Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

OK Congressional Delegation Not Happy with Osage County Drilling Rules Process


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Oklahoma’s seven members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in late September asking the federal agency to restart the rule-making process for oil and gas drilling in Osage County.

As StateImpact has reported, Osage County is the only county in Oklahoma that isn’t monitored by the Corporation Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator. Mineral rights in Osage County are held in a federal trust for the Osage Nation, and oil and gas drilling is regulated by the BIA.

The Osage Negotiated Rulemaking Commitee revised rules last year after landowners complained about the presence of dangerous gasses near some drilling operations. Basically, there were claims the BIA was doing a poor job in its regulating duties.

As The Journal Record‘s D. Ray Tuttle reports, the state’s congressional delegation says the “proposed changes were rushed and fail to address the original issues:”

Avoiding future litigation by the tribe or other stakeholders should be the BIA’s primary goal in this process,” they wrote. “The best way to do this is to ensure that the new regulations encourage the maximum possible oil and gas development on the nation…”

In an earlier Journal Record story, an attorney for California-based Berkeley GeoImaging LLC said provisions of the proposed rules would give too much regulatory power to the federal government by completely removing the Osage Minerals Council as a regulatory authority:

“There was no way to anticipate what pernicious and onerous regulations could be put forth by the secretary (of the interior) in the future,” [Tara] Righetti said. “By allowing the federal government to effectively regulate oil and gas development in Osage County, the government would determine the legacy of the tribe’s mineral interest.”

Another proposed rule change drilling operators don’t like would delay the start of drilling for several weeks.

The rule is Code of Federal Regulations 25, Part 226.18. It requires a meeting between the operator and landowner. It gives the landowner 30 days to respond to a request from the operator to meet. The meeting takes place and another 10 days must pass before any operations can take place at the well site.

The public comment phase of the rule-making process continues through October.


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  • sammi

    There’s alot more to this issue than meets the “eye’”. Yes there is a huge level of imcompetecy at the BIA and it does not stop there and the lack at a Administrative level, the processes is taking long because they did not have any IT, we need that for better tracking and in this day and age is unheared of not having a computar, but with the added Million dollar funding by the GOV and the added 6 o 7 man power will help eleviate and address some of the issues that exists with the land owners and the blame also exists with The M/C as well for letting this go on for such a long time and not following through as well. And this goes without saying I’m sure other Stakeholders feel the same. You have to ask yourselves this is a 4 billion dollar estate and why isn’t it being developed like Bakken? Are we having high tech drilling on our Estate? Ask why methane is going unaccounted for? Or for that matter what else is getting by-passed? Why metering wasn’t established long before and the list goes on? The Osage Nation in my opinion does not vest the right to the M/C to Act, though we must abide by the flawed Constituton, it is the 1906 act that allows the M/C to vest and not the other way around…..The Act itself generic yet so simple only requires a Chief and an AP Chief and Eight M/C members to represent the Stake Holders in the first. The Chief has five days to sign the leases to be approved. There has been no failure on his part to sign…The Lack of or better yet the failure to communicate with the Stakeholers in the first is huge. From the rushed settled HPP case and so forth….and this is no Accident in any way shape or form…….The Trust is all it is for the Stakeholders, the Shareholders, really is just a bank that insures the proper Monnies for the Stakeholders. It is up to us to Manage and pick up the pace. And it is up to the BLM and BIA to inssure we are compliant following the regulatories. We need to be responsible for our selves and stop being so reliant on others to do the Job the M/C should be doing. There is nothing saying that we can’t take charge yet we have a M/C that is not listening to the Stakeholders and we want proper representation. These issues are not just the Osage’s it exists wide spread…Yet Bakken has the same issues with the BLM and BIA and we should be no different. Developers are aware that they need to allow the time for lease approval and plan ahead of the game . So you have to ask another question where is the Connection of having Competition being developed on our Land and possibly the Monopolly that has been going on with the Mom and Pop drillers? This is a price for the luxury of not having to account for the untold ammounts on un-metering and not account for the Natural Gas that is being let go at the cost to the Stakeholders is going to allow us for another suit of which I would like to avoid is still going on after Two Years of the HPP SETTLEMENT. The Landowner knows exactly that the Osages have the right of way to drill on their properties. And it poses no threat to have dialoge with them, we just didn’t know as a stakeholder these problems existed and if the rules and reg were being followed this would not be an issue at all….ALL in All the Producers are going to get caught up with the times and they had two years to do so. Yet we are still at square one. Funny thing is the M/C never had regulatory authority. But they have the Authority to keep their Stakeholders comprised of each developement and stages of these changes for the most have fallen on deaf ears. for the Stakeholders. We are the ones to vote on these matters and we have not been kept in the loop as aggressively it should have been….again you have to ask why? Here lies the problem of enforcement and follow through for the lack of better man power. It is long past over due is the compensation of the flaring of Hydocarbons and compensation to the Owners. We are united on so many issues yet so far away and you can’t fix what is broken at home it is now up to the Stakeholders in the first to take charge and spearhead the direction we need to take….Done is the archaic ways with new Technology on the horizon as we should grow is our Sovereign Right. Changing the CFR’S is only part of a problem. From a Stakeholder who cares and knows where the problems lies directly and knows first hand…..

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