October 11, 2012
Whether it’s claiming responsibility for offshore oil and natural gas produced by leases issued under the Clinton and Bush Administrations or trying to take credit for the rise in energy production on private and state lands, the Obama Administration has a lengthy history of patting itself on the back for American energy achievements to which they did not actually contribute.
Yesterday, Interior Secretary Salazar continued this tradition in a self-congratulatory announcement regarding the approval of a refinery fee-trust application for the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Forth Berthold Reservation of North Dakota.
Not surprisingly, Secretary Salazar’s glowing announcement didn’t mention that the Bush Administration initiated the project in 2003 and completed the majority of the work only to have the Obama Administration delay the project for three years, until a month before the general election.
Unfortunately for the Three Affiliated Tribes, Secretary Salazar’s well-timed announcement might not do anything for the Tribes’ economic and employment worries as the Obama Administration’s proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations will make oil and natural gas production on the reservation nearly impossible, rendering the refinery useless.
When asked about energy development on Indian lands at an April, 2012 Subcommittee on Indians and Alaska Native Affairs oversight hearing, Tex Hall, Chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of the Fort Berthold Reservation, said that the Obama Administration’s, “actions to date have given me and other tribes the impression that tribal input is not desired or only minimally needed even though there is strong evidence that the proposed regulations will cost the MHA Nation and the surrounding community a sizable number of jobs and money.”
Indian Country deserves more than self-satisfying press releases from the Obama Administration to create tribal jobs, grow their economy and help contribute to lowering America’s dependence on foreign oil.
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