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Montanta State Office
Release Date: 07/13/12
Contacts: Melodie Lloyd    
  (406) 896-5260    

BLM Conducts Field Tour with the CHariman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation

NEW TOWN, ND – As part of the Bureau of Land Management’s ongoing government-to-government consultation efforts with Indian tribes, three key BLM officials joined Chairman Tex G. Hall and other leaders of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation on a tour of active oil and gas development operations on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota on July 12.

The BLM officials – Acting Deputy Director Neil Kornze, Assistant Director Mike Nedd, and Montana/Dakotas State Director Jamie E. Connell – are making a two-day visit to the Fort Berthold Reservation.  Today, the second day of the visit, the BLM will be joined by Acting Assistant Secretary Donald “Del” Laverdure for an additional consultation session with tribal leaders on BLM’s proposed hydraulic fracturing rule.  The proposed rule, among other things, is intended to increase public confidence in drilling technologies that have unlocked new domestic resources by requiring disclosure of chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian trust lands after fracturing operations have been completed.

“The BLM is pleased to have been invited by Chairman Hall to tour an active hydraulic fracturing job on the Fort Berthold Reservation,” said Kornze.  “It’s a priority of Secretary Salazar to expand safe and responsible development of domestic energy resources in the Bakken Shale Formation and across the country.  As we continue to expand domestic natural gas production on federal and Indian trust lands, it is essential that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place.” 
Ramped-up oil production has generated massive increases in royalty revenues for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation and individual Indian landowners.  Royalty revenues on the Fort Berthold Reservation in 2009 totaled about $6 million, and rose to about $200 million by the end of 2011.  In the first six months of 2012, royalties totaling about $130 million have already been collected.  Industry experts believe the Bakken play will be active for at least the next four decades.
The Bakken Shale Formation of Montana and North Dakota, which was relatively unknown only a few years ago, is now considered a world-class reserve that recently enabled North Dakota to climb to second, behind only Texas, and surpass Alaska and California in oil production within a decade.  Improved technologies in horizontal drilling and the use of hydraulic fracturing have allowed access to substantial oil resources previously inaccessible.  As part of President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, the Interior Department and the BLM are committed to expanding energy development in a safe and responsible way. 
To ensure efficient processing of oil and gas permit applications, the BLM will implement new automated tracking systems that could reduce the review period for drilling permits by two-thirds and expedite the sale and processing of Indian and Federal oil and gas leases.  The new system will track permit applications through the entire review process and quickly flag any missing or incomplete information – greatly reducing the back-and-forth between BLM and industry applicants currently needed to amend paper applications.
These new initiatives build on efforts to encourage expanded development by the BLM’s Montana/Dakotas State Office, which has taken steps to bolster its workforce through increased hiring and the transfer of staff from other offices to help in processing applications as efficiently as possible in recent years – often in partnership with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which manages the leasing of Indian lands.
Drilling applications in the Bakken have seen a 500 percent increase over the past five years, half of which has occurred on Indian minerals.  Since 2007, applications for permits to drill on the Fort Berthold Reservation, in the heart of the Bakken play, have risen from zero to 412.  BLM inspections also continue to rise.  For example, in FY 2007 there were four inspections on Indian minerals; in FY 2011, there were a total of 429.
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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 07-13-2012