In the MHA Nation’s press release, Chairman Mark N. Fox, pictured above, (Photo credit: TOM STROMME/The Bismarck Tribune) acknowledged the controversy surrounding the pipeline. “I have profound respect for Standing Rock and the other tribes that oppose DAPL,” Fox said. “There is great respect between our two nations, and I have been a longstanding champion for water resources, water rights, and the environment.”
New Town, ND — In a declaration filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia last month, Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara (MHA) Nation Chairman Mark Fox argued that shutting down the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) would inflict extreme adverse impacts and economic devastation on his Tribe. Earlier this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, part of the Biden Administration, said that the plaintiffs seeking a DAPL shutdown “have not met the applicable standard,” meaning that the pipeline will continue operations.
“To date, the Corps is not aware of information that would cause it to evaluate the injunction factors differently than in its previous filing,” reads the update filed with the court. U.S. District Court judge James Boasberg, who is overseeing the case, could still order the pipeline to shutter while it undergoes an environmental review.
The MHA Nation’s Reservation is home to significant oil and gas reserves, estimated at hundreds of millions of barrels of oil. Nearly 300,000 barrels per day are currently being produced from more than 2,500 wells, accounting for approximately 25 percent of North Dakota’s total oil production. More than 60 percent of this output is transported to market on the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“If DAPL is shut down, it will be extremely difficult to move our current production to market,” Fox said in a press release. “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.”
According to the declaration, more than 80 percent of the MHA Nation’s tribal budget this year comes from oil and gas-related activities, either through royalties or tax revenue. The funds that are generated provide a number of services, including health insurance, infrastructure, courts and law enforcement, a child safety center and foster home, elder care and assistance, schools, athletic fields, cultural centers, emergency management centers, and courthouses.
“Not only would a DAPL shutdown deprive the MHA Nation of any return on substantial investments we have made in planned increases in oil production from our trust resources, it would also deprive us of substantial revenue from existing wells on our Reservation, causing significant additional financial harm both to the MHA Nation and the many people, native and non native alike, who work in our Reservation’s oil and gas industry,” Fox writes in the declaration.
If DAPL is shut down, Fox says the MHA Nation will suffer significant environmental harms as the only alternative to pipeline transport is to increase the use of truck and rail transport. This, in turn, will lead to increased road damage, motor vehicle accidents, and increased air pollution from dust and heavy vehicle emissions.
In the MHA Nation’s press release, Chairman Fox acknowledged the controversy surrounding the pipeline.
“I have profound respect for Standing Rock and the other tribes that oppose DAPL,” Fox said. “There is great respect between our two nations, and I have been a longstanding champion for water resources, water rights, and the environment.”
“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,” he continued.
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Mrs. Davis is the founder, publisher and executive editor of the only Native American wholly owned and operated national tribal business publication, Native Business Magazine, and the producer of the annual and nationally attended Native Business Summit.
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