MHA Chairman explains the importance of royalty changes for drilling

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The annual meeting of the North Dakota Petroleum Council is happening in Watford City this week. Industry professionals and lawmakers are in attendance to discuss and hold panels on the current trends in the oil and gas industry.

There are some notable speakers giving addresses Wednesday including …Senator John Hoeven, Congressman Kelly Armstrong, Governor Doug Burgum, and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

The slogan for this year’s annual meeting is developing Western Communities. One community represented is MHA Nation. Chairman Mark Fox gave an address Wednesday discussing the development of oil and gas on tribal land. He explained that it has been a process for the tribe to gain benefits from energy production on their land.

Eighty percent of MHA tribal members do not get any royalties from oil and gas extraction from tribal land.
Chairman Fox explained that originally in 2012 – 2/3rds of tax revenue was going to the state and only 1/3 was going to the tribe. In 2019 MHA Nation was able to change that through legislative work…and now they get eighty percent of tax revenue from oil and gas drilling on their land. Fox says the expansion of revenue has been helpful for both the tribal nation and the oil and gas industry.

“We are a tribal nation that elected to develop its trust resources in oil and gas, and that has made a significant difference for our nation and our people. From schools and roads and health insurance for our membership. All of these things are a result of us making a decision to develop our energy resources,” says Chairman Fox.

Prior to August of this year, MHA was getting zero royalties from oil and gas drilling on their borders that was also taking resources under their tribal land. Chairman Fox thanked the North Dakota Legislature and the ND Petroleum Council for helping the tribe get eighty percent of royalties from that border drilling during this most recent legislative session.

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