt of a decision from the Commission.

        b. BIA Will:

          (1) Notify the BLM, by letter or memorandum, of any concerns affecting an application on Indian or allotted Indian lands within 5 working days after receipt of the hearing notice or notice of other matters.

          (2) Consult as necessary with the BLM, lessees, operators, Tribe, or allottees concerning all applications affecting Indian lands.

          (3) Notify BLM of concurrence within 5 working days of receipt, but not later than 3 days prior to hearing for allotted Indian lands. If concurrence is not received prior to the hearing, the BLM will be forced to object to any discussions relating to the application of concern.

        c. Tribe Will:

          (1) Provide the BLM with a current Indian mineral ownership and lease status map depicting the area affected by an application as well as all known and proposed well locations. This map should be received by the BLM at least 5 working days prior to the hearing.

          (2) Notify BIA/BLM of concurrence within 5 working days of receipt, but not later than 3 days prior to hearing. If concurrence is not received prior to the hearing, the BLM will be forced to object to any decsions relating to the application of concern. With respect to Tribal allotted lands, Tribal concurrence will not be considered necessary for action by BIA/BLM, however Tribal comment will be accepted and considered.

      3. Existing COGCC Decisions

      Consistent with the terms of this agreement, all existing decisions of the COGCC involving federal and Indian minerals will remain in effect, subject to the right of the Colorado BLM to request that any specific orders be reviewed, recinded, or modified. All parties, Indian owners, or their representatives may request that specific orders be reviewed.

    D. Special Provisions

      1. Confidentially

      Each agency will abide by the confidentially requirements of its own laws and regulations with respect to determinations concerning and handling of proprietary data and any other statutes, regulations, or directives concerning restricted access to records or information in any form. With respect to any information supplied by the Tribe or generated by agencies in regard to a particular issue, the Tribe may request in writing that such matters be treated as confidential, and so long as not inconsistent with law, said request shall be honored.

      2. Access to Records

      Each agency will provide public access in accordance with its own rules.

      3. Information Sharing

      Each agency will provide the others with courtesy copies of all regulations changes and Instruction Memoranda that deal with common or pertinent issues.

      4. Jurisdiction of COGCC

      It is the Tribe's position that the COGCC lacks the jurisdiction to issue an order or decision affecting Indian lands within the boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Pursuant to an MOU between the BLM and the COGCC, BLM has contracted with the state to conduct hearings and review matters affecting Indian lands, and to make decisions affecting Indian lands. Without the concurrence of the parties hereto to decisions rendered by the COGCC affecting Indian lands, the parties agree that the COGCC by itself lacks the jurisdiction to render such decisions. This Agreement is intended to provide an acceptable procedure for obtaining the concurrence of the parties needed to make any COGCC decision binding.

      Should the COGCC render a decision or order after the parties have followed the approved procedures contained in this Agreement, said COGCC decision shall be deemed by the parties hereto to be a decision of the BLM. Any interested party shall have the same opportunity to appeal or challenge such decision as if said decision had been rendered exclusively by the BLM, Colorado State Director.

    E. Effect on Prior Agreements

    There are no prior agreements among the Tribe, BLM, and BIA that this MOU would affect.

    F. Administration

    This agreement shall become effective upon the date of execution by the last signatory party to this agreement.

    This agreement may be amended by mutual consent of the parties at the same organizational level as sign this agreement.

    Termination of this agreement may be effected by any party upon 60 days written notice to the other parties. Termination of this agreement may be effected at any time by written notification of the other parties.

    This agreement shall terminate when no longer authorized by the U.S. Department of the Interior, by federal or state law, or if determined to be unenforceable by any court having jurisdiction over the parties.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have executed this agreement on the date indicated for each respective party,

Date: 8/22/91by: /s/ Ralph R. Pensoneau
 Superintendent, Southern Ute Agency

Date: 8/22/91by: /s/ Bob Moore
 State Director, Colorado

Date: 8/22/91by: /s/ Leonard Burch
 Chairman, Southern Ute Tribal Council