NEW TOWN, N.D., April 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Last week, Chairman Fox of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation) filed a sworn declaration in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, outlining the multiple ways that the nearly 17,000 members of the MHA Nation will be adversely impacted and economically devastated with any shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The filing comes as the pipeline’s future remains uncertain.
The MHA Nation’s energy resources, including oil and gas, are trust assets held by the federal government for the Tribes’ benefit. “Over the past 12 years, the MHA Nation invested extensive resources to develop these energy resources, which have become a powerful economic engine for our Tribe,” said Chairman Fox. More than 80% of the Tribes’ current fiscal year budget comes from oil and gas royalties and tax revenue. “Among other things, oil and gas revenue funds our government, provides health insurance for our members, maintains our infrastructure, and constructs community buildings, like new schools, athletic fields, cultural centers, health clinics, and emergency management centers.”
A DAPL shutdown will impact individual tribal members and their families as they receive two-thirds of the royalty revenue generated on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Additionally, tribal members’ businesses relying on oil and gas production will also be impacted.
DAPL transports more than 60% of the MHA Nation’s daily production to market. “If DAPL is shut down, it will be extremely difficult to move our current production to market. Future production will be sharply curtailed. The financial harm could be widespread and absolutely devastating to our reservation and our members, with estimated losses amounting to more than $160 million over one year and more than $250 million over two years,” said Fox.
The MHA Nation suffered historical trauma from its loss of land and resources as have other Treaty Tribes. The Bakken Shale Play allowed it to rebuild its economy as an energy producing tribe. If DAPL is shut down, the MHA Nation will be extremely impacted.
“I have profound respect for Standing Rock and the other tribes that oppose DAPL. There is great respect between our two nations, and I have been a longstanding champion for water resources, water rights, and the environment.” Fox continued, “I am hopeful that we can find a way forward that will address our concerns, as well as the concerns of others, without negatively impacting our primary source of economic development.”